"No Place for a Lady!"
Then anticipating what type of rhetorical response Septimus would make in reply ... the Mercenary added:
"No Place for a Family ... Either!"
Rex cradled his whip and gently placed Whoa Nellie in her proper place with the rest of his family ... then headed for a nearby alley ... throwing a quick ... but furtive glance ... back towards Septimus as he spoke briskly:
"We Need to Make Ourselves Scarce ... and find your Lady Evani ... before she gets herself into Trouble!"
There was a look of abject misery on his countenance as he glanced up to the gaily coloured streamers of sunlight that rained serenely down on their heads. Gloom hung over his persona like a pall; he tramped listlessly after the Mercenary, his boots sending up soft puffs of dust in his wake. He looked over to his comrade, an apathetic and almost pitying expression in his eyes. He could have quite cheerfully killed him. It must have been a coincidence, he surmised after goggling at him for a moment, that in times of intense stress, people communicated only by stating the very obvious. He had no idea what that was supposed to accomplish, and perhaps it was not meant to accomplish anything. It was simply a way of continuing contact, of extending some slight form of comfort.
He nodded faintly, his lips tightening into a grim line. A flash of worry transformed his stolid features for a second and with another, dismissive gesture; he turned on his heel and padded towards the main webbing of the streets where he promptly lost himself. It was labyrinthine, this city, and oddly unfamiliar, the streets a confusing tangle of dead ends and cross-ways, each of these looking suspiciously alike. Growling obscenities beneath his breath he traced through the main artery of the city, exhaustion beginning to hamper his progress.
It was only by a spot of luck that he managed to find her.
He had collapsed wearily against the side of a building for a moment of relaxation when the sounds of complete chaos reached his ears from a nearby street. He leapt to his feet in surprise and took off like a shot towards the source of the din, his long strides carrying him forward with terrific speed.
He had barely had time to register the presence of Evani.
Side-stepping away from immediate harm, he instinctively employed his fertile mind, carefully evaluating the situation. One harmless old man and a number of potential aggressors. There were three of them; he observed at a glance, wiry, nervous types no doubt accustomed to the assault of the ancient, the young and the weak. Fine, none of his concern at the moment. He moved cautiously around them, not hindering or helping their getaway until he had reached Evani`s side. “You gave us a bit of a fright”, he murmured, finally turning his head to regard her. He smiled disarmingly at her, masterfully concealing his concern.
A sudden noise effectively brought his attention back to the three scoundrels as a strange creature seemly appeared out of nowhere and leapt upon the vagabonds. The pirate lord watched, taken aback. He had never seen this creature before, and hadn’t the foggiest idea what it was. It was a person, of that he was sure, and although small, was almost certainly dangerous. He only wielded a broomstick, and cut a comical figure, but the fire in his eyes and the strength that thickened his neck and shoulders demanded that he be taken seriously. However, he was outnumbered and sensing an unpleasant encounter, Septimus stepped forward and grabbed the peculiar little fellow by the collar of his shirt. The pirate unconsciously grimaced at the filth that clung to the dwarf but managed to gently tug him out of harm’s way.
Keeping one eye on the criminals, he ducked his head closely to the dwarf’s level. “I admire your bravery, warrior, but tis not your day to die. However, cully, if you are absolutely determined to go down fighting”, he whispered, slipping effortlessly into corsair slang, “I suggest you get yourself a proper weapon”. He drew his pistol and angled the handle towards the dwarf. “Might as well spook them off. And by the way, no worries about borrowing it, mate”, he muttered, his eyes flickering up to the dwarf’s, cold as a lion’s.
He nodded towards the criminals and grinned.
“It will get returned to me…sooner or later”.
Posted on 2008-06-17 at 22:23:41.
Edited on 2008-06-17 at 22:38:07 by Septimus Sandalwood
There was a Method to his Madness ... this Rex ... the Reckless ... who only had mere moments ... to jolt Septimus from the depths of despair ...
So the Mercenary made his way further into the dark alley way ... until Septimus could no longer blindly follow ... suddenly spurred from within to find his lost love ... the lady Evani ...
