Eol Fefalas Keeper of the Kazari RDI Staff Karma: 461/28 8455 Posts
The Adventures of Kith, the Cat, and the Khatun
26th Day, Ternoth Ore, 452 E.R., Davnor, Sendria. The dungeons of Adedra Undolithe’s estate.
He had not been here long, it seemed, but, in the same breath, it felt as if he’d been here much longer than he should have been. He crouched in the corner of his cell, three feet of rusting chain tethering him to the thick stone of the floor. He wanted to lay his ears back in defiance but he was tired… so tired… and he could barely snarl, let alone pin his ears back and roar. It had been days that he’d felt so and, especially after today’s visit from the monkey-faced witch, he longed for the torture to be over. The dishonor of having allowed himself to be captured by the Sendrians had been punishment enough for his failings as a warrior but the fact that he had endured days, if not weeks, of pain and suffering at the witch’s hands without having managed to kill her was that much worse…
“It will all be over for you, soon,” she had promised when, just hours ago, she had paid her visit to bleed him, “Two more turnings of the sun, great beast, and The Burning will be upon us.” She drank his blood from the goblet in which she had collected it, then, and smiled that coldly sadistic smile as she licked it from her lips. “Your flesh and blood on the fires will feed The Devourer and, in return, He will grace me with the power I seek.”
“If it is power you want, monkey-bitch,”Ch’dau snarled, straining against the manacles and press of the guards that restrained him, as she opened him again, and pressed the goblet to his wound, “loose these bonds and I will show it to you!”
“That power I have already seen, cat-man,” the dark woman tittered as she floated just beyond his reach, sipping away at the second cupful of his lifeblood, “when you tore through my soldiers. It is that power, in fact, that spared you the same fate I visited upon the rest of your company, hmm? It is that power that will sate The Walker of Shadows’ appetites and grant me His favor. Then I will wield that power in ways that your simple mind can scarcely fathom.”
The captive kazari growled, teeth and claws bared, as he tried to lunge at her, but the heavy iron chains and the weight of the guards held him fast. Unable to sink claw or fang into the witch’s throat, Ch’dau spat out a string of curses in his native tongue that, had she been able to understand them, would have melted the ears from her head.
Instead, the witch rolled her sickly yellow eyes and cackled before turning her back on him and gliding for the heavy bars that formed the door of the kazari’s cage. Once she was beyond the door, she deigned a glance over her shoulder and that hateful smile slithered over her blood-blackened lips. “Put the beast to sleep,” she commanded before, still sipping at the blood in her goblet, she drifted away along the slick, dark stone of the dungeon’s corridor. Per her orders, the quartet of guards relished in their task, raining blows down on the defiant cat-man until he succumbed to unconsciousness.
… How long he had languished in that cudgel induced sleep, Ch’dau couldn’t be sure but, when he woke, the dungeons were quiet. There were no screams echoing in the dark of Adedra Undolithe’s prison and even the incessant dripping of fetid water from the damp stone walls seemed stilled. It had been long enough, then, that the witch had retired from entertaining her guests. That, he thought, forcing his aching form into a crouch and testing, once again, the resolve of the shackles which tethered him to the cell’s center, or all the rest are dead and, finally, free of her attentions. Despite the rust that coated his bonds, the chain and cuffs were still as unrelenting as the first time he had tried to escape them and, again, his claw was unable to find a way to disengage their locks. A soft, irritated growl rumbled in his chest as he slumped against the stone of the wall, taking some small comfort in the way the cold of it eased the aching of his wounds. “Khr’a take this unnatural place,” he chuffed, “and Rrowl give me the strength to bring it down around her ears.”
It was then, in the wake of his pleas to his gods and above the dank stillness of the dungeon, that Ch’dau heard it… the faint scuffing of a misplaced foot and the barely whispered curse that followed. He lifted his head from where he’d rested it on his arms and peered into the darkness beyond his bars and, after a moment, found the source of the sound. A lithe figure crept through the shadows of the corridor where it bent out of sight, presumably leading to the witch’s lair above. It couldn’t have been the witch, the Kazari deduced, as she, despite her confidence, never appeared without her guards. Nor was it a member of the guard; the figure was too small and the fall of it’s feet far too light to have been one of them.
Curious and wincing from the effort, Ch’dau got himself to his feet and padded as close to the bars as his chains allowed. His gaze strained to keep sight of the figure in the dark but, as he sniffed the air, Khr’a blessed him with enough information about the shadow-lurker that he was all but certain, now, that this was no follower of the witch, at all, nor was it a fellow prisoner whom, through some miracle, had managed to slip their bonds. There was no Sendrian stink that clung to the stealthy figure and the faint perfume that did catch in his nostrils told the kazari that the lurker was female and, based on her measured breaths and the furtive nature of her movements, she most certainly wasn’t supposed to be here.
He watched her in silence for a moment longer, his eyes keen on her but his other senses searching for signs of anyone else nearby. When he was all but assured there was no one else about to hear it, he rumbled softly into the shadows; “You there… Girl… free me from this cage and I will help you find your way out of this foul place.”
Posted on 2019-10-05 at 11:34:35.
Edited on 2019-10-08 at 16:11:09 by Eol Fefalas
Reralae Dreamer of Bladesong Karma: 142/12 2503 Posts
Memoirs of the distant past
376 E.R, Megilindar Nost
"Your blades of steel have been forged, but before you may claim them, you must reforge your blade of spirit. A full century have you lived, a hundred years with a rough blade honed by trial and error. Now is the time to let go of this blade, one haphazardly forged over time. Let it melt in the furnace of your soul, that it may be reforged into a stout, strong blade, one that will last you through all your years, and even beyond."
The young Aranwen took a breath and swallowed, her mouth dry. Her hands trembled. She was glad they did not receive their blades already; she'd have dropped it in her trepidation.
Beside her, another young Sylvari gave a smile, reaching over to grasp Aranwen's hand, "Relax, Ara," She whispered, "Your blade may shatter in your grip before it hits the forge."
Aranwen felt her hands steady, and she smiled back in gratitude.
"Saeriel! You can flirt with Aranwen after this ceremony is concluded."
"Of course, blademaster," Saeriel replied quickly, stepping lightly to the side.
"Now, each of you will be led to the forge. You must see the blade you carry, and then thrust it into the fire. Though that is not the furnace of your spirit, the act will serve the purpose; you will feel it melt. It will hurt, but you must let go of the blade. Only by letting it melt down entirely can it be reforged into the blade you will carry with you, even in empty hand. Once it is melted, go to the anvil. You must see the ingot in your mind's eye, now heated and ready to shape. Do what you need to do. For some, it may be to take up the hammer and start striking the anvil. Others it may be something else. Reclaim the blade you gave up, and shape it. Take your oaths! Let your words be embedded within this new blade and lend it strength."
"Once you've finished you may claim your steel blade, and then we will see if you have truly mastered the Bladesong."
One by one, the would-be bladesingers before Aranwen went through the ritual. With each, she felt her anxiety deepen, in spite of Saeriel's aid earlier. What oaths would she take? What if she, alone, failed the forging? They all had been given time to decide upon the oaths that resonated with their spirit, but it was all so nebulous to her. She couldn't see the same things Saeriel could see. Saeriel seemed to be able to see everyone's spiritual blade by their side, or held in hand. Was it her artistic background that let her see such?
All too soon it was Saeriel's turn, and hers would be after. Aranwen watched carefully, to see if she could see any hint of what she needed to do. When it came to the anvil, rather than raise the hammer, Saeriel danced, her arms weaving and beckoning beside it.
"I will pursue the roots of evil where I find them! I will lend my aid to those that will protect other lives! And I will protect the lives I come across that cannot protect themselves!"
In the instant that Saeriel had made her third oath, Aranwen blinked. She could have sworn she saw it. A beautiful curved blade, gleaming in sillhouette beside Saeriel and responding, moving with her in dance. But Aranwen couldn't be certain.
Rubbing the feeling back into her fingers, Aranwen stepped forward into the smithy. This smithy was never used for steel blades. Its only purpose was to be the focal point for this rite of passage. She walked up to the furnace, the fire within crackling and hungry. Unable to shake the feeling of looking a bit silly, Aranwen held out a clenched hand, as though to deposit kindling to the flame. Taking a breath, she let go.
In an instant, she felt feverish. No, it felt like she was burning. She clenched her eyes shut, gritting her teeth that she wouldn't cry out. She wouldn't be the one who failed.
"Ara, let go!"
She opened her eyes, and she could feel it. Though she had recoiled, she still felt her arm outstretched towards the flames. She could feel something in her hand. Something that she was afraid to let go. Against all her instincts, she opened her hand.
She felt her anxiety begin to melt away. She closed her eyes once again, this time seeing visions flow through her mind. A time she stumbled in her haste to get to practise. One time she had cracked a rib during practise, unable to read the movements of her partner.
Aranwen could see her blade melting. A misshapen dagger with spidery cracks that branched from guard to tip. It wasn't the prettiest blade in the world, but it was hers. Instinct told her to take it back, but she held fast. As the anxiety faded from her mind and gave way to clarity, she could feel the impurities that had become embedded in her dagger burn up in the furnace. Finally, she moved to the anvil, and finally she could see.
Aranwen lifted the hammer, and brought it down on the anvil with all the force she could muster.
"I will. Give aid! To those that give it freely," Aranwen spoke, seeing the guard start to take shape, "I will! Take the lives! Of those who would take them for ill intent, for ill purpose!" The blade sharpened with each strike, a good straight sword, "I will..." She faltered for a moment, watching the half finished blade on the anvil. Just one more thing. One more oath. She looked to the side, searching for and finding Saeriel's face in the onlookers. Clenching her fingers about the handle, she lifted the hammer, "Make safe the path ahead! For those who will walk after!"
Standing back upright, Aranwen wiped the sweat from her brow, setting the hammer down to the side. She could see it. Truly see it. A strong and slightly curved blade, a crescent moon guard with one silvery gemstone set in the middle, and a pommel set with a heart shaped ruby.
After the rite, they were given their steel blades. For their last assessment, they were to wield the blades in a performance of swords with a partner. Most chose the blademaster as their partner, as was common.
"It's beautiful," Saeriel smiled, raising the steel blade in her hand in opening salute.
Aranwen returned the smile, "So is yours."
Posted on 2019-10-05 at 14:27:42.
