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Valucre
DarkHorse

Lost memories

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Gore shrugged, it wasn't in her nature to be needlessly cruel or wasteful with human life. She stooped down and hoisted the man upright and into a fireman carry, letting his weight settle onto her shoulders.

"Honestly I would prefer not to kill him if we don't have to, I don't mind carrying him back to town, he's a lightweight." She winked at Zafira, humor twinkling in her eyes, though perhaps lost through the slitted helm she wore.

It was true, with her very wide center of gravity, and Orcish constitution, carrying him back to town would be winding, but not impossible. Unlike Dwarves, Orcs were not natural sprinters, they were marathon runners. Didn't mean it wouldn't suck though.

"As for my armor, I can take it off for a while, I usually only wear it when I am traveling or passing through town anyway, so it wont hurt to store it at an inn for a little while. Since I conjure my weapons, it's not like I will be weaponless, just unarmored and forced to brawl." A small smile crept its way across her face at the thought, brawling was fun.

"I'll be just another spectator, watching the amazing Zafira perform acrobatic spectacles from dangerous heights. I'd be surprised is anyone would attack you while you were on the tightrope though, I doubt any of them would be able to make it out to you, and if the price is higher for your head alive then they wont cut your rope. Odds are they'll make their play as soon as you are off the rope and out of sight from the crowds."

She rocked back onto her heels, eager to depart from this place, she idly wondered where she had lost the head of the other man, had she forgotten to take it out of Lucky's saddle bags? She shrugged, probably dropped it somewhere in the forest.

 

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Zafira heaved an inward sigh or relief, she didn't care to witness the gentleman die. She was amazed at the strength Gore had at carrying him and made it seem like he was a mere sack. 

"I'll be just another spectator, watching the amazing Zafira perform acrobatic spectacles from dangerous heights. I'd be surprised is anyone would attack you while you were on the tightrope though, I doubt any of them would be able to make it out to you, and if the price is higher for your head alive then they wont cut your rope. Odds are they'll make their play as soon as you are off the rope and out of sight from the crowds."

"I'll have a good vantage point too!" Zafira smiled, "I might be able to spot anyone that is out of place or strange looking while I'm hanging around - get it? Hanging? Because I will - be - hanging?"

The dog let out a groan and shook his head.

"Oh come on it wasn't that bad!" She exclaimed, "Ok - Maybe a little - Joke telling isn't my forte."

She looked up at Lucky and judged the distance from the ground up to his back, if they wanted to make good time Zafira was going to need longer legs. And since her 4' 9" frame was not going to stretch any taller, she would borrow Lucky's. 

She clicked her tongue, "Kneel down for me so I can get on." 

He obligingly knelt and she climbed up, as soon as she was on he stood and she sat perched on his back easily. 

"Lucky listens to me." She taunted the dog.

He barked at her and his tongue lolled out of his mouth. 

"Stubborn is right." She agreed, "You ready to go Gore?" 

With a pinch of her knees she set Lucky walking forward, preferring to let Gore set the pace seeing as she was the one carrying the kidnapper.  The easy pace and her natural sense of balance allowed her to pull the musical strings out of her bag and string up her instrument. She gave it a test strum and fiddled with the knobs to adjust the sound, when it sounded right she gave it another strum and began to play. 

"Onward we walk!

No time for talk, For to town we go!

To merry make, and hearts to break. 

Where our feet tread, we do not dread,

with Gore and a dog, and our Lucky - horse!"

The dog barked and howled, she kept singing.

"I ran out of rhymes, but it passes the time

To sing a merry tune as we walk!

To town we trot to enact our plot - 

or seek revenge!" 

Lucky shook his head and snorted.

"Fine, I'll just play if you don't like my lyrics." She said with a pout, "I know they aren't the best, but I didn't think they would make your ears bleed." 

And so she did, she played and played until one of the strings broke with an ugly twang and she was forced to put it away. The silence that fell felt odd after having so much noise. It was likely for the best as they were nearing the town anyway. 

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Gore grunted her affirmation, and then they were off. She settled into a comfortable run, Zafira and Lucky trotting behind her. The weight on her shoulders was uncomfortable, but bearable, and after a little bit she could almost forget that she was carrying it at all. She had removed her helmet somewhere near the beginning, while it was a great tool to have in a battle, it was rather stuffy to wear. Fortune smiled upon them, because the man on her back groaned a few times, but never seemed to work up the strength to move much at all, probably the broken ribs.

She let herself be lulled into a content existence of one foot in front of the other by the surprisingly comforting sounds coming from whatever instrument Zafira was playing, Gore hadn't gotten a good look at it, and now that she was moving she didn't want to sacrifice her momentum to find out. She was satisfied in the knowledge that it was string based, probably a lute, or a lyre. Whatever it was, it helped to ease the passage of time, and before she had even realized that time was passing she could see the tops of the buildings poking their way through the tree cover ahead. The discordant sound of a snapping string jostled her from her trance, she winced at the sound, she hoped Zafira's fingers had been quick enough to escape harm.

She slowed to a trot and finally a walk as they neared the edge of the town, "Zafira, I'll drop this gentleman off with the Marshall, then find a room where I can leave my gear. If you want to head to the market square I can join you there, that way we aren't seen arriving together. I'll shadow you from the crowd and when you get ready to dismount, signal me by bowing to the crowd, then I'll know to head to the building you affixed your rope to."

