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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> Free form RPGs --> Fantasy RPGs --> The Adventures of Kith, the Cat, and the Khatun
Related thread: Kith, the Cat, and the Khatun Q&A
GM for this game: Eol Fefalas
Players for this game: Reralae, breebles
    Messages in The Adventures of Kith, the Cat, and the Khatun
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Reralae
Dreamer of Bladesong
Karma: 135/12
2295 Posts


It isn't how it is really meant to be

422 E.R, Northeastern Sendria Forest, Sendria-Sylvari border

Before them, Saeriel and Aranwen saw a wooden mannequin with a tattered cloak around it, adorned with an almost featureless black mask. The only feature it had was the bright red lips it wore.

"How?" Aranwen grit her teeth, "Did you hear anything approaching, Saeriel?"

You are both keenly observant, well trained soldiers. But even you don't look at things that are already present before you arrive. It's in my interest to watch over my things.

Saeriel took a breath and drew her blade, as Aranwen drew hers, "What are you, demon?"

I am no denizen of the abyss. Nor would I care to become one. I am Morgana, and you may have the pleasure of enjoying this as your last performance.

Raising its hands, the mannequin's fingers grew longer and visibly sharper, until they were as blades, gleaming silver and red by the setting sun. That was the only warning before it had rushed the bladesingers. Metal rang against metal as Saeriel and Aranwen blocked a hand each, beginning their duet once again. It was different this time, however. Neither of them could read the movements of this construct. It moved as a humanoid, but without any of the tells, no tightening of muscle, not even seeming to care for center of weight as it jerked about erratically with dangerous blades.

Swipe after swipe, the creature forced the bladesingers back. Neither Aranwen nor Saeriel were willing to let it go unchallenged, however, as they together sliced into the creature's wooden body, again and again, sending wood chips flying with each successful strike. But they could not prevent the creature from returning the favour, as it landed a hard slash into Saeriel's right shoulder, and Aranwen's left forearm. For a mercy, neither were the dominant arms of the respective bladesingers, but as they felt lifeblood leaving their body, their strength also began to wane. It was a race to see what would happen first - would the construct be broken by their combined efforts, or would it land a grievous blow first?

The battle was interrupted by a scream.

Always looking forward, like good wooden soldiers lined up in a child's toy army. Never do you look at what you want to protect.

Aranwen turned and felt her blood go cold. Mithwen was futily stabbing at the arm of another mannequin, one that had gotten a firm grip on the Syl's shoulder. The mannequin's free hand went to the mask it wore.

You are MINE.

The black mask was placed on Mithwen's face, smothering her scream even as the mannequin collapsed harmlessly beside her. Mithwen reached up, but her hands stopped short of the mask, frozen in place. She was breathing rapidly; her breath was not smothered at least, but the rest of her limbs didn't move even as Aranwen could see muscle straining and even her hands twitching as she struggled against something unseen.

I would have preferred you brought to me, but I must not be stingy about exerting myself as the need arises.

Mithwen and the black mask appeared to shimmer in the air, then they were gone.

Saeriel brought a hand to her lips in horror, "Dear Adaron, she is- no!" She clutched her forehead, training barely keeping the grip on her blade, "What is that? No! The child!" The colour drained from Saeriel's face, and she fell silent.

"She's... gone? What happened to her?" Saeriel finally asked.

Hm? You can see things beyond where you are? An interesting gift. I imagine you don't think of it as such right now.

Aranwen grabbed Saeriel by the shoulder, quickly taking her blade with her own, "Sae! You're here, not there. Snap out of it!"

Saeriel slumped to the ground before Aranwen could support her, tears flowing from her eyes.

Well, that's unfortunate, Morgana gave a long sigh, You both showed such strong will. I thought I might be able to claim all three of you for my trouble. But it seems I was mistaken. I need not waste my efforts then.

As the mannequin turned its back, Aranwen so desperately wanted nothing more than to strike it down, but she relented, glaring at it as it moved away. It was more important that she and Saeriel were no longer in danger. Sheathing her blade, she sat with Saeriel, and gingerly returned her sword to her sheath, before carefully embracing Saeriel, avoiding her wounded shoulder, "Sae? Sae? We're here. You're with me. We're still alive."

"But we failed," Saeriel whispered, her voice hoarse.

Aranwen shook her head, "No, we did everything we could," She tried to give a reassuring smile, "Come on, lets patch ourselves up."

Saeriel nodded finally. They took their armour off and Saeriel pulled out a satchel of bandages. She carefully applied them to Aranwen's arm, and Aranwen returned the favour for hers. Once they were sure the bandages were set and they had done what they could to make sure they wouldn't bleed out, the two bladesingers donned their armour once more and stood.

"We should head back," Aranwen spoke.

Saeriel averted her gaze, before shaking her head, "Aranwen, look."

Aranwen turned back to Saeriel, for a moment uncertain what she was supposed to be looking at, then she saw it in Saeriel's trembling hand, "No..."

Saeriel no longer carried the full of her soul's blade. The elegant curved blade of a dancer had snapped in pieces, and all she held left was the hilt.

"You understand, don't you?" Saeriel looked into Aranwen's eyes, desperation etched into her own violet eyes.

Aranwen shook her head, "No, no, you just need... you can reforge it! That's something that's done right?" She asked, "Please, I won't tell them. It can't be like this."

Saeriel sighed, looking helplessly at Aranwen, "My oath is broken; my blade is undone."

Aranwen shook her head again, unable to keep tears from her eyes, "No. How many times before have I thought I failed, for you to hold me up and keep going? Please, let me do the same. Just tell me what to do. You know those blades. You know the spirit. You're a seer, an artist, a warrior, and my wife. Please, tell me how to help you!"

Saeriel gave a hollow laugh, "Even if I knew how long it'd be until I could make new oaths and reforge that blade, pretend it never happened, how long could I hide that fact from the others? You know what I'm talking about."

Aranwen grit her teeth, "There has to be something. This isn't right!"

Saeriel sighed, "I have three options. I can return and accept my fate, accept the judgement of the order. I can run and be branded a deserter and oathbreaker. Probably die alone somewhere to some other bladesinger's sword."

Aranwen clenched her fists, "I'd sooner fight them to protect you. What's the third option?"

Saeriel looked directly at Aranwen, her eyes damp and with a sad smile, "I can choose to die here. At least then I'd spend my last moments with you."

"That's NOT AN OPTION, Sae!" Aranwen screamed, before she fell silent, "And what, what of my oaths?" she clenched her hand at her chest, "I can't even fathom-"

"Your blade won't break here," Saeriel replied, giving a smile, "I don't think yours can break. You know, you made yours with far greater foresight than me. It makes me happy to be one small part of it."

"Stop talking like you're going to die, I won't let you die here," Aranwen spoke firmly, "I won't-"

Saeriel sighed, taking a long breath before she drew her sword, "Don't hold back. Please."

"Sae!" Aranwen recoiled, narrowly dodging a diagonal slash from Saeriel's blade. Saeriel's movements weren't as quick or fluid as they used to be, but her swings were still wide and arcing like a graceful dance, "Sae, stop! Stop!"

Saeriel had closed her eyes, using muscle memory alone to weave her sword around recklessly. She winced but didn't stop when she inadvertantly cut her own leg with the blade. Finally, Aranwen drew her blade, parrying a slash that she would not have dodged. Saeriel opened her eyes, "Ara," she spoke, her voice cracked, far from the confidence she held as a singer, "Don't die for me."

"Then why do you get to?!" Aranwen retorted, bringing her blade upward into a counter slash. If she could just knock the sword from Saeriel's hands...

But Saeriel dropped her blade, and walked forward into the strike.

Aranwen's hands went to her mouth in horror, sword forgotten as both it and Saeriel fell to the ground. Her own blade cracked as she watched Saeriel cough in pain, her body unwilling to give up even as her spirit had.

"Ara?" Saeriel whispered.

Aranwen was at her side in a heartbeat, tearing at the leather armour Saeriel wore, and already pulling the bandages from Saeriel's satchel. The bandages dropped from her hands when she saw the wound.

No more words were said. Aranwen took Saeriel's hand and held it to her chest. She stayed that way until she felt it limp.

She screamed into the night sky.



Posted on 2019-10-11 at 16:16:49.

Eol Fefalas
Keeper of the Kazari
RDI Staff
Karma: 455/28
8013 Posts


In Adedre's Chambers

She reclined in the hammered copper tub, her frail arms draped over either edge, and exhaled. The sound of it was like dry leaves pushed before the chill winds of an early autumn storm and that long breath carried an odd intermingling of gratification and annoyance. The contentedness, she felt, was well deserved; the agonizing ecstasy her men had brought upon her just before she had sacrificed them for the sake of her growing army was well worth that peace and, a part of her, at least, languished in that pride and pleasure. The irascibility, though, threatened to overwhelm her gratification. She was silently furious that some skulking shadow had set loose the kazari from its cage and even more so that her still-living guards had yet to prove themselves capable enough of bringing the beast to heel.

“Something troubles you, mistress,” one of her attendants asked, her young voice muffled slightly behind the bone and leather mask that she wore. The girl was smart enough not to wait for a reply before pouring a bucket of freshly heated water into the witch’s bath.

“Of course something troubles me,” Adedre hissed, her yellow-eyed gaze slitting as it burned into the acolyte’s heart. Although appropriately cowed by the rebuke, the girl didn’t think to retreat; instead, she did as was expected and, setting the pail aside, sprinkled more herbs into the already pink water, then took up the brush and resumed scrubbing the blood from her mistress’ jaundiced skin. “My prize has been stolen from me,” Adedre groused, on arm falling from the lip of the tub to stir the still reddening waters in which she sat, “only days before I was to offer it up to the fires and too little of the blood in my dungeons, now, is that which I have called forth.”

“Of course, m’lady,” the attendant murmured, plucking a scrap of skin or flesh from the coarse bristles of the brush and placing it on her mistress’ lips, “Forgive me for provoking your sour thoughts.”

“Hmph,” the witch returned, her tongue sliding across her lips to claim the scrap as the girl resumed her attentions with the scrubber. “It is not your forgiveness for which you should plead, child,” she cooed, slowly chewing the morsel the attentive girl had offered, “but, should you have any feeling for any of the incompetents I have hired as soldier, guard, or jailor, pray your gods that they find my cat.”

The girl’s head dipped, just once, in the semblance of a nod. “I have no care for any of them, mistress,” she murmured, “only to attend your desires and serve your wishes.”

“Bright girl,” the witch sighed, lifting a hand from the steaming waters to trace a finger along the hard-angled jawline of the girl’s mask, the delicate curve of her neck, and finally, the subtle swell of a still budding breast where it hid beneath rough robes. “Take care with your cares, though, hmm,” she purred as the girl gasped in response to the sudden pinching of her nipple, “Supposing my desire was to add your young and tender bones to my army?”

“My body and bones are yours to do with as you please, mistress,” the acolyte shuddered at Adedre’s cruel attentions, though the strokes of the brush were never interrupted, “I would prefer to continue serving you as I am but, if that is what you require of me, I would willingly submit. Devourer be praised.”

“Devourer be praised, indeed,” Adedre purred, her bony fingers seeking out the opening of the attendant’s robes, then. “Remind me, once more, of your name, child.”

“Tecla, m’lady,” the girl panted quietly, trying not to quiver overmuch as Adedre’s hand found the naked flesh beneath her garment, “My name is Tecla.”