Eol Fefalas Keeper of the Kazari RDI Staff Karma: 461/28 8455 Posts
Her rounds in the dungeon had been made and, as a result, there were at least three more corpses upon which she might ply her magicks. Now, however, she was tired and, as such, sought a retreat to her chambers. Through the course of the afternoon, though, she had consumed two entire goblets full of the kazari’s blood and, in doing so, the cat-beast’s vigor had been filtered into her own form. Enough so, in fact, that, at first, Adedra almost gave no thought as to how her current contingent of guards might look. For the briefest of instants, she considered doing away with appearances in favor of pleasure but, in the end, as her guard stripped away her crown and gowns, she looked upon them and could not imagine any of the brutes who tended her, now, violating her in the manner she imagined. She let them service her, of course, as they brought her to bare in sight of the various taxiedermied corpses that spotted her bedchamber, but she disallowed them the pleasures and pains they wished to visit upon her patchwork form in favor of summoning fresher and prettier servants from her retinue.
Mildly sedated from the attention of their lips and tongues, Adedre dismissed her guard with orders to summon her chosen violators and sprawled, in damp anticipation, in the high, wing-backed chair that occupied the center of her rooms. A shudder, reminiscent of the attentions of a guard’s tongue, drew her gaze downward and, after a moment spent in self-pleasure, the necromancer looked to where the Ungoulid leg had been sewn to the the stump of her own just two weeks past. Her ingestion of the cat-beast’s blood had gone a long way toward healing that surgery, it seemed, and, as her fingers reached a fever-pitch, she could only imagine what a sacrifice of the kazari on D’Hurgen’s Night might gain her…
“I need those men,” she gasped into the air between herself and the closed doors of her chamber, “NOW!”
“They’re on their way, m’lady,” a meek voice replied from the door’s other side, the tone was both accommodating and irritating, at once, “I have ensured that they’ve eaten the flower and readied themselves for your appetites but…”
“Just tell them to hurry,” Adedre groaned, plucking a curled ram’s horn from the side-table and tracing it along the scar that separated the new, gray, skin from that of what remained of her own yellow-white thigh. After it had skipped tantalizingly over each stitch, she licked to horn’s point, and replaced the attention of her fingers with the inflexibility of the spike and, when those she had summoned arrived, she was more than ready to accept the degradation they heaped upon her. The suffering was exquisite and, in the end, when she had slit all of their throats and lapped their blood from the floor, Adedre Undolithe found herself more than spent and more than worthy of the slumber she into which she had allowed herself to collapse.
Regardless of the suffering and humiliation to which she had subjected herself, though, her sense of tranquility had not lasted long, at all. She awoke with a start, her nether-regions still raw from the abuse she had begged for only hours before and, with each agonizing pulse from the areas below her waist, the crystal orb that dominated the table at the foot of her bed throbbed a red warning. In anguish, the witch slid from her pallet and hobbled toward the palantir. Still bleeding and seeping, she conjured forth the visions that the crystal had to offer. First and foremost amongst the revelations was a picture of her prized captive, the kazari, engaged in conversation with an amorphous form that threatened to free the cat-beast from her grasp. Second came the vision of a lovely, young elven lass with a glowing blade who, if her visions weren’t misleading, would challenge her hold over the kazari should she allow the first vision to come to fruition.
“No,” the witch hissed even as she braced against a spike of torment from her most sensitive of regions, “Nothing will take the promise of that power from me!” Adedre hobbled to where her diaphanous robes hung over the end of a chair and, draping the thing across her shoulders and drawing it closed only enough to conceal the scar where her new leg had been attached, shouted to her attendant in the hall; “Send guards to the dungeon! I want to know that the cat is still there!”
Her sickly golden gaze snatched away from the intricately carved panels of her bedchamber doors, then, and fell back upon the rippling, ebony surface of the palantir. The collaboration between the kazari and the nebulous shadow, she had been expecting for weeks, but the addition of the elf-bitch was new… and disturbing…
If I cannot use this Kazari, she decided, based upon what the crystal revealed to her, I have no choice but to destroy it… and this vague shape that lends it’s aide.
Hovering over the crystal, the witch seethed and the pain below her waist and in her throat diminished. The focus she found in the crytals’ displays, too, faltered and, as she worked the sutures in her thigh loose, she barked further orders to the attendant waiting on the other side of her chamber doors; “Bring my men!”
“O…Of course, M….Mistress!”
Posted on 2019-10-06 at 22:29:03.
Edited on 2019-10-06 at 22:31:06 by Eol Fefalas
Reralae Dreamer of Bladesong Karma: 142/12 2503 Posts
A hunt of a different sort
452 E.R., A Forested Glade in Sendria
Three shadows kept low to the ground as they advanced, before taking positions behind a few trees. One looked out from their cover briefly. His eyes swept the glade beyond, his gaze hungry as he saw the black robed figure that stood out in the open.
"Looks like the tip was a good one," The hooded figure smirked, motioning to his companion to take a look.
"Aye," Their companion grinned, "Lone woman wandering the wilderness, that's just asking for trouble."
"Looks Sylvari too, no less," A third chimed in, "Thought I heard they'd pay good coin for one somewhere southwest."
"What's she doing anyway?" The first asked, one hand going to a blade at his hip, "Just standing there, head bowed... eyes probably closed."
"Maybe some mystic mumbo jumbo's what. I hear sommat like chanting, very faint. See any weapons?"
"Something wooden at her hip, maybe a walking cane? Hard to tell with the black garb she's got. Could be a scabbard. No matter. Get ready."
Between two of the bandits they silently readied a net, well used to the motions involved and how to keep it quiet amidst the foliage.
"She ain't moving. Go!" The third hissed, brandishing a spear.
All three of them advanced quickly, their loud footfalls startling birds from the nearby treetops. The two in front rushed forward and hurled the net between them.
The woman reacted far quicker than they anticipated, leaping from one foot and sliding into a roll under the net in mid air. A piercing, shrill sound came from her mouth as she drew the blade at her side, slicing upward at the left man, who recoiled just out of reach of her blade.
"Damn it all!"
The third rushed forward with his spear, but though he struck black, his thrust met air, unable to follow the woman's movements, cloaked as they were by the black garb. Still seizing the opportunity, he tried to angle the spear down, if only to knock her off balance by stabbing her cloak into the ground.
Seeing his guard down, the woman simply opted to run him through, her steel blade slicing through his gut. The reverberating shrill she had started with shifted, resonating into a low vocalization between a growl and a hymn. A swift kick sent the body off her blade, and she looked to the remainder, her golden eyes focused. The two remaining could see what could only be bloodlust.
"Forget it, run!"
The unfortunate man who turned his back to the woman barely took a pace before he felt the steel slicing into his back, and with a cry he stumbled forward and fell onto the ground. Forcing himself to fight the pain, he crawled forward, and for a mercy it seemed as though the swordswoman had ignored his movement.
He could hear a clash of blade on blade behind him, a lone chorus reaching a crescendo. Then he heard another body hit the ground.
It was quiet.
Reaching a tree, he propped himself up against it, wincing as he forced himself to sit upright. When he turned, he saw golden eyes staring down into his.
"Please, take anything, just, mercy!" He cried
"I've no mercy for the likes of you."
* * *
Wiping the blood from her blade, Aranwen returned it to its sheath, before looking up into the evening sky.
"That I should be attacked by slavers, here of all places," She muttered, shaking her head, "Inexperienced in battle, but slavers nonetheless."
She looked down at the three she had slain, "Adaron, receive these bodies back to the ground," She spoke, holding a hand to her breast.
Stepping away from them, Aranwen returned to where she originally stood, her gaze trailing upward into the evening sky.
"The forest lies empty," she whispered in soft melody, barely reaching beyond the trees.
After a moment, she finally turned.
"Southwest, hm?" Aranwen mused aloud, "Davnor, or further beyond?" She wondered as she started on the path
Posted on 2019-10-07 at 00:06:46.
Edited on 2019-10-09 at 22:53:16 by Reralae
26th Day, Ternoth Ore, 452 E.R., Davnor, Sendria. An old, forgotten passageway beneath the dungeons of Adedra Undolithe’s estate.
I could have married a merchant, Kithran Aldeath silently grumbles to herself as she trudges on hands and knees through the muck beneath the Undolithe estate. I look pretty good, a swath of gunk splatters lightly onto her face as she yanks her hand free from a particularly deep portion of it, well I can pretend I look pretty good. But nooo, I had to go and--a rat skitters across her path ten feet ahead and with a flash of steel it is pinned to the wall, twitching as the dagger steals its life.
I bet I would have done pretty well, Kith continues in her musings, tugging her dagger free of the wall and wiping the blade on her leg before resheathing it at her hip with the others.
That boy Edward my father had tried to set me up with seemed to like me well-enough before his great-grandmother’s ring went missing. She came to the wooden hatch in the stone above her just as her contact had mentioned she would, and begins to probe it lightly for traps and locks. Real shame about that fifty-seven gold worth of ring having gone missing. Real shame.
The latch comes free silently and with little effort, and Kith slowly props it open to search and listen for any signs of movement in the storage room.
At least some handlers can be trusted once in a while. Kithran swiftly hops up and gently lowers the hatch back down. The stale smell of a small room suffering from decades of a dank environment and poor ventilation permeates her sinuses, and it’s truly a welcomed scent after what she had just crawled through.
As she begins wiping the loose bits of I’m-just-not-going-to-think-about-it off of her leathers, the tops of her half-Sylvari ears twitch at the sound of footsteps heading her way, and the flickering light of a torch sweeps beneath the door. Goddamn handlers . . . .
The room is small, filled only with shelving and racks that line the walls, and the random metallic items populating them. Which, now that she was looking at them, seemed rather horrific in nature, but such is the nature of items found in a dungeon, in her vast and varied experience.
As the footfalls approach, Kithran slinks lightly behind the wooden door, gripping the handles of her daggers. Her fingers fall comfortably into place as she lifts the blades out of their sheaths and adrenaline heightens her focus.
The sound of keys jingle briefly before clattering heavily onto the ground, and Kithran hears the sound of a young man cursing through the door as he lifts them back up. She sighs softly and with a quick, simultaneous flick, both daggers flip around in her hands as the door opens.
Whenever the young man finally woke up, several hours later, he could remember nothing of what had happened the moment he stepped fully into one of the many rooms filled with the witch's torture devices. He would simply remember searching for an open spot on the shelf, taking half a step toward it, and then he was on the ground, the back of his head in excruciating pain. What he would never forget was the dead man laying beside him, his eyes wide and his mouth agape as blood dripped slowly from the long, flayed crevice down the front of his neck. The young man would look down and scream, realizing that he had been sleeping in a massive pool of the dead man’s bodily fluids.
