Jump to content
RentedRed

Winter's Tempest

Recommended Posts

Caliben opened the doors to the Drowning Lass and peered around the tavern, making sure no one was present who could recognize him at a mere glance. Seeing that he is in the clear, he walked forward but took a hard left towards the dark corner. He looked over at Ganthik, the dwarven barkeep and owner, to be sure he did not see him walk in. A few heart beeps passed, and he let out a low sigh of relief. He leaned back into the chair, propping itself up against the wall. He took a moment to glance around, never really taking the opportunity to take in the scene before him.

The tavern was old, he remembered Ganthik said 7 Generations old, and for a dwarf, you could safely assume easily 500 years; give or take another hundred. The furnishing was all handcrafted in wood, but there was no masterwork in it. No carved details, but a few chips from earlier patrons perhaps. He looked over at the support beams, only two in the center, as the rest was a supported by the bar that was enveloped in stone. He’d joke with Ganthik back then, asking if his family traveled far and wide carrying around this boulder, until decided this was the place to stop and make a happy home. Ganthik would sneer, usually take Caliben’s drink from him. He wouldn’t say the actual history of it, but the bar itself was remarkably smooth, easily gliding drinks across the top to wanting customers.

Before he got lost in his own past, he snapped back into the present. Catching the waitress make her way to his corner of shadows. He turned more to the side, pulling his hood further across his face.

"Welcome to the Drowning Lass love, what would you like to drink?” She gave him a smile, and tried to angle herself to see a better view of the man before her. But, gave up trying eventually and gave a look of impatience. He could only guess she’s seen one too many of these dark, keep to myself, don’t bother me types.

Caliben cleared his throat, “I’ll have a drink later, but thanks.” He said in a forced coarse voice.

"Well, be sure to make up your mind quick.” She pointed to a sign above the bar he didn’t see coming in.

This tavern is for paying customers only. Caliben read to himself. He huffed, and rolled his eyes. “I’ll take a swig of brown, bottom of the barrel preferred.” He tried to get away with a drink that could nearly be free of charge in some places, hoping that would buy him some time out of the cold winter night. She frowned, and walked back to the bar to place his order.

He peered outside the window, taking notice of passerby's going about their lives. Some fighting against the cold’s bite, others not even taking a notice to chill that spreads throughout Union City.

Union City, he was he once again. Against his better judgement of course, after the events in Valjer, he knew that he would need to make some considerable distance from the man. But his pursuer was who he had feared more, the ‘Thundermaster’. He made plans to go further east after he had left the Cold South, journeying to see the other side of Genesaris, traveling all the way to ‘Sunset Way’. His time there was an adventure in it’s own way, but he once again had to leave on short notice. And after some thought, Union City seemed the best choice.

He didn’t need to wait long before a familiar voice rang through the Tavern, making him turn with a start towards the bar.

"Caliben! Don’t think you can sneak in here and think I won’t be able to recognize you with a coat over your head.” Ganthik yelled.

Shit. Caliben turned and smile, slightly raising his hand, middle and pointer closed together, waving slowly in an attempt to save what any form of anonymity he had left.  He saw Ganthik wave back, but gave a beckoning motion. Caliben sighed, and stood up, hands in his pockets dragging himself towards the bar once more.

And once again, I’m back..

Edited by RentedRed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An abrupt, loud crack shook Aelyria from her deep slumber, her eyes snapping open towards the orange glow of flames roaring in the fireplace from across the room. It took a moment for the fog blurring her vision to dissipate, the grogginess of one too many drinks far too early in the day haloing her head uncomfortably. A soft mumble of foreign curses rolled off her tongue, damning herself for giving into the elation of today’s earlier celebration with the crew. That would be the last time she ‘sampled’ another of Vinik’s crazy yet addicting concoctions. 

She squinted her eyes, blinking clear the sleepy film, and sat up much to protest of the creaking bed. A gasp nearly escaped her as the sheets fell away from her naked body, the shock of cold bombarding her from all sides except from that of the fire. Panic and confusion gripped her in that instant, the vulnerability of her state signaling her muscles to tense in defense. But just as quickly as the fear came, it was gone once she realized she recognized the demure room, having frequented it far more often than she cared to admit.

Aelyria turned her head to regard the large mass beneath the covers, a mess of ash blond hair protruding out, just barely visible beside her. As if aware of the eyes on now fixated on him, the man rolled over and flung his arm forward, reaching out to draw her back to his side. Deftly, she dodged his grasp and rolled out of the bed, preferring to risk the cold than be trapped in bed a moment longer, no matter how pleasant the lull of warmth might be. 

The man grunted discontentedly and pried the covers from his face reluctantly to see Aelyria gather her clothes that lay strewn across the wooden floor. Tye may have not been the most handsome of men she had ever met, but he had a pleasant smile that made up for the slight crook of his broken nose and a charming personality that she found endearing despite the simplicity of his mind. His dark eyes regarded her longingly as she rummaged about, trying her best to avoid them. She didn’t like the way he looked at her, the way he searched her emotions for something more than she was willing to give him. 

“Come back to bed,” Tye said as he sat up, the joviality of his tone almost completely masking the disappointment that rung beneath it. “It’s too damned cold and it’s plenty warm in here.”

“I’m late,” Aelyria said stiffly, eyes glancing up for the briefest of moments to see the sting her voice inflicted on him. She sighed and looked back down, making quick work to tie her breeches. “I’m working tonight,” she said this time more softly.

Tye frowned but didn’t move from the bed as he watched her dress to leave. “Tonight? I thought the hit wasn’t supposed to happen until next week.”

“Gareth thinks Lyle’s man will show tonight according to the chatter,” she said, slipping the form fitting blouse of her head and smoothing out any creases. “I don’t intend to miss any opportunities I get, especially considering how long it’s taken to get the rat out of his hole.” 