“Tecla,” the witch breathed, her eyes fluttering closed even as her fingers found the clasp at the girl’s throat and, with a flick, set the rough fabric falling from the girl’s shoulders, “of course. I have your sister in my employ, as well, do I not?”

“You did, m’lady,” Tecla shuddered, desperately trying to ignore the goosebumps that spread over her exposed flesh, “She gave her blood to your glory three moons past.”

“Mmmm,” Adedre moaned, the cold tips of her fingers tracing sigils out of the prickled flesh beneath them, “Nuria, wasn’t it?”

“Yes, m’lady.”

“Yes. I recall her well,” the witch sighed, fingers pushing the fabric of the girl’s robe past the gentle curve of her buttocks. “Your mind is keen for the keeping of time, Tecla. Do you begrudge me a day of those three months past?”

“Not a one, mistress,” Tecla gasped, trying not to shudder too much in protest as to where her mistress’ probing digits had found their way, now, “Nuria was yours, as I am and… oooh!”

Adedre Undolithe tittered huskily as she lifted Tecla to her feet, not exactly with tender attention. “I think you’ll be better able to scrub the rest of me, girl, if you were to join me in the water.”

“Y-yes, mistress.” The brush had already fallen from Tecla’s trembling hands and she lifted them, then, to reach for the buckles that held her mask in place.

“No,” Adedre purred without having opened her eyes, “leave it on. I’ll not be requiring anything beneath it, just now.”

“Y-yes, mistress,” the girl conceded, hands falling away from the buckles as she tried to dampen the slow rocking that had started in her hips in order to lift a leg over the tub’s edge without falling in in the process.

Just then, a thudding knock sounded at the chamber doors, the bluntness of it instantly stilling the attentions of the witch’s fingers and causing Tecla to hesitate in entering the bath. “What?!?!” Adedre demanded, her eyes snapping open and glaring in the direction of the door as the girl wavered over the tub’s edge.

“Beggin’ yer pardon, Lady Undolithe,” a ragged voice responded from the other side, “but I’ve news.”

The witch growled her irritation. “Enter,” she demanded, “and speak!”

The door swung open, then, and one of her guardsmen hurried in, pausing only an instant to gawk at the scene that greeted him before dropping to a knee and fixing his gaze on the floor. “M’lady,” he puffed, “I… I…”

“Tell me that you’ve found the beast,” Adedre snapped.

“N-n-not as yet, mistress,” the guard stammered, daring not to lift his gaze to meet hers.

“Then what in seven hells can be so important that you have seen fit to interrupt my bath?!?”

“The… uh… skeletons, m’lady,” the guard swallowed, “Uh… some of them have… erm… a handful, truly…”

“Spit it out you chittering piece of offal!”

“Some of them have escaped the ground, mistress, and are making for the city,” the guard coughed, “I was sent to make you aware.”

“WHAT!!!???” Adedre screeched, bolting upright from her bathwater with such force and ferocity that she nearly lifted poor Tecla from her feet. “How is that possible?”

“I – I dunno, ma’am,” the guard replied, trying to genuflect even lower (as if such a thing was even possible) as Tecla stumbled and fell into the tub, “As I said, ma’am, I was just sent to relay the message.”

The witch’s mind raged. How had this happened, she couldn’t help but wonder. Her intent had been to raise only the bones within the confines of her manor and, as was her intent, they were to stay within its walls. “You,” she hissed as she stepped from the tub, a twiggy finger stabbing through the air at another attendant who had, heretofore, been standing silently in a corner of the room, “Fetch me a clean gown and see me dressed!”

The attendant turned her masked face from the corner, bowed her head, and acknowledged the command with a meek “Yes, mistress” before doing as she had been bidden.

As the witch prowled angrily across the floor, she imagined that, in the throes of her agony and ecstasy during the summoning, she had forgotten to place certain limits on her summoning and, in the dawn of that realization, her breaths became all exasperation. This bodes not well, she fumed, making her way to her dressing screen even as Tecla emerged from the red-tinged bathwaters sputtering and coughing. At the sound of the naked attendant’s gasping, the witch whirled about, her narrowed eyes fixing on the nude-except-for-the-mask form that crawled from the tub before darting to the kneeling guard. “And, you,” she growled, finally evoking eye contact from the young soldier, “tend to that one!”

“Er… ah…” the guard hesitated for an instant, his uncertain gaze almost not daring to look upon the young thing crawling out of the water but unable to do otherwise, “Y-yes, ma’am.”

The other attendant, in that short span of time, had returned with a gown and a towel and, while Adedre was being dried and dressed, the witch eyed her young acolyte as the guard led her, timidly, toward the rumpled sprawl of the mistress’ bed. “Tecla,” the witch called.

“Mistress?”

“When he’s finished with you, kill him.”

“Yes, mistress.”



Posted on 2019-10-11 at 19:39:10.

Reralae
Dreamer of Bladesong
Karma: 135/12
2295 Posts


The bladesinger and the skeletons

Aranwen walked through the market stalls, passing by all manner of people interested in all manner of wares. She had to admit that the sheer variety of goods on display was more than she had anticipated. There was one thing in particular she was on the lookout for, a black mask. Probably would be marketed as an antique or something, she was sure. If she could track down its place of origin, then maybe...

A light touch caused her to stop in her tracks, and she looked down at the little girl who had placed a hand on the wooden scabbard she carried.

"Pretty!" The little girl ooh'd, letting her hand run along the engraved wood.

With a soft chuckle, Aranwen knelt down, "Where are your parents, little one?"

The girl gave a shrug, "That way maybe?" she made a vague gesture, pointing further into the city, "They let me wander. I'm looking for toys!"

Aranwen frowned. By all rights, she was certain that it was not safe to let a child wander alone, "Here, let's go find them," She offered.

The girl gave a wide smile, "Okay!"

Passing through the merchant district, Aranwen and the girl started towards the residential areas. As she vaguely wondered who the girl's parents might have been, that's when she heard it. Screams.

"Stay back," Aranwen warned the girl, "Find your parents, and tell them you need to get home quickly."

"What's wrong?" The girl asked, her eyes widening a bit

"I don't like those sounds," Aranwen muttered. But before she could take a step, the girl placed a ribbon in her hand.

"Okay, I go. Good luck, Miss!" The girl offered before she ran off.

Aranwen tilted her head, before looking at the ribbon she was given. It was loosely tied in a bow. She shrugged her shoulders and put it in her bag, before she advanced forward, her pace quickening.

She only had to see the skeleton charging at other civilians to act. Drawing her blade, Aranwen advanced with a gentle hymn, hardly raising her voice as she sliced into the skeleton's rib cage. Though resilient to her blade, the attack had the intended effect - the skeleton turned to her and swung with a jagged bone blade, easily parried with her own as she lifted her voice, then descended to piano as she followed the blade with her own and brought it through the skeleton's neck. It crumpled under the attack.

"Get off the streets!" She told the people she had just saved, "Where'd it come from?" She asked.

So Aranwen pursued, from one set of people to the next, chasing the skeletons back towards their point of origin in a chain of misfortune and blood. Eventually she stood at the gate of Adedre's keep.

"I can't let you-" The guard spoke, but Aranwen cut them off.

"I've reports that undead are coming from this gate," Aranwen spoke, brandishing the voice of authority as she had been trained to do so in the past.

"We know of no such-"

Aranwen hurled a broken rib at the man, "Explain!" She commanded.

"I er, that is to say,"

"Is this something you can't explain?" Aranwen asked, her golden eyes boring into those of the guard.

"I-I only guard the gate, ma'am," He replied

"Then do your duty and open it! We haven't all night! There's skeletons in the residential district and if they aren't from here, I'd like to verify that so we can find out where they are actually from!" Aranwen retorted.

Wincing under duress, the guard finally acquiessed, and opened the door.

"Thank you," Aranwen spoke in a tone that made clear her disappointment at the delay, "Now, where do I go to get to your employer?"

A shaking hand directed Aranwen as the guard meekly provided some directions to the bladesinger. She nodded her thanks, and stormed into the keep proper, inwardly breathing a sigh of relief that her ruse had worked. She had no reason to assume this had any relation to her own reasons for coming to Dravnor, but she knew one thing. Bodies had to come from somewhere, and that somewhere might be connected to the slavers she fought. Or she hoped, anyhow, even as she made her way further into the keep at a brisk pace.

Aranwen rounded a corner and found herself face to skull with more skeletons.

"Well, were I actually a city guard, I'd say I found my proof," She observed.

Bringing her blade forward, she drew herself into a fighting stance and took a deep breath. Aranwen began to sing, deep, strong vocals of a wordless language that echoed around her and through the halls as she rushed forward to meet the skeletons head on.



Posted on 2019-10-11 at 23:49:55.
Edited on 2019-10-12 at 01:01:51 by Reralae

breebles
#1 Kibibi
Karma: 37/1
1129 Posts


Basic Training

 “Excellent,” he chuffed, “They will never find us here . . . .”

“Hey,” Kithran spat back at the all-too cheerful Kazari, “Find your own lines, Ch’dau.” She grinned and wiped her blades clean before slipping them into place.

She looked back at the guards. The precision with which they had disposed of them was encouraging. Recruiting the fuzzy creature was already proving to be an excellent revision to the plan. Better, at least, than her having thought they would have had time to get a better rest in that closet. A miscalculation to be sure, but such was her way.

She shrugged, “Even gods can be wrong every now and again.”

As the massive feline began to open his mouth in an attempt to contest her godliness, some thing clattered into the dark room, careening toward Ch’dau’s back.

Ch’dau spun around at the sound and Kith leaped forward, grabbing his silver bicep as leverage as he turned to launch herself at whatever the thing was.

Her boot crashed into its skull and as she landed, she saw that it truly was a skull. The skeletal creature staggered back into another, regaining its balance, while two more crept into the room behind them. All four jerked their ungodly, flesh-rotted faces back her way, their grins menacing, hungry, and their clawed fingers and bone-strewn weapons poised for attack.

"Wh-what in the hells?" She jumps back and bumps into the Kazari as a roar bursts forth from his chest, deafening her for a moment, and he rushes forward into the horrifying clump, knocking her off-balance. She stumbles into one of the stone slab tables and ducks down. Keeping to the shadows, Kith runs around the table to get into position to flank the skeletons.

Skeletons? SKELETONS?! Kith peeks above the slab and finds Ch’dau to be courageously, and very loudly, drawing the attention of all four of them. One had already lost an arm and another was missing half of its ribcage, but still they pressed and Ch’dau harbored some new injuries as well.

Wondering for one if daggers would even be effective against a necromancer’s skeleton army, and for two wondering what the hell she was even thinking as she hopped on top of the stone table and launched herself at the cluster of bones, Kith crashed onto the shoulders of the closest skeletal frame. The creature buckled in surprised and both crashed to the ground, shoving the others in front of them into Ch’dau. This time it was the Kazari who lost his balance and had to catch himself on the slab behind him.

Kith stabbed at the skull beneath her, but if it felt the damage she could not tell. It began striking at her, shaking, trying to throw her off. As it began trying to stand again, she rolled forward off of its shoulders and found her feet, pouncing at a skeleton that had also regained its balance and was trying to take advantage of Ch’dau as he righted himself. She shoved her arms through its ribs and pulled it back, knocking its strike off-kilter and saving Ch’dau from one more wound, “What are you doing, Kazarai?! Take care of this thing!” And she held it in place as Ch’dau snarled, striking it across the neck. It fell limp in Kith’s arms and she let it drop to the ground while Ch’dau grabbed her by the front of her cloak, ripping her behind him and blocking the attack of another skeleton that would have opened her back.

