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  1. Winter's Tempest

    Caliben kept walking towards the orphanage, still tensed from the feeling of someone or something following him. He has been looking around, but nothing has caught his eye or been out of the ordinary. Who or whatever it was, was very good at concealing their presence. Or it may just me becoming insane. Caliben smiled to himself as he turned a corner. To think I am still myself, after burning away my old memories. Caliben frowned, thinking upon what had happened just moments ago. But the memories that had been tethered to that house, Cerise, Hughes, Velyn. All have been sent to a inner void within his mind, even losing the emotional attachment to them. Caliben moved further, moving onto a street. He looked to find that the lamps have been put out. So early in the day? Caliben hesitated moving into the darkness, but pushed himself to descend into the unknown darkness. The orange glow from the sun had faded away, the lights emitting from underneath the doorways showed the only signs of life. I should use that new power.. But, than I can't react fast enough.. Maybe if I surge magic, back and forth. No, the time in between is too great. Caliben breathed out hard from his nose, frustrated that he did not feel any stronger with his new found abilities. More so, he felt they were insignificant in comparison to his original Aether one. He clenched his fist as he stood still. Don't tell me I lost them for nothing.. Don't tell me, my quest for strength to defeat my enemies will be at the cost of everyone I know.. Caliben spun at the sound of a rock moving behind him, he turned and surged Aether. Awaiting his assailant to make it's move. But from the motions he saw in the shadows, it was a small 4 legged creature that seemed to have scared it's self across the street into an alleyway. Calm down, no need to be that on edge. He looked forward, and saw something else coming towards him. Must be bad news.. A woman stepped from the shadows, holding a someone by the hair as she dragged her towards him. As they got closer, Caliben could see that the someone was just a small girl with blonde hair who winced from the pain and discomfort. "Is this him?" The woman pulled her up more, causing the girl to whimper in pain more as she wriggled for freedom. "Y-Yes! That's him! I saw him leave earlier when I got back!" The girl was thrown to the ground by the woman who threw a coin at her head as she smirked. "Good, this information was worth the pretty penny you said it'd be. Now, stay out of my way." The woman kicked the girl in the gut, and walked closer to Caliben who took notice of not only the woman, but a few other people on the sides with lanterns lighting up the streets. Caliben wanted to run, but was afraid of the consequence of his actions for the little girl. He cursed, but stayed where he stood. "This little one says you're Moss, I do say you look awfully like this picture here." She brought up a piece of paper of his wanted poster. touching it with her pointer finger, and tossed it behind her. "She wanted to charge an incredible amount of money for your whereabouts, but bringing you to Mr. Lyles is more important than coin." She smiled wickedly and she finally stopped, pulling out two daggers from her side and held them in each hand in a combat stance. "I'm afraid you have the wrong man, I am not this Moss. I do appreciate your compliment, as the man looks rather handsome." Caliben rested his hand atop of the pommel. Ready to strike if they suddenly attack from a flank. Caliben used this opportunity to surge Fire into his eyes. He could not see for very long, as the candle light blurred any embers. But, from what he could see in front of him. There were no more surprises that awaited him. Caliben smiled, and channeled Aether once again. "It seems to meet you look uncanny to the man, but Mr. Lyles will be the judge of this." She motioned with her head for the other members to press forward, as she inched her with closer and closer to him. Caliben frowned, he had hoped he could talk his way out of this situation. But it seemed there was nothing else he could do. He unsheathed the rapier and took the stance Aelyria had taught him, pointing decidedly at the woman. "Very true, but I have no desire to see a Mr. Lyles. you must move aside please, so no one gets killed." A gleam shone from the darkness before Caliben, reflecting what light was available around and around till Caliben moved his head to the side to dodge the blade. The knife hit the floor, but the attackers made no move to follow up. Caliben smiled. "You leave me no choice, it's my turn.."
  2. Winter's Tempest

    Caliben walked down the steps, hearing the crack of a whip from the room above. The smoke had started to emit through the cracks in the wood above, slowly swallowing the air around him, but a calmness washed over Caliben. Knowing he'll escape the grasp of the flames that grew bigger each passing second. As he turned into the foyer, the bed fell through the ceiling crashing into the ground. He didn't see Cerise in the bed, guessing she had turned to ash already. As he turned to the door, he took a long breath. And channeled the new magic into his eyes. The Fire within spread like a hot liquid from his abdomen up his veins into his eyes. Caliben's eyes burned as he kept channeling the magic into them, blurring his vision into a white heat that caused Caliben to collapse to his knees and grasp his temples. He did not scream, but gritted his teeth as the intensity continued. He could feel blood trickle down from his eyes, and the smell of burning flesh around him. He touched his eyes, but did not feel the warm liquid upon his hands, nor felt a pain radiate from his eyes when he touched. After what felt like an eternity, Caliben screamed as the ceiling started collapsing around him. The pain suddenly ceased, and Caliben shut his eyes. He cursed himself, but the heat dissipated slowly. Caliben raised himself back up, slowly channeling some of The Fire into his eyes. Before him, was a whole new world. The Fire within him burnt away any darkness in front of him. As well, his ability to see time pass slowly was now completely gone. He could finally live a normal life, or a semblance to one. But one thing was very different. When he looked around, he saw embers glowing far away, some dancing, some staying still. He looked to the side, and saw the embers moving left, than right. He could not tell if he was seeing something supernatural. He turned to look back at the fire he started, but could only see it from his peripheral. As the fire emitted light much too strong for him to handle, as though he stared at the sun. He breathed out The Fire, allowing the Aether to return once again. Caliben opened the door, and decided it was time to return to Aelyria's orphanage. He walked away from whatever was left of the house, not caring to look back upon it one more time. As Caliben turned into the alleyway, he felt an unnerving feeling he was being followed again. He looked behind him, to find no one was there. I guess we'll put this new power to use. Caliben surged The Fire into his eyes, seeing a glimpse of embers around him. But, he could not distinguish whether those lights were following him, as the remaining light from the sun was too much to bear. Caliben channeled Aether more than usual, looking around, expecting to see something out of the ordinary to come up soon.