“Don’t you think you’re being a bit too hasty?” Tye shifted now, tossing his feet over the edge of the bed but keeping the blanket still secure around him. He never was fond of the cold. “You’re usually so particular about waiting for the right moment.”

“It is the right moment,” Aelyria chided as she buckled the remaining pieces of her leather armor together and slipped on her thigh-high boots. Plus, it’s not like I can wait any longer… It has to be soon or else. “And if he doesn’t show, at the very least I can look into a few enquiries while I’m there. This time of night, everyone will be at the tavern warming their bellies with cheap watered down ale. It’s a good opportunity.”

An audible sigh from him signaled he had given up trying to convince her otherwise. She looked up after securing her laces and offered a weak reassuring smile before reaching for her heavy cloak and tossing it on. He didn’t seem convinced, but he at least wouldn’t put up a fight. He had learned some months ago that arguing with her was rather pointless--not because she was right, but rather because it was exhaustive to even bother trying to quarrel with her especially when she knew she was wrong. “Do you want me to at least come with you? Good company and all?” He asked, trying to maintain his good humor.

“No,” she said almost a little too quickly, his eyebrow quirking up in response. “Er, no… It’s cold as Velmesh’s Soul out there and I know how you hate it. Plus, I’ll have Junai and Kelp there to back me up, so…” She cleared her throat, avoiding his disappointed gaze and quickly made for the door, prying it open and stepping outside. She turned around to regard him one last time. “I’ll be fine, but, um, thanks. I’ll see you tomorrow maybe?" She moved to close the door but hesitated, remembering. "Oh! And… Happy Winter’s Festival.” 

Without waiting for a response, she shut the door and hurried down the hallway to exit the shambling apartments. She ignored any glances she might have garnered, but they are far and few these days. Her cloak was wound tight around her to shield against the cold and served a dual purpose to conceal her attire, but even then it wasn’t uncommon to be found sporting armor in Union City. After all, as a central hub for trade and commerce, adventurers and mercenaries were found aplenty throughout the city, some going as far as to trek the streets in full plate. In addition to travelers and job seekers, even a good portion of Union City’s own residents could be spotted wearing gear all day long in addition to the weapons at their belts. It was the norm especially in places as dangerous as the underbelly where all sorts of nefarious activities took place.

The cold bite of the wind might’ve bothered Aelyria some years ago as she hustled down the cobble road, but after her time in the frozen valley of Valjer, she found it to be merely a mild annoyance. It didn’t even snow here, or at least it hadn’t yet, aside from a short lived flurry and brief ice over of the roads. Still, it was winter and the cold and festivities of the season meant packed taverns, drink-addled minds, and loose tongues. And in Aelyria’s new line of work, that meant good business.
 

Edited by Phaedara

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Caliben dragged himself towards the bar, trying to avoid any eye contact with other patrons as to keep his profile as invisible as possible. As he made his way closer, he took another look at the waitress. He didn't really get a good luck from the corner, but to his surprise, she wasn't all that heavy on the eyes. Her long black hair that shined from the hanging lanterns around, but was disheveled. He can only assume she preferred her look this way, or simply did not have time to make any other adjustments. Her face was a tad round, but had a sharp nose and thin lips. As he walked passed her, he caught a sneer from the corner of his eye from the woman. I guess she doesn't like men with deep pockets. He made his way closer, avoiding the backs and swinging mugs of others until he finally made it to the counter where Ganthik was waiting for him. 

Ganthik was a dwarf, a young one, or so Caliben was lead to believe. Pushing past his prime 80's, he was the last member of his family's ancestry. What he lacked in the family art of smithing, he had another gift. Business. Ask any question about the tavern to Ganthik, and he would always route the question in some form of how he he had saved the family treasure with his wit and inspiration. But Caliben waved it off as stroke of good fortune.

"Caliben, it warms my heart to see you are alive and well." Ganthik said, not looking at him, but focusing on cleaning the mug in his hand before placing it on the rack. "Would hate to hear you be dead, when we had so much more things to do for each other." He looked up at Caliben meeting his eyes with burning anger that Caliben could've sworn was changing to red.

"Ganthik, do you really think I would meet death so soon before I pay off my debt? I'm pretty sure the entity itself would deny me passage into darkness" Caliben gave him a half smile,hiding his intentions of not paying off his debt tonight. Yes he had the money, but his obligation to pay is what made them so friends.

"And when I pay, I promise you, I'll pay you back what this wait was worth, and more!" Caliben sleight of handed a silver coin from his coat pocket and flicked it unto the table, spinning the coin on itself. He expected a look of awe, but Ganthik slammed his hand down on the coin and dragged it off the counter, pocketing it. 

Ganthik eye'd Caliben, leaned in closer to him and whispered. "We both know what happened in Valjer friend, what you came back with is what interests me." He turned to see the waitress giving him a signal for a drink someone had requested, and promptly grabbed a mug that was closest to him, and filled it expertly, and glided it to the end of the counter stopping near the edge, not letting a single drop escape it's container. 

Caliben furrowed his eyes at what Ganthik had said, did he mean the money that was given to him? Or perhaps the wolf's fur that he was originally tasked to fetch. Or worse, the price on his head that Mr. Lyle's had put on his head from hearing of the news of his failure. He did not hope it was the bounty, but if Ganthik had heard anything, some others had as well. The thought of it, made Caliben sink back into his coat's collar and eye around the tavern once again. After the waitress picked up the drink, Caliben leaned in and talked in a hush voice.

"What do you mean? I only went south for a change of scenery." He bit the inside of his cheek, trying to suppress any muscle twitches to expose him of his lie. Ganthik looked back at him, and smirked. 

"Whatever it is, you mixed yourself with some bad blood. Surprised to hear that you had a price on you, but to go against the big cheese himself. Let's just say the price of friendship is coming to view." Ganthik shook his head, and turned around to get back to his work. 