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Gore slowed to a trot and finally a walk as they neared the edge of the town, "Zafira, I'll drop this gentleman off with the Marshall, then find a room where I can leave my gear. If you want to head to the market square I can join you there, that way we aren't seen arriving together. I'll shadow you from the crowd and when you get ready to dismount, signal me by bowing to the crowd, then I'll know to head to the building you affixed your rope to."

"Sounds good to me!" She said brightly, she saluted "Bye bye Mr. Idiot, I will not miss you." 

She guided lucky away and the dog followed. They carefully picked their way to the market square. It was still full of people and from atop Lucky she could see all around her very well. 

"Lets find us a good place to string her rope so she could walk across it. 

"Keep your eyes peeled for a good place to attach a rope." She said to Lucky and the dog. 

The dog barked and stood at a near point. It was almost too convenient....two buildings that were across the street from each other, each had a balcony that she could tie the rope to. She only had to find a way to get up to each one to tie the rope. 

"Alright, lets see what we can do!" She said. 

She walked Lucky to just under the balcony and stood on his back. Hoping she didn't draw too much attention she hopped up and pulled herself onto the unused balcony. She tied one end of her rope to it and climbed down with the other end in her teeth. She walked Lucky over to the other one, did the same and gave it a good testing tug. 

"I say!" A man called up to her, his hood was drawn up "What ever are you doing?" 

Zafira looked down at him, his bright cloak seemed to stir something within her mind. She brushed it off and climbed down from the balcony.

"That would be a surprise my good sir." She said with a wink. 

"I think you are up to no good again Zafira." He chuckled.

The dogs ears pinned back and she nearly jumped.

"How do you know me?" She asked warily.

He pulled down his hood, salt and pepper hair triggered a memory again, but it slipped away. 

"Easy Zafira it is me...." He looked confused, "Don't you recognize me?"

She shook her head and backed a step away, "Are you here to kidnap me?"

His brow furrowed, "No - are you in some sort of trouble? What happened to you?"

"You first." She said, "Tell me who you are..."

"Theo-" He said haltingly, his voice turned frantic "Have you lost your memory? What happened?"

"You - are Theo?" She looked at him skeptically.

The dog barked at her, reminding her of the flyer in her bag. She dug it out and held it up, the man on the poster matched the man standing in front of her. 

"I can't explain it all." She said, "Not right now -"

"You will explain it," he said, "And then you are coming back with me. The troupe moved on, I stayed behind to find you. Gods - I have turned this whole city upside down looking for you!"

Zafira looked around for Gore, when she didn't see her yet she looked down at the dog, he barked at her and nodded. She dragged him closer to the building.  

"This is what I know -" She said, " I was told that a few nights ago I got drunk in a bar in this town, got into a musical contest with some gentleman. I won, so I left with him to collect my prize - a 32 string Tambur. I woke up in the woods with no memory," She pointed to her scar "This, not to mention several broken ribs, this piece of crap on my back and this dog...."

Theo stared at her dumbstruck, "You - of all the trouble!"

She interrupted him before he could continue, "Gore and I ran into trouble and I got kidnapped - she got us out of trouble - but he said there was someone who is paying a hefty sum to have me brought to them -" 

He looked thunderous, "Who is Gore?! How do you know this Gore isn't the person bringing on all this misfortune!" 

"Gore healed me!" Zafira defended her, "She rescued me from the kidnappers, is helping me find you and this other person."

Theo rubbed his temples, "You are a headache Zafira." He sighed, "What are you planning to do with this?" He pointed up to the rope.

Zafira smirked, "Draw you and the kidnappers in." 

"Well - it half worked." He said, "Of all the things to do you had to go and anger an old god."

"What!?" Zafira exclaimed, the dog barked at the same time.

"Where did you find that dog?" 

"He isn't mine?" She asked.

"I have never seen this dog before." He answered, crouching down to peer into the dogs eyes, recognition flashed in them.

Theo stood, "Pan - the old god of music and celebration - He is the only creature I know that has a 32 stringed Tambur."

"Is that who is after me?" Zafira asked, "The kidnapper said it was an old rival -" 

Theo thought, he peered around her to look at the broken instrument on her back. He tapped it with his finger and pulled it back abruptly. 

"No," He said at length, "You only have one rival that I can think of that would go to lengths such as this. You should take your horse, your new friends and your rope and run - run as far and as fast as you can until all this cools down. I will come find you when it does...." 

"Who?" 

"If you lost your memories." He answered, "It is truely best if he stays lost. It is a blessing you wont remember him." 

"I would rather not be hunted down for a bounty." Zafira said firmly, "I don't think running is an option."

Theo sighed, "headstrong as ever. But I suppose you are right, if it is him - he likely won't give up....how all this is connected I am not sure but you had best be careful."

He pulled her into a fatherly hug and pushed his cheek into her hair, "come back to me when this is all done - your family misses you." 

He turned and disappeared into the crowd quickly, leaving Zafira with a strange empty feeling. She inwardly shook herself, she couldn't be rattled if she was going to perform and go through with the plan. 

She climbed up onto Lucky and looked at the clock tower - enough time passed that Gore should have made her way to the square by now. She hopped off Lucky and with a flourish and a bow began to draw attention.

"Ladies and Gentlemen!" She announced in a loud voice, "I - Zafira the Brave - am here to offer you all a front row seat to the greatest show in Valucre!"

 

 

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