Kithran would remember the moment in a slightly different manner.
She would remember the young man stepping inside the room one second, and the dull sound of the butt of her dagger making contact with the back of his head the next. In one swift movement her daggers are back in their place and she forces her arms under his armpits, catching him before he slumps to the ground. She lowers him slowly, taking a look at his face as she slipps the key ring from his fingers. He looked barely old enough to curse as he had on the other side of the door, let alone to wield such a deadly weapon as that at his side.
You were lucky today, brat. Kithran pockets the keys and leaves the room, but goes only a few feet before the sound of murmuring ahead stops her. She presses herself to the stone wall, filmy and cold, and peers around the corner. Two men, much older and fiercer looking than the one napping in the storage room behind her, but in matching armors and weapons, stand at the end of the corridor.
The more massive of the two looms over the other, “You gave them to that boy?”
The other stands his ground, his low, angry retort likely an attempt to make up for what he lacks in bulk compared to the first guard, “He was just putting away some of her, her toys.”
Toys? Kith smirks, thinking of the thick, spiked chain the unconscious boy still held, That’s unfortunate.
The larger one jabs his finger into the other’s armored chest, “The keys are your responsibility, Tibbins, she’s calling for them now. Go find that kid and bring them up to her.” With that the massive man stormed off around the corner, and grumbling, the other moved her way.
Normally Kithran would listen to footfalls or breaths to determine how far away her victim was. This victim, however, is gracious enough to loudly relive his last interaction albeit much more bravely to himself as he stomps her way. She readies one of her blades. This time she would not be so kind.
He turns the corner and as the light of the torch washes over Kithran, he jerks back in surprise, “What the--”
“Hi Tibbins,” Kith grins as her dagger digs up into the space between his esophagus and jaw bone, slashing downward as she rips open his neck and he is gone. She holds back a grunt as this body, much larger than the last, slumps against her, and she stills for a moment to listen for any other movement. When she is satisfied they are still alone, she drags the form back to the storage room.
Sorry brat, I guess you’re not so lucky today, she thinks as she lowers the dead weight of the guard beside the young sleeping man, let this be a lesson to you. She stands and pads lightly to the door as the dead man’s blood begins to flow toward the other. Wow, look at me teaching youngsters, she grins as she quietly closes the door and decides in that moment to lock the unconscious kid in the room with the dead, profusely bleeding body, am I ready to be a mother?
With the door at her back, Kithran listens again, creeping forward when nothing but a thick silence returns to her. Peering around the corner, she confirms she is clear and slinks toward the next corridor.
While the timing of the guard routes seem to be a little off per her contact’s information, the map Kith had memorized of the witch’s underground labyrinth of tunnels and nightmarish rooms has thus far proven to be accurate. In the minutes that followed, a quick dodge, a slight distraction, or a perfectly timed cover opportunity kept the others wandering these putrid halls blessedly unaware of her movements. It would be just a little longer until she could slip up the stairs into the manor-proper, make her way up to the top floor, and into her private study where those mages claimed the grimoire would be.
“Goddamn it, I will kill Tibbins,” Kith hears the now familiar voice of the large guard who had berated the dearly departed guard from before. She slips deftly back into the shadows of another corridor as he stomps by and looks down at her blood-caked leathers. She was sure she hadn’t left a Tibbins trail because she never left Tibbons trails but--well there was that one time, and the one time before that--one could never be too sure.
She quickens her pace and dips around another corner which opens into a much larger corridor. This one does not have any of those torches that had lined the walls of so much of this place so far, but that didn’t mean there weren’t others with similar bastard blood as her skulking around. Kith takes a beat to skim this space for any movement, any steps or telling breaths. Neither catch her attention, but her eyes fall upon several cages, too small for the large lumps she assumes are creatures the witch had gathered for some horrific reason.
Sorry puppies, I can’t--”F***.” Kith ducks, wanting to slap herself for becoming distracted. People were the worst things any god could have come up with, but animals . . . animals she loved. She understood them. And as she had been gazing in the direction of the caged animals she had no time to free, she had kicked an immovable stone block that had littered her path. Glaring angrily at it now, she can see a thick iron loop embedded at the top of the block, and both covered in old, dark blood. She tries not to think of what the stupid witch had done to these caged animals and focus instead on determining if anything was coming for her after her spat.
Once more silence encompasses her and she rises, keeping her eyes only on her path, her ears ignoring the caged creature she hears softly rustling as she slips along the walls. The path out of this dungeon would not be much further now.
“You there . . . Girl . . .” A deep, low voice speaks out and Kith spins toward it, ducking down, her blades ready in her palms at her sides. In her brief glance around the room she hadn’t seen anyone who may have called out to her. If this place is haunted as well, I swear . . . .
Kith stays low and silently backtracks around the various tables and horrific paraphernalia around the room. She remains quiet and still for just another moment, sure that whatever it was had been unable to follow her, though she herself could hear no other movement in the room. Slowly, she looks over the stone slab, and makes immediate eye-contact with a massive tiger in one of the small cages. Her eyes flit from side to side, unable to discern the origin of the voice.
“Free me from this cage,” her eyes shift back to the cage and the giant tiger is speaking to her, “and I will help you find your way out of this foul place.”
A trick? She looks around again and can find no one other source, Surely this is too elaborate for a creature you would keep caged?
Kithran rises, and keeping her blades ready and eyes on all corners of the room, she makes her way toward the enormous cat. As she approaches, its features became even more strange to her. It is indeed similar to a big tiger, but its body is more humanoid than anything else, other than its claws of course.
She lowers her daggers back into their sheaths. Despite her now seeing its beaten and mangled body, its eyes it can hardly keep open and the metal chain anchoring it to the ground, she keeps her distance. Her hands rest on the hilt of her blades as she whispers, “Free you?” she visibly eyes him up and down, “You can barely speak. Even if I had wanted to flee, what could you possibly do for me?”
((OOC: assuming Ch’dau talks a little about what a badass he is normally in a fight, but I can revise Kith’s follow-up as necessary))
Though intrigued by this thing’s claims, its current predicament inspires very little confidence. She scoffs, “Perhaps if I were concerned about a cat fight I would be convinced, but you look like something one might find in a ditch.” She smirks half-apologetically and steps away, “Sorry kitty cat, I think I am going to have to pa--”
“Over here! It’s talking to it! Light the torches!”
Kithran dives for cover as fire lights up the faces of the guards blocking the only escape routes, and others begin searching the room for her. She scurries as quickly as she can away from where the guards had last seen her and hides. Biding the little bit of time she has, waiting for an opening and creeping toward one of the guards in an exit, she keeps the corner of her eye on the two other guards making their way toward the giant tiger’s cage.
Posted on 2019-10-07 at 02:18:04.
Edited on 2019-10-07 at 02:43:33 by breebles
Eol Fefalas Keeper of the Kazari RDI Staff Karma: 461/28 8455 Posts
“You there… Girl…”
At the sound of his voice, the shadowy figure spun about in what might have been surprise and a pair of blades appeared in her hands as her gaze swept the murk of the cells. She seemed uncertain as to where the voice might have originated and, perhaps, stunned that there had been a voice at all. Ch’dau waited until the girl’s eyes were fully on him and, when their gazes met, he nodded confirmation of her suspicions and continued; “Free me from this cage and I will help you find your way out of this foul place.”
Bewilderment plays on the shadow-girl’s features for a moment and, once again, her eyes flit about the room as if seeking out evidence of some sort of trickery. Finding none, she seemed to accept that it had, in fact, been the cat-beast who had spoken. She rose from her crouch, then, and made a wary approach, whispering to a stop just out of his reach; her appraising gaze taking in the beast behind the bars. After a moment, she determined that she was no immediate danger from the wretched thing and returned her daggers to their sheaths, though her hands remain ready upon their hilts.
“Free you,” she whispered, her critical gaze looking him up and down, again, “You can barely speak. Even if I wanted to flee, what could you possibly do for me?”
It was Ch’dau’s turn to look puzzled. Why would she not want to leave this vile place? Was she even aware of the horrors that transpired here? Had she any clue as to what awaited in these damnable Sendrian shadows, the very idea of it should be enough to set her running. His tail lashed in irritation and he heaved a weary sigh as he sized her up. “Forgive,” he rumbled following his perusal of her willowy form, “but, those blades aside, you do not appear much the warrior. If it is your intention to delve deeper into this hell, you will need one at your side. The witch has many soldiers of her own and other unnatural things of her creation stalk the shadows in which you seek to hide. Let me loose, give me a blade, and I will keep them all from you. I will kill anything that comes near.”
“Perhaps if I were concerned about a cat-fight I would be convinced,” the shadow-girl scoffed, “but you look like something one might find in a ditch.”
“Were this a ditch,” the kazari replied, an offended growl scarcely restrained in his chest, “I would not need your help. This is not a ditch, tiny shadow, and if you are set on exploring it deeper, you will need mine.”
A half-apologetic smirk tugged at the corners of the girl’s mouth, then, and she began to take a step away. “Sorry kitty cat,” she murmured, “I think I am going to have to pa…”
“Over here,” an all too familiar voice boomed from the dark beyond the thief, “It’s talking to it! Light the torches!”
“They bring more than torches,” Ch’dau snarled at her back as the shadow-girl scrambled for cover from the flickering orange torchlight, “and you will be sorry when you find yourself sharing my fate.”
The girl had disappeared from his sight as those last words chased her into the shadows and the kazari’s growl of irritation welled into one of anger as he watched two of the witch’s guards try to ferret her out. The tone of the snarl grew more ominous, still, as another pair of guards took up their restraining poles and swaggered toward the beast’s cage.
“Seems the Silver Cat of Coria is making friends, now,” one of them mocked, loosening the noose at one end of the pole so that it would slip easily over the kazari’s head.
“Can’t have that,” the other jeered, also readying his pole, “Mistress Undolithe wants ya all ta herself, there, beasty!” He banged the butt end of the pole against the bars of the cage, then, and evoked a gnashing of teeth from the cat-man. “Tell ya what, though,” the guard chuckled condescendingly, “when Sibert an’ Tommus flush yer little visitor out, mebbe we’ll let ya eat it.”
“Yeah,” his partner laughed, sliding the business end of his capture pole through the bars, “Oughta be a fittin’ last meal fer a condemned cat ma… Aaaah s***e!!!”