Caliben stared into the bar, his mind racing about what he needs to do, where he needs to go. He took a deep breath and gathered aether from around himself, focusing the magic into his temples, and turned around to see the tavern before him, time slowed down considerably. Taking care to find anyone looking his direction, searching for a sign of a hunting dog catching scent for it's master. With luck, there was none. He tapped and dropped a copper coin onto the counter top and turned towards the door, fleeing the bar not just for his sake. But for Ganthik's as well.

He made it to the doors, when he saw them. Two men in fur coats, both with large frames standing up looking his way as he touched the exit, slowly getting up to trail Caliben. Caliben dropped the Aether

Damn it, coming here was too much of a risk.. I'm so stupid for thinking I could return to what I had before.. Caliben turned to face his oncoming attackers and smiled obnoxiously as he made way out the door, head last. 

He undid the buckles that held the rapier to his side, which he hid underneath his coat he had gotten from Valjer months before. And walked, looking for a place that would be away from prying eyes.

Best get this done quickly..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Although the route to the Drowning Lass took longer than it would’ve had she taken the alleyways, the main thoroughfares were safer and the absence of anonymity was worth trading to avoid getting caught unawares by rival gangs. After all, these days Aelyria lived in perpetual uncertainty all due to no fault but her own. Nearly seven months ago Tye had first shown up at her door with an offer she had desperately needed: a job. 

His offer wasn’t the typical mercenary-for-hire or honest hard labor sort of job. When she first had arrived at Union City, she would have preferred that kind of work and had not once considered the career she had now. However, it would seem she had made an impression on Tye’s employer--now her employer--with her personal inquisition to locate and expose the weaknesses of a certain black market kingpin named Mr. Lyles. She had been cautious and surreptitious in her investigation, but her mistake for not understanding the dynamics of the underground crew rivalries led to her own exposure. It had been luck alone that her mistake would end up as her greatest boon. 

Sure, working for a small ring of thieves, murderers, and thugs wasn’t ideal, but the pay was decent and as long as she didn’t snitch or steal from her own comrades, Aelyria could count on them to have her back when she needed it most. Aside from the unanticipated but fruitful bond of camaraderie, her work as a spy/hitman provided one of the best blessings of all--a reason to kill. Over time, she had proven herself an asset to the crew and was even granted a few extra liberties after winning the penchant of the crew leader, Auron. She was sure to take advantage of it whenever possible.

Aelyria pulled down her mask and breathed heavily onto her chilled fingers, having realized earlier she had forgotten her gloves back at Tye’s apartment. She cursed herself for the slip, but couldn’t work the courage to turn around and retrieve them. It hadn’t been the first time they slept together, but it was always so awkward afterwards to be around him. She once avoided him for two straight weeks after one of their drunken escapades, which was no small feat when working in such a tight knit crew. It was his fault, she thought as she glanced up at the overcast night sky. He shouldn’t have tried to say it.

She returned her gaze to the path ahead, the flat terrain of the plains of which the tall city buildings were built upon making it difficult to view far ahead from ground level. The cobblestone was dimly lit only by the aid of candle and lantern light that seeped through open windows lining the road, since the district was too poor by the city’s standards to be considered for even simple gas-lit lampposts. However, even in the low light Aelyria recognized the dark looming angular shapes of the buildings ahead accompanied by the muffled clatter of merrymaking from the Drowning Lass nearby. It wasn’t difficult to miss the shanty building with its missing roof tiles and lopsided sign, for it was the brightest and loudest establishment on the block. For all its faults, it was still the most well kept tavern in the district which spoke volumes about its dwarven owner, a man she reserved a quiet respect for even if he did seem rather stingy when it came to coin--a trait she had come to learn was the result of one too many patrons skipping out on paying their tabs. Even though the tavern wasn’t her favorite of all the ones she had visited in Union City, it did have a certain charm buried beneath all the grime and muck of its exterior.

Aelyria blew again on her hands, beckoning warmth to return to her fingertips, when she saw the door open, flooding the street with light and clamor. She didn’t think much of him having only seen the back of his head for a moment before the door closed and enveloped him into darkness once more, but it’s not like she was suppose to know every living soul that came into and out of Union City. He skirted away as she approached, but before she could reach the tavern, the door opened again. This time, two men she recognized faintly as belonging to a rival underground crew manifested briefly in the light of the open door way before they were swallowed by the darkness once more. This gave her pause and she ducked deftly behind the corner of a building as to avoid being spotted. Either they hadn’t noticed her or hadn’t cared enough to look around them before pursuing the man who had left the tavern just before, so she stepped back out into the street, watching the group disappear behind the clutter of decaying houses. 

It was none of her business, she thought with the shake of her head. There were more pressing issues at hand than to worry about some poor soul getting offed by a bunch of lowlife thugs, likely for looking at them ‘funny’. Simple minds had simple feelings after all. She walked up to the door of the tavern, rolled her shoulders to shake off the uneasy tension that seated itself there, and waltzed into the wave of heat that welcomed her inside. She spotted two men in the far corner of the tavern, recognizing them at their usual table and they waved her over invitingly. She smiled and beckoned her legs to move, but they refused, locking into place as the cold continued to bombard her from behind from the slowly closing door. Something like an itch tickled at the back of her mind, in a place she couldn’t reach and scratch. The anxious desire to relieve it swelled in her chest and throat, and her fingers twitched with uneasy anticipation. It was calling. 

Gods damn it all.

Aelyria whirled around and shoved the door open all the way, slamming it shut behind her to resist the temptation to go back inside. She turned and dashed in the direction which the men had disappeared off to, tracing their steps until she spotted them ahead. She slowed her pace and prowled after them in a soundless stride, pulling the half-mask over her face and drawing the hood of her cloak low. A knife produced itself in her hand, carefully tucked into her sleeve and out of sight, its honed edge restless for reprieve. Take a life to save a life, she chanted internally. 