  3. Winter's Tempest

    "Moss, you need to go." Velyn said as he walked beside Caliben heading back to the hideout from another night out scouting the area. Caliben had recently decided to pledge his loyalty to the gang at Cerise's request, whom decided she could not leave the only family she had to elope with Caliben. Which Caliben had asked her to leave with him when the time came, at first she had been willing. But over time, the idea had become more of a fantasy to them both. It had been a almost a year since Caliben had decided to live in that house, and there he was once again able to find a place to call home. Caliben reminisced of the memories he had here, but was pushed back into reality by Velyn who stepped in front of him. "Moss, are you even listening?" Velyn crossed his arms, his sword swaying in it's sheath. Caliben frowned. Annoyed by the interruption that Velyn was so good at doing, but stifled a smile and shook his head. "Velyn, I've made up my mind. I'll pay you when we get back, I promise you. The time you spent protecting me wasn't for nothing, you deserve every last coin I offered. And more so, seeing as you let me be a part of your group." Caliben patted Velyn's shoulder and tried to push past him but Velyn grabbed his hand. "This is not a request, I am telling you to leave. I've learned who you are, and what trouble you cause in your wake." Velyn spun him around, frowning with his dark brown eyes burrowed. Giving him a glare that could cut through armor, and not letting any sign of waiver show. Caliben's heart skipped, and raised his hands to shrug. "I don't know what you speak of. I was merely chased after by a man whom I had a quarrel with, and could not possibly beat in a duel." He stared back into Velyn's eyes, standing his ground as they both stayed quiet for a time. "Fine, but if you are who I think you are. You need to leave, there are whispers of someone looking for a Caliben. Who had stolen something of vast wealth, who will stop at nothing to retrieve." Velyn turned and lead the way back to the hideout as Caliben stood still, finding it hard to catch a breath. He knows.. He knows I'm Caliben.. Does that mean that THEY are now here? I thought their Thundermasters were their dogs, why come find me? Caliben gritted his teeth, wanting to run. But knew that he wanted to save them. Caliben snapped out of his trance and followed the trail to the hideout. As he approached, he found Velyn awaiting at the door. "Hughes playing a joke?" Caliben said, looking to Velyn who stared at the door. "Did you try knocking? It is a simple gesture to notify a person of one's presence behind the do-." Velyn banged on the door, which was uncharacteristic of him to show extreme emotion. "Velyn?" Caliben looked at Velyn who had a bead of sweat forming at his forehead, than looked at the door. Realizing that Hughes never has taken this long before whenever he was tasked to keep guard of the door. Caliben moved to the door to pry it open. It wouldn't budge. Velyn unsheathed his sword and tried to wedge it open. It had worked, increasing the anxiety of them both. The door was locked by multiple deadbolts, so no one could have picked their way in. As the door was pushed open, and the blood on the other side of the door was ineludible. the room had a eerie silence to it, as the rest of the room showed no signs of a struggle. Velyn raised his sword, preparing for the next shadow to leap at him as they continued towards the other side of the room. Caliben took the front, and snuck to the door. He looked at Velyn who stood ready, and nodded for Caliben to open it. Caliben opened the door quickly, and Velyn ran inside. Caliben didn't hear the sounds of ringing metal, or the breath of a person being taken away. He looked inside, and saw Velyn beside the center table with paper in hand. "Velyn, what's going on?" Velyn looked to Caliben and crumpled the paper in his fist, tossed it aside, and pushed passed Caliben towards the exit. Caliben didn't say anything, but instead scrambled to read the paper. "Caliben.." It read, in what looks to be written in blood. Was this Hughes blood?.. Caliben chased after Velyn, Knowing his identity was no longer a secret, he wanted to know everything he knew. Caliben got outside the door, in just enough time to see Velyn turn a corner. He gave chase, following him through alleyways, streets, and fences. Finally stopping to a place too familiar. Caliben's home. "Velyn, talk to me!! What's going on!?" Caliben ran in front of Velyn who had a face of stone, muttering something to himself as he walked towards the entrance. Caliben looked around, to see if anyone was waiting for them to enter. But could not find any glances, just a feeling that something was not right. Caliben saw Velyn open the door, and made his way inside. Scared, Caliben made his way inside too. The scene before him was something of a nightmare. A man in a loose robe, holding Cerise by what looked like a collar and chain across her neck. Stripped of clothes and desperately trying to escape. Another man on the ground before them, who Caliben was able to recognize as Hughes. Bleeding from a wound that was covered by him laying on his abdomen. The man turned slowly, revealing a pale complexion and a sharp angular face that was accompanied by a toothy grin. "Hughes! Cerise!" Velyn yelled, as he ran to Hughes side. His hands trembling, as he placed them on Hughes back. "What has he done to you?!" Velyn looked back up to the robed man, his hands white as he gripped the pommel of his sword. The robed man cackled softly, and looked to Caliben. "Caliben I presume?" Said the man. His name made Cerise turn around quickly, but the man reached and grabbed her by the hair. Refusing the woman to see who was there, and held her face against the wall. "Who are you?!" Screamed Velyn, who had not been given a single glance. As though he was just a piece of the background in a climax scene involving these two. Caliben stood frozen, he had no way to save Cerise. He was unarmed, as his eyes never needed him to attack with an intention to kill. He stood there, waiting for the vile thing to make his move. "Yes, it must be you. We've been looking for you. Do you know how hard it is to find someone in this city? Too much time wasted, when a better use of our life could be spent." The robed man gripped the chain, and hefted Cerise by the neck upwards. Cerise grunted from the pain, and coughed as she kept squirmed to free herself from his control. "You found me, now leave them out of this." Caliben frowned, stepping closer towards him. "Leave them?" The man smiled wider, his eyes broadened as he pointed to Velyn. "Why, it was him who had told me of your whereabouts." "YOU BASTARD! WE WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO BE INVOLVED!" Velyn inched forward his teeth clenching. Caliben looked in disbelief, feeling betrayed by someone he thought he could trust. "W-Why Velyn?.." "The price for you was whispered among