The noose had scarcely brushed the tip of Ch’dau’s ear before the kazari’s massive paw closed around the iron-banded pole. The guard’s taunting was drowned out by a bestial roar and replaced with terrified screams as, with a violent jerk, he was hauled toward cage. The pole clattered to the floor as the guard had abandoned it in favor of drawing his sword, now, but it was too late. The slavering cat-man had reached through the bars and caught the man by his throat. There was a clanging sound that rang out over the snarls and screams as the guard’s head banged off the cold iron of the cage, a sickening wet crunching followed as the raging beast pulled the man’s head through the bars and then, in a flash of claw and fang, tore it completely from his shoulders.
In the blood-red seconds it had taken for the first guard to die, the second, at least, had managed to get hands on his steel. “Bloody hell,” he breathed, his horrified gaze seeking out his compatriots, “the beast’s killed Markus!!! Help!!! Hel…” In his hesitation and his panicked cries for assistance, though, the guardsman had made the mistake of turning his back on the cage and taking one step too many backward. He only managed one ineffectual swipe with his blade before the kazari’s claws sank into his throat and his belly. The last thing he saw was that blade falling into the spill of his own guts as he was torn open.
Soaked in his tormentors' blood, Ch'dau raged against his chains and the bars that contained him, and another roar resounded from the stone walls of the dungeon. "Come, monkeys! The Hunt awaits! Bring me more blood for Rrowl!!"
Posted on 2019-10-07 at 11:44:39.
Reralae Dreamer of Bladesong Karma: 142/12 2503 Posts
452 E.R, Baron Ascinar's keep, Dravnor, Sendria
Ascinar Driol tapped his foot impatiently as he sat on his high chair overlooking his hall. His face was passive but his annoyance was betrayed by a slight twitch of the eyebrow and tightening of the muscle under his eye.
His guests dined, oblivious to the annoyance of their host. Their chatter and the music served a good distraction at least to the self declared Baron. His slaves, however, weren't so oblivious, as they took great efforts to keep any food or wine from spilling on his noble robes or lingering in his beard.
Occasionally a guest would look to the place of honour, before quickly averting their gaze from the mask that had been placed there. Blacker than pitch, save for the red lips it wore, and the deep red gem embedded in the forehead, the mask was uncomfortable to look at.
For a brief moment he was distracted by a rowdy pair of men that had clearly had too much to drink. Before they could disturb any of the other guests, he had them escorted from his halls. He also smirked with bemusement at a Sylvari mother with a daughter. The mother had too much to drink as well, and the child complained of the smell on her lips after a kiss. After being brushed off and told to leave with her guard, the woman seemed to give in to the alcohol and pass out at the table.
Ascinar chuckled in amusement, until his eyes drifted once again to the mask. Not one person had come forward to claim it. The port man scowled inwardly. He knew it was genuine, for it had taken the lives of a couple, rebellious slaves that had greatly displeased him. He didnt watch personally, but the look of horror on the overseeing guard's face told him quite enough. It had cost Ascinar a good sum in gold to acquire, and he was told that he need only extend an invitation to the mask to receive a powerful assassin. That they couldn't be bothered to make an appearance at this banquet was nothing short of an insult.
The hours passed, and eventually the evening came to an end. All of the guests had made their departure. All but one. Ascinar held his chin in thought as he looked over the body of the still passed-out, drunk Sylvari woman. He stood and made his way to approach her and inspect his prize. Perhaps the evening wasn't such a loss after all.
But as he approached, he noticed something. The woman's cup was untouched.
Before he could think to be alarmed, a black blur flew past him and landed upon the woman's face. Within seconds the body was obscured by black smoke.
"Bloody hells!" Ascinar swore, stepping back quickly.
Oh, don't be so alarmed. You did invite me after all. If you were my target, you'd already be dead.
A female voice came from the red lips of the mask, faint but unmistakeably present and echoing hollowly. The wooden bones of the body it wore creaked as it rose, standing upright in ftont of Ascinar.
Whatever snide remarks he might have made about her lateness stuck in Ascinar's throat.
"I er, I expected you sooner"
I don't make public appearances. I've been told that's best for all involved, is it not? Now then, to business.
Ascinar nodded. Now that the initial shock had worn off, he returned to his element. Making deals.
"Yes, you see, there's a competitor of mine that-"
Have you the means to pay for my services?
Ascinar huffed, "Of course. Money is no object to one of my standing."
Gold? The being gave a bemused chuckle, You made such efforts to acquire one of my masks, and you didn't even bother to learn my price? Do you even know my name?
Ascinar frowned, "Mordred, I thought I heard."
The creature gave another chuckle, Three letters. Better than none. Gold has no value to me. The only thing that does is life.
Unexpected, but Ascinar was sure he could adjust accordingly, "I've many slaves in my-"
Life, the figure cut him off, Necromancers may be satisfied by a deal in bodies alone, but not I. Those slaves of yours are devoid of soul. Unsuitable payment. I require bodies with vigor, and souls with certain flavour to them. Will. So you mean to say that you have no payment?
Ascinar grunted. This was not what he had expected at all. Any night blade would be satisfied with gold. Just who was this person?
Then you have wasted my time. Fortunately for you, I am not in a poor mood. And for what it is worth, I am amused at the banquet held for me. Don't call me again unless you have payment, or know you can procure it.
Ascinar nodded. So much for this evening. With a sigh, he asked, "Then, what is your name?"
My name, is Morgana.
With that, the wooden puppet collapsed on itself, crumpling to the floor where the black mask still stared at Ascinar.
Posted on 2019-10-07 at 13:20:07.
Edited on 2019-10-07 at 14:06:26 by Reralae
Kithran stalked toward the exit while two of the guards play with the cat-beast thing. The guard standing in the doorway ignored the spectacle in the cage, scanning the room for signs of Kith and giving her very little leeway to get the jump on him. Behind her the other two guards were closing their distance as well, and the clumsy steps on the other side of the room let her know that at least two more lumbered over that way.
She continued creeping forward. At 5’10” her body was long, and she appreciated it most of the time. Her reach both in a fight and when swiping something that did not belong to her came in very handy, and her legs swept her away faster and farther than any normal perturbed guard could keep up. It was only in times like these, when she needed to be as small as possible, that she would have killed for a couple fewer inches.
Perhaps if she had helped the cat he could have ran around with a target on his back for her. That would have actually been helpful. As it was, Kith was now within striking range, but her timing had to be flawless--with him looming above her and the two at her back, one slip-up and it would not be pretty. Not that she was out of the fire either way. Even if she happened to buy herself a few seconds of not being seen by the two behind her immediately, the torch held by the one she was preparing to jump would still fall, drawing the attention her way anyway.
At least I’ll be done with one of you.
There was nothing for it. She should not have stopped to speak with the beast. Maybe when she made it up into the manor she could break a window and make it look like she had fled. Or she could flee, if the entire estate would be falling down upon her. It was just . . . those nerds were offering so much for that grimoire.
It was coming, the entryway guard was about to look away and the other two were both preoccupied with the tubs Kith had just skittered past.
She leaned forward in her squat, about to pounce, when a massive roar rang throughout the room. The sound stopped her body in its tracks, but not her momentum, and she stumbled forward, catching herself on her hands and spun back behind the stone slab.
Kith would have worried that the other two guards, now standing upright, would have seen her, as she was staring straight at their profiles now. However like them, her gaze was ripped toward the cage, where from the unimaginable screams of a man as his skull was caving in drew all of their attentions. The guards made half-hearted movements to save the blubbering man, but all were for naught as the beast, with tooth and claw, ripped the man’s head clean from his body. Dark blood splotched his face and drained down his silver coat, the head and corpse landing with a wet splat as the creature awaited its next victim.
“Bloody hell,” Kithran whispered in the short silence that followed, along with the guard who had had a front row viewing of the horror.
“The beast’s killed Markus!!!” He shouted, and Kith watched the beast sizing him up, revelling as the panicked man backed up closer and closer toward him, “Help!!! Hel…” but it was too late. The man watched himself be torn open, before his panicking ceased and he too was dropped to the floor.
This time it was insatiable. His entire front was soaked in red and his blood-curdling roars nearly shook the room around him. He pulled against his chains, tore at the bars, taunting the remaining guards, “Come, monkeys! The Hunt awaits! Bring me more blood for Rrowl!!"
And like magic they fled to him. After that roar the entire dungeon would soon be on top of him, however to Kith’s delight, the guard blocking her escape also abandoned his post to avenge his comrade. And, with the “monkeys” focused on him, she would have a bit more space to run around in.
I knew you’d be a good distraction, kitty cat, she thought as she jumped up and ran to the door. She would only need to dodge anyone running toward the beast and she would be free of this dungeon at last.
As she began to run into the next corridor she heard two more sets of footsteps racing down the hall and leapt back into the room, pressing her back against the shadowed wall next to the opening. She waited a moment for them, glancing over at the cat-like creature. It was much larger than that cage allowed it to appear, and the complete embodiment of brutality. It fought fiercely against the guards, dodging strikes in its small space, taking chunks of flesh out of anyone stupid enough to come within its range.
The two guards finally ran through the door just as a different roar burst forth from the beast. One of the guards had found purchase in its thigh, and though he was able to deflect some, that brief moment of reaction opened him up to more strikes.
Kith looked to the exit, then back to the cat man, then to the two fresh guards running toward the fight and gritted her teeth.
Stepping angrily forward, she tossed a dagger into one of the guards’ ankles. With a burst of speed she covered the distance between the two before the man hit the ground, leaping onto his back, and shoving her second dagger up into the base of his skull. She leaped up, tearing the dagger away as the other guard turned to see what had happened to his companion. What he saw instead was the dagger just before it pierced into his eye socket and deep into his brain.
She wastes no time pulling her blades free and racing for the cages.
The first blade sunk into the back of a guard’s knee and it gives out as Kith sends all of her weight leaping onto one who had been too afraid to get too close, sending both of them hurdling into the bars of the beast's cage.
“Cat-man, my offering to . . . Rawr?” The beast’s bloodied head turned her way, and she could feel the heat of anger radiating off of him. She was sure that some of that was for her. The guard next to the one she was still pressing into the cage reared his arm back to strike again, and with her free hand Kith sunk a dagger into his temple, maintaining eye-contact with the giant, angry cat.
“See? Kith good. Now make yourself useful.” She shoves the guard struggling against her back at the bars and lets the creature do as it willed with him while she retrieved the dagger still embedded in the back of the other guard’s knee.