She wondered how much longer she could fool herself into believing that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The sound of dirt shuffling on the ground as Caliben pushed forward through the twisting alleys, not really trying to escape his pursuers, but trying to find a place of strategical advantage. In case one of them pulled out a supriose or two, he would need any advantage he can take. As he turned left, and right, he finally found what seemed like a promising arena. The alleyway was tight to allow one man comfortably to walk through, but be a burden for two men side by side. He made his way and snuffed out the lantern that illuminated the other side of the alleyway, and walked back towards the center and waited for his opponents. He felt the knives in his boots and one hidden in his sleeve. He usually had more on him, but he's been procrastinating on retrieving the blades when used after fights, and the added weight was becoming troublesome in fights. Caliben tapped his foot in anticipation as he heard the two men cursing as they squeezed and dodged obstacles to catch up to him. Caliben reached into a sleeve and pulled out a knife that he palmed, readying himself for whatever onslaught they may throw at him. 

The men turned the corner and saw Caliben standing in the center of the Alleyway, hands down to his sides. The two ruffian looking men eyed each other and made their way slowly towards him, one man behind the other almost shoulder to shoulder. One of them spoke up as he got closer to Caliben.

"Moss, what brings you back to Union City?" The man in front said to Caliben, stopping about 8 strides away. His arms crossed, exposing his trunk like arms, and his tattoos that signified that he was part of a crew in the underbelly of Union city.

"Business, just passing through. You know I don't stay long in one place." Caliben glared back at the man, trying to figure out who he was. Was it someone I has crossed before? Or was it someone I had once worked with? Caliben never was part of a crew, but he was hired by them to help participate in jobs he needed to make it through the week.

The man uncrossed his arms and took a step forward slowly. "That's true, but I have some business involving you. There's a price on your head, enough to take a crew out of these slums and work proper. Or, enough to acquire more territory." He stopped, and jerked his head to the side, cracking the joints loudly. "Now, make this easier for us and yourself."

These men look like simple fighters, but one can't be so sure.. Caliben took a step back, and shrugged with both arms raised midway. "I've always had the interest in doing things the hard way, seems like the better option for me most of the time." He turned away from his soon to be assailants, and made his way further towards the other side. When he saw the man he was talking to brandish a short sword from his waist.

"That's to bad, I preferred this be done quickly." The man hunched down and sprinted towards Caliben at a surprising speed. Holding the blade in to the side, gripped with pommel in the other hand to be sure the strike was true. 

Caliben took in aether, and saw the man coming at him with blood lust in his eyes. He frowned and looked to the other and saw he had produced a crossbow out of thin air, or at least one that can be held with just one hand. The man fired and the bolt came much quicker, hoping to use the swordsman as a distraction from incoming death. He chose to dodge the bolt by stepping to the side, and maneuvered the knife in his hand to throw at the swordsman, who was grinning, expecting the bolt to be stuck within Caliben's torso. But his expression changed when Caliben in one motion dodged the bolt and threw the knife with power that caught the man off guard and stuck him in his right bicep. The man did not stop and grimaced through the pain as he pushed towards Caliben homing into his heart. 

Caliben inhaled sharply as he took in considerable amount of magic, and positioned himself. With extreme precision, he guided his hands and body to barely dodge the blade and grab hold of the swordsman as he pushed right past Caliben, and was twisted around into the air with Caliben's footing. The swordsman dropped the blade as he was propelled upwards, and saw the dark sky before his back cried in pain from the sudden blunt force given to him from the floor. Only a blinking moment did Caliben look over and saw another bolt was coming, but the bolt moved it's way passed his reaction point, and Caliben knew he needed to be sure he prepared himself for it. But he wasn't, the arrowhead gleamed from the lantern light as it approached. Showing Caliben the poisoned tip as it glided into his upper shoulder, and being immediately removed to prevent the spread of the toxin. He looked at the shooter making his way to him, to be sure he find out what he was just infused with.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even in the dark, Aelyria could surmise based on the area where they might be headed. Either the man being pursued was well acquainted with the alleyways, or he was running on just pure dumb luck. However, that meant the route up ahead would get more complicated and more narrow so there was a chance she might lose track of them or end up at a fighting disadvantage. After all, the two men in pursuit of the other might not seem to be overtly concerned with discretion, but she was. So, she paused and scanned the side of the building nearest her, searching for a suitable place to climb. She quickly located a sweet spot with enough ledges and gaps where bricks had gone missing, slipped the knife further up her sleeve and began to scale the wall. It had taken quite a bit of practice and persistence to become even somewhat laudable at wall climbing without the need for tools or ropes, but it was worth the bloody fingertips and having nearly broken her back to learn the invaluable skill. 

After reaching the top of the slanted roof, she dashed in the direction she last knew the men to be headed, bounding from rooftop to rooftop with relative ease and stealth. The buildings were clumped close enough together that leaping between them was no difficult task, though that didn't make the height any less daunting if she were to misstep. When she first began her chase of the men, a gentle thump had begun in the back of her head. Now, as she neared, that thump became a loud bang, drumming wildly until she could barely hear her own thoughts as the 'Urge' grasped for control, begging for satiation. She stumbled to a stop and crouched down, clutching at the sides of her head and squinting her eyes. "Stop," she hissed lowly, but with enough clout that the drumming quickly retreated like a reprimanded child, returning instead to its quiet thump, no louder than that rhythmic pulsing of blood pumping in her ears.

Aelyria stood and continued pursuit, but eventually slowed and crouched down at the edge of a roof, spotting the first man up ahead taking a turn into an alleyway narrow enough that the two pursers let their petty power-struggle over who went first slow them down. Smart, she thought while creeping forward to get a better look at the man. Slow them down if you can't outmaneuver them. It might just give him enough time to run to saf--The man stopped. Then he turned around to face the others. What the hell is he thinking? A mixture of bewilderment and curiosity strewn across her masked face and she stopped in place, eyes narrowing at the singular man. Did he come to terms with his fate? Or was this just a trick up his sleeve? Paranoia taught her to quickly search the rooftops and buildings for any sign of other crew members. It was possible this was just an ambush and she was about to stumble upon a turf war. It wouldn't be the first. But there were no signs of others, so she looked back at the man. She had to get closer, to see him. Maybe there was something to that stance of confidence he held, eyeing the other two men down as they approached him, hunger in the way they walked.