us gang leaders, for any information regarding a man named Caliben who looked just like you.. I gave very little information to an Informant, and wanted to have you leave as soon as possible." "So, it's always about money with you?!" Caliben sneered, cursing himself. Knowing too well that he should had left sooner with Cerise. "No, I wanted to steer them away. I declined the money saying that the information I had was from word of mouth.." Velyn looked over at Caliben, not leaving his stance at the robed man. "No matter." Said the man. "Anyone who knows too much will be taken care of." The man grabbed Cerise by the hair again and slammed her face into the wall, making a wet crack. Silence filled the room, as the man lifted the chain. Letting Cerise slump downward, her head rolling to the side as the blood ran down from her nose to her chin, dripping on to the floor. Hughes coughed and wheezed, Velyn turned letting his sword drop. "Hughes! Stay with me!" Velyn knelt down, to try to life up Hughes, who kept coughing. Than suddenly stopped, staring at the ground on his knees with his hand covering his mouth. Caliben saw blood drip to the floor from the cracks of Hughes fingers. He winced, knowing the man would be soon be dead. "Hughes, stand up!" Velyn got beside him, to help him back to his feet. Than, Velyn knelt there frozen. His eyes wide from shock, as he looked down to see a blade entering into his abdomen. He looked to Hughes, who's eyes were glazed white. His mouth agape, as he twisted the knife slowly in Velyn's stomach. Velyn vomited bile and blood on Hughes, who did not flinch, but still showed that lifeless stare at Velyn. "Hu-" Blood gurgled out of Velyn, who tried to understand with his final moments what had happened. But fell over, choking on his own blood. Velyn had died. Caliben stared in horror, as Hughes did not remove the blade. But instead stabbed relentlessly at his victim's back with both hands. Caliben had trouble focusing his eyes, as the scene before him had hold. Focus... Focussss... Caliben channeled what energy he could, not taking his eye at Hughes who kept on stabbing at Velyn. Hitting through the bone, and jabbing at the floor beneath him. Than, it slowed. He looked away, back to the hooded man. Who still had a smile, not moving an inch closer to Caliben. I must save Cerise.. Caliben narrowed his gaze to Cerise, to see how she was doing. And a feeling of dread washed over him like a unforeseen wave. Cerise was.. Smiling? Her broken nose coated her teeth red, as she licked the blood off her lips relentlessly as it dribbled down. Caliben's stomach lurched, as he realized that Cerise was not trying to escape her captor, but was trying to make way too Caliben. Caliben lost his energy, and looked at the man. "W-What have you done to her?.." Caliben almost fell to his knees, but stumbled back into the wall where they had came. "Oh her?" He pulled hard on the chain, making Cerise hack from suffocation, but seemed to not care. Her ferocity to leap at Caliben was overbearing. "It's amazing what research can do, I simply made her mind and body.. Mine.." The man spat on her, and placed his foot down on the nape of her neck, pushing her down to the floor. Cerise moved her hands and legs in a primal way, attempting to raise herself back up. "She really is a handful, I'm sure you can agree." Caliben shook, the events before him were too much. He wanted to run, but where to? Caliben knew he had no where to go. He slowly shifted towards the door, but was stopped by the shrieking of pain by Cerise. "Oh, leaving so soon?" The man said, letting Cerise back up. "I'm afraid you will be coming with me Caliben." "No. I'll never!" Caliben leaped for Velyn's sword, taking it in his hands as he scrambled to his feet. Hughes stopped his asinine stabbing, and swept his knife in an arc at Caliben. Caliben dodged barely, biting his lip to take in energy once more. I need to calm down, or else I'll end up like them.. Caliben gripped the pommel in his hands, mimicking the stance Celyn had used before. Hughes numbly rose to his feet, and sluggishly attack Caliben. Caliben side stepped the attack, bringing down the blade across Hughes back. Hughes made no sign of pain, but instead took time to turn back around and attack again. Caliben raised the sword, side stepping the stab attempt and brought the sword back down into Hughes head. The man went limp, and fell to the floor. Hughes lifeless body seized, but Caliben looked at the man to be sure he didn't catch him unguarded. The robed man frowned, and dropped the chain to the floor. Letting Cerise free. She crawled on all fours, than jumped at Caliben who grimaced at the idea of hurting her, and dodged the attack. She landed, and leapt at him again letting out a banshee cry. Caliben closed his eyes, as he pierced the blade through her stomach. Her voice gurgled from her own blood, but was soon silenced as Caliben threw her off the blade into the ground beside him. He cried out in agony, as feelings flooded him. He dropped hiss word, and fell to his knees, looking at his hands as they shook. "Oh, don't worry. She's not going anywhere" The robed man said, as he walked to Caliben. "She's just an empty husk now. The real girl died in agony as she screamed for you, she was at first strong. But, put the right tool into the right orifice, can produce some amazing results." The man walked past Caliben, leaving him staring at Cerise who stared with white glazed eyes back at Caliben. "This is enough, I am not here to kill you Caliben. I am here to give you an idea. An idea on how futile it is to think you can stay in one place. To ever consider having a home ever again." The robed man knelt beside Caliben, and whispered words he would never forget. "Now, Run.." Caliben closed the door behind him as he entered the upstairs for the first time in many years. He swallowed what felt like a rock, as he turned to the room before him. And saw, her. Cerise, in the bed they once shared, her eyes closed, as she looked at peace after what had transpired so long ago. Caliben did not understand why her body did not wither away over time. The man must have used, Necromancy, Devilry, Occultism. Whatever it was, had taken everything from her. Caliben sighed, as he got closer to the bed. Tears ran down his cheek, as he raised his hand up palm facing the ceiling. Caliben breathed in deeply, and imagined the memories of Cerise and him. He felt them tugging at him inside his head, as a never ending headache he had endured for so long. Caliben breathed out slowly, feeling the memories whirl into an abyss within himself. His emotions that he had before, melted away. Leaving what felt like a blank state, that Caliben could not rewrite upon. And in his hands, glowed a flame. Caliben looked at the flame, and at Cerise. "Let go.." Said Caliben, as he turned and left his room in flames. The heat stroked his back as he descended down the stairs. I will become stronger, I will no longer run..