As their fight continued, it became clear that the remaining guards didn’t seem to know what to do with them. Kith took a few strikes to her extremities, but was otherwise too difficult for them pin down--partly because she was so fast, and partly because while they struggled to land a strike against her, she would lure them too close to the cage, at which point, should the cat beast not already be preoccupied with ripping a comrade’s head off, it would take to working on theirs. Should any of them attempt to flee, the rogue would send blades tearing into their achilles tendons, split open their necks, or simply insult them as she knocked them off-balance and flung them back to that horrific monster.
((OOC: Please feel free to expand as you’d like on the details of our fuzzy friend’s ferocity))
As the room quiets once more, Kith searches for a place on her to wipe her bloody daggers against, but everywhere she tries only coats them in more red film. She felt the viscous liquid dripping down her face as well, so she could only assume she looked as terrifying as the now red-silver creature before her, huffing just as heavily as she was. As horrific as she may have found him had she stumbled across him in the forest, he no longer seemed as frightening as he had before. At least for now.
She reached into her pocket and held out the ring of keys, “Next time, lead with ‘I rip heads off human bodies’,” she tosses them at him, "I don't know if you'll find what you're looking for on there, but I have my tools if need be."
((OOC: any response to any of the above))
As he fiddled with the keys and the manacle tethering him to the inside of the cage, Kith wandered toward the lock and examined it. It was strong, to be sure, but nothing she couldn't handle. She gave a sideways glance to the big cat playing with the keychain and shook her head. This was taking too long. It would likely be a matter of seconds, not minutes, that more were upon them.
She resheathed her blades and pulled two thin picking tools from one of the small pockets in her leathers. She gave the lock another once over and slid the picks inside.
"You insult my blades, then I have to save your fuzzy ass, now I'm dragging you out of your own kennel." She shook her head, feeling for the correct give in the lock, irritated she hadn't already, "You better be careful, you may end up having to pay me ba--"
Kith's breath is taken from her as she is knocked to the ground. Her eyes fly open and Tibbins' massive captain is above her, tossing her daggers back out of her reach.
"Tsk Tsk tsk, what have you done?" Anger and power wafted off of him, yet he was grinning down at her, "She will be very displeased. What have you done?" He looks to the cage, "And you've let her pet out as well." He shakes his head.
She turns to the cage and the worthless cat truly has fled. She looks up at the man and struggles against him, trying to throw him off balance, trying to find an opening to get out from under him. Dagger-less and with the full brunt of his weight pinning her into the dirt, there is nothing she can do but punch and scratch at his armor before he grasps her hands and pins them beneath him as well.
Leaning forward, he slowly wraps his meaty fingers around her neck and begins to squeeze, his breath now hot against her cheek, "You are not going to like what she does to you." And she can still hear the grin in his voice as his grip tightens.
Posted on 2019-10-07 at 21:29:09.
Edited on 2019-10-08 at 10:40:10 by breebles
Eol Fefalas Keeper of the Kazari RDI Staff Karma: 461/28 8455 Posts
This is what it had come to, then. Weeks of confinement, the taunting and torture at the hands of the witch and her guards, the repeated promise of a death in which no true warrior would find honor and, now, the faint glimmer of hope he’d had was extinguished by the very shadow in which he had glimpsed it. When the guards had appeared, chasing the shadow into the dark, the hopeful spark she had abandoned with him was of no use other than to kindle the embers of fury in the Kazari’s heart. If he was to die in this place, then so be it, but it would be a death he chose, not one that some monkey-faced witch had contrived. His anger built, every thought fueling it, and the more it grew the less he felt his pain. When the guards had reached his cage, he knew it would be the last time he would be prodded by them and, the faintest touch of the pole was all it had taken to stoke the fires of Ch’dau’s anger into explosive, all consuming fury. That conflagration of rage had burnt away thoughts of the shadow-girl as quickly as it had consumed the first two guards. By the time the others had begun to converge on his cage, the only thoughts to survive the inferno were those that involved denying the witch her victory by way of his dying in battle.
The enemy pressed from all sides, now, blades probing and poking from every angle, seeking to bring him down but, as yet, not to bring him death. The witch had made it clear that, in order for him to serve his part in her machinations, the cat-beast would need to be alive for The Burning. It was that stipulation that weakened the guards’ position and made them more susceptible to the caged beast’s attacks. Each limb the cat-man took, though, each gout of blood he spilled from their numbers, served to lessen their adherence to their mistress’ orders. As their dedication diminished, their attacks became more focused, less concerned with whether or not the kazari might survive them. The beast had been so intent on an attack from one side, in fact, that it had opened him up to a stronger attack from another. The blade of a spear found its way into the cat-man’s thigh, evoking a roar born more of pain than anger. The distraction of it was brief enough but, it seemed, it was also the beginning of the end for him. Though Ch’dau continued to fight, more and more of the guards’ blows found their mark and still more guards spilled into the room to join the fray…
Good, he managed to think as his fury began to be washed over by pain, I will die a warrior, at least, not a sacrifice to some monkey-faced god.
…He chanced a look beyond the guards in his immediate reach, then, in an attempt to gauge how many more he might expect to take to the Eternal Hunt with him. As the new arrivals charged forward, one of them fell, seemingly having tripped over his own feet. It was then that the girl he’d cursed as a coward just moments ago reappeared and threw herself into the fracas with wild abandon. Two guards fell to her blades before Ch’dau shook off his surprise and, encouraged by her unexpected assistance, redoubled his own efforts. He reached through the bars, bringing his claws to bear on a guard whose swelling confidence had brought into the kazari’s reach. The human’s sword arm had already been ruined and his guts were soon to follow when the bars of the cage clanged and shook from a heavy impact on the other side.
“Cat-man,” the shadow-girl’s voice called out, drawing his gaze to where she had a guard pinned between herself and the cage’s bars, “my offering to… Rawr?”
Beside her, another guard made to attack but, without taking her eyes from the ferocious kazari, she sank a blade into the man’s temple. “See? Kith good,” the girl said, shoving the pinned guard closer to the bars, “Now make yourself useful.”
“For Rrowl, then,” Ch’dau snarled in response, offering a horrifying approximation of a human smile as he lashed out with his claws and tore deep furrows into the flesh of man’s face and neck.
The battle raged on and, with the shadow-girl… had she called herself Kith?... lending her assistance from outside the cage, turned, once more in the kazari’s favor. Kith fought fiercely if not precisely honorably as the blood continued to spill and, even when she took blows of her own, she refused to retreat into her shadows; for now, that was enough for Ch’dau to dismiss her deceitful tactics in deference to her bravery.
Soon enough, the fight had come to an end; the bodies of the fallen littered the dungeon floor and everything in the cage’s proximity was painted in blood and gore. On one side of the cage’s bars a huffing shadow-girl searched in vain for something on which to clean her blades, on the other, a panting kazari slumped against the blood-slicked iron, his wrath diminishing and awareness of his new injuries increasing. For a moment, as each sought to catch their breath, the pair simply eyed one another; neither of them able to find words, just now, let alone speak them. When their breaths had slowed enough, though, and silence reclaimed the abattoir, once more the kazari managed to rumble out three on a rasping breath. “You fought well.”
Kith smirked at this and took a couple of steps closer to the beast’s cage. “Next time, lead with ‘I rip heads off human bodies’,” she said as she produced a ring of keys from a pocket and tossed them through the bars. “I don’t know if you’ll find what you’re looking for on there, but I have my tools if need be.”
“I thought I had led with that,” Ch’dau snorted, offering an appreciative nod as he took up the keys and began testing them, one by one, on the shackles that bound his ankles. By the time he had gotten to the third or fourth key, he heard the girl puff out an impatient breath and he glanced up from his task to see her approaching.
Reaching the cage door, she sheathed her blades and briefly studied the lock before producing two, thin pieces of metal from somewhere within her leathers. “First,” she said with a shake of her head as she slid the picks into the lock, “you insult my blades…”
“I did not insult your blades,” the kazari interjected, returning his attentions to the iron cuff at his ankle, “Your blades are fine. I insulted you.”
“…then, I have to save your fuzzy ass,” the girl continued, working away at the lock on the door even as the one at his foot gave way to the proper key, “now I’m dragging you out of your own kennel.” She didn’t bother to look up from her work but, instead, gave another exasperated shake of her head just as the latch on the cage door clicked. “You better be careful,” she warned, getting to her feet and returning the picks to her pocket, “You may have to pay me ba--…”
Kith’s breath is taken from her as she is knocked to the ground. Her ears ringing from the blow that had leveled her, she forced her eyes open to find the captain of the guard standing over her.
“Tsk tsk tsk,” the powerful man grinned menacingly down at her as he tossed her daggers out of Kith’s reach, “What have you done?” He settles his weight on her, pinning her to the bloody floor. “She will be very displeased,” the captain continued darkly, “What have you done?”
She squirmed beneath him, punching and clawing ineffectually at his armor, and fighting against his weight as he captured her hands and pinned them under his knees.
With the she-thief immobilized, now, the captain’s eyes lifted to the cage and, the ominous grin never wavering, shook his head; “And you’ve let her pet out, as well.”
Kith craned her neck to look at the cage for herself and saw that the worthless cat was indeed gone. Disbelief washed over her, followed closely by despair as her eyes turned back to the burly man straddling her.
He had leaned forward, his hands wrapping around her throat, and the sadistic grin firmly fixed on his lips as he began to choke the air out of her. “You are not going to like what she does to you,” he promised as the light in her eyes began to dim.
As her vision blurred and her thrashing weakened, Kith thought she heard or, perhaps, felt, a low rumbling on the air. Before the haze at the edges of her sight managed to creep to its center, she caught glimpse of a blurry shape, larger than even the man who crushed the air from her lungs, appear from the dark behind the captain. A weak but defiant smile tugged at the corner of her mouth, then. “Not… gon..na like… what… he… does… to you,” she managed to squeak out on the last bit of her breath.
The captain’s eyes went wide, the menace draining from them as he realized his mistake. His fingers let go of the girl’s throat and, even as he reached for his blade, he turned to face the monster at his back. And turning was the last thing the captain of Mistress Undolithe’s guard ever did… he saw the monster smile, felt the blades stab jarringly through his ribcage and into his lungs, experienced the agony of it as those blades lifted him toward the fang-filled maw, but he didn’t manage to scream before those teeth rent his throat.