Aelyria maneuvered around the rooftops as quickly and quietly as she could manage, settling near the edge behind the man, far away enough to avoid being a target but close enough to hear and see a little more clearly what was about to unfold. 

"Moss, what brings you back to Union City?"

Shock drew her up short and she looked intently down at the man, though her position only gave her a clear view of the top and back of his head. Moss? She immediately recognized the name. It was hard to forget the name of someone with as sizable of a bounty on their heads as he did. A reward that large meant someone high up in the underground scene wanted him dead and the rumors floating around spoke of Mr. Lyles as the potential patron. There hadn't been any reason why he wanted this man taken out, but thugs and assassins don't need a reason if they are getting paid well enough. Her eyes strained against the darkness down at him. What in the world did you do and who are you?

She listened carefully to the exchange, noting that 'Moss's' voice sounded almost familiar. But she hardly had time to think on it before one of the thugs bared his sword and the other covertly readied a hand crossbow. Aelyria flicked out her wrist and let the knife slip into her hand but remained perched up on the edge. Let's see if this 'Moss' can own up to his name. Sure enough, he did. With surprise she watched the man deftly sidestep to avoid the crossbow bolt and throw a knife that struck the swordsman, all in one nearly seamless action. Then, without missing a beat, he dodged the still oncoming blade and threw the man down, with not a bead of sweat to be spared. He's fast! She thought with more awe than she cared to admit, leaning forward as if somehow that would bring her closer to the action. She didn't think the two thugs to be exceptional in any way, but the amount of precision in this man's footing and gestures truly put her at awe. It was as if he saw it all coming and could read them like an open book... Why did that seem so familiar?

Apparently the man couldn't see everything coming and was struck by a bolt that the crossbowman had hastily shot. However, Aelyria chewed over the thoughts in her head, a heavy weight in her abdomen suddenly pulling her stomach down as a realization occurred. She flung up to her feet, so overwhelmed by the thought that she disregarded her attempts at subterfuge, eyes piercing at the back of the man's head as he charged towards the crossbowman. It couldn't be him, could it? However, something else caught her eye and they flicked towards the swordsman he had left behind on the ground who was now rocking from his back to his side, attempting to work his way back up to his knees. 'Moss' seemed unaware of the man's quick recovery, his focus intent on the other thug in front of him. The Urge returned, drumming in her head. Begging, no, demanding for satisfaction. So, with knife readied in her hand, she leapt down.

The impact of her land shocked her legs momentarily, the pain resonating from her heels and through her shins. However, learning how to fall right was also part of her training, so she recovered quickly and immediately jumped on the man who was just now getting to his knees. He had no time to react, still winded enough from his throw down to not have heard her approach, so there was scarce a sound that escaped him as the knife's edge sliced open his throat, severing the jugular arteries and unleashing a flood of gurgling blood onto the unpaved alleyway floor. She let him fall back to the ground with a soft thud before drawing back the bloodied knife and flinging it in the direction of the other two men. The thug had tossed down his crossbow in favor of a blade of his own, readying himself for the confrontation but completely unaware of the situation happening behind his target's back. The knife whistled by the first man's ear and struck with a sickening wet thunk into the thug's right eye. He squealed rather pitifully and dropped the blade in his pained panic, hands flying up to find the knife and instinctively removed it. However, the problem with suddenly becoming blind in one eye is the tendency to misjudge space and distance. So instead of finding the side of the knife's hilt, he found the flat of its pummel and struck the blade further into the socket due to all his haste. The man went limp, first slipping down to his knees before tumbling forward, knife still jutting from his skull. 

Aelyria winced though it was hardly visible in the low light. That...wasn't supposed to happen. One kill was all she needed, but now she had two. She would have to dwell on that another time, for there were other matters to attend to. She eyed the man from beneath her hood, taking in the sight of him from behind. There was no mistaking that stance now, having spent weeks fighting against it while ankle-deep in snow. A smile crept on her lips beneath the mask while she crossed her arms and shifted the weight of her body onto one leg, hip slightly jutting out.

"And just when I was beginning to think maybe you were dead somewhere out there, here you are," she said, clicking her tongue in dismay. "Nice to see you're still alive. Caliben."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Caliben got closer to the shooter, paying close attention for any signs of change of his muscles or thoughts as he gripped hilt of the rapier. He grimaced, not at any pain, but the anxiety of knowing he was struck with poison, and not knowing if it was deadly or something to subdue an enemy. The thug threw down his crossbow and brandished his own sword, readying for a fight. Caliben narrowed his eyes, and was about to dash forward when a knife came out from behind, and into his peripheral. He jerked to the side, expecting another missile to follow up, but a moment to Caliben had passed, and he looked to the side, to see a ally or a foe thrown the blade which passed him right towards the thug. He moved his eyes and saw the knife just enter the man's eye. 

Caliben being surprised, let go some of the magic he was channeling and saw the gruesome end to his assailant. He was happy that the fight was over, but a sudden epiphany struck Caliben. The poison. He formed a fist and started to feel hotter than usual. He turened back to his could be savior, who stood there between him and the thug he threw down. Caliben looked over, and saw the thug was in fact very dead. Blood spilling out his throat, seeping into the cracks of the alleyway. He looked back to the killer, who didn't stand ready to fight. In fact, he or she looked relaxed. He stared intently, trying to find any sign of being someone he knew, but the alleyway was too dark to see any distinguished features. Not too long, she spoke up.