She growled to herself as she hit the table again, harder this time, and turned back to the battle. This round she joined him in his head-on attack. Running forward she dropped down and slid, knocking the leg of the one-armed skeleton back and in its brief moment of  imbalance allowing Ch’dau to strike down and slice its body in two.

Hopping to her feet, Kith and Ch’dau make relatively short work of the remaining two skeletons, though not relatively easy work. One used to fighting alongside a unit of ferocious warriors, and the other used to fighting on their own, the two have a difficult time predicting how the other will react. Dodges end in one of them knocking into the other, strikes against their opponents bump the shoulder or ribs of the other, throwing them both off their aim. The work is completed, but many of the scrapes and bruises they obtain in the end are not the work of bone blades.

Had they not just extinguished whatever magic breathed false life into these undead, Kith may have brought up the headache that was forming after his elbow had crashed into the side of her head, but as it was . . .  “I’ve read about bone armies in stories, but that’s all they ever were.” She huffs and wipes her blades on her sleeves, grateful at least that she does not have to add more blood to what is already caked onto her armor. “Have you ever seen anything like this? Or anything else like this since you’ve been here?”

((OOC: Ch’dau’s response. I am assuming he doesn’t know much about it, but let me know if I’m wrong))

“I suppose,” Kith continues, “that as horrifying at these things are, they aren’t so horrific to fight. What say you, Ch’dau?” She looks up at him and hides a grimace as the bruise on her rib from being thrown into the stone table the last time starts to protest, “Can you handle a few bone heads?” She grins wide at the un-cleverness of her words, despite the blood dribbling from her split lip.



Posted on 2019-10-13 at 04:17:45.
Edited on 2019-10-13 at 06:28:40 by breebles

Eol Fefalas
Keeper of the Kazari
RDI Staff
Karma: 455/28
8013 Posts




Ch’dau leaned heavily against a bank of shelves, trying to ignore the aches and pains in his… well, everything… as he eyed the piles of bones that, until he and Kith had smashed them into bits, had been warriors of a sort. It was strange, he thought, how tenacious these monkeys were without flesh and blood about their bones. Small and brittle as they were, he could think of no human warrior in recent memory that was as relentless as these had been. How does such a thing even work, he wondered, absently grunting as a pain shot through him from where one of these things had pierced his side with talon-like fingers… “It is unnatural,” he murmured.

“I’ve read about bone armies in stories, but that’s all they ever were,” Kith huffed over his own musings, drawing his attention from the spill of broken bones at his feet, “Have you ever seen anything like this? Or anything else like this since you’ve been here?”

The kazari shook his head. “In my time here,” he said, “I have heard many strange things moving in the dark, heard the whispers from the guards about the horrors the witch was capable of… experienced some of it, myself but, no. I have never seen anything the likes of this.”

“I suppose,” Kith nodded faintly, “that as horrifying at these things are, they aren’t so horrific to fight. What say you, Ch’dau,” she asked then, her eyes lifting to his as she tried to mask the evidence of her own pains, “Can you handle a few bone heads?” Blood dribbling from a split in her lip, she grinned wide at her quip.

Determined as these abominations may be, Ch’dau thought eyeing the girl before him, you, little kitten, are moreso!

“If I imagined there to be only a few,” he grunted as he pushed himself away from the shelves, “yes. I have doubts, though, that their numbers will be small.” Using the point of his stolen blade, he gestured at the skeletal remains strewn about them; “And, if the monkey-witch is capable of such as this, what else might we encounter?

I do not, think, rrow’ka, that continuing after your book is the wisest of decisions.” His gaze ticked from the dispatched skeletons to the door and, then, back to her. “I do owe you my life, though,” he admitted, “and, wise or not, kibibi, if that is your decision, I will be with you.”

((OOC: So, just a shortish one to keep things moving. Going to pause here for Kith’s reactions, input, snarking, etc. Where we go after this kind of depends on what she says/does, really. ))



Posted on 2019-10-14 at 11:53:47.

breebles
#1 Kibibi
Karma: 37/1
1129 Posts


For Rawr!

“I do not, think, rrow’ka, that continuing after your book is the wisest of decisions,” Kith lost her grin and followed his gaze over the piles of bones and rubble, “I do owe you my life, though,” he admitted, “and, wise or not, kibibi, if that is your decision, I will be with you.”

She looked wearily back to him, “I believe I told you already that you owe me nothing. Your life is your own, Ch’dau. Go and be free if that is your wish,” And she very nearly wished that it was. Every moment she looked at him he seemed all the more ready to collapse, and she was positive she looked no better. Agency, however, was not something she could take so easily from another. Slightly manipulate into a “Yes,” perhaps, but she was coming to realize she may be asking for more than that now, and that was too much to ask.

“I am not your keeper and I won’t force you to take on your former captor if you don’t think you can handle any more.” She turned and leapt through the wreckage toward the door, grateful he couldn’t see her wincing as she made her way, “Come along, Kazari, the entrance to the manor is just ahead. I’ll show you to the front door and you can make your decision then.”

Whatever he would ultimately decide, she was glad, at least, to hear him scuffle past the bone dust behind her as she peeked around the doorframe for any movement. When she was sure it was open, she took a step forward, then stopped and looked back, whispering, “Rocha and kabob, what do those words mean?”

((OOC: Rosetta Stone: Kazari))

“Little . . . .” Kithran rolled her eyes nearly as hard as she sighed, “That’s it, I’m taking both, cat-beast.” And she bounds forward into the all-consuming darkness.

There are only two turns before they are at the foot of the steps up to their freedom from this godsforsaken dungeon labyrinth. Kith turned to the silver cat and held up a palm, signaling him to wait for her and she skittered cautiously up the flight of stairs. Pressing her ear to the door she listened for a moment. No footsteps or clatter of bones drew her attention, but as she was about to wave Ch’dau up, a soft exhalation caught her ear.

She looked down at him and put a finger to her lips, beckoning up forward. Still a step or two below her, she was for the first time eye-to-eye with him and held up one finger, then used it to point through the door as she reached for the handle. She paused and looked back at him again, gently patting her chest to replicate a heartbeat.

Needing no further explanation, Ch’dau nodded and crouched low, waiting for the door to swing open. As it did, a low snarl escaped his chest and the guard at the door jumped and spun around in time for a monstrous hand to clamp hard over his mouth, and to look into the Kazari’s eyes as the blade ran through his gut. With a swift flick down and out, the blade released the man’s guts from the confines of his flesh and he fell lifeless to the ground.

Kith walked up and pressed his shoulder with her foot half-heartedly toward a less conspicuous corner, but as the blood continued to spill out she shrugged and lead the way forward.

There were far fewer and more sporadic shadows to slip into up here. Candlelit sconces lined the walls, and infrequent lanterns hung from the ceiling as they made their way through this corridor to the main entry hall. Slipping into rooms, or taking turns silently ending the life of a guard or two along the path, the half-Syl thief and the Kazari warrior eventually sat crouched facing the front door in the shadows cast by the main stairwell leading up to the second floor.

Kithran looks looks up to him, eyebrows raised, and solemnly nods toward the door.

((OOC: Ch’dau’s reaction))

She can hide the relief in her eyes better than the grin that spreads across her face and she pokes his shoulder in a show of gratitude. Regardless of how it may have come off to the Kazari, as one who did not like touching or being touched, it was a meaningful gesture to Kith.

Losing the grin, she turned back to the task and flipped the hood of her cloak back over her head. Again, no footfalls jarred her ears, and though some murmuring could be caught behind them as they raced around the banister and up the stairwell to the third floor, they faded as the two reached the top and Kith’s heartbeat raced.

We are so close. She silently counts in her head, down this hall, take a right, one, two, three, fourth door on the le--

Kith and Ch’dau’s heads jerked toward the the bend in the hallway ahead at the sound of the clattering.

It was different from the footsteps of the skeletons before. They were similar but they weren’t footsteps. Or possibly they were. If so there were many more than before, they were moving much more rapidly, and if the rising echoes of bone on hardwood were any indication, they were rapidly heading their way.

The two turned and sprinted back down the stairs, trying to find space to put between them and the horde that approached. Turning onto the second floor and racing down the hallway, they slipped into one of the spare bedrooms and immediately pressed their ears to the door. They heard the ungodly clatter turn on to the second floor as well and after a short breath of silence, door after door burst open. The clatter would muffle as they searched the room, only to return again and burst through another door.

Kith tried to slow her breathing and she looked up at Ch’dau. He nodded, moving to position himself for a surprise attack when they inevitably came through their door. He jerked his shaggy head to the room at large behind him, and Kithran took the signal to find her hiding spot for her sneak attack. Her options were sorely limited, and as the clattering piles of bones reached their door, she simply crouched down behind the large bed and peeked over to get an idea of how many they would be fighting.

The door splintered off its hinges and a creature unimaginable leaped at Ch’dau. Kithran’s breaths came fast and heavy as she watched an amalgamation of bone and horror take the Kazari by surprise instead, knocking the weapon clean out of his hands and tackling him to the ground. He did all he could to dodge while pinned beneath legs of bone blades and claws. All eight of the appendages tore at him, attempting to rend flesh while the teeth of undefinable numbers of skulls snaking on spinal cords clattered and bent down from different parts of its bone-riddled abdomen trying to tear pieces of him away.

He dodged one more attempt of a leg spear attack on his head only to see out of the corner of his eye that his neck was clear for one of the grinning, chattering skulls to take a massive bite. The Kazari warrior roared in anticipation of the pain just as a dagger flew through the skull's jawbone, tearing it free from the now useless skull and lodging into the side of another. Above him the thief gave out her own battlecry and launched herself onto the abomination.

Kith stabbed at the skulls that littered the top of the creature as well with one of her regular daggers and one of her smaller spares, unaware of the two clawed back legs rising behind her, “Get up, Ch’dau!” she shouted as the claws reached down for her, “For Rawr!”



Posted on 2019-10-14 at 16:35:22.
Edited on 2019-10-14 at 20:06:55 by breebles

Eol Fefalas
Keeper of the Kazari
RDI Staff
Karma: 455/28
8013 Posts


The meaning of ki'ja'kazi

“…I do owe you my life, though,” he admitted, “and, wise or not, kibibi, if that is your decision, I will be with you.”

“I believe I told you already that you owe me nothing,” the jaded expression on her not-quite-monkey-face betrayed the sigh she had managed to suppress. “Your life is your own, Ch’dau. Go and be free if that is your wish.

I am not your keeper and I won’t force you to take on your former captor if you don’t think you can handle any more.” With that, the shadow-girl turned, quickly and quietly picking her way through the jumble of bones that was resultant of their latest encounter. “Come along, Kazari,” she murmured as she went, “the entrance to the manor is just ahead. I’ll show you the front door and you can make your decision, then.”

“The decision is not mine to make,” he uttered, following along behind the fleet-footed girl, mindful to try and keep his steps as silent as hers, “the ki’ja’kazi is an honor that none of my kind would deny…”

She glanced back at him, then, confusion etched on her shadowed face.

“Ki’ja’kazi,” he whispered, again, as his mind sought out the words that might match in her own language. “How is it said in your tongue? A life-debt? It means, Kithran, you are not my keeper, but I am yours.”

The hissing sound he heard coming from her as she peered around the doorframe, he imagined, was intended to be a scoff. Her surveillance of the corridor complete, Kith took a step forward but, then, paused and looked back at him. “Rocha and kabob,” she asked in a hushed tone, “what do those words mean?”