When the guard captain’s death throes twitched to a stop, Ch’dau ripped the blades from the man’s chest and spit him onto the ground, away from where Kith lay. He crouched next to the man and wiped the blades free of blood on the fabric of the captain’s pants. Only then did Ch’dau return to the shadow-girl’s side. “You had better be careful,” he rumbled softly, sliding her daggers back into their sheaths as she blinked up at him, still trying to reclaim her air, “You may end up having to pay me back.”
The Kazari’s ears twitched and he made a chuffing sound that, to her, sounded as if it might be laughter. One of his massive paws slid under her head, then, and he helped her into a seated position. “We should go,” he purred, his blue-green gaze sweeping the dungeon, “the witch still has many more men. It will not be long before they find their way here, and you have had enough battle for now, little kitten…”
Posted on 2019-10-08 at 14:27:14.
Reralae Dreamer of Bladesong Karma: 142/12 2503 Posts
The beginning of the hunt
452 E.R, Wilderness, Northeast of Dravnor
As she traveled, Aranwen cursed. She cursed the land she travelled. But as she stumbled on a misplaced rock, she took stock of herself. Her hand was clenched tightly around the hilt of her blade, knuckles white. She took the hilt in her other hand as she unlocked her joints, wincing as she restored the blood flow and muscle movement to her hand.
With a sigh, Aranwen examined her blade. She could see the cracks along its length, though she had no way to measure the extent of the damage. Somehow the edge still seemed good. The ruby heart in the pommel was dull, unpolished. The wooden handle was cracked and worn. Yet, the silver gem in the guard still shined in her mind's eye. She took comfort in that, a faint smile playing at her lips.
With a shake of her head, she quietly cursed her wandering mind. Yet, even as she could see the sprawling buildings of Dravnor in the distance, she could not help but remember.
422 E.R, Northern Syvari Forest
They were making their path through the northern Sylvari kingdom, patrolling westward near the southern border, when Saeriel suddenly stopped.
"I see smoke," Saeriel spoke, her violet eyes distant
"You see smoke through the canopy?" Aranwen asked
"No, I see it," Saeriel protested, "Caravan. Town. Fire. Blades. Blood. Chains. Smoke," she rubbed her forehead in a daze, "We need to help!"
Aranwen took Saeriel's hand, her voice gentle as she spoke, "Remember, you are here. Lead us there," Aranwen's eyes showed no hesitation.
Saeriel turned and rushed through the forest, Aranwen barely keeping pace with her despite having longer legs. When they reached Lomelindel, they both saw the smoke Saeriel had seen. For a mercy, it looked as though the fire was held at bay under the organized efforts of the townsfolk. Saeriel still trembled, however, pointing to the bodies that lay just outside the town. Both bladesingers moved to investigate.
"An attack?" Saeriel breathed in shock.
"A raid," Aranwen grit her teeth, "These are no soldiers," she observed as she examined the foreign bodies. They bore no sign of an insignia nor rank, "Mercenaries."
"If I had only seen sooner, maybe we could have-" Saeriel bit her lip
Aranwen quickly wrapped an arm around Saeriel's shoulder, bringing her into an embrace, "You can't control it. You never could," she offered, her voice gentle and soothing, "You are here, not in the past, nor the future. Only think about what you want to do now."
"Pursue..." Saeriel's violet eyes narrowed in anger as she looked to the tracks through the broken foliage
"Think we'll catch them?" Aranwen asked
"The forest will hinder a wagon," Saeriel observed, "We just might."
Aranwen and Saeriel moved through the forest with haste, a test of endurance that pushed the limits of their physical training. As they crossed the border into Sendrian land, familiar forest was left behind for unfamiliar, and soon the sky turned red above.
Breathing deeply and recovering her breath, Aranwen looked up to the evening sky, "Nightfall," she muttered, "We may lose them."
Saeriel's breathing was more erratic than Aranwen's, having pushed herself beyond her limits. She shook her head stubbornly, "We haven't yet," she replied.
Aranwen gave a gentle smile, "We should rest a bit. It'd do no good to catch up with them unfit for battle," she suggested.
Saeriel gave a nod, letting out a sigh as she leaned back against a tree. Aranwen moved beside her.
"This is a long way for them to go," Aranwen mused, "To get to their target and back. Why would they go through such efforts? Lomelindel didn't look like it had taken much damage."
"They weren't after homes, or even gold," Saeriel muttered, her violet eyes narrowed in thought, "But people."
Aranwen frowned, "Why though? Why risk so much on an ill fated attack and risk retaliation across borders?"
Saeriel winced as she held her head, "Black?"
"Black?" Aranwen leaned over, taking Saeriel's hand, "What do you see?"
"I can't see anything," Saeriel replied, "It's just... Black," she sighed, looking back to Aranwen, "I'm sorry. Seems like I keep getting us into the thick of things."
Aranwen smirked, "Who's complaining?" she asked, giving Saeriel a kiss, "I wouldn't have it any other way."
The two bladesingers rested for a bit longer, before Saeriel climbed a nearby tree and spotted the smoke of a campfire in the distance. They made their approach slower, quieter. There was the possibility it wasn't their quarry, but seeing the cage on the back of the wagon left no doubt.
"Ara, do you see her?" Saeriel whispered, her hand going to her blade.
Aranwen nodded, mirroring the same motion, "I'm glad we've caught up."
There was no need to plan; they both knew what they needed to do. Before the remnants of the raiding party could react or detect their presence, both bladesingers had pushed into their campsite, blades drawn and their voices harmonized in duet. They fought side by side, then back to back, giving no opportunity for the enemy to flank them.
Listening to the other's song gave both Saeriel and Aranwen an uncanny edge in the battle, as their songs shared both the movements of each other and their adversaries. They often traded sides, together weaving their blades around in deadly arcs that disorientated their foes.
The remnants of the raiders still had the advantage of numbers, but Saeriel and Aranwen endured, until they together struck down the captain and broke the remainder's morale.
Bringing both their blades together in unison, they cut the lock from the cage. Looking at each other with a smile, Aranwen turned, blade ready to make sure they weren't set upon by any remaining slavers while Saeriel opened the door, pulling the Syl free and untying her. Though unsteady on her feet, the girl quickly moved to arm herself, grabbing a blade off of one of the slaver bodies, and stabbing their captain's corpse again for good measure.
"Feeling better?" Aranwen chuckled.
The Syl nodded as she withdrew the blade, before giving a wide smile, "Would have liked to do that when he was alive," she replied, before her face fell and she sighed, "Are- are my parents okay?"
Aranwen looked to Saeriel, and Saeriel bit her lip, "We don't know," Saeriel finally replied, "What is your name?"
"Mithwen," the girl replied.
Saeriel smiled, "Come on, Mithwen. Let's head home."
"Do I still have one?" Mithwen asked, "It was on fire, last I saw."
Aranwen shrugged her shoulders, "Let's get back, at least," she offered, "We'll figure out what to do then."
"It's not safe here," Saeriel agreed, "If worst comes to worst, and you've nowhere to go..." she looked at Aranwen.
Aranwen smiled, "We'll figure something out for you, Mithwen."
Mithwen nodded, relief visible in her eyes. But as the three of them turned to start making their way back to Sylvari land, a voice stopped them in their tracks.
Well, this won't do. Won't do at all.
Posted on 2019-10-08 at 16:02:08.
Edited on 2019-10-09 at 22:54:25 by Reralae
Eol Fefalas Keeper of the Kazari RDI Staff Karma: 461/28 8455 Posts
Another Adedre silver screen
The doors to her chamber burst open in coincidence with her words and, behind them followed a guard, though not the guard she had expected. As she adjusted the stiff collar that clawed at her throat and fussed with the lace cuffs which chaffed her wrists, Adadre Undolithe settled into her bone-wrought throne and accepted the boy’s appearance.
“What news,” she demanded, adjusting the spill of her gown about her while scarcely deigning to acknowledge the man kneeling before her, “Tell me.”
“The kazari has escaped, m-mistress,” the young guardsman sputtered, “there are six dead, at least, and many others not expected to make it through the next hours.”
Adadre’s sigh was bored and exasperated all at once. “Was there a shadow present when the cat beast was liberated,” she queried, solemnly inspecting the sallowed nails of her left hand, just before glancing sidelong at the boy guard.
“I… I… was not there, m’lady” the guardsman stammered, his eyes, uncertain of where they should truly be focused, jumped between the mistress’ numb, yet beautiful, visage and the cold stone beneath his knee, “not when the insurrection was discovered, at least, so… I.. I … don’t know. B-but, yes, Mistress, I believe I did hear talk of a shade speaking with the beast j=-ust before the…”
“You were there before your captain died,” the witch interrupted, her dead gaze leveling on the boy kneeling at her feet, “yes?”
“J-just as it happened, Mistress,” the boy spluttered, “Yes ma’am…”
“And you did nothing to stop it?” The young guard looked perplexed for an instant. “There was nothing I could do, m’lady,” he offered after a hesitation, no matter how brief, he felt had been too long, “Th’ beast already had Cap’n Hugen’s throat in ‘is teeth an’…”
“And you did nothing.”
“We rendered aid, m’lady,” the boy sputtered, “an’ I sent some troops after th’ beast…”
“But they’ve come back with nothing,” the witch breathed.
“They’ve not come back at all, as yet, m-mistress.”
“Of course they haven’t,” Adedre sighed. Bored with the examination of her yellowed nails, she allowed her hand to fall into her lap, and her fingers to explore beneath the hems of her robes. As her fingertips brushed over the scar on her newly built thigh, she shuddered and saw the boy-guard in a different light. “Are they still in pursuit?”
“Um… I.. uh..” the guard hesitated for as long as he dared, “Ta the best o’ my knowledge. Yes ma’am.”
The witch’s yellow eyes panned slowly over the string of soldiers that knelt behind the boy. “And what are these doing here, then,” she cooed the question, her gaze fixed on a particularly handsome sergeant in the midst of the row, “Are they not capable of finding my lost property?”
The lump in his throat that the boy-guard swallowed then had edges sharper than any razor he’d ever encountered. As such, it took him more than a moment to find his voice. “I’m sure they are, Mistress Undolithe,” he offered when he did, “I just thought that, as their acting captain, they should…”
“They should take leave of this room,” the witch purred, her fingers moving to loosen the tie at her gown’s waist even as she rose from her seat, “and find me my pet and the thief who sought to steal it from me.”
“O-of course, mistress,” the young captain spoke and swallowed the words simultaneously, “I..I…”
Adedre proceeded down the dais, opening her gown, now, and presenting the nakedness beneath to all in attendance. “You will dismiss them now, boy,” she murmured, drawing to a stop just before the kneeling lad’s face, “and then you will give me your tongue.”