"And just when I was beginning to think maybe you were dead somewhere out there, here you are," she said, clicking her tongue in dismay. "Nice to see you're still alive. Caliben."

Aelyria???

Caliben let himself calm down, letting go what was left of the magic he was channeling and relaxing his eyes for what seemed for him to be a minute. He opened them, and smiled at her.

"Don't you worry, I seem to think death is a procrastinator." He spat to the side, and looked at the thug still twitching after inserting the dagger deeper into his head. Caliben blew out of his nose, and walked to the body and started to dig around in the thug's quiver and bag. "But, did he finally hire someone capable of getting the job done?" He looked back at her, taking notice of her garments. Assuming she was now working around here, doing jobs he once done to survive another day. "If so, I'm sorry to spoil the good news. This man hit me with something poisonous, so you won't get a good fight out of me." Caliben noticed his palms were now starting to sweat, and his head starting to spin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aelyria knelt down beside the dead thug at her feet and pressed her hand against the man's back. She had already taken a chunk of his internal energy at his death, but some always lingered behind as if the dead did not wish to fess up what had once rightly belonged to them. With a little concentration she seeped the remaining specks of essence, the sweet shock of cold running through her veins and unleashing a tidal wave of ecstasy. She was glad for the cloak and mask since it was difficult to keep the intensity of the high from her face. The transfer itself was invisible to the naked eye, and even Aelyria couldn't see the magical energies she stole from the men she killed. It didn't matter though, relief washing over her as the the thumping in the back of her head ceased. But, another dead man lay nearby and instead of a demanding thump, the Urge cooed at her softly, begging greedily for more. After all, it would be such a waste not to absorb the man's life energy--it would dissipate into nothing otherwise. She peered up to Caliben and stood.

"Poisonous?" Aelyria seemed a bit taken back by his statement as the realization hit her that she had just accidentally robbed Caliben of his chance to find out exactly what he was poisoned with. "Shit. No worry. I'm not letting you get off that easy quite yet, 'Moss'. You've got a bit of explaining to do after all..." She tore her eyes away from him as he rummaged through the thug's pockets, likely searching for an antidote or vial of the poison itself, and tossed her hood back to get a better view around her. She might've missed the bolt if she hadn't been watching so carefully from above and known approximately where it had fallen. It was lightly bloodied from striking Caliben in the shoulder, and it was difficult to discern the color of the poison in the low light. She sniffed at it, picking up the slight tinge of blood but also catching a different scent, something much sweeter. A theory crossed her mind and to prove it, she tapped the bolt's coated end with the tip of her tongue, keeping away from the bloodied area. Bitter. Very bitter. 

Aelyria turned the bolt in her hand back and forth, inspecting it. "Hmm. Probably some cheap derivative of foxglove if I had to guess. I doubt these two had much more spare coin for anything different." She dropped the bolt and wiped her hands on her thigh. "Problem is, it's kind of a crap-shoot as to the potency of it if you buy cheap. Either you'll just have a bad case of diarrhea for a few days, or you'll end up paralyzed or even potentially dead. Either way..." She glided over to him, her steps soundless on the pavement. From out of the many hidden pockets of her attire, she manifested a vial and held it out to him. "Drink this. It'll curtail some of the worse side effects, but we'll need something stronger in case. Can you walk?" Her eyes danced over him, flitting with concern. It seemed to already be taking effect on him, evident by the slight bob of his head. Not a good sign. "Please don't pass out on me. You're a great deal taller and bigger than me, so I don't think I could manage carrying you."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Poisonous? Shit. No worry. I'm not letting you get off that easy quite yet, 'Moss'. You've got a bit of explaining to do after all..." Said Aelyira, as Caliben continued to rummage through the man's goods. Trying to procure an antidote to aid him, but he was finding nothing of the sort. He dumped out the contents to the floor when he heard Aelryia talking again. "Hmm. Probably some cheap derivative of foxglove if I had to guess. I doubt these two had much more spare coin for anything different." She dropped something to the floor and wiped her hands on her thigh. Wait, is my vision going out too? Caliben rubbed his eyes, and dragged his eyes that felt like they've been weighted with stone up towards her. "Problem is, it's kind of a crap-shoot as to the potency of it if you buy cheap. Either you'll just have a bad case of diarrhea for a few days, or you'll end up paralyzed or even potentially dead. Either way..." DEAD?! Caliben tried to speak, but he choked on the words, consciously remembering to breath in and out as Aelyria walked closer to him. "D... -is.  curt- ...me of..... side effects. Walk?" He was able to focus on only the bottle before him, and he could best guess what the vial was for. He went to grab for the vial, but the sweat pouring from his hands worked against him. He squeezed the vial in his hands, before popping out of his hand into the air. He flared aether, breathing in sharply, giving off a brilliance of light in front of him. He gritted his teeth as he followed up with his other hand to catch it, his mind racing on what would happen if the vial hits the ground, how this very moment could be his last.. Finally getting to the point of contact, he grasped the antidote in his palm and squeezed to be certain it wouldn't let loose again. Before he dropped the aether, he heard it. The high pitch scream of pain, the breaking point.. For the vial. The bottle broke in his hand, spilling liquid to the floor, later followed by a dark crimson. 

Caliben dropped his aether, and the energy that kept him standing and sunk to his knees.

"This is it, I'm done for.." Said Caliben, as he stared coldly into the night, feeling death creeping up on him, pulling him further down. He flared his aether instinctively to prolong his death, remembering vivid memories of his youth, when he first came to Union City. When he was in Valjer with Aelyria and Renkor. He thought of his teacher at Sunset Way, saying the same words day after day.

"Just let go.."

Caliben closed his eyes, and pushed his magic further. Remembering his final moments with his father, the day he left his home. All being slowly swallowed by darkness around him, and than he finally did it.