  4. Winter's Tempest

    It was already winter, and Caliben had given up trying to make any excuse to go see Cerise each day. As the gang knew by now they were an item, and could not stop them from each other as much as they could try. Also, Cerise mention that Velyn wanted to try to pry more money out of Caliben. He obliged with help supplying some income for food and supplies. But he kept a pretty close eye on his wallet to be sure that when the time came, they wouldn't have a loose end when the hiding is finally over. Caliben woke up in his new bed that Cerise begged for them to buy, as a change in the quality of life was something she always wanted since living in the pits. He couldn't say no to her, and so bought a new bed and other things to make her happy. She was incredibly happy, and her attitude each day was proof of it. The light in her step, and tone in her voice made any coin spent for her worth it's cost and much much more. As Caliben dragged himself, he shivered from the cold's bite and wrapped himself in his arms as he went to reignite the stove. He looked back at her laying in bed and smiled deeply. If there was anyone worth trying to save in this world, it would be her.. Caliben walked downstairs, grabbed his thick coat and walked out the door, doing his daily round on the street looking for work. By this time, everyone who frequented the morning ritual knew his face, as well nearly all the shop keeps there. Caliben eyed each one, and nodded as he passed. He wasn't looking for work today, but was just stretching his legs to rid of the anxiousness that stirred within. The usual kids running towards the chapel for their daily lecture and education, he made sure he kept his pockets covered, as he was fooled by one once. Caliben reached the end of the street, which was a fork in the road. He never had to make a turn here, nor did he ever feel like he needed to. Everything behind him was perfect. A place to finally call home, after all these years being a nomad. Fleeing from place to place, to be one step ahead of the Thundermaster. But no more, Caliben felt sure that the hunter had been outwitted finally. And now, all that was left to do was to finally relax and settle in for what the rest of his life may bring. "Moss, where you heading?" Caliben turned, to see Velyn. Who was by himself, but not wearing his usual drab of dark clothes. Was he not working? I would've though these people never stopped. Caliben smiled at him, and pointed across the street. "I've been trying to withstand each day to walk across the street to that pastry store. I fear the day I finally do, I'll get lost in it's delights and you'll never hear of me again." Caliben smiled broadly, hoping to get a reaction out of Velyn. Velyn frowned, and shook his head. "You know, if you want something. Just go get it. I don't think you ever had that problem before." He turned and spat on the floor, before walking away from Caliben. Did I strike a nerve somewhere? Caliben shrugged and walked back towards home, the people he had missed waved at Caliben who waved back sharply. As he got closer to his house, he saw Cerise looking out the window. He was surprised to see her awake so early, as well with the door open. She normally hated morning and cold weather. So doing both, was well out of the ordinary. Caliben had a sinking feeling as he walked inside the house heading upstairs to greet her. As he approached he was surprised by a hug from behind. Caliben held her hands in his, as he tried to relish the moment as long as he could. "So, what is the plan for you today?" Cerise asked as she made her way back to the bedroom, picking up a spare shirt to put on over hers. "Another Sunday, so lay around all day. Make food, sleep." Caliben walked towards the bed and fell back into the warm sheets. "Yes, but let's do something else Moss. We should just walk around the city, that isn't such a bad idea. It's a good way to see the rest of Union City." Cerise said, laying back in the bed beside him, smiling at the idea of relaxing and getting out of the pits. "Well, maybe just for today. I have been itching to look around a bit." Caliben said, looking up at the ceiling, trying to avoid the concerned look on his face. Is it safe? Maybe, I don't know how the Thundermaster works. He could've had eyes still looking around the City in case I should return. Caliben looked back at Cerise, and could not deny the wish she wanted. He nodded. "Let's do it, give me the tour you kept promising for sometime." Caliben moved toward Cerise and kissed Cerise.