Rrow’ka,” he replied, carefully enunciating each syllable as best he could while whispering, “means ‘brave one.’ Kibibi, in your language,” he continued, his feline featuers twisting a bit as he, again, tried to properly translate, “would be ‘little lady’?”

“Little…” The rolling of the girl’s eyes seemed to be driven by the frustrated sigh she heaved. “That’s it, I’m taking both, cat-beast.” 

I am sure you will try, he chuckled inwardly, sticking close to her as she bounded off into the shadow-strewn corridor, Little Kitten.

A turn or two in the labyrinthine hallways found the unlikely duo at the foot of a stairway that led upward, presumably into the witch’s abode, itself, and Ch’dau couldn’t help but feel some small bit of elation in knowing that, beyond the door at the top of these steps, was an escape from this slick-stoned hell in which he had spent the last Khr’a-only-knew how many days. A soft purring sound threatened to tickle its way free of his throat but it was abated by the raising of Kithran’s hand; a signal for him to wait before she silently skittered up the stairs. He watched and waited as the shadow-girl pressed her ear to the door and listened, then, seemingly assured that nothing lay in wait for them on the other side, beckoned him up.

Before he had made it too far, though, she stilled him, yet again, and put a finger to her lips. A series of similarly silent gestures followed and, from those, Ch’dau understood that something – or, rather, someone – did, indeed, await them on the other side of the doorway. Her last gesture indicated that she was going to open the door and that Ch’dau should be ready for whatever it was. He simply nodded in reply and readied himself as her hand weighed heavier on the latch…

…The guard at the door had been short and simple work, with little enough sound created to raise an alarm. Beyond that and, even in the absence of the shadows in which Kithran preferred to work, there were but a few more instances in which the witch’s henchman needed attending to. Eventually, as the pair found themselves huddled in a small patch of shadow cast by the structure of the manor’s grand stairway where, just a few feet away, the doors that led to freedom from this hellish place awaited. She looked up at him from where she crouched in the staircase’s shadows and his, raised a questioning brow, and nodded faintly toward those doors.

Kithran seemed intent on continuing with the quest that had brought her here, to begin with, and, as much as he would have loved to have accepted her offer, the Kazari responded to her unvoiced query with a simple shaking of his head as he lay a paw across his chest and then pointed, meaningfully, at her. Following that, he gave a quick jerk of his head indicating that they should proceed up the stairway in the nook of which they now secreted themselves.

Grinning, Kith reached out a hand and nudged Ch’dau’s shoulder. The Kazari, in return, simply shrugged, his lips tightening over his own teeth, and repeated the head-jerk motion toward the upper floors. If her face made any other quiet commentary, the cat-man didn’t see it as kith had pulled her hood up over her head and, after giving a listen for any potential threats that might await, led them quickly and quietly up the steps, past the second floor and immediately up to the third. Kithran stopped there, for an instant, and Ch’dau was fairly certain he heard (or felt) her heart as it trip-hammered away deep in her chest.

We must be close, he mused, lurking just behind his penumbral partner, there are no more steps to climb and, unless her quarry is hidden on the roof…

The big cat’s thoughts were interrupted, then, by a semi-familiar clattering noise that echoed from farther up the hallway that diverged from the head of the stairs. At first, to his ears, anyway, it was reminiscent of the tinkling patter of boney feet that had preceded the skeletons that had set on them in the dungeon but, too, it seemed more than that… many more footfalls, overlapping one another and, perhaps, clanking together in a curious staccato rhythm… tik-tik-tik-tikkity-tak-tik-tik-takktiy-tik… Bhak’chu’s balls! What is that?

Just as both of their heads had snapped in the direction of the sound when it first became obvious, so, too, did their eyes seem to find one another when they registered that it must be a greater troupe of skeletons that had raised such a noise. Scarcely a blink had been exchanged before, in unison, they had torn back down the steps and frantically sought shelter behind the door of an empty room on the second floor. Behind the door, both Kith and the cat, over the sounds of their own heaving breaths and thudding hearts, strained to hear whatever might have become of the bone army’s feet. Straining became unnecessary sooner than he would have liked, though, as the strange rhythm of the clattering steps made its way down the stair, into the hall, and, room-by-room, door-by-door, it drew closer and closer.

Behind him, Ch’dau heard the shadow-girl fight to contain and control her breaths and, as a doorway two or, perhaps, three rooms down, splintered in response to the searching skeletons, he flicked a glance at her, then jerked his head in the general direction of the space at their backs. Without so much as a nod, Kithran sought out a place to best position herself in preparation for what, by then, they both knew was inevitable. Ch’dau, too, prepared himself, though staying much closer to the door, and readied his stolen sword as chuffing breaths heaved against this aching ribs…

Tik-tik-tik-tikkity-tak-tik-tik-takktiy-tik-tik-tik-tak.

…As prepared as he imagined he was, what came through the hole in the wall following the explosion of the door was nothing like the Kazari had ever seen or could have readied himself for. It was, in fact, a horde of skeletons but, rather than a rank and file press of individual monkey-bones, a thing of true nightmares burst into the room. A half-dozen (if not more) skeletons, it appeared, had tangled themselves, one upon another, to create what he could only see as some sort of horrific bone spider. Ribcages had interlocked to create the semblance of a thorax; limbs had broken and twisted to form themselves into spindly, spear-tipped legs; and spines and skulls had wrenched themselves into impossible representations of a multi-eyed head, sharp-boned mandibles, and seeking stingers. The sight of it so unnerved him that in recoiling from the horror of it, Ch’dau had foolishly allowed himself to succumb to the first sweeping slash of one of those legs that it sent the sword spinning from his hand.

He had scarcely registered the loss of the weapon when he found himself caged beneath the horrors rattling limbs and staring into the myriad red pinpricks of light that glared down at him from the thing’s silently shrieking heads. Immobilized as he was, Ch’dau did manage to evade what would have been the worst of the attacks raining down on him, though he did succumb to others. The bone-spider was incredibly fast, striking from multiple angles all at once, and making it nearly impossible for him to counter or even land a sacrificial blow of his own in response. In fact, just as he squirmed away from the stabbing of a jagged, bone-pointed spear of a strike from one of the things legs, he found himself directly in position to have been chomped fatally upon by a multi-skulled pincer. The defiant roar that exploded from him, then, was punctuated by the rasp of steel and the clatter of bone and, to his relief and surprise, the expected deathblow failed to land. Instead, one of Kith’s daggers appeared where the now missing mandible had been and, on instinct much more than practice, the Kazari reached up and snatched the blade free from where it had lodged into the broken skull. Even as he set to laying furiously about with Kithran’s blade, severing skull from spine, he heard the thief, herself, roar out a battlecry and caught sight of her dark shape as she launched herself onto the bone-spider’s back.

“Get up, Ch’dau,” he heard the shadow-girl plead, even over the sound of brittle bone and striking steel, “For Rawr!”

Between the gaps of bone that constructed the spider, Ch’dau glimpsed the girl straddling the monstrosity’s back; her daggers rising and falling as she fought her damnedest to keep the thing in check… then, he saw the pair of spiny clawed appendages that the monster had begun to raise over his new friend’s unsuspecting back. Another roar, perhaps more ferocious than any other she had heard to that point, exploded from the Kazari’s mouth as he wrenched himself free of the bones that had caged him…

 “For Rrowl!!!”

The roar ended in a shout and a correction on the same maddened breath. The cat-beast rolled from beneath the bone-spider and, as his own feet came under him, launched three hundred pounds of furred fury upwards to intercept the spikes that would have surely pierced the thief’s back. Rather than find their intended target, though, one of those taloned appendages was hewn away with the stroke of the thief’s sacrificed dagger and the other, even as it’s skeletal claw sank into the meat of the kazari’s shoulder, found itself caught in the vice-like grip of the cat-beast’s paw. A roar that was equal parts pain and rage echoed through the manor, then, and, Ch’dau, leapt from the bone-spider’s back, it’s seeking, spear-like appendage still in hand. The pull of the cat-man’s momentum, multiplied by his weight, flipped the bone-spider onto its back and sent the shadow-girl sinning through the air and into the hallway beyond the door.

Ch’dau scrambled to his feet, and, in agony, extracted the thing’s spike from where it was lodged in his shoulder, as the bone-spider desperately tried to right itself. He thought, as the tinges of red anguish and rage filled his vision, that he heard the thing shriek but, as the talon came free and his own blood spurted forth to splash the writhing bones of the abomination, the kazari mercenary realized that the sound he was hearing wasn’t a shriek, at all, but, rather, a song…

A bladesinger, he realized, wincing against the fresh injuries, even as, at the far edge of his clouded vision, Kithran rolled to her feet. He had encountered bladesingers before, in his time serving with the Wyverns, and, from what he knew of them, none would have found their employ in the service of one such as the witch. In the space of a blink and a wince as he tried to clear his vision, the Silver Cat realized that the wordless song he heard had risen from just outside the window in front of which Kithran had recently righted herself. If there was any fight left in him, now, it would not be enough to save either himself or Kith from what might happen when the bone-spider regained its footing. Thus, as he secured his grip on the dagger that had saved him, he gathered what was left of his strength and charged, headlong, at his new friend…

“Wha…???”

…He vaguely registered the shadow-girl’s shocked expression and the surprise in her voice as he barreled into her. He snatched her from her feet and, even as his arms were still folding around her, twisted himself in the air so that their crashing through the window at her back would spare her the worst of it. For a brief eternity, they plummeted through the stench and song that resounded outside the witch’s lair and, when it was over, the impact with the ground forcibly expelled all of the air from the kazari’s lungs. As he fought to regain his breath and Kithran groaned against his chest, his dazed vision caught sight of the elven warrior whose song and steps had just led her from being crushed by their fall. A pair of skinless human skulls thunked into the dirt near his own as, weakly, he tried to lift the dazed thief from his own body.

“Take… her… rrow’ka,” Ch’dau wheezed as the surprised Syl peered down at him and the bone-spider’s front legs appeared in the broken casement from which they had toppled, “Get her… free… of this place…”

((OOC: Good place to stop, I think, and let the two of you pick up if and how you see fit… Tag: Rer and Bree!   ))



Posted on 2019-10-14 at 21:25:30.

Reralae
Dreamer of Bladesong
Karma: 135/12
2295 Posts


An Unexpected Fall

Aranwen opened a door to make her way into the inner courtyard, and found herself in the midst of a skeleton search party, thankfully smaller than the last. She held a few wounds over the encounters she had faced, and drawing breath once again, she steeled herself, her resolve, her blade, and rushed forward once more.

Sweeping the blade in reverse, Aranwen struck a ringing blow against one skeleton's head, cracking it with the flat of her blade. Around in an arc, she brought the blade down, ducking underneath another skeleton's swing as she struck at the joint between upper and lower legs, removing its mobility. With a twirl, she brought the blade back up, narrowly catching the blades of the remaining skeletons. The combined force of the blow forced her back, and she knelt outside one of the manor windows, before she lifted her voice in crescendo and lept forward, twirling her blade around to slice through both skeleton's necks.

Turning around in case they had survived the attack, she readied her blade, but was shocked to hear the window smash above her, and a large grey creature and a humanoid landed hard on the ground. Both were covered in blood.

“Take… her… rrow’ka,” Ch’dau wheezed as the surprised Syl peered down at him and the bone-spider’s front legs appeared in the broken casement from which they had toppled, “Get her… free… of this place…”

Aranwen looked to the young woman, who looked more than a little delirious, by her opinion. Her head snapped back up, her golden eyes narrowing at the creature they had clearly run from. She could see the wall buckling as it pressed its weight against it. Taking quick stock of the situation, she nodded, before she looked at the woman, "Can you stand?"