Caliben let go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Velmesh! Caliben!" Aelyria scrambled to soften Caliben's fall into the ground, catching his shoulder and head but not the rest of his body. She set him down carefully away from the dead crossbowman and shifted around to get a better angle to check his vitals. His breathing was rapid but shallow and his pulse slow, but it was difficult to examine anything else without light. She reached into one of the pouches on her belt and drew out a small spherical mineral, its rough surface covered in white crystalline sugar-like particles. Aelyria cupped the crystal in her hands and raised it to her lips. A puff of warm breath escaped towards the cold air and onto the sphere. It responded reluctantly, as if the breath had disturbed its slumber and wanted nothing more but to retreat back into its dreamless sleep. But after another puff, the sphere ignited into life, glowing a bright blue-white light that sent the darkness of the alley back in terror. With a panic, she gripped it tightly after realizing it was too bright, and it reduced to a more humble glow that wouldn't attract attention to the alleyway.

Aelyria got a closer look at Caliben then, checking his pupils and finding them contracted in distress and unresponsive. "Shit. Looks like you won the crap-shoot in potency." She took a brief look at this hand, leaving the shards of glass in but making sure nothing important was severed, making bandaging it a lower priority. Right now, she had to get him out of the cold and an antidote. The progression of this particular poison seemed to be going fast and that meant wasting no time. If he hadn't found a remedy on the thug, there might not be one on him, but she knew exactly where she could get one. For now, she had to keep his pulse up, keep his body going. So, she dug into the same pocket from earlier, felt for the vial with its unique etching as all of them had to make it easier to find in a rush, and uncorked it. She lifted Caliben's head onto her lap, pried open his mouth and dispensed of the thick liquid down into his throat. With some careful massaging of his jugular, she got him to swallow by reflex and pocketed the vial to reuse later. 

For all her complaint earlier, Aelyria didn't hesitate to lift him off the ground, first pulling on his arms to get him upright before quickly kneeling down and wrapping her own arms under his armpits and behind his back. She used her free hand to get his feet in position before mustering all the strength she had to raise him to his feet and support his chest with her other hand. The medicine was working already, a bit of his consciousness restored but no more than a drunkard's state of mind. He would not remember any of this but he would be able to support himself enough for her to hobble him into shelter. "Alright, let's go. That's it, easy easy. It's not too far from here, but we don't have much time. Just don't vomit on me."

Aelyria carried him through the alleyways, her eyes fleeting from rooftop to rooftop, alcove to alcove, remaining on high alert for any hostile activity. She was vulnerable with Caliben as her visible crutch and she could only hope they looked unappealing enough to stave off greedy eyes. Luck would turn out to be on her side that night as she emerged from the alleys and onto a narrow street, not as populated or major as the one leading to the Drowning Lass, but with enough open visibility that no one dared cross them out of fear of getting caught. She grunted as Caliben's body seemed increasingly slacken as time went by, the weight of him and the lack of strength in her making the endeavor difficult. A few curious eyes peered out at them from beside some of the rickety buildings that occupied this part of town. Homeless men and women littered the streets here, though most kept to the alleyways between buildings to keep out of the wind's chill, something she wished she could afford. Her exposed head and fingers froze against the cold, stiffening and aching for warmth. As for the eyes, she knew they were no threat and would keep to themselves, either too tired or cowardly to try anything stupid.

Their destination was just up ahead and she looked down at Caliben, shifting her arm more comfortably for the final stretch. "Hold on, we're almost there. Stay with me!" Aelyria came to the three story structure, its rotting wood, broken window tiles, and mangled shingles not very promising to look at. Yet, she approached the door and very quickly rapped on the door, nearly dropping Caliben in the process.

"Marshall! Marshall!" A sliding slat on the door snapped opened, small enough to only reveal a set of eyes from behind, a pair of eyes that did not belong to Marshall. Oh great. Gideon. The eyes recognized her but widened at the sight of the man in her arms. "Open up Gideon, I can't do it myself!" The slat closed shut and after a few clicks of the latches on the other side of the door, it flew open revealing a gaunt teenage boy with ginger hair and a mass of freckles gawking at her. "Well shit, Gideon, don't just stare! Help me in!"

As if he had slapped to life, the startled boy took Caliben by the other side and together they hauled him into the entryway. "S-s-orry Aelyria," Gideon stammered, taking the brunt of the weight to much of her relief. "Is...is this one of your crew? Or..."

"Neither. I made a promise, didn't I? Business is business. Home is home," she said, looking up as a clamor of feet running to greet them drew her attention. A young girl, perhaps no more than ten years, appeared with her wheat-colored pigtails. "Kitty, boil me some water would you and take it to my room?" The girl nodded excitedly, her eyes almost unable to leave Caliben and carry out her task.

Gideon didn't look quite convinced, looking down at the man he carried. "T-then who is he? He l-looks like he's drunk but he don't s-smell it." They emerged from the entryway into an open area where a very long and large dining table and kitchen were situated, squished together with little room to spare. The girl was at the coal-burning stove boiling water, her curious eyes plastered on them as they walked through to get to a hallway just to the right.

"A friend, Gideon, a friend," she said, guiding them down the hallway. "He not drunk. Just poisoned. We'll right that soon enough."

The color on Gideon's face drained. "P-p-poisoned?"

"Yes--Oh, geez, you're not going to get sick just touching him, come on! Where's Marshall anyway? He should be watching the door. No matter, hold him for a moment." Aelyria let go of Caliben and produced a key from her pocket to unlock the door. It seemed kind of pointless to lock her door when she lived in an orphanage full of pickpockets and little thieves who would make such quick work of the rudimentary lock, but it was for the sake of the little ones that she keep it closed so they didn't get into some of the more dangerous objects inside. She was only too glad that most of them were upstairs, fast asleep for the night so they didn't have to bare witness to this. With the door open, they hauled Caliben into the modest-sized room, just large enough for a small bed, a table cluttered with all sorts of apothecary instruments and books, a bookshelf, a closed cabinet, a small fireplace which Kitty always kept up for her, even if she didn't return home that night, and a rather uncomfortable looking chair. Carefully, they eased him onto the bed and to much of Gideon's relief, she dismissed him and closed the door, keeping it just ajar enough for Kitty.