The boy swallowed the razor-edged lump in his throat a second time and, trying not to look up, croaked out the order; “You’re all dismissed! Find Mistress Undolithe her cat band the thief! Move!”
Adedre’s attendants pulled the doors open and the guards under the boy-captain’s command wasted no time in following his orders. A callous smile played on the witch’s lips as, watching the muscular backs of her guards flee in terror from her chamber, she opened her gown wider and stepped closer to their spur-of-the-moment captain. “What is your name, boy,” she queried as her crotch slid up over his chin.
“Barton,” came the reply, half muffled as she eclipsed his mouth, “ma’am.” He didn’t have to ask what was expected of him, then… he knew.
Standing over him, she shuddered at his attentions and, then, on a free breath asked; “Do you know what’s going to happen to you next, Barton?”
“Y-yeth, mna’a’nnmm,” Barton tried not to sob as he tended to the witch’s desires... he didn't have to ask... he knew.
“And,” she shuddered, reaching behind her back and sliding the blade from where it was nestled just below her tail-bone, “You understand that it is a great service an honor to me?”
The boy replied but his mouth was too full of her for the words to have made sense. “Mmmmm,” was all she heard.
“Good,” she squeaked, pressing her bones to his chin even as she drew the blade across his throat, “Gooooooooood!” Adedre’s convulsions ceased in concert with the attentions of Barton’s tongue and the warmth of his breath. She released her hold on the hairs at the crown of his head, then, and, even before his body thunked onto the marbled floor of her chambers, the witch was on her hands and knees, her tongue busily lapping the boy’s hot blood from the tiles. “Your bones will build my army,” she moaned to the body that fell before her, pausing between only every second or third word, as she continued to lap the ichor spilling over her floor, “and, should your brothers fail me, as well, they will join you!”
Adedre Undolithe shrieked as the taste of blood and the remembered attentions of the boy-guard rushed simultaneously through her and, on that same breath, an incantation escaped, rippling through the corrupt air of the room and stripping the flesh from the dead, recent or otherwise, and animating their bones as a new guard.
She sprawled, spent and breathless, as the skeletons rose about her. The heat of life and death radiated from every pore of her. “Go,” she gasped, blindly commanding her new attendants before they closed in and devoured her, “Find them… bring them to me!”
Posted on 2019-10-09 at 21:14:22.
Edited on 2019-10-09 at 21:16:00 by Eol Fefalas
Reralae Dreamer of Bladesong Karma: 142/12 2503 Posts
26th Day, Ternoth Ore, 452 E.R., Davnor, Sendria.
Aranwen looked up at the Obsidian Gate of the capital as she approached, her golden eyes making out a few city guards on the ramparts. She knew the capital was reputed to be 'the city of temptation', but had never ventured this far into Sendria before. Now that she was here, she felt herself a little uncertain. A place of trade and commerce was not a place that approved of claims, let alone a place such as this where even loyalty could be purchased with sufficient coin. How many of the city guard were paid to look the other way on certain things? How did she expect to find the head of the snake she wished to kill? How did she expect to find out who it was?
Reaching the gate, a guard hailed her, "State your business, Syl!"
"My business is not your business!" she retorted, a gambit on her part, as she anticipated a certain personality would find less troubles in this city.
Fortunately, she was right. "Ah. Aye, go on through then," the guard returned, leaving Aranwen to pass.
The sight of the bustling marketplace was a bit of a shock, as well as how normal the people seemed. She had been anticipating something less than civil, if she were honest. Aranwen was certain, however, that probing questions would find their way to ears she did not want to have her words. So, instead, she travelled further into the city, keeping attentive of the conversations going on around her.
She'd strive not to let her purpose reach the ears of others, but she'd certainly take the opportunity to let the words on the streets reach hers.
The first thing Kith saw as her vision fell back into focus was that the beast’s jaw was wrapped almost entirely around the captain’s throat, two bloodied blades arching out of his squirming back. The fangs dug in deeper and the next thing she saw was the front of his neck being torn violently away from the rest of it with a sickening sucking sound, tendrils of flesh and muscle clinging to the body for as long as they could before snapping away.
Her breaths came now as soft wheezes and she coughed as the creature tossed the limp pile of human flesh away from her.
He was massive, and as he dropped down beside her she could see he was several times more worse for wear than when she had found him, though it didn’t seem to phase him now that he was free. Whatever this creature was, it was powerful. Even crouched beside her he seemed large, and too unpredictable for her liking, considering her state.
“You had better be careful,” he said softly, as if he hadn't just ripped a man's throat out, and returned her discarded daggers to their sheaths, “You may end up having to pay me back.”
Kith rolled her eyes so hard the bruises forming on her neck protested and he blurred again. The shaggy beast made a sound she would assume was a laugh, if it hadn’t come from an enormous cat-man soaked in blood. She made an attempt at a retort, but quit when it came out only as ragged noises.
A massive paw slipped under her head, lifting her to a seated position and she pushed it away. “Ah donneed help,” she rasped the words out as best she could while the world spun for just a moment, “And I don like bing touch--” she cleared her throat, “touched”. She rubbed her eyes, trying to get them to stay focused.
“We should go,” he purred and he scanned the dungeon, searching and listening for any approaching threats, “the witch still has many more men. It will not be long before they find their way here, and you have had enough battle for now, little kitten . . . .”
With a speed granted to her by both instinct and years of surviving only by being quicker than the person on the other side of her dagger, Kith pounced into a crouched position, one blade under the creature’s chin, the other at its crotch. Her teeth ground together as she forced the words up out of her raw throat, “The next time you decide to call me that you’ll also be deciding whether you’d like to keep your tongue or your furballs. Is that understood?”
The blood-soaked beast rolled his eyes, raised his paws in mock capitulation, and took a step backward, away from the points of the girl’s blades. “You are welcome to try,” he chuffed, as the amused flicking of his ears returned.
Kith leans back on her heels, and immediately falls on to her backside. The burst of anger had taken much of what remained of her energy. Forcing a scowl on her face in lieu of her impending exhaustion, she lifted her black eyes to meet his, “I agree that we should find some respite, you look terrible." She rubbed her eyes once more, willing him to stay in focus, "There will be more of these f***ers on the way as well.” She waves at the mutilated forms around them.
Grabbing a bar from one of the cages for support, she lifts herself up, "There are some storage rooms ahead that we may be able to find some cover in for a little while. Are you always so sneaky as with Captain Throatless over there, or do you need a sexy woman to distract your mark in order to get the upper hand?" Kith gestures to the blood and gore covering her face and body.
The cat glanced in the direction of the guard captain’s corpse, then, with a shrug of his massive shoulders turned back to the shadow-girl. “My folk are hunters,” he answered, “and know the value of being silent when it serves us to be so.”
She bounced back and forth on the pads of her feet a couple times, urging the sleep out of her legs, the fog from her head, and looked his massive form up and down, "We'll see I suppose. On me, big guy." She rasps and bounds silently into the shadows leading to the exit. Weariness had its place in her life, out in the open in a witch’s dungeon was not that place. A stuffy closet though?
Pressed against the wall, she pulls her hood up and looks back to the cages as she had before racing in to rescue the stray. This would have been so much easier had the guards just thought the cat was to blame. She had no doubt that the rest of the estate would be on to her now as well. She sighed and peered around the corner. Now she had to get above with this goliath in tow, a sore neck, and several new wounds.
Satisfied that the path forward was clear for now, Kith rushes ahead, sticking closely to the walls and listening both for any trouble ahead, and for any heavy footfalls from the large creature behind her that might give them away. While not quite as silent in step as she, she was grateful that he seemed much more lithe than anticipated, and had even managed at one point to be so silent that when she had turned to urge him to get by her side, he was already there, waiting for her to continue.
After several turns, Kith spotted the door she had been looking for and searches the corridor for any signs of movement before approaching. The halls had become a bit restless since their bout. On her way into the corridor with all of the cages there had been several patrols she’d had to dodge, or voices down hallways that needed to be avoided. This time the energy down every corridor was frantic.
This room was not too far from the entrance into the manor proper. She hoped that because it was so close, it would have been one of the first ravaged looking for them. The air down this corridor was much more stale, and she took it to mean she was correct.
She takes out a dagger and notices a similar tension in the cat as he readies one of the guards’ swords in his hand, and she slowly pushes the door open. The room is shrouded in darkness, but after a quick sweep her bastard blood allows her to confirm that it is empty.
“Can you see in this darkness?” she asks, the rasp in her voice still heavy, but better than before.
The cat beast offered a short nod even as his gaze scanned the room beyond the door; “I can.”
“In that case I must apologize for the mess,” she pulls her hood down and waves at the bloodied stone slab table tops with manacles for ankles, wrists, necks, and bowls with remnants of dark liquids strewn about the room, “I wasn’t expecting visitors.”
The room is pungent with a mixture of alcohol and fresh rot, and Kith rubs her nose, trying to block the fumes attempting to suffocate her.
She walks to the left side of the room, where another door rests inlaid into the wall, “This is one of the places I marked as a possible resting area for myself should I have needed it along the way.” She opens the door to reveal a five by five foot storage closet for more bowls, chains, devices to help someone bleed quicker, more slowly, or to sew them up, and things Kith could not imagine a use for. The shelving ate at the space even more, which would have been perfect for her to tuck into, but . . . “I thought I would be able to hide easily in here alone, so it’ll likely be a bit cramped with the two of us. You can try to squish in here with me or find some cover out here. When you get caught again though don’t tell them where I am.”
She walks in and begins quietly preparing a space for herself under one of the lowest shelves. The beast seems to hesitate as she works, trying to decide if his luck would be better placed with her or in the bleeding room beyond her hiding space. Kith slips into place just as he decides to step inside and closes the door behind him. There truly was not much space for him, and she had to wonder if this felt better to him than being stuffed into that cell.
He plops down next to her with a grunt and leans back against the shelves.
“Excellent, they will never find you there.”
“Yes,” he grunted, wincing at the tug and strain of his injuries as he tried to settle his bulk into the tiny space, “they will. Just before they drag you out from your hole.”
Kith rests her eyes on the shelving unit above her, then heavily they close and she forces her crammed body to relax, though her mind refuses. The plan was a mess. Maybe, maybe she could sneak past some of the guards, wherever they were, but all of them? All the way up to the study? While they were actively looking for her? It was going to require a new plan to be sure. It would be difficult but it could be done. Possibly.