(( ))

"Then help me with him!" Aranwen told her as she sheathed her blade, "You take his right side, I'll take the left. By Adaron's grace, the path to the front gate should be clear as I left it."

Aranwen shook her head as Kithran went to pull Ch'dau upright by the hand, "Not like that," She quickly instructed, "Here, follow my lead."

She knelt down, carefully drawing Ch'dau's arm across her back until she could feel she had a good position with his shoulder, before she nodded at Kithran. Once Kithran had Ch'dau in a similar position, she nodded once more, "Now, lift with your legs," She told her, carefully pushing herself and Ch'dau to his feet, "Up you get, warrior. I won't relinquish you to death."

By this time, the skeletal spider had started bashing at the outer wall, but with Ch'dau now balanced between Aranwen and Kithran, they were able to leave the courtyard just as it broke through.

"When we get to the front gate, I'll get the guard there to let us back out," Aranwen told the others as they started making their way through the outer keep, "I can't believe you two are still able to move at all, judging by the amount of blood on you," She observed, "Just what happened here?" She asked, "And you," She looked up at the kazari, a faint recognition dawning, "Hm, Silver Cat?" She asked, now getting a good look at him without the distraction of being chased, "I see your reputation is well deserved. We need to treat both your injuries as soon as we can, but I'd sooner do that outside of this skeleton-infested household than within. That said, we need to stop."

Aranwen nodded at Kithran, before kneeling once again, "I can feel blood seeping through my shoulder armour. Take the small satchel out of my bag. There should be wrappings in it; take them and bind his wound as best you can. We need to stop the bleeding."

She tilted her head a bit to look Ch'dau's in the eye, "Stay with me," Aranwen told him, "Hear my voice, and feel your breaths. Slow your breaths, and breathe; the fight is done."

Though she was not trained in the ways of the healer as Saeriel was, Aranwen did know enough to have learned that the most dangerous thing for a bleeding creature was their own heartbeat emptying them of blood.



Posted on 2019-10-14 at 23:24:53.

breebles
#1 Kibibi
Karma: 37/1
1129 Posts


Sun's Getting Real Low

Kithran had just found her feet again when she looked up to see the large Kazari bearing down on her.

Her hands flew up in front of her, “W-wha . . . ???” But there was no slowing his momentum. In one swift motion she was off of her feet and the two of them were flying through the window. Her stomach leaped as she grasped onto him, his arms securing her to his chest. The ground rose rapidly beneath them for just a second before it hit them with a violent thud and the world disappeared.

Wake up, Kithran, The smell of burnt out candles and a soft, sweet musk filled her nose, Time for you to go home, my lo--

Kith’s eyes flew open and the world spun around her as she took in a deep breath of fresh air. She was being pushed up, but kept slipping out of their grasp. Finally catching herself on a silver chest, she heard Ch’dau brokenly ask for her to be taken away. She painfully brought her knees up beneath her and wood was splintering somewhere high and loudly behind them.

“Can you stand?” Kithran turned her black eyes up to the woman, the Sylvari woman, as she tried to make the words make sense, finally nodding back at her.

“Then help me with him!” The woman shouted and Kith looked down at her friend, “You take his right side, I’ll take the left. By Adaron’s grace, the path to the front gate should be clear as I left it.”

He looked broken, nearly gone, for her. Her legs shook and the world shifted as she stood, lifting his arm up with her to help tug him up.

"Not like that," the Syl corrected in a hurriedly commanding way, "Here, follow my lead." And some of the haziness seemed to clear as Kith watched and emulated her, "Now, lift with your legs," And together they brought the heavy Kazari to his feet. The struggle to keep him upward on her weakened legs swathed away the rest of her confusion and replaced it with irritation at how massive his frame was.

"Up you get, warrior. I won't relinquish you to death."

Another honorable type. Though she couldn’t complain too much, as this honorable type was ushering her and Ch’dau out of the reach of that horrific abomination. She noticed then the deadly sharp knife swinging loosely in his fingers and snatched it away before it was lost.

"When we get to the front gate, I'll get the guard there to let us back out," And Kith sincerely wondered how she would manage that, considering they had the witch’s prize, "I can't believe you two are still able to move at all, judging by the amount of blood on you. Just what happened here?"

Kithran spoke quickly between heavy breaths and the strain of the feline around her shoulders, “The witch, necromancer, she was, was torturing him, I think. I found him in a cage and we’ve been pursued by her undead monsters” she glanced back behind her, “like that thing, as well as her guard. Do not trust them to let us go easily.”

The elven woman nodded and looked up at Ch’dau, "And you . . . Hm, Silver Cat? I see your reputation is well deserved.” Kith gave her a look of surprise, but any elaboration would need to wait until they were free of the witch’s grasp, “We need to treat both your injuries as soon as we can, but I'd sooner do that outside of this skeleton-infested household than within. That said, we need to stop."

The woman nodded at Kithran, before kneeling once again, "I can feel blood seeping through my shoulder armour. Take the small satchel out of my bag. There should be wrappings in it; take them and bind his wound as best you can. We need to stop the bleeding."

Kith did as did as she was told as the woman worked to keep him conscious. She truly only had experience treating her own wounds, but there had been plenty enough for her to try to manage on another--with the Syl woman’s helpful direction along the way. The frustration on her face that they could not do more, eclipsed only by the urgency to get far from here and fast, the Sylvari motioned to Kith to get back in place to lift him once more and head for the front gate.

A guard inside the gate doors spotted the mottly three immediately, and wasted no hesitation, “They’re here! They’re here!” He drew his sword and raced toward them, the guard on the outside of the door slipping in for back-up.

The armored woman lifted the large Kazari arm off of her shoulders, and helped lower him to the ground. Kith stayed knelt beside him, “I apologize, I may not be much help here, can you manage?”

((OOC: Aranwen being cool))

And with that the Syl sprinted to meet the guards.

Kneeling, Kith kept her hands poised on the hilts of her daggers, the spare and the one she had given Ch’dau back in their places.

A solemn song suddenly filled the air as the warrior and the first guard met. Kithran’s gaze flicked to the Sylvari alone, a bladesinger? She had heard about bladesingers, and sometimes a companion would point to an armored passerby and claim that they were one, but she had never seen one in action and she wondered if all were like this. Graceful, precise, never wavering in her tune or her attack. Kithran watched in admiration at the bladesinger’s quick work with the first, and lent her hand as the second finally approached, lodging a blade into his knee and allowing the woman to finish him off as he fell.

Kith already had Ch’dau’s arm around her shoulders by the time the Syl returned, “That was incredible.”

Together they made their way into the streets of Davnor, still helping Ch’dau, though he seemed to be able to get his feet under him a little better with each alleyway they put between them and the clutches of the Undolithe estate. They eventually found themselves resting against a building in one of those alleys, attempting to find some breath before moving forward.

“Have you any quarters in town, Bladesinger? I have a place close to here if we need it. It should work for now, but it isn’t great.”

((OOC: Assuming the negative))

Kith nodded and pushed herself off one wall and into the door on the other side, fumbling with the picks hidden in her armor, “My place is very close, I should say.” With little effort the door swings open to a few stone steps leading down into a dark cellar. She swayed a second at the realization that sleep would soon be upon her, but shook her head for now and turned back to the other two and the bladesinger’s mixed expression of question and strain.

The three gingerly made their way down into what the others could now see was a wine cellar. Kith lead them to a wall with a thin mat against it, and she and the Syl lowered Ch’dau onto it. She then trudged back to the door and made sure it was locked, lowering a wooden bar in place as well. When she turned back only the question remained on the woman’s face.

Kith leaned back against the wall and slid down next to Ch’dau’s head, “When I first arrived in Davnor, I needed a cheap place to stay, so I stole several of the most expensive bottles of wine from this cellar, stashed them quickly, and then returned to the storefront as a customer.” She took out the dagger she had lent to Ch’dau and examined the worn handle as she spoke, “As you can imagine, they were in a bit of disarray, why, they had just been robbed of their retirement plan! Well Shinara’s favor shined down on them that day because I just so happened to work in finding things and people, at a price or for a favor.” She untied the sheath at her hip and continued, “Long story short, I took care of those who had wronged them and returned their prized possession. I am truly kind, you know. And they were so happy, they offered me the world, but a humble traveler and smile-finder like myself, I simply needed a place to stay. They couldn’t offer much, but it’s Sendrian home. I must simply remember to put the bar down when I am here for the night.” Kithran placed the sheathed weapon on the Kazari’s chest. Whether he was conscious or not was a mystery, but he was alive and she was grateful.

((OOC: Ara’s response, if any))

She tilted her head back against the stone and closed her eyes, “I apologize, bladesinger, I cannot stay awake much longer. Thank you, for--” a big yawn muffled the rest of her words and as her head began to tilt into sleep, she mumbled, “Ah, you may call me . . . Kithran . . . or Kith . . . if you must.” And she was gone.



Posted on 2019-10-15 at 17:55:33.
Edited on 2019-10-15 at 18:35:10 by breebles

Reralae
Dreamer of Bladesong
Karma: 135/12
2295 Posts


Respite

Kithran spoke quickly between heavy breaths and the strain of the feline around her shoulders, “The witch, necromancer, she was, was torturing him, I think. I found him in a cage and we’ve been pursued by her undead monsters” she glanced back behind her, “like that thing, as well as her guard. Do not trust them to let us go easily.”

"Unfortunate," Aranwen muttered, "If that is true, my ruse as a member of the city guard won't suffice to keep them at bay. I'll still try at least."

* * *

A guard inside the gate doors spotted the mottly three immediately, and wasted no hesitation, “They’re here! They’re here!” He drew his sword and raced toward them, the guard on the outside of the door slipping in for back-up.

The armored woman lifted the large Kazari arm off of her shoulders, and helping to lower him to the ground. Kith stayed knelt beside him, “I apologize, I may not be much help here, can you manage?”

Aranwen nodded, her golden eyes sympathetic, "Rest, let me weather this attack."

Striding forward, she drew her blade, and took a breath, "If you value your lives, I strongly recommend finding employment elsewhere," She said, her tone cold as the steel in her hand, "But if you want them, come and claim them!"

Though Aranwen could see the flickers of doubt in the guards' eyes, they did not stop their pace. She nodded, taking another breath as she rushed forward to meet them head on. Though the first lunged with his blade, she wove to the side, her voice audible as she begun her song, bringing her blade around her to deflect the sword harmlessly to the side. In a rising crescendo, she didn't stop her movement, her back leg coming up to kick the shield back into the guard, forcing them apart. She observed him wince at the impact, his shield arm weakened by the unconventional assault. In staccato, she pushed forward once again, parrying a hastily raised blade and grabbing the shield with her free hand, pushing hard. She forced the shield aside even as she followed his blade upward, slashing across with her blade. The slice cut deep into the guard's shoulder, just striking through joint of the shoulder armour, and he recoiled back once more, into the second guard that stumbled with the dagger through the knee. Seizing the opening, Aranwen brought her song to a close with a charge, running past and slicing at the exposed necks of both stunned guards.

Wiping the blood from her blade, she sheathed it, before returning to Kithran.

Kith already had Ch’dau’s arm around her shoulders by the time the Syl returned, “That was incredible.”