Rex waited only long enough for Septimus to distance himself from all awareness of the Mercenary tracking him ... as Rex patiently viewed Septimus desperately searching for Evani ... serving as his unknown protector ... should more adversaries attack the wanted man!
Rex chose to remain hidden in the shadows of another alley ... when Septimus finally found his lost love ... and an unexpected ally ... in the form of ... a dingy dwarven warrior ... armed only ... with a broom!
She knew the look of lean and hungry longing, the look of rewards and cold coins tha blind true sight. Knew the look of desperate men and desperate times. She knew these things as surely as she knew the feel of the road beneath her feet, or the sky above. Knew them as surely as one who knows the sun will only set to rise again. Evani knew and was not afraid. She knew the weight and feel of the gun in her hand and the spead of its bullets. She knew the click of its mechanics and the cold calm comfort it provided her.
In the tavern, before fleeing, she had withdrawn her weapon. She held it still, concealed by the folds of the dress, and smiled bequilingly again. The breeze moved the strands from her face and lifted them away. With the sun behind her, she could have seemed almost divine, if not for the look of determination on her face.
The men approaching were nothing to her, but that was only because she did not know them. If she could avoid killing them, she might learn something of the city's underground, the way it worked and moved, the ways in. If they wewre going to survive this place, they would have to go underground for a bit.
"Come for a bit of a lark, have you," she chuckled. "Bit of sport?"
Holding her breath she waiting till the closes one was within reach and grabbed his arm, pulling him against her. With his back against her, she pressed the barrell of her weapon to his throat and turned with him, making sure all around had a clear view of her new position.
"Now then, my friends. I should tell you that if you take one step towards me, your friend here will find himself decorating my dress. SO this is how it works. I ask, you tell. "
She stared at the faces and began her inquisition. She filed away the answers and
Evani had it now.
"Who sent you?" She listened. "Who controlls the city's criminals?"
Evani felt each beat of her heart thump against her chest, felt the blood pounding in her veins. "And th city? Who controls the city itself?"
She filed them away, the words, the information, the knowledge she was gaining. She pressed the barrel of the gun harder into her hostage's throat. "Now where can I find Corfsand? Tell me, or I kill him now where he stands."
But even as the words were out of their mouths, the sounds lingering only a moment in the air, the man in her arms reached for something just as Septimus took her side and she finally caught sight of the dwarf.
Criminals. Scourge. She thought of the old man, robbed of his wares, and the temple guardians of her youth, and the idea that Shaben had set into motion events he could not have forseen falling this dire. She thought of the people working so hard to survive, and how men like this made it impossible to live safely. And in the end, it did't matter what reasons these men had.
"Oh, hello dearest. Have you brought Reckless?" She turned her head, offering her cheek to Septimus' lips, and as he turned her head, Evani fired.
Posted on 2008-06-21 at 02:15:46.
Edited on 2008-06-22 at 02:30:34 by Glory of Gallifrey
The men react badly to Evani talking to them, they had a laugh at it and didn't answer but there worded response was this.
"So you can stay quiet and less harm will come to you then.
As she grabbed one of them and held the gun to him the others did not recognize it as a weapon, on Lantan they would have known but here they didn't.
They just laughed at her demands, including the one she held who even joked about 'this one being a feisty lass'. On Septimus' appearance they fled, they had not seen him before but he was the stuff of legend. They knew of his past and word that he was returning had preceded him, him, the one who cheated death, the one who escaped Lantan unscathed, he, the very man who had let his rescuer be taken by The Emerald Enclave.
The one Evani had stayed still, it was best he didn't struggle though he didn't know why. She killed him in her arms. The dress was ruined.
He grinned ferociously at them; green barbarian eyes alight with strange fires. A soft chuckle escaped his lips as they scrambled to be out of the range of his lethal cutlass. Not bothering to follow them he turned back to the dwarf and winked, returning his pistol to its rightful place at his side. A deafening gun report sounded, and without a flicker of an eyelid he glanced up as his love released the luckless thief from her grip. Tilting his head in curiosity, he padded forward, an odd little expression playing on his lips. He shook her head in mock disappointment. “Ah, my dear, you went and spoiled your lovely dress”, he exclaimed softly.