  5. Winter's Tempest

    Months had past since Caliben had hunkered down in his hideaway house. It was unorthodox, but it started to grow on him. He joked with Velyn, asking for furniture. Since his departure doesn't seem to be coming anytime soon, in which the gang would not get the other half. Valyn laughed at first, but started to roll his eyes at the butchered joke. Caliben didn't find the joke funny anymore either, but just moving him the wrong way was a good way to start or finish any day. His daily routine by this point, was to walk the streets and find any daily work from a shop keep or farmer with his goods just arriving to town. He did not need a stable job, he had more money than he'd ever have use of. But he knew well that spending too much brought unwanted attention. So, Caliben just lived enough. But he loved it. Caliben finished making his rounds through the street, and decided to walk to the checkpoint the gang had told him to go to if he ever inquired about information. So, Caliben did. He walked to the alleyway that was between Mrs. Kliens Pottery and Mr. Gitel's home remedies. He waited in the middle of the alleyway, and made sure the coast was clear before knocking in a obscure sequence. Knocking three times from different areas of the door, and once on the top frame. A moment passed before a man opened a slit in the door, peering out and seeing Caliben. The man sighed and closed the slit, opening the door momentarily. "Moss, you still aren't safe. The Thundermaster keeps circling around the area, knowing full well that you are somewhere around here. You should just accept this and leave the city, or even consider picking up a new identity." Caliben smiled, and crossed his arms. "Hughes, we both know that I am already so dedicated, that leaving now would only bring discredit to your gang and tarnish my trust in you all. I do believe it will be a matter of time before he leaves, and when he does. I promise to pay you the other half of the deal." He reached out and patted the man's shoulder. "But, it seems today is another day I can assist you. Do you need me to pull guard duty on myself once again?" Hughes sighed, and signaled him inside. Stepping aside, to let Caliben walk in first and looked around to be sure no one was staring, than closed the door. The room was poorly lit, by just a candle on a table located in the center of the room, that was unoccupied except by the chair that Hughes was sitting on. I don't know how the man can just sit down and be able to battle sleep every day, the thought if alone brings weight upon my eyes. Caliben didn't wait to be guided by Hughes, and hurried to the door on the opposite side and swung it open. Behind it, was Velyn and Cerise. Both of them sitting down at a table, but was enjoying a morning's meal underneath the morning light shining in from the skylight. Caliben focused his energy looking at Cerise and enjoying each moment as she turned scared with a mouth full of food towards Caliben. Her hazel eyes shot wide open as the light reflected beautifully off of them. The outfit she was wearing was a traditional gang outfit. Leather vest, with belts in unnecessary places that she swore helped make the outfit easier to maneuver in. He gave a thoughtful glance to Velyn, to be sure he wasn't choking. His eyes started to strain, and let time catch up to him. "Moss! Did Hughes let you in AGAIN?!" Cerise said, attempting to swallow the food before she choked. "Didn't find a job today either, figured I could help in some way." Caliben said, walked up to the table on his side and pulled out the chair, swinging it around to sit in reverse. "It seems my presence is unwanted." Velyn ignored Caliben, and continued eating his eggs and toast. Giving a look to Cerise, as to imply to not encourage Moss. But Cerise didn't catch his look, and continued to press for more. "Oh, you think you are so important? We don't need any help, so please go and hide in that shell of yours some more. Before you make things bad for all of us." Cerise turned back to her food to continue eating. "Hey, I want to be there as much as you want me to be. But this gang wouldn't even last on it's own legs if it wasn't for my help." Caliben picked up the knife, and started to skillfully maneuver it in between his fingers and knuckles. This usually got their attention, but today was not one of those days. Caliben mid twirl, flipped the knife into his palm and threw it onto the table making it stick in place. "Or, I can thank you for your services up to this point and not pay the other half of what I owe. Which is worth much more than you all could make in a year." He burrowed his eyes, staring at Velyn as though awaiting for him to bend. And he did. Velyn stood up while grabbing his plate and walked with it towards the sink. He brushed off the extras into the mutt's bowl and proceeded to rinse the plate off of what debris was left. "Cerise is going into town to do some shopping, if you could be so kind to help her carry some of it back. It would lessen the load on the poor girl." Velyn finished, and left the plate on the side of the table, as he whistled for the mutt to come over. Cerise groaned hearing the news, and ignored the smile Caliben gave to her. "It will be a trip around the city, so I hope you didn't have any plans this afternoon." She stood up with her plate, and proceeded with the same ritual as Velyn did, but the mutt dragged itself far enough to make it to the bowl as it inhaled what was left. "I'll have to cancel my therapy session with Hughes, but I can reschedule for another time." Caliben smiled and stood up, pushing the chair back into position and followed Cerise as she left towards the storage room. "Make sure you make a list of everything we need, we don't need to make two runs this month." Velyn shouted as he headed towards Hughes to let him leave. Cerise didn't respond but started to count under her breath on the needed supplies. Caliben followed Cerise, and moved in close to her. Putting his hands on her hips, kissing the nape of her neck as she struggled to keep count of what provisions they needed. "It seems we have a long day ahead of us." Caliben lifted her hair, and started to kiss behind her ears softly. Cerise snapped around holding Caliben's hands in hers, and moved in to kiss him deeply on his lips. "Did you really even try to find work today?" Cerise said, as she backed away from their kiss and posed with her hand on her hip. "You know me, I never leave a stone unturned." He went in for a kiss once again, but was stopped by her finger on his mouth. "I highly doubt that, but I do need to concentrate on this. Or else I will need to go out once more, and Velyn will be sure to not let my distraction come with me." She smirked as she turned back to her work. She just loves to be in control doesn't she? Caliben raised an eyebrow and trailed a finger up her spine in defiance, but immediately retreated to avoid the outcome towards the door....