Aranwen gave a smile, "So was your aim," She returned, "Not much help, hm?" She gave a playful smirk

Together they made their way into the streets of Davnor, still helping Ch’dau, though he seemed to be able to get his feet under him a little better with each alleyway they put between them and the clutches of the Undolithe estate. They eventually found themselves resting against a building in one of those alleys, attempting to find some breath before moving forward.

“Have you any quarters in town, Bladesinger? I have a place close to here if we need it. It should work for now, but it isn’t great.”

Aranwen shook her head, "I've none," She replied, "I only arrived to this city today. If you've a place, I'd appreciate being some place low profile myself."

Kith nodded and pushed herself off one wall and into the door on the other side, fumbling with the picks hidden in her armor, “My place is very close, I should say.” With little effort the door swings open to a few stone steps leading down into a dark cellar. She swayed a second at the realization that sleep would soon be upon her, but shook her head for now and turned back to the other two and the bladesinger’s mixed expression of question and strain.

The three gingerly made there was down into what the others could now see was a wine cellar. Kith lead them to a wall with a thin mat against it, and she and the Syl lowered Ch’dau onto it. She then trudged back to the door and made sure it was locked, lowering a wooden bar in place as well. When she turned back only the question remained on the woman’s face.

Kith leaned back against the wall and slid down next to Ch’dau’s head, “When I first arrived in Davnor, I needed a cheap place to stay, so I stole several of the most expensive bottles of wine from this cellar, stashed them quickly, and then returned to the storefront as a customer.” She took out the dagger she had lent to Ch’dau and examined the worn handle as she spoke, “As you can imagine, they were in a bit of disarray, why, they had just been robbed of their retirement plan! Well Shinara’s favor shined down on them that day because I just so happened to work in finding things and people, at a price or for a favor.” She untied the sheath at her hip and continued, “Long story short, I took care of those who had wronged them and returned their prized possession. I am truly kind, you know. And they were so happy, they offered me the world, but a humble traveler and smile-finder like myself, I simply needed a place to stay. They couldn’t offer much, but it’s home. I must simply remember to put the bar down when I am here for the night.” Kithran placed the sheathed weapon on the Kazari’s chest. Whether he was conscious or not was a mystery, but he was alive and she was grateful.

"Very resourceful," Aranwen complimented with a chuckle, "I see you know your way around the night quite well, and how to make a space for yourself."

She tilted her head back against the stone and closed her eyes, “I apologize, bladesinger, I cannot stay awake much longer. Thank you, for--” a big yawn muffled the rest of her words and as her head began to tilt into sleep, she mumbled, “Ah, you may call Kitheran . . . or Kith . . . if you must.” And she was gone.

Aranwen's golden eyes widened for a moment in shock, "Mith-" But she paused, averting her gaze and she shook her head realizing she had misheard, "No. Kithran," She looked back and gave a gentle smile, "Rest, young one," She offered to Kithran in whisper.

She looked between Kithran and the Silver Cat, slumbering peacefully, "She looks so young," Aranwen mused, "For a Syl to adapt and learn so quickly to night walking and subterfuge... but why are you here, and not home in Sylvari?" She wondered, before she regarded the kazari, "And you, Silver Cat, what path did you tread to see you here? A captive?"

Aranwen shook her head, "What a strange day it has been."

After she was sure the others were asleep, she looked at Kithran once again, "I know it's not her, but... are you influencing my path from the forest beyond, Sae?" She whispered.

Aranwen did what she could to tend to both Kithran and Ch'dau's remaining wounds, doing what she could not to wake them. She was left with no more supplies to treat her own injuries, but hers were far less than theirs. With that done, let herself rest against the opposite wall, placing her sheath in the door's handle to bar it closed, before allowing herself to succumb to sleep.

* * *

When the others awoke, they'd most likely find Aranwen checking and replacing their bandages.

"Good morning," Aranwen offered, her golden eyes mostly looking relieved to see neither of them succumbed to their injuries.



Posted on 2019-10-15 at 19:02:21.
Edited on 2019-10-15 at 19:03:56 by Reralae

breebles
#1 Kibibi
Karma: 37/1
1129 Posts


Little Kithran Pt. 1 of 5

1st Day, Weitoor, 432 E.R., Calestra, Coria, The Gate of Marches

“You got it wrong again.”

“Oh, did I?” Randel Aldeath glanced back at his daughter, lounging in the shade of his covered cart as he steered them into Calestra. This was the grandest city in all of Antaron, as far as he was concerned. A beautiful, living, breathing city, so full of life and opportunity.

“Yes,” the seven-year-old didn’t even give him the dignity of looking up from her new Syl doll as she patronized him, “It’s supposed to go, ‘take me and my air, my heaven, my beat.”

“What did I say?”

She mocked him in the deepest voice she was capable of making, “Take me and my hair, my cousin, my teat.”

“Yes, but I created the song. Shouldn’t I reserve the right to change the words or tune as I go?”

She finally tilted her head as far back as it would go so she could glare upside down at his back, “No.”

He grinned, nodding to a busy passerby, “And why’s that?”

She went back to flipping the doll in various acrobatic movements, “Because it’s not fair.”

“Not everything is fair, Kithran.”

“I know . . .” the doll landed on its head on her stomach, “but I can’t sing with you if I don’t know the words you’re gonna use.”

He chuckled, “I suppose you’re right. That is a very good point. Alright, you win again my clever little peanut.” He heard he snicker at the endearment, “Once we’ve completed a song, we won’t change the lines, deal?”

“Deal, big peanut!” She giggled.

“You enjoyed that one, huh?” Randel glanced back again in time to see her and her doll nodding profusely.

“It’s much better than ‘sassy corn’.”

“Well, you were being a very sassy corn that day, I don’t know what else I was supposed to call you.”

Kithran jumped up and spun around, nearly tripping over her new blue dress as she did so, and grabbed onto the back of Randel’s jacket when the cart lurched, “I have never been a sassy corn!” Using her grip on his back to steady herself, she jumped up to sit beside him and was immediately distracted by the grandeur of Calestra, Quin’Aire, the Alabaster Castle, rising before them to the north, “It’s so big.”

He nodded, “And beautiful, huh?” Randel tugged the horses around a right corner and the impressive figure of House of Bells stole Kith’s attention for a brief moment, before another wonder came into view.

*   *   *

Her father always told her to stay near, but how could she be expected to think about what was near with the world of the Calestra marketplace open around her? Every merchant, every trader, every artisan, mercenary, mother, child, noble, everyone knew that you could find anything in Calestra, if you simply sought it out. Wares came not only from Coria, but from countries all across Antaron, even Sylvaria sometimes.

And so Kithran wandered, unaware of both her surroundings and how far she had stepped away from her father’s stall. Not that any of that mattered. Glass and gems glittered at her, dolls danced around her, and hawkers screaming pitches for their products above her. Calestra was the greatest city in the world, as far as she was concerned.

As she made her way through the swaths of locals and tourists, consuming the wares of the incredibly gracious merchants, a bright red glint caught her eye from a few stalls down. Kithran locked eyes with the item, and dodged through legs and angry adult swipes to a stall selling what seemed to be some fancy wines. The owner was busy with their customers, but it wasn’t the wine that had caught her attention. It was an intricate trinket, hanging with many others, on the side of the stall. The bottom half of the item was an awkward silver cone shape, but the top half was a ring of multiple red stars, all inlaid in a silver encasing.

It was beautiful. The most beautiful item Kithran had ever seen at least, and the half-Syl stall owner was still so busy. And so was her father, who would never even consider giving her the money to get something so lovely and rare anyway.

She looked to her left, and looked to her right, and when she was sure no one was looking, she reached for the item. As quickly as she could, she snatched the trinket from where it hung and shoved it into her pocket. Her heart raced, but she looked left and right again and the coast was clear. She had only to disappear back into th--

“Hey!” A young voice shouted from above her, and she looked up to see a much taller boy sitting atop the stall, pointing a long, sharp knife at her, “I saw that,” he squinted and as he leaned forward she saw his ears were long and pointed as well, “put it back now and I might not kill you.”

She raised her empty hands up in protest, “Put what back?” More afraid of getting into trouble with her father than the boy’s threats, she glanced around. It was still mid-afternoon, the sun was high and the market pathways were crowded, “I haven’t do-” she jumped back into a particularly dense group of people and sprinted off. Dodging more legs, more wayward swipes, and the calls of people she left behind, Kithran slowed after a minute or two. Huffing for breath, she reached into her pocket, pulling out the multi-starred trinket . . . the twelve-starred trinket. It was going to look so nice at the head of all of her other secret trinkets.

“There you are!” The same lanky, red-haired Sylvari boy appeared before her and Kithran hopped backward in surprise, shoving the trinket back into her pocket and catching herself on the skirts of a woman behind her. The pale boy eyed her high and low, noting the irregular bumps in her pocket and pointed the large dagger at it, “Come on now, girl. Give it up.”

The woman Kithran had run into pushed her aside and looked down at the young Sylvari, “And what is going on here? Put that weapon away boy, look around here. Do you think your master would be happy to know you’ve injured a patron, or any of these potential patrons? You’re wearing his crest, for gods’ sakes.”

The boy’s violet eyes narrowed as they turned their search on to the woman and the two attendants on either side of her--both of whom carried full new bottles of Cinderfell’s Red Wine, the fiery waterfall crest of his master’s there plainly on either bottle. Sudden recognition cleared the irritation from his face and he sheathed the weapon, coming to a rigidly straight position and bowing before her, “I sincerely apologize for the trouble, ma’am, I truly wish you no harm, and my master would surely punish me should I have brought any discomfort to you in the least,” With his head down, Kithran slowly attempted to back away behind the kind woman, but a scarlet-clad hand kept her in place, “That child has taken an important trinket from my master’s stall, I wish only to return it to him.”

“Please, child, stand up straight and look at me when you speak. Good.” She turned to Kithran, “And now you. You’ve been lucky enough to be spared this boy’s blade, empty your pockets.”

Kithran’s small face scowled up at the woman swathed in red, and was still unable to run away. The lady was gripping the back of her collar so tightly. Instead she looked angrily back into the Sylvari’s strange violet eyes and shoved her hands down into her pockets, but there was nothing there. She looked down and didn’t see the trinket anywhere, but turned her pockets inside out all the same.

“See?” The woman said, "you must have been mistaken."

The boy scowled this time and took a furious step toward Kithran, “Why did you run then?!”

She looked down, “You scared me.”

The woman watched the boy visibily deflate, but before she could say anything to diffuse the situation further he took another, lighter step forward and put his hand on the little girl’s shoulder, “I am sorry, I guess I must have been wrong. I don’t know how to make it up to you but, I guess, if you ever come by the stall again I’ll get you a new wine bottle plug myself! Is that okay?”

Wine bottle plug? Kithran was glad she was looking at the ground, because the look of confusion on her face would most certainly have given away her deceit. Instead she just nodded.

The boy stood again, “Okay, good. Ask for Castien. Or Cast, I guess, if you must.”

“Thank you Castien,” the woman replied, “I’m sure our little friend here would love to take you up on that some day. What is your name, girl?”

Kithran looked up again, the hesitation in her voice now becoming real and not just an act, “Kithran.”

“And I am Tara Ikhari, a Laughing Maiden of Shinara.”

Cast’s eyes grew wide for a moment, before bowing once more and taking his leave. Kithran too had attempted to slip away, but the Shinara maiden still had a grip on her. Before Kithran could say anything however, Tara crouched down beside her and pulled her stolen . . . bottle plugger thing out of her sleeve, “Kithran, darling, do you believe in luck?”

Kithran’s attention was engulfed by the majestic item, and she slowly reached for it as Tara slowly drew it away from her, “I dunno, yes.”