Lightly he knelt beside the fallen criminal, turning the body over with a single deft movement. The sight of the corpse would have turned the stomach of a lesser man, but never Septimus.
He calmly surveyed the battered face for a moment.
“Poor creature”, he intoned, a hint of compassion in his voice. “You did not flinch when she placed the pistol to your head, did you, my poor little fool? Almost as if you did not recognise a weapon for what it was…” His voice trailed off for a moment and he stared into space, deep in thought. And then he was himself again, busily searching the body for any valuables. A rusty sabre hung at his waist, which Septimus removed and placed to the side. The loot taken from the old man had been scattered, but he had no interest in extra shine. Checking his accoutrements for other weaponry, Septimus rose with the sabre in his hand and kicked the carcass sharply out of his way.
Calmly he sauntered back over to the dwarf, and appraised him coldly. “You, little warrior, are obviously very brave", he whispered. "Very brave and very foolish. But foolish or no, your courage is something I have not seen in many men.“ He handed him the sabre. “It is a humble blade, but you will find it a great improvement on your previous weapon.“ A smile softened the harsh weary lines of his features and for a moment his eyes seemed almost kind.
“We have need of brave men”.
“I came alone”, he said, finally regarding Evani. “However, I doubt that he is not nearby. He has a habit of being there when I least expect it.“ He shrugged. “Pity I had to come along and disrupt your fun, milady”, he muttered gently. “I presume that the townscum did not give you any relevant information?” His shoulders slumped slightly and he sighed. “Anyway”, he stated with an attempted note of cheer, “we, apparently have found a new ally”.
“Your name, sir”, he inquired softly. The grim, intimidating man was obviously trying very hard to be friendly. He had found in his heart a sort of grudging admiration for the dwarf, fired by curiosity.
Another smile touched his lips reluctantly; by habit more of a scowl.
“I mean you no harm on this day”.
Posted on 2008-06-26 at 00:03:40.
Edited on 2008-06-26 at 11:59:48 by Septimus Sandalwood
Mot swung his broomstick fiercely at the thief, however this time, it was not the person's knees that cracked; his poor weapon snapped in two when the once sturdy stick hit flesh. And that's when things began to go downhill for the dwarf, seemingly alone (none of the attacked, including the red haired angel, seemed to be coming to his direct aid) he was facing three men, including the one he just attacked who now wielded a knife. Though the man's first attack slashed the small dwarf, it didn't cut too deep and Mot was able to fight through the pain. Drawing his own utility knife, Mot stabbed at the attacker's dagger wielding hand disarming him.
He didn't aim lethally of course, his good heart did not want anyone to be hurt for no need; these men didn't attack the woman yet. Thus, Mot was about to pick up his broken broomstick and throw the pieces at the assailants, but a man, one he had not seen before, turned him around and spoke a few words to him, nearly handing him what seemed to be an oddly carved piece of wood. About to take it from the man's grasp, the dwarf instantly turned his attention to that of the auburn haired woman. She held one of the thieves in her arms and held a similar piece of wood in her hands, this time pointing at the neck of the attacker.
Mumbling a few words to each other, she obviously grew impatient and all was soon replaced by a shattering boom; one like he had never heard in his life! Frightened, he turned towards the man that spoke to him earlier, but he was again frightened by the intensity of his green eyes, staring at what was the assailant. He turned from the red haired woman, to the green eyed man, and to the woman again. He was unsure what to do in face of this other worldly power, but stood his ground, for he would not leave sight of the woman he would protect with his life.
The tall man then turned to Mot again and spoke to him, first in a very harsh tone. The dwarf looked into the fire of his green eyes and became frozen. However, a warmer smile grew on the man's face and melted the ice that bound the dwarf to his place. He became much more comfortable with the man. Mot heard the word "brave" often in the man's speech. He knew a little what the word meant from talks of sailors on the docks, but he did not know what he spoke of. Again the man showed his kindness by handing him a weapon; a cold, sharp sword. He had never seen one so shiny before, and he knew that this weapon was much more deadly than his broomstick. But he held on tight to his broomstick handle and held it in his opposite hand.