  6. Winter's Tempest

    Caliben pushed the door open, it made a sound of defiance, but gave way with more force. It had not changed since the last time he was here. The entrance was an open foyer, letting anyone entering feel as though they lived here. But the trick to this design, was the other rooms paled in comparison to the size of this room. The floor was coated with dust and spider webs, with no furniture for Caliben to rest upon. It was not stolen, Caliben had no intention of making this place a home for so long. By putting any furniture down, was a truth he would not accept. He looked to the stairway that lead to his room, which was all that was upstairs. The other door that was towards the back of the house, only led to a closet. Caliben always liked how unconventional this place was. A simple design, for someone trying to live a simple life. Caliben turned to ascend the stairway, his mind melting to the night he first came here. Each step he took took him further into his thoughts.. He closed his eyes, as he fell into a memory... "In here, this place." Said a stranger's voice. Caliben was pushed into a corner in an unfamiliar place, it was dark to see much of anything. But after his eyes adjusted to the dark, he could make out a couple of figures standing near him, whispering to one another. He couldn't hear what they were saying, but he could only guess it was about to protection from his pursurer that he paid them for. He cleared his throat, which caught the attention of the two, turning towards him. "Should I be worried about something?" "No Moss, everything is under control." Said a man, who made the other silhouette person turn towards him. "W-Well, it seems you are a popular individual. And may have caused some trouble for us, but we assure you. You'll be safe here." There was nervousness in his voice, but he clenched his teeth as he waited. If he comes, I can just use these two as bait and run away. Caliben didn't want to run away, he wanted to vanish. Be a new person for once, and escape the gaze of the Thundermaster who was always relentless on his pursuit. Caliben breathed out slowly, and snapped his finger to get the man's attention once again. "Why should this place be any safer? It's just a house on the corner in the Pit." Caliben said, looking to find anything remotely out of the ordinary. "It's our safe house, it has enchantments to hide from the naked eye unless you can chant the key." The man said, who had talked earlier. He could guess it was the person in charge of the two. "If you think luck has anything to do with old magic, you should really talk to a scholar." Said a woman, who was the other figure in the dark with them. "L-Luck?!" Caliben gaped, and a deep stone dropped to the pit of his stomach. I guess plan b will suffice.. The silence around them increased the anxiety in the room, as though the threat was.. "It's nearby, isn't?" Caliben said, whispering to the woman who seemed more willing to part with the truth. "M-Maybe.. Word around the gang is that it was spotted coming towards the hideout, so we had to move you quickly." She moved in closer to Caliben. "What does it want with you?" "I've stolen something, and they want it back. Or at least what they can take back." Caliben said, closing his eyes rest them before the inevitable use of them. "Must be priceless." Said the man, leaning out towards the door the came. "What was it?" Caliben smiled. "Freedom, from the institution." There was silence once more, but lasted longer than the first. Finally being broken by the sound of a rock being tossed against the wall. Shortly after the man left through the door,and came back waving his hand for the woman to come. "It's clear." Both of them stood up and exited the dark room, stepping lightly out into the the street. The man, now easily recognizable as the one with the long beard and shaved head. Ran across the street into an alleyway. "Where's he going?" Caliben asked, looking around the street, to see if anyone was peering about to find anything of interest. "To find out if the coast is clear, he is meeting up with another consort of ours through checkpoints we set up prior. If it is good, we can leave. If not.. We'll be better acquainted in our time together." She looked at him and smiled, her auburn hair coming out of place as she looked at him. He looked away as fast as he could, trying to avoid eye contact with the pretty woman. "N-Not so bad?.." Caliben stammered. It was easier to be around her in the dark, but seeing her. His palm started to sweat, and his heart started to beat quickly. He breathed out his nose, and try to get himself back in control. Yes she's pretty, but don't look like such an idiot. The man started to return, acting nervously as he looked to Caliben. "He isn't gone, but he's been very close to our hideout. I'm afraid we can't bring you back. You'll be safe here, for now." Caliben looked at the house he was in. It was small, had only one entrance that he could see. But was.. Plain. Caliben smiled, he had never had the opportunity to stay place for very long, and he could actually make that place like home. "Not a problem, I'll stay as long as I need." Caliben said, as he walked right back into the house without a word to the other two.
  7. Winter's Tempest

    Caliben walked away from the hideout, his breath frosting as it escaped. He cupped his hands together and blew. Bringing life back into his hands, as he looked around to see where he was. I’m not too far, I should be able to avoid some detection. He looked back, and did not see Aeylria following him. He was happy to see she kept her word, but was disappointed somewhere deep inside. I’m letting her get too close.. Caliben rubbed his arms together, trying to deter the cold away as best as he could. But he knew any effort would be fruitless, so he let his arms drop to the side and walked towards his destination. His Home As Caliben shuffled through the slinked through alleyways and streets, he gandered at what has and hasn’t changed. The bustling of people heading home after a hard days work, or heading to work for the long night ahead. Caliben overheard the cries of others, desperate for food or water before the day ends. As some fear the night will grasp them, pulling into an abyss of worry and anxiety. Caliben tuned out these noises, and pushed onto his destination. As Caliben turned corner after corner, the streets became familiar to him. He was starting to walk by instinct, ignoring the slight snowfall melting on the nape of his neck. The stinging cold he had once felt now ignored by the pressure building up within his chest. Each step forward felt as though he climbed up a mountain, clutching for air as he ascended the street. Caliben raised his collar to avoid familiar eyes, glancing around. When he walked past the pastry shop, he saw it. Caliben froze. Caliben grinded his teeth as he tried to move forward, but his feet ignored his commands. He cursed under his breath at his own weakness. With tremendous willpower, he walked closer to the door. Grabbed hold of it tightly. And saw the images of his wife come rushing in, as did all the emotions he ever felt in this house. The beauty of it all escaped in Caliben’s tears. Giving himself a moment, to remember..
  8. Winter's Tempest

    Caliben had touched the doorknob when he heard the sound of someone running towards him. He ignored the approaching person and opened the door. But before he could get a foot out of the door, he was swung around by his sleeve towards the person. To his surprise he saw Aeylria.. Breathing raggedly as she asked him to wait, gripping tightly. Caliben turned towards her while she let go of him slowly and took a step back. The sight before him was out of the ordinary. Aelyria. Toying with her hair. Looking nervously as she asked to aid Caliben, whatever it may be. Does she know, that I can never say no to her? He listened to her as she asserted herself beside him. Giving him reason to stay with him till he leaves. Caliben took time to prepare his response, as he saw her attitude slowly shift to a look of resolute. He knew that there was no changing her mind once she became this tenacious. He sighed, and raised both arms to a shrug. "I know you won't take no for an answer. I'll let you help me while I'm here. Although I don't see myself staying here for too long, due to my ever increasing popularity." Caliben tried to release some of the tension in the air, hoping it would allow him some time alone. He met her piercing eyes with his, as a way to assure her that he had no ulterior motive. I just need to head home, that's all I need before I sever my bonds to this god forsaken city.. Caliben sighed and turned the doorknob once again. "I will return, this place is a good hideout. I'll be sure no one follows me this time."