Aelyria threw off her cloak and tossed it over the chair before rushing over to the cabinet. The lock on this was a bit more intricate this time, requiring a key and combination to open. After a loud click signalling her success, she opened the doors and located among the near hundred different vials the right one for foxglove. Though these days she scarce killed with poison--it didn't satisfy the Urge very well--she kept her wares well occupied in case, especially of antitoxins. Foxglove was a common enough poison that she kept a few of its antidotes on hand, since synthesizing for it took a great deal of time. However, considering its effects were different when ingested versus intravenously acquired, she pulled a few other medicines that she thought to be useful. With a few things in hand, she sat by Caliben's side on the bed and went to work, administering the medications. Not long after, Kitty appeared with the hot water which Aelyria thanked her for but quickly shooed her away, prompting her to close the door. The wound in his shoulder was rather shallow and wouldn't suffer much infection, and neither would the cuts on his hand. 

After some time, all was mended and she checked his vitals. Breath steady, but shallow. Pulse normal but weak. Pupils dilating but still unresponsive to light. She sighed and rose from the bed, situating herself at the desk instead where she could still keep eyes on him but rest her head. All she could do now was wait. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Caliben stirred as he tried to continue sleeping, the attempt to become comfortable was failing and becoming more of a burden than it was convenient to sleeping in one. he tossed the blanket to the side, hoping the cold air would soothe his turmoil of not finding peace within the tranquil halls of his mind. But, enough was enough. Caliben sighed, and turned around to see the ceiling. A wooden rooftop that was no more than just 5? no, 6 ft away. Best not stand up to quick. Caliben hunched over, to a sitting position. Taking in the rest of his surroundings. 

He was in a wagon, that was for certain. But, although it had not much head room. It had a comfy spacious feeling, due to there being not much belongings crammed into it. He looked over his makeshift bed, just a couple blankets thrown under him, and another one as a cover. There was a sudden bump, he caught himself with his hand before he fell back into the "bed." He yelled in response.

"It was nice of you to give me a ride to wherever you were heading, but I'd prefer get there with less bruises than I had coming in to this wagon." He smiled, Maybe that will work.

Not a moment later, a voice answered back.

"Yes sir, I will correct my mistakes. Please, let me know if there is more I could do to satisfy your journey." The voice was calm, and had a heavy accent of a far eastern individual. Caliben was surprised to see one this far center of Genesaris.

His name was Joseph. A man who can glimpse into the future, and aid men and woman when help is needed. Caliben rolled his eyes at the remark when he was told of his gift, especially when he asked at what cost will it be when Joseph transports him back to his town. To his surprise, the man said nothing. "Just helping you is part of my expedition to find my inner sanctuary."

Nope, this guy doesn't seem to let insults get the best of him.

Caliben took a look outside, he wasn't able to distinguish the time. But his guess was that he slept the evening and night away, and luckily nothing had intervened to stop from his catching up on his beauty rest. He walked to the other side of the interior so he could be closer to Joseph.

"So, where are we going?"

"Sunset Way, It is a good place. They will welcome you."

"Caliben turned his head in alarm. "THEY?? Who are they?"

Joseph replied. "The others, like you. We found them walking awry, we guide them, and than they choose."

"Choose?"

"A choice, given to them by The Truth."

"Wait, truth?" Caliben frowned, he never heard of such a religion before. So it was becoming hard to grasp what he meant. Before he could ask what he meant, or what he was talking about. The wagon stopped, and Caliben's shoulder slammed into the wall beside him.

"HEY, warn a person when you stop this wagon here. Someone could have really been hurt!" Caliben supported himself back up with his hands 

"We are here. Please, leave the wagon so I can help others needing my help." Joseph sounded melancholy, Caliben headed towards the exit and peered into the vast open range. And beyond the hills, he saw a glimmer. He  didn't know which way to go, but Joseph didn't give him anytime to find out where he needed to go. The man lashed at the working animal, and started moving once again. Caliben shrugged, and decided the man must've meant that glimmer in the distance.

Caliben breathed in, and took a step towards his destination.

And fell unto the ground in an unknown place.

Caliben grimaced from the pain of hitting the cold hard floor and started to look around, noting the cold air lingering in the room as the fire pulsed life back into his extremities. He blinked, and felt the sudden sharp pain on his shoulder.

That's right, I got hit by an arrow.. 

Caliben took a moment to take in the dream he had, about how he met Joseph.

How he traveled to Sunset Way,

and where he learned magic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kitty hadn't known what to really think of Caliben at first. She had spent the majority of the night listening at Aelyria's door and poking her head in periodically, much to the woman's vexation. She'd be reprimanded sternly for prying and told to go to bed, though there was always a twinkle of amusement in those turquoise eyes which softened the blow. It was difficult to argue against the strange foreign woman who had suddenly become the caretaker of these Pit orphans, largely because they just didn't want disappoint the person who cared, perhaps even loved, them so unconditionally. So, Kitty eventually returned upstairs to bed and slept, but was among the first of the thirty-odd children to wake and rush downstairs to greet Aelyria. The woman always ran errands this time of morning--assuming she stayed the entire night as sometimes she did not--and Kitty wanted to be the first person she saw in case she needed someone to watch over the man. After all, who better to ask than her 'star pupil'? Granted, all that she had learned from Aelyria so far was how to grind medicinal herbs into boring paste, but she took her healer apprenticeship seriously even if they never formally announced such an arrangement. 

Sure enough, Aelyria had been ready to leave and was in fact looking for someone to watch over Caliben. She had already asked Marshall--who had finally returned that morning doing who knows what, but obligingly agreed