The dwarf looked up and smiled at the man. Green-eyes was one of the only people he knew that ever spoke so warmly to him, and he would never forget that, for he was loyal to death. As he stared up at Green-eyes, the tall man spoke a few more words to the short figure. The dwarf noted "name". From his time at the docks, he knew what he was being asked of and he stood proudly, pointed at himself and said "Me name Mot. Me dwarf! Me big and strong. Carry boxes!"
The dwarf stood as tall as he could in that alleyway, finally happy that he found a place to fit in.
The body fell for her, and stiffly she lowered her arms, her eyes downcast. The body was ruined; she had taken his life in frustratiom, in sport, and he was now an empty shell. Evani looked at the font of her dress, soaked through with his blood, and made a small sound.
"well, I'm not getting in to any fancy parties looking like this now, am I?"
Evani stepped over the body and surveyed the scene. She did not see the old man whose store had been robbed - no doubt he had been scared off by the shot. But she did see something that surprised her and she watched Septimus soothe the little dwarf.
"You were very, very brave, my little friend," she lauded, kneeling on the ground tso she towered over him less. She smiled, softened her tone. The poor dear looked terrified at first, but with a little gentle conversation, she hoped he would relax a bit.
"In fact," she confided, as she ran her fingersd through her hair, "I do believe I would have been in grave danger if you hadn't come to my rescue with that broom of yours. Right, darling?"
Maybe their new ally would come in useful. Time, she thought, would tell.
Rex the Reckless had silently made his way closer to his group of friends ... where he was able to both see ... and hear ... exactly what was transpiring.
Although his contract had been terminated ... by the unexpected exit of Shaben ... the Mercenary had come to a crossroads in his life ... where the only thing that mattered to him ... was doing the right thing ... for his Family!
Keeping company with Septimus ... and the Lady ... even unto death ... was what Rex decided was best ... for himself ... and ... for his Family ... along with this newcomer ... named Mot ... would make the journey ... more interestiing ... for Rex the Reckless!
His decision was sealed when the Lady fired her pistol into the yielding flesh of her former assailant ... and Rex found the reaction quite to his liking ... a bond of blood with the Lady that Rex would fight for her no matter where their path ... or destiny ... led them in the future!
Now was the time to make haste ... and ... if they were ever to survive the experience ... find a place ... a safe haven ... to solve the mysteries that were gripping their hearts ... like murderous maniacal fingers ... around their throats!
Stepping from the shadows of the secluded alley ... Rex the Reckless hissed a warning that reflected the echo of the gunshot wound that had slain the man in Lady Evani's grasp:
"Quickly My Friends ... We Must Find A Safe Haven ... Where We Can Establish A HeadQuarters ... Hidden In The Under Belly ... Of Our Enemies ... To Solve The Mystery ... Of This ... Corfsand ... And Why Shaben ... Chose The Path He Chose!"
An amused smile, fleeting as rain in the desert, touched his lips before he managed to check himself. He chuckled lightly as the dwarf stretched to his full not-so-considerable height, his head at the same level as the bottom of the pirate lord’s rib cage. He turned his head slightly and winked at Evani, stepping back a few paces so he would not overcrowd the small creature. No. Not a creature. A dwarf. His mercurial mind quickly registered this information, locking it away for future reference. His relatively jovial expression slipped a notch as Evani knelt beside their new comrade to comfort him. He paused, using all his considerable willpower not express any displeasure.
He failed, miserably.
He scanned the dwarf again, and noted, with a great amount of relief, a distraction from the awkward scene. “I see that you have earned yourself a war wound”, he remarked quietly, gesturing towards the rather painful looking gash in the dwarf’s upper arm. “Nothing life threatening, of course, but it will do for a tale, I suppose”.