  9. Winter's Tempest

    Caliben caught glimpse of what looked to be an inner struggle within Aeylria. The battle of one's mind and heart is a tricky thing. Though a life driven by the heart leaves no regrets, and it seems as though Aelyria has already made her choice. She turned to him, and acknowledged what Caliben already knew to be her answer to what he said. He gave her a half smile, happy to see she hasn't lost everything to this city. He saw her turn towards the window once more, and commented on the weather outside. "It's snowing." She said. Caliben looked back outside, and nodded. Not saying a word, but knowing full well what It meant for both of them. The town they abandoned. The people they left behind. The weight upon their hearts they carry each day, knowing the burden will never recede, like a ember, faintly glowing, but ready to ignite with a moment's breath. He turned around and looked the way they came, feeling the warmth of the interior. Inviting, safe, and away from the oncoming frigid cold that will pass over Union City. "I'm leaving, tomorrow night. Not for my safety, but for yours as well. Keeping me here, will only draw wandering eyes to this place. And if protecting these children is your greatest concern, than safeguarding me is not worth the risk." Caliben breathed out slowly. Am I sad? I have no reason to be.. but why does my legs carry such weight? Caliben did not wait for a answer, for he could only guess what she would say. Caliben walked towards the door, leading down the stairs, and headed towards the kitchen. Upon arriving he was hit with what he could only describe as bliss. The girl Mikya seemed to be finishing dinner, and it smelled divine. Caliben had not eaten fresh hot food for some time, and the temptation was almost too much to bear. As he walked passed the makeshift tables, Mikya turned around, who had no chance to say anything but see the nod Caliben had given her. "Smells great, be sure to save some for me Mikya." Caliben forced a smile as he made his way through the maze of rooms and kids towards the exit. I don't want to leave, but I know there is no safe place to go.
  10. Winter's Tempest

    Caliben saw Aelyria turn from the table and signaled him to follow her, which he did. They moved away from the kitchen and ascended towards the 2nd floor, moving aside for a pair of kids running past them. Caliben caught her peek towards him as they climbed the steps upwards, listening to what she was saying, nodding to her experiences within the city. Hers similar to his, not earning enough to make ends meet. Barely scrounging enough to eat everyday, or even a decent drink to forget about ones own current state of decay. He smiled when he heard of her being pick pocketed by one of the kids, for it had happened to him as well. As they reached the top, she led him to a room packed full of beds side by side. She moved towards the window and opened the curtains, allowing the chill to enter and wrap itself around Caliben. He shivered, but soon became adjusted to it. Caliben walked closer to her, as she peered out the window. Telling him of her relation to the kids, and how they taught her the skill to hide within the crowd. Invisible to the untrained eye, leaving no trace of their crime. He was impressed how fast she had learned these skills, in the amount of time they have been separated. She really can adapt to almost anything, can't she? As he listened to her talk, she uncovered the truth of seeking out My. Lyles. She looked to him. He didn't speak out asking why, or ordering her to stop. He looked into her eyes, seeing the fire within. She turned back towards the window, moving aside so that Caliben could look out if he desired. As he accepted the invitation and approached, she spoke of Valjer, the outcome, and what will happen when Mr. Lyles makes his move into the town. She shook her head and sighed with crossed arms. "But I had nothing on him. I needed more money. I needed to learn the in and outs of the city quick. So, I needed the orphans, but I needed a job too. I found one... I found an underground crew to join. The children don't know about it and they cannot. I don't want them thinking it's okay to do what I do. They think I'm a healer who offers my trade for money to the crews. But they cannot know that, in fact, I kill for a crew." She turned her head aside, ashamed of what she had done. The capital never brings out the best, always the worst. It's where good men become sinners, and women become traitors to their own beliefs. I have seen this to be true in many people. Caliben reached his hand out but stopped halfway, gripping the pain that he had also felt in his time here. The pain from becoming someone you're not, and losing someone you loved. He brought his arm back down, and looked out towards the street. His vision of the street obscured by the light snowfall coming down, the shadows dancing in the light of the city. How long had it been, since I thought about her? I can't even remember her face anymore, let alone the memories we had shared. He let out a long breath, and looked back towards Aelyria. "Everyone here regrets something they have done in order to see another tomorrow. These kids don't understand wrong from right, all they know is how to survive. They do well for themselves, but as they get older, I fear they will be morally misguided." He shook his head. "What you do for your crew, is what was needed. But there is always a price to pay. Not something that can be bought, but something taken away. You undoubtedly lost a piece of yourself here, and you won't ever find that broken piece ever again. If finding Mr. Lyles is what drives you, gives you a sense of purpose. I won't stop you.. What he will do to everyone in that town is unspeakable, but you must be sure whatever price you pay is worth the journey." He looked back at the window, and shook his head. "I don't seek vengeance towards the man. I know I can't save those people in Valjer, I've done all I could by warning them. There own lives are now in their hands. If they stay to stand against the oncoming storm, so be it. But I will not be swept away by the tempest. I know what destruction it will bring, and I choose to submit to it's power." Caliben looked back towards Aelyria, expecting to see anger or pain in her eyes. "What you do here is nothing but throwing a rock into a river. It may alter the course, but the water will still surge some other way."