A grin touched the side of Tara’s lips, “Very good, because she seems to believe quite a bit in you.” As Kithran grasped for the item, Tara flicked her hand down, easily dodging her advances, and padded her on the nose with the cone of it.

Thrown off-balance for a second and almost falling into the rose-colored Maiden, Kithran caught herself and glared back up at her.

Tara laughed and held the stopper upright, presenting the ring of the twelve red stars. Kithran graspped at it again and caught nothing but air as Tara flipped it to the side, and then back up again, “This is the symbol of the goddess of luck, Shinara, of whom I am a Laughing Maiden.” Dodging another of the little girl’s swipes, she chuckled and tapped her on the forehead with it this time, “Persistent, aren’t you?”

Kithran stands back and Tara can see her eyeing her escape in lieu of her failure to procure the lovely wine bottle stopper. The Maiden held out her hand, letting the stopper rest free on top, “The Scarlett Mistress has looked favorably on you today, Kithran, and I am sure it will not be the last time.”

The little girl’s black eyes are skeptical as she stares at the trinket in Tara’s hand. She reaches out, slowly, and the palm stays put. In a flash she snatched it free once more and hopped back so that the annoying woman would not be able to take it again. She wasn’t entirely sure how the lady had gotten it in the first place.

“If you’re ever feeling lucky, or are ever in need of some, the Long Gamble will welcome you as one of their own, as long as you carry that pendant on you.”

Kithran looked down at the silver prize in her hand and her hopes lifted, “I thought this was just a thing for wines?”

That is, yes,” Tara stood, “I am, of course, speaking of the pendant on your lapel, darling.”

The girl looked down to find a more intricate, more finely designed version of the red ring of stars encased in silver attached to her lapel. These stars were not the uniform red of the stopper, but each a different shade, from the lightest pink to the deepest, darkest crimson.

“I hope to see you there soon, little Kithran,” and with that the Laughing Maiden faded into the crowd, leaving Kithran to try to figure out how to get back to her father’s stall on her own.

She really should have stayed near, she decided.

Luckily, she found him before too long.



Posted on 2019-10-15 at 23:11:30.
Edited on 2019-12-02 at 01:00:50 by breebles

Eol Fefalas
Keeper of the Kazari
RDI Staff
Karma: 455/28
8013 Posts


Rage and Recuperation

The last things Ch’dau recalled with any true clarity were Kithran’s weight lifting from his chest, the golden eyes of the bladesinger, and the bone-built spider legs probing through the broken window some two stories above. There had been some vagaries, too, about needing to get to his feet, but the very effort of the thoughts seemed to have sapped the last of his strength… At least, he purred inwardly as the dark fell over him, I will die, here, and not on that monkey-bitch’s pyre…Then, for a time, the pain was gone and, somewhere in that void, The Silver Cat of Coria was content in the fact that he had deprived the witch of her victory. He floated, heavily it seemed, toward the Hunt and, though he couldn’t see through the blackness, Ch’dau was sure he heard voices calling from close by…

“…help me with him…”

"Up you get, warrior. I won't relinquish you to death."

“The witch… she was torturing him… found him in a cage…”

“…Hm, Silver Cat?.. we need to stop…”

…These were not Kazari voices, he realized, but still seemed somehow familiar. The floating stopped and, as it did, he tried to see through the dark and identify the source of the voices. There was pressure, then, and the pain returned; dully, at first, but more intense as the compression against his wounds increased. Blackness gave way to a misty gray as his eyes came open and, from out of that haze, a face appeared. From that face, delicate and commanding all at once, a pair of golden eyes blinked at him and a voice that matched the visage echoed.

"Stay with me," it told him, "Hear my voice, and feel your breaths…”

“Ka… ka’yana’a ho’dari… sa’lama… N’ka Rr’sala s’firi,” he rumbled in reply, desperately trying to focus.

“…Slow your breaths, and breathe; the fight is done."

He attempted a nod but it felt as if his head hand only bobbled weakly, instead, and, though he complied with her direction, the wounded kazari was unable to keep his eyes open any longer. “As… you say,” he murmured as he slipped back into oblivion, “khatun…”

Again, in the folds of pain and exhaustion, Ch’dau was nebulously aware of voices and, at one point, the sounds of battle, which surrounded him. Then, once more, he felt as if he was floating. This time, though, as the soaring sensation persisted, his feet managed to find ground beneath them and he staggered sleepily along when he could. After some time plodding through the dark, propped up on either side by forces he could feel but not see, the half-drifting sensation came to an abrupt halt and, again, whispered voices floated to his ears…

“…quarters in town, Bladesinger?..”

“…only arrived to this city, today…”

“…place is very close…”

…There was the faint sound of a creaking door that followed and, shortly thereafter, floating, falling, and, at last, true sleep, as the soft voices lulled him into it with whispered tales of which he could make no sense.

*******

His slumber was restful, for the most part, but there had been fitful places in which remembrances of the witch’s attentions, the confines of chains and cages, and the stalking of monstrous spiders chased his thoughts. It was in the midst of one of these disturbed dreamings that Ch’dau came to the realization that he was not, as yet, dead and that he still needed to fight on. The press of skeletons about him, with their red pin-prick eyes and ever-grinning fleshless faces, drew closer, backing him into a corner and, just at the edge of that sea of bones… tik-tik-tik-tikkity-tak-tik-tik-takktiy-tik-tik-tik-tak… a true horror waded his way.

His weapons were gone, he realized, and the situation in which he found himself seemed futile, but he was a Kazari and the very last thing he would do would be to lay down and be given unto The Hunt without a fight. Snarling, his teeth bared and claws extended to their fullest, he crouched at the ready and beckoned the press of dead things closer. “Come,” he growled, a challenging roar welling in his chest, “and I will take you all with me!!!”

The skeletons reached, the spider reared, and the Silver Cat roared, his claws slashing madly as he dove into the fight…

“Easy!!!”

…The sea of skeletons began to melt away and, somewhere in their midst, a pair of golden eyes peered back at him, and slender, flesh-covered hands raised in reassurance…

“You are not there,” the soothing voice called, “You are here. Hear my voice. Feel the ground beneath your feet.”

…In a blink, the bone army was gone and a confused Ch’dau found himself in yet another stone walled room, facing, not the dead, but a living, breathing Sylvari. She was clad in intricately worked leather armor, a fine blade sheathed at her hip. Her golden eyes, gentle yet commanding, peered pleadingly at him from beneath the fringes of her wild, oaken hair… Bladesinger?

“You are here,” the Syl said soothingly as the Kazari’s eyes darted about the place, “you are safe. You must rest, Silver Cat. Your wounds need to heal.”

…In surveying his surroundings, his claws still extended and his chest heaving from the ragged, rumbling breaths that escaped him, Ch’dau’s eyes found another, darker shape crouched just out of his reach nearby. This one, too, had her hands raised, indicating she was no threat and trying to assuage whatever madness had overtaken him. Black eyes blinked up at him from the familiar face and an uneasy grin spread across her lips…

“Whoa, there, cat-beast,” she said from behind that smile, “easy, it's me. Kith good, remember?”

“Kithran?”

The darker shape nodded; “Yeah.”

Ch’dau’s claws slowly retracted and his stance loosened, his blue-green eyes sliding back in the direction of the Sylvari woman. “You,” he rumbled, “you are the Bladesinger I heard?”

The Syl nodded, as well; “I am.”

It was then that the Kazari became aware that his wounds had been bound and an almost shuddering sigh escaped him as, at last, he relaxed in full. He surveyed their surroundings with a calmer eye, then, and, after a moment, sat himself down on the thin mat he found beneath his feet. “Forgive,” he rumbled, wincing as he sank onto his haunches, “I… I thought…” He shook his shaggy head, then, and chuffed out another sigh as he took up the dagger at his feet. “Where are we rrow’ka? What has happened?”

((OOC: Sorry that took so long. Between the hack attacks on the Inn and an ongoing outage at work, I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to work on this yesterday. There it is, for what it’s worth, though. I’ll leave it there for you ladies to pick up and run with as you wish.

P.S. For the record, not that I’d expect either Ara or Kith to have understood, the delirious rumbling that Ch’dau did in his own tongue earlier on translates roughly as “I am inspired by your strength peaceful one… But I am called on this journey.” ))



Posted on 2019-10-17 at 07:52:29.
Edited on 2019-10-17 at 09:18:33 by Eol Fefalas

breebles
#1 Kibibi
Karma: 37/1
1129 Posts


Cellar Talk Collab

The wagon rocks gently and she lays on her back, staring unseeingly up at the herbs thrashing about from the ceiling, the jars lightly clanking, strapped as they are to the shelving lining the walls. She’s humming a tune she’s been working on, and watching as the sun breaking through the cracks above her illuminate brief clouds of dust, swirling about the cabin.

* * *

She sings it to him, and when he has the tune he harmonizes with her, and the smile she feels spread across her face as he does makes it nearly impossible for the words to continue to fall from her lips, so he kisses them instead.

* * *

He is tearing at her, an undead, relentless, skeletal, beast in a rotted uniform that whipped around wildly from its mutated body. Wake up Kithran. Its claws dug deep into her as it ripped away at her dress. Its red pin-pricked eyes and maw laughing at her, laughing at her screams, at her pain. Time for you to go home. It lifts her blood-streaked arm in one hand, the talons of the other breaking the skin at her neck, and with a curdling giggle it bears its rotted teeth and rips into her arm.

* * *

Kithran shoves the creature at her side away from her, drawing her dagger, the other missing from its place at her side, “Wh-who, what are you?!” Her entire body protests as she forces it up into a crouched position, an instinct for survival being the only thing keeping her from collapsing.

Aranwen does not fall back as far as Kithran might have liked, taking the momentum and softening it with her knees, until she's crouched in a similar position as Kithran. She offers a gentle smile, holding her hands outstretched even as she keeps a grip on the bandage roll in her left hand so it doesn't fall to the floor, "Good morning, Kithran," she speaks with a calm voice, "Relax. Rest. I am only wrapping your wounds. You haven't been moved. You are safe."

She squints as both the creature and memories from the night before begin to take form. The bladesinger. The Sylvari.

Kith closes her eyes and wills her heart and her breaths to slow, turning her back to the wall once more and wincing as she slides back down. After a moment she looks over to the warrior and holds out her hand. "Thank you, bladesinger, you saved our lives. I can manage my wounds from here. I prefer to do it myself."

"Ah," Aranwen looked away in slight embarrassment, "Are you sure?" She asked, "I apologize if you do not like being touched."

Kithran sighed, “I do not, but if you must in order to keep me on this dismal plane, the gesture is much appreciated.”

Aranwen passed the bandages to Kithran, before sitting back on the floor, resting her chin on her hands as she watched, "In all the haste last night, between departing that keep and your passing out, I realize I never gave you my name," She noted, "I am Aranwen Galandel," Kith nodded in acknowledgment and Aranwen tilted her head in thought, before she asked, "Were you also captured and brought to this city?”

Kithran finished the wrap on her arm and looked over at the Syl, “No, not at all. I traveled here from Coria at word of some wizards offering some thousands in reward for some book.” She lifted up a hand and wiggled her fingers, a small smirk on her face, “I’m usually fairly good at procuring lost or wanted items, but as you might imagine, this was a bit of a different experience than I am used to.” She tilted her head towards the fitful Kazari, “That is how I met the fuzzy warrior here.”

Slowly, Kith willed herself to stand to see how that felt, gazing back at the bladesinger for distraction from the discomfort, she asked, “And you? How did you come to be here?"