He nodded for Evani to get out of the way and then gracefully dropped to his knees. With a quick flourish, he drew his cutlass, and, holding the ornate hilt gingerly with his left hand, he locked his dark, plutonian eyes on the dwarf’s. Moving smoothly and slowly so not to startle him, he cut through the bloodstained fabric and peeled it away from the wound. Affording it only a quick glance, he cut away the remainder of the fabric and then wrapped it horizontally around his bicep, staunching the minor bleeding.
Finished, he hesitated, sheathing his cutlass and viewing his handiwork with a critical eye. “I am in no way a healer”, he murmured gruffly, eyes averted, “and I cannot promise that this clumsy job will protect against infection, but it should hold you until we to get to safety”. Not expecting or desiring any thanks, he nodded curtly, his eyes again flickering up to the dwarf’s. The formally fierce eyes read ill-concealed exhaustion. He forced himself to his feet and with a rapid glance to Evani to confirm, managed to make an elegant leg.
“Septimus Sandalwood, at your service”, he whispered, barely auditable. “Captain to you, mate”. He sighed wearily. “It is a dangerous name to follow, mind, and one that should be spoken with caution”. He smiled half-heartedly.
“I’m rather…popular at the moment”.
A sudden sound caused him to tense, his hand instinctively grabbing for his weapon. Half-way through the process of drawing his blade he recognised the voice and allowed himself to relax slightly. He turned towards the mercenary, and arched an eyebrow. “Dramatic entry”, he replied coolly.
“One that I might be quite envious of”.
Following his old compatriot into the relative gloom of the ally with Evani and the dwarf Mot in tow, Septimus seemed the picture of nonchalance. But beneath the carefully neutral expression fixed upon his visage, his nimble brain was alight with a single word that burned through the tangle of his thoughts like light over a churning sea.
Somehow the concept was quite worrying.
Posted on 2008-07-05 at 22:58:05.
Edited on 2008-07-05 at 23:04:36 by Septimus Sandalwood
She stepped aside at Septimus' behest and turned her head, staring off down the street, through the street, through it all. She saw beyond the avenue to her own path, and to the crossroads at which she stood.
To feel the loss of one she killed.
To ignore the action and continue as if nothing happened.
Compartmentalize. She could compress the memory of his weight falling away from her, the feel of his blood soaking her dress...
Her dress... She was covered with the complicity of her will. She would need a new one if she was to sneak into society, and she was uncertain how much money she would need in such an affluent neighborhood as she was in. She would need cover, as well.
Weren't her things back at the inn? She could easily change into her travelling clothes and walk unstained into the shops. but what to do about the body.
"Septimus," she whispered, "the body."
It would be noticed by someone. There were witnesses. She would hang if caught. She couldn't be caught.
Wouldn't be caught.
"Let us regroup at the inn. I'll need to change but to get back there I can't be seen like this."
((Mod edit: Updated post to reflect Glory's username... Thanks for the copy and paste, Sep. ))
Posted on 2008-07-09 at 00:05:25.
Edited on 2008-07-09 at 00:12:51 by Eol Fefalas
Moments passed, long tortured moments in which Time mocked them, the passage of each second seeming to drag on weeks at a time. She felt the blood clinging to her, and it seemed as if the fabric sucked against her in a desperate attempt to suck away her soul.
She focused her mind, thought of long, wide roads through cool meadows and dark forests. Familiar things. Comforting things. Turning to Septimus she reached up and slapped him, trying to draw him out of the appearant stupor he was in.
"Snap out of it, man! Now you find yourself faced with two roads, at you standing at the cross. So you can stand here and wait fro your death to find you, or you can move your bloody feet now. But I'll stand stand here and wait for you to decide." She turned her head and stared down the alley, searching, and returned her gaze to Septimus.
"I'm going back to the inn to change and get my things, and then I will find this Corfsand, if he even exists. But while you think on your decision, think on this. How well, exactly, did you know your dear Shaben? And if you owe him your life, are you really willing to settle up right now?"
"And he saved my life, so I know what I suggest may pain you. It pains me, and I was not as close with him as you. But we must think this through, Septimus. How else would they have known to find us here?"
She turned and fled back the way she had come, unsure if she was headed in the right direction, just knowing she had to keep running.
She could not be caught. Would not be caught.