  11. Winter's Tempest

    Caliben followed the girl into the tight hallway as he heard the sounds of steps running around the rooms avoiding Caliben. He had caught some of them stealing a glance at him, but ignored their looks of curiosity as he pushed into the kitchen where he saw a young teenage girl prepping meals for dinner it seemed. He looked over to find a toddler carrying an infant in her arms, soothing the infant from having a fussy fit. Her attempts were futile as the infant started to prepare to cry at the top of her lungs. The toddler looked at the teenage girl for rescue, who turned from her duties and picked up the infant into her arms. Not a moment later, he was pushed forward as Aelyria made her way past him and took the baby into her arms. She looked to the teen and asked. "Is there anything left for our guest?" Caliben tried to interject, but the teenager replied faster than he could muster his words. He saw the gaze of the girl upon him, as she returned to her duties. Caliben looked to Aeylria who successfully defused the infant, and she asked him. "Looks like you'll have to wait until dinner unless you plan to head out into town. I'd advise against it.... But I have a feeling I'm not going to be able to stop you. Dare I ask what sort of business is important enough to come back to Union City and risk your head?" Caliben took a moment to go over his options, which she had a point. Going out and about the city at this time, would be more than dangerous. He sighed and looked to her "It seems I'll take up on your offer for dinner, but I don't wish to be a burden and eat all of your rations." he reached into his pocket, and took out some coins that should provide a decent meal for one person. But be better than nothing if split amongst others mouths, especially ones near starvation. He thought about answering her question, trying to gauge whether to tell her the truth. Knowing full well, that if someone gets a hold of her, they will do almost anything to find his whereabouts for the price on his head. But, he had a feeling she could see through any lie he could say now up to this point. He looked back at her after placing the coin on the makeshift table. "I'm heading west, after my time spent in the east. I was able to face some skeletons in my closet, that I now want be rid of. And going west will clear up what remains inside, or at least be in the right direction." He crossed his arms as her looked to the floor as though his thoughts were weighing him down. "Without going into too much detail, I was obviously not born with my gifts. But I want to understand why I am able to do what I do, and perhaps give me a normal life finally." He looked back up, but not towards Aelyria. But towards the kids who just ran through the kitchen into the hallway Caliben had came from. I don't know how I could handle all these kids, she must have a incredible amount of patience. He looked towards her and shrugged. "Well, that's my reason at least. But what have you been doing in Union City? I already know that the business here is less than the average persons moral standard."
  12. Winter's Tempest

    Caliben smiled at the witty response to her current living conditions, and impressed in thinking of using a orphanage as a cover. Well, he couldn't do it anyways. Kids were drawn to him like a moth to a flame, and with no repellent of any kind. It's not that they annoyed Caliben, but would be hard to be rid of if one would attach to him. But he couldn't help but think the response was rather vague, although he did not want to push the topic. Caliben yawned, still recovering from waking up after a much needed rest. He reached back and scratched his neck as Aelyria ask him another question. Caliben stared past Aelyria, finding answers for what she wanted to know. Yes, it will be hard to leave the city now that some people must know he is here. Worse yet, the attacks will be more dangerous and frequent. Caliben snapped out of his trance and looked back into her eyes. "You're right, I don't know how long laying low will get me. And any hunter will find my tracks someway somehow, or just not hear of me leaving the city." Caliben folded his arms, and looked towards the floor, moving his right leg while in thought. "The best bet WOULD be to depart as soon as I can. But I have some business to take care of here before I go." He pushed himself off the wall, and unfolded his arms. "And as for why I am going west, think of it as a trip down memory lane." He turned and was heading out the door, but looked back to peek at Aelyira. "You better cook me up something to eat, before I start to eat one of these kids!" He saw the kid beside the door shriek and sprinted away from him. He chuckled to himself as he walked slowly to where she went. Hoping to be chased by Aelyria, as to move there conversation from such a dilapidated room. But the hallway gave hints that the rest of the building was in no better condition, as he made way down the hall.
  13. Winter's Tempest

    Safe, I am anything but safe anywhere I go.. Caliben eyed the apple like a child whose caught sight of a pastry in a cupboard that was thought to be bare, forcing his eyes shut momentarily and focused back towards Aelyria's. at the mention of his health, he took a brief moment to see if he felt any weaker than usual. To his surprise, he felt better. He's been watching his back for so long, and getting so little sleep. He doesn't feel completely awake, but the weight on his forehead and eyes were alleviated to just his eyes forcing himself down towards the beckoning bed. Caliben shifted his eyes from the bed, back to Aelyria's again. Noting the mention of his alias name he uses here in Union City. "Caliben is my name, I use an alias for work." He stood up, and stretched his aching muscles back to life. Straining his neck from the comfortable conditions he slept on. He responded again to Aelyria. "I am just a playing field for good and bad fortune to compete on a level playing field. Bad has his moments, but so does good". He recalled the fight he had with Aelyria in the cold south, one of them resulted in good fortune, despite what the town may be going through right now. "You won't believe me when I am saying I'm just passing through, nor will you believe me if I told you that I am not seeking vengeance towards him either... No, I am actually seeking knowledge, and Union City just happened to be a resting stop on the way west. But, I was foolish to think I could make a stop here, considering that Mr. Lyles wants to speak with me once more." Caliben looked at the door, hearing the sounds of young kids playing and laughing within the building. He didn't smile, he just felt a calmness knowing the peace and caring for one another was real here. No back stabbing motives, or isolation schemes. He turned back to her, and gave her a half smile. "Why are you even here? This does not seem like the type of atmosphere I'd assume you would be at. But, you do usually surprise me." He shrugged his shoulders, and moved away from the door closer to her. Not finding a place to sit, so he leaned on the desk closer to Aelyria.
  14. Winter's Tempest

    Caliben's eyes adjusted to the dim light, rubbing his eyes to wipe away the smeared reality. Turned to his side to avoid any kind of contact between him and Aelyria, which would be impossible since he seemed to be stuck in a small room with her. He heard her speak to him, but he mulled over what he needs to do next. Knowing he is a wanted man, and not any safer being here with Aelyria. He tried to feint discomfort, which wasn't hard to do from the searing pain he felt when he twisted his side in just the right way. He gritted his teeth, and responded back to her. "I take it I can thank you for this fine handiwork?" He tapped his stitches lightly. He could not see them, but he felt the stitching was tightly in place. He positioned himself upright slowly, and rubbed his temples with both hands. Dammit, I knew going back to the bar was a bad idea.. "How long was I down for? Caliben took time top look around the room, noting that it indeed was small. Not that it bothered him any, but was surprised that Aelyria herself would be living in such meager accommodations. He assumed the woman lived in a higher society than Caliben, not some type of alley rat that takes what it can get it's paws on. This is, pretty awkward.. He turned to her with a puzzled look. "And.. Where the hell are we?" Caliben turned his head around, trying to find any familiarity, but had come up short.