Aranwen breathed a sigh, "That's a relief to hear," she gave a chuckle, "Never know what might be in a book, or how well protected it might be," she observed.

Aranwen paused a moment then asked, "Following a path, I suppose," she replied, "I generally avoid this land, but this time around I was targeted by slavers who thought a lone Sylvari was an easy target. I overheard them speaking of a buyer, which I reasoned was in Dravnor."

She shrugged her shoulders, "Bit of a long shot, but if I can cut the head off that organization, maybe, maybe it will..." she fell silent before she shook her head, her golden eyes refocused, "I'm just glad you haven't been attacked. Even if you are skilled with blades, I'd rather that not be a risk for travelers, especially young Syl."

Kith stopped in her stretching and narrowed her eyes at the bladesinger, "Do you mean me? I am no Syl." She paused, glancing once more at Aranwen's ears and irritatedly touched her own, "The only thing my mother left me was a bit of blood. I am only half-Sylvari, I hope that does not disappoint you."

Aranwen frowned, but it was not a look at Kithran, her golden eyes distant as she processed what she had just heard, "Left? Left?!" Closing her mouth, she set her jaw, her eyes steel, "I cannot fathom abandoning a child," she muttered, her voice cold before she took a breath, unclenching her hands. When she looked at Kithran, her eyes were gentle around the edges, "She disappoints me. You deserved far better. I am sorry."

Aranwen's eyes then looked to the side, distracted by movement, and it is just as well, as even though Kith had opened her mouth to reply, she wasn’t sure how to respond to such sentiment. The bladesinger stood up, "Stand back," she warned Kithran, "Your friend is stirring. It does not look the stir of a peaceful awakening."

Kithran looked down at the rustling Kazari and jumped back, noticing then what Aranwen meant. Ch’dau thrashed violently, shifting so hard the momentum took up up to his feet, “Come,” he growled, his eyes open but not seeing either of them, “and I will take you all with me!!!”” And he roared, the sound monstrous in the confines of the small stone cellar.

She took another step back as he swung madly in the air and felt Aranwen move swiftly in front of her, careful not to touch the thief, but still protectively before her. In the midst of the Kazari’s rage, her soothing voice cuts through the air, “You are not there,” Aranwen tells him, “You are here. Hear my voice. Feel the ground beneath your feet.”

Kith watches clarity fall slowly over Ch’dau’s demeanor, and she can’t help but be reminded of the grace with which Aranwen’s song tore down those guards from the night before. Calm, cool, steady. As the bladesinger continues, Kith walks out beside her, holding her empty hands up before her.

“You are here,” the Syl woman continues, “you are safe. You must rest, Silver Cat. Your wounds need to heal.”

Ch’dau’s eyes still dart around the room, his posture still nervous, though not so frantic as he seems to realize he is in a wine cellar, and not some witch’s dungeon. His eyes finally fall on Kith, and she grins back at him, “Whoa, there, cat-beast, easy, it's me.” She makes the motion of stabbing a dagger through her head, “Kith good, remember?”

“Kithran?”

“Yeah.”

She watches his claws retract and relaxes as he does, “You,” he looks to Aranwen, “you are the Bladesinger I heard?”

The Syl nodded, as well; “I am.”

And with that the Kazari gave a great sigh, “Forgive,” he rumbled, wincing as he sank onto his haunches, “I… I thought…” He shook his shaggy head, then, and chuffed out another sigh as he took up the dagger at his feet. “Where are we rrow’ka? What has happened?”

Kith sat back down in front of him, her grin now one of delight, “First, be sure not to lose that again,” she gestures to the dagger he picked back up, “It was my very first, and I would hate for something to happen to it.” She then gestures to the room at large, “And you are in my humble home.” The majority of the tale being told from Aranwen’s perspective, as she was the only one fully aware of what had happened after Ch’dau had decided to throw Kith out of a window, the bladesinger and the thief recount how they came to be in a dark wine cellar underground.

As the story concluded, Kithran looked back and forth between the two warriors, both incredibly different in stature and style, both so powerful, “So Kazari, Bladesinger, what are your plans from here? I have a few of my own, but I think we could all benefit from the help of the other. What say you?”



Posted on 2019-10-17 at 21:01:22.

Reralae
Dreamer of Bladesong
Karma: 135/12
2295 Posts




And with that the Kazari gave a great sigh, “Forgive,” he rumbled, wincing as he sank onto his haunches, “I… I thought…” He shook his shaggy head, then, and chuffed out another sigh as he took up the dagger at his feet. “Where are we rrow’ka? What has happened?”

Aranwen shook her head, giving a warm smile at the Kazari, "There is nothing to forgive; you've harmed neither of us," She reassured him.

Kith sat back down in front of him, her grin now one of delight, “First, be sure not to lose that again,” she gestures to the dagger he picked back up, “It was my very first, and I would hate for something to happen to it.” She then gestures to the room at large, “And you are in my humble home.”

"I am Aranwen Galandel," Aranwen introduced herself again for Ch'dau's benefit, "For my part, I had only begun scouting in the city proper, when my attention was drawn to a skeleton attacking a civilian couple. I followed its path, and those of other stray skeletons until I came to the keep you were both at. By convincing the gate guard that I was part of the city guard investigating the skeleton outbreak, I got inside, and got to the inner courtyard, though not unscathed with the skeleton groups I had run into," Aranwen recounted.

"Then the window above me shattered, and you both fell through it. Though you told me to take Kithran, I knew that to leave you was to let you die, and I was not about to accept that outcome. Between both of us, we carried you away, stopping only long enough to bind your most grievous of injuries," Aranwen continued, "Once we got out, Kithran led us here. Both of you fell unconscious about as soon as you were no longer standing. I saw to your injuries as best I could."

Kithran looked back and forth between the two warriors, both incredibly different in stature and style, both so powerful, “So Kazari, Bladesinger, what are your plans from here? I have a few of my own, but I think we could all benefit from the help of the other. What say you?”

Aranwen nodded, "I would welcome assistance with my search," She admitted, "I am trying to find the head of a snake, so to speak. Someone who holds great influence over the buying and selling of slaves in Dravnor. Sylvari, in particular, seem to be targeted by those seeking to ambush travellers for coin in exchange for selling their lives," Her golden eyes hardened briefly, then she nodded to herself, "It isn't much to go on, but I'd rather make the attempt than give up without trying."

Left unspoken was her other target. However, she had no intention of bringing these two into her personal vendetta. Besides which, even if she found the one called Morgana, or one of her black masks, what did she even intend to do? The thought troubled her.

"That said, I've no reason to believe that this metaphorical snake has any inclination to move, so I am in no hurry," She noted, "Your troubles on the other hand, they seem very much in the present, don't they?" She asks



Posted on 2019-10-17 at 21:36:09.

Eol Fefalas
Keeper of the Kazari
RDI Staff
Karma: 455/28
8013 Posts


And then there were three

 “…Forgive,” he rumbled, wincing as he sank onto his haunches, “I… I thought…” He shook his shaggy head, then, and chuffed out another sigh as he took up the dagger at his feet. “Where are we rrow’ka? What has happened?”

“There is nothing to forgive;” the golden-eyed Bladesinger reassured him with a shake of her head and a warm smile, “you've harmed neither of us.”

“Good,” Ch’dau muttered softly, turning the dagger over in his paws and studying the intricate metalwork on its scabbard.

Kith sat herself down in front of him, then, a delighted grin on her face as she gestured at the blade in his hands. “First,” she said, “be sure not to lose that, again. It was my very first and I would hate for something to happen to it.” She gestured to indicate the space about them, then; “And you are in my humble home.”

I prefer humble to hostage, he mused just before his mind registered what she had said about the dagger. The expression on the Ch’dau’s face when he looked up at her was a mix of surprise and amusement. She was offering to let him keep the blade. Among his kind, such a thing was a great honor. “It will never be far from my hand so long as I live, Kithran,” his tail waved and his ears twitched in the kazari equivalent of a smile, “My thanks.”

“I am Aranwen Galandel,” the Bladesinger offered, then, drawing the cat’s attention.

“Well met,” the kazari nodded, “I am called Ch’dau.”

He listened intently as Aranwen recounted her version of the events that had brought them all to be together in the here and now. He recalled taking Kith through the window but, even with the Syl’s telling of the tale, Ch’dau was unable to form clear pictures in his mind of much that had happened after. The fact that this lone sylvari woman had come to their aid in the midst of the hell that was Adedre’s estate, though, struck him as more than impressive. The admiration of her prowess and her assistance gleamed in his eyes as her tale neared its end…

“…Between both of us, we carried you away, stopping only long enough to bind your most grievous of injuries,” Aranwen said, bringing her narrative to a close, “Once we got out, Kithran led us here. Both of you fell unconscious about as soon as you were no longer standing. I saw to your injuries as best I could.”

Ch’dau chuffed appreciatively, taking stock of the myriad bandages that now dressed his wounds; it was not the work of a khr’dun or one of the human clerics who hand tended him during his time with the Wyverns, but for what amounted to battlefield dressings, it was work well done. “You have my thanks, Kh’ur Aranwen Galandel,” he purred, bowing his head respectfully, “for both Kithran’s life and my own.”

“So, Kazari, Bladesinger,” Kith piped in, her gaze flitting between him and Aranwen, “what are your plans from here? I have a few of my own,” she continued, “but I think we can all benefit from the help of the other. What say you?”

Settling his shoulders against the wall at his back, Ch’dau gave Kithran’s question some consideration. Plans? Had I any true plans, he mused, they would involve finding my way back to Capasha, as they ever have… The thought brought a faint scowl to his face, though, as he recalled the numerous times that Kh’ur Roddric had pointed out what the denizens of Antaron called The Titan’s Walk, telling him tales of how impassible the reefs were… That is not bound to happen anytime soon, though…

"I would welcome assistance with my search," Aranwen offered as Ch’dau contemplated, "I am trying to find the head of a snake, so to speak. Someone who holds great influence over the buying and selling of slaves in Dravnor. Sylvari, in particular, seem to be targeted by those seeking to ambush travelers for coin in exchange for selling their lives," Her golden eyes hardened briefly, then she nodded to herself, "It isn't much to go on, but I'd rather make the attempt than give up without trying.

That said, I've no reason to believe that this metaphorical snake has any inclination to move, so I am in no hurry," She noted, "Your troubles on the other hand, they seem very much in the present, don't they?"

An honorable mission, Ch’dau thought with a nod, his gaze lingering on the Bladesinger for a long moment, and, given what you have done for us, assisting in its completion is the least I can do to repay that. His attentions slid toward Kithran, then, and his shulders rolled against the wall, giving the impression of a faint shrug. “My plans are yours, rrow’ka,” he rumbled, “where you go, I will follow.”

He regarded the dagger in his hands – the only weapon he had aside from those with which Khr’a had created him – and, then, considered the blood-soaked loin-cloth girding his hips. Something of a chuckle chuffed out of him in the wake of that inventory. “I fear that to follow either of you, though, may bring you both more trouble than it is worth,” he said, hefting the dagger in one hand, “For now, this is the only blade I have and this thing,” he gestured distastefully at the stained and tattered cloth, “the only bit of concealment. It has been my experience, since arriving on your shores, that most do not appreciate or tolerate monsters inside their walls, let alone walking their streets. My presence is apt to bring much unwanted attention and interference.”



Posted on 2019-10-18 at 10:57:33.
Edited on 2019-10-18 at 11:16:22 by Eol Fefalas

   


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