Evani was not in the practice of weighing lives against each other, but these were desperate times, and no amount of love weighed properly against her own life. In the end, she wondered if she was capable of such love, the kind where she would willingly risk her life for another. But here she was, doing just that, wasn't she? So why run?
Because she had to.
Love was nothing, at the moment, more than a distraction to her primary concern, finding Corfsand. All else would have to wait, and she trusted in love and loyalty enough that she knew Septimus would understand. If finding Corfsand and righting all of this wrongness meant leaving love behind, then she would.
Evani found her way through the maze of streets back to the inn and bolted her door shut, leaning against it as she breathed heavily. Her travelling clothes would have to do. As she stripped herself of the bloodied gown, she fingered the once brilliant fabric and smiled wistfully. It really had looked beautiful on her.
The old clothes fit against her liek a second skin, and called to her senses memories of the road, her true home. There were roads here, unexplored by her and rife with possibility. If she survived, she promised herself a horse and long, long vacation.
As Evani ran through the streets back to the inn she got some odd looks and was almost approached by two members of what might have been the guard but they seemed to see it below them.
Upon entering the inn she saw two men standing on small raised platforms, one was dressed like Shaben and was describing Septimus, he was offering gold for his return to him! A few of the 20 odd people were muttering about 1000 gold, the rest were talking about the proposition the other man was making, 2000 gold just for information about Septimus' location. The second man on the podium was dressed in a fine silk, the wouldn't look out of place in a nobleman's ball, or dance.
His mouth dropped open. He could feel a hot flush where she had hit him as the blood rose to his skin. He shook his head vigorously, dispelling the utter surprise that had him rooted where he stood. He swore, almost as an after-thought, gazing at her with wide eyes, amazed that she had the audacity to do that to him. No one dared to hit the face of a man who had killed thousands. No one. And here she was, a little bloody slip of a thing, glaring up at him with battle-fire in her eyes. He closed his mouth, a stubborn set in his jaw but his eyes were humbled.
For once, he was silent.
It was with a slight bit of dejection in his heart that he wandered down the winding roads. Evani’s back was before him, but he took care not to do anything to alert her to his presence. Like a wraith, he drifted through the unfamiliar streets, ignoring the odd looks that were granted to them by passer-by. His shoulders were slumped and his head down as he trailed after her like a donkey after its mistress, quiet, beaten, and absolutely lost.
As they reached the inn, he allowed her to go before him and then crept over to the door after her. His hand was resting on the doorknob when a familiar name was called out. He froze, adrenaline rising hotly in his blood and stood there, listening, blind to all else. A faint grimace had touched his features, hardening them into a terrifying mask. He recognised none of the voices, but at the mention of 1000 gold for his head, he felt an insane amount of anger rush into his brain.
That was all?
He smiled bitterly.
How far the greats have fallen.
Heart pounding a tribal tattoo in his ears, he waited, weighing the cost of his own life against that of Evani’s. Perhaps they would not recognise her, he thought desperately. All these thoughts and more flickered through his mind like beaten shadows, as he stood there trying to convince himself not to put himself at risk again. It was madness. It was suicidal. He sighed wistfully.
It was love.
Without warning, he unsheathed his blade and charged headlong into the inn.
Septimus charges into the inn and the crowd swiftly parts and Sep continues forward towards the guy offering 2000 gold just for information about him.
"AH! The man of the hour!"
He exclaims as he, in the same move, dodges Sept's blade and (if Septimus has his pistol in his belt) takes that and points it at him. (If Sep isn't carrying his pistol then he draws a dagger from a wrist sheath, grabs Sep's collar and puts the dagger to his throat.)
He then exclaims out loud.
"There is a fine line between brave and stupid my friend, I believe I'll be taking him back with me then Lucious."
He seems to be talking to the guy dressed in the same uniform as Shaben. He then whispers to Septimus.
"My name is Mr. C, its all you need to know, I'm a friend of Shabens. Come with me and get your 'friend' to follow."
He then marches Septimus with the (knife or pistol) to the side of his neck but when he's out he leads Septimus through the streets at a fast pace up to a humble house in the government district.