That reward would be hers, one way or another.
“Mr. Cat-Man, once I free you from this horrible place, what are your plans? Would you like to help the humble thief who rescued you to acquire the grimoire of an unimaginably powerful necromancer?” She felt more than saw him tense at the idea and included quickly, "The reward is incredible, I would be willing to give you a cut once we complete this task. What say you?"
His ears flicked and flattened against his head as the kazari snorted and, looking up from his inspection of his wounds, cast an incredulous gaze in the thief’s direction. “After what just happened,” he grumbled, “it is still your plan to scrabble about this place in search of some book?” He gave a shake of his shaggy head and that chuffing laughter escaped his mouth, again, but this time there was no hint of amusement in it. “You are mad, little kitten,” he said, his gaze returning to the inspection of the wound in his thigh.
Kith was able to grab at her daggers, but the angle and striking space were not ideal, "Tongue or furballs, cat, I warned you. Choose now and I shall oblige once we're out of this hell hole."
Ignoring her threat completely, he continues, “The witch has surely learned of my escape, by now, and her monkey-soldiers will be seeking us out in force. Both of us are already injured. We will be lucky to get out of this place with our skins, as it is, and you want to try and sneak deeper in.”
Kithran chuffed back at him, the money angle having failed, "There are always witches, and guards, and traps, and magic, and magic traps," she adjusts so that she can hold out her left wrist, covered from thumb to what she is able to pull back on her forearm in an old burn, "And everything is always world-ending." She pulls her sleeve back up over her ancient wound and shrugs in what little space she has, "You seem like a creature who knows their way around a battlefield. But you've been hurt, badly, so I can understand if you're afraid."
“I am a Kazari,” the cat-man snarled, eyes narrowing as they seek her out under her shelf, “I fear nothing!”
She feels his bristling at the suggestion and takes note, the pride and honor type, got it, "It is not often in my line of work that my reward is dependent upon f***ing with an evil, cat-abusing monster, which makes this job all the more . . . I guess . . . exhilarating to me." She met his eyes once more, "I saw you fight though. I heard your anger. You have a chance to reign retribution down on this bitch, to ensure she never does anything like this again. Wouldn't you like to turn that fight and that anger around on her?"
Ch’dau blinked, his feline features twisting into an unreadable expression as he seemed to consider her words. She wasn’t wrong, he had to admit that much. After the abuses he had suffered at the witch’s hands, nothing would give him greater satisfaction than tearing her limb from bloody limb. A faint sigh of resignation prefaces a nod of his head. “I would,” he confessed, “I can think of nothing else, now, that would give me greater pleasure.”
His paw curled around the blade he had taken from one of the dead guards as his gaze slid toward the door behind which he and Kith hid. After a moment, that chuffing chuckle escaped his lips, once more, and, with a rolling of his massive shoulders, he turned his eyes back to the girl. “I am accustomed to going into battle alongside other warriors, not backstabbing sneak-thieves,” he said, “but you have a silver tongue, tiny shadow, and I cannot deny that you fight well.” His ear flicked and he sighed again. “I do owe you a life-debt, as well,” he confessed, “so, if it is your wish that I follow you into this madness, follow you I will.”
Kithran grins and silently congratulates herself, "You flatter me with your compliments, Cat Man, but Backstabbing Sneak-Thief was my father's name, you may call me Kithran. Or Kith, if you must." She traces the grooves of the bottom of the shelf with a finger and wishes she could stretch her legs, "And you've already rescued me from the actual death grasp of that guard. I am sure that before this is done you will owe me three, or possibly even four more life-debts, but as far as the first is concerned, you are free."
Again, the big cat chuckled. “Your tongue is not only silver, Kithran,” he offered, “but quick, as well.”
“I am called Ch’dau,” the kazari continued, “I have become used to hearing ‘cat-man,’ ‘cat-beast,’ and ‘monster,’ but, as it seems we are to spend, at least, a little more time together, I would prefer you call me by name, yes?”
"If you can manage to keep your terms of endearment to yourself, then yes, Ch'dau the fearless Kazari, I can use your name."
“I will do my best,” the kazari answered, his ears twitching in amusement.
They fell into a long silence, as both attempted to find rest.
Kithran closed her eyes and visualized the last couple corners they would have to get by before they were in the witch's manor, then the steps it would take to snatch the grimoire. Ch'dau would be helpful in a fight, but it had been a while since she had worked with anyone beside her. At least with anyone she didnt want to stab profusely. This Ch’dau had proven himself to be an incredible fighter, vicious and without mercy, as well as being capable of slipping silently around in the shadows with her. She didn’t know much about this witch, having only traveled to Sendria at word of the reward those Mystery Keepers were offering for some book, but she had dodged spell-slingers in the past.
She rubbed her burnt wrist. She had meant what she said, there were always powerful creatures out there doing nefarious things. You had only to be quicker than them to earn your prize and keep your life. And thus far she had been.
The outer door shuffled open and Kith’s gaze jumped to the door. Ch’dau had already jolted to his feet, allowing her space to silently scramble up. Sliding her daggers free, she looked up at him in their cramped space and grinned, “After you, Ch’dau.”
Posted on 2019-10-10 at 19:50:52.
Edited on 2019-10-11 at 08:47:16 by Eol Fefalas
Reralae Dreamer of Bladesong Karma: 142/12 2503 Posts
Machinations of the Puppeteer
Look at how much things change
A doll with a black mask bearing a smug, red smile swayed above a dark wood surface, the threads holding its wooden body taut and jerking about in an erratic dance. Then another doll was brought into the candlelight, this one wearing a white mask with a sorrowful blue tear, held up by similar threads.
And yet, things also stay the same
The black was brought to the white with an arm raised forward, and they were drawn into a twirl. The other arm vaguely gesturing outward.
Watch them clamour, watch them dance, something new, something fun is happening in town
The white was brought away, and its hands were brought to its lips in a mock display of shock.
Such a mess, letting ants out of her farm, will others take notice? Will others object?
The black's arms were lifted and dropped.
But it's no matter to me, as long as I get
The white and black were brought together again, and as their hands were lifted to touch, they blended into the other. There was no visible spot where one ended and the other began.
As long as I get
Threads coiled around the doll, and the two masks became one, though the white mask disappeared into the black instead of a split of the two. With one final twirl, the doll kicked the candle with force.
The flame hit the well dressed corpse laying upon the bar, and the fire took hold.
Time to get paid
Posted on 2019-10-11 at 07:25:46.
Edited on 2019-10-11 at 07:29:49 by Reralae
Eol Fefalas Keeper of the Kazari RDI Staff Karma: 461/28 8455 Posts
No rest for the wicked
He sighed, exhausted and aching but, somehow, content and the sigh gave way to a satisfied purr. Propped against the trunk of an ashoka tree, he pressed a hand against the wound in his side to stop the blood from seeping and, closing his eyes, inhaled deeply, relishing in the scent of the orange-yellow flowers blooming amongst the branches. A breeze stirred through the forest, then, carrying upon it other smells and sounds which gladdened his heart and eased his pain. Beneath that breeze, too, his ears caught the soft padding sound of foot-falls approaching through the undergrowth.
“You are wounded,” a gruff voice rumbled from above him when the foot-falls ceased.
“It is nothing,” Ch’dau rumbled in reply, “The boar was not as dead as I had thought. Used the last bit of its life to gore me when I set to gutting it.”
He opened his eyes and looked up. The blur of deep green leaves and orange-yellow flowers rippled in the pain that hazed his vision but, as he blinked again, the miasma cleared and the saffron hue of the ashoka’s flowers dissolved behind the darker auburn tint which colored the fur of the kh’ur looming over him. There was something familiar about his brother in the hunt but Ch’dau wasn’t entirely sure he recognized him.
“You can make it to the ramada, then,” the red-orange kazari queried, “if I carry the pig for you?”
“I can carry my own kill,” Ch’dau snorted, shifting his weight to get his feet under him and trying not to cringe at the effort. He pulled himself up and reached for the boar’s carcass.
“Good,” the other kazari chuffed in reply, turning to stalk into the jungle, “your ancestors await.”
Rrowl? For a second, Ch’dau forgot the boar and turned in search of the other kazari but he had already disappeared into the jungle. It was then that Ch’dau realized that the forest around him had a notably ethereal quality to it. Is this the Eternal Hunt?
“Come, Kh’ur Ch’dau,” Rrowl’s voice called from deeper in the wood, “It is time that we feast.” The same wind upon which that voice was carried blew through the branches above Ch’dau’s head with enough force to cause the boughs to creak like rusting iron hinges…
He woke with a start and found himself already on his feet. Gone were his visions of the Hunt, the voice of Rrowl, and the warmth of Capashan winds. In their stead, now, were only the cramped confines of the dingy closet, the smell of mold and must and blood, and the dark in which it all hung. The only things that persisted from his sleeping vision were the pain of his wounds and the creaking. He shook his head and snorted, chasing off his waking confusion, and his eyes snapped toward the door of the tiny room in which he and Kithran hid.
“…would’ve checked this one, already,” a murmured voice came from beyond the door as it began to slide open, “I mean it’s right at the bottom of the stairs fer Salerna’s sake.”
“If it’d been checked,” another voice answered, “someone’d’ve marked it…”
Ch’dau turned with the intent to rouse his new companion from her rest but found that she had already slipped from beneath the shelf and was standing behind him. Sliding her daggers free, she looked up at him in their cramped space and grinned; “After you, Ch’dau.”
He nodded, one hand flexing around the hilt of the sword he’d taken and the other holding up two fingers to indicate the number of guards he expected to be on the other side before he reached for the door and tore it open.
Caught by surprise, the first guard spun and staggered into the tight confines of the closet, his fingers had scarcely been wrenched from where they had grasped the latch and hadn’t even thought to reach for his weapon before the cat-beat had stepped over him, and reached into the corridor to snatch up his partner. There was no roar, this time. There was scarcely even a snarl as Ch’dau unceremoniously hauled the second guard into the closet and ran a blade through his belly. Behind him, the first guard tried to struggle to his feet and get hand to hilt, all at once, but Kith’s daggers had already found their way into the soft spots between neck and collarbone.
As the first guard gurgled his last, Kith pulled her blades from his body and Ch’dau dropped the body of the second alongside the first, even as he pushed the door shut with one furry foot. He regarded the two fresh corpses as a puff of air escaped his lips; then, his ears and tail flicking, his gaze found Kith. “Excellent,” he chuffed, “They will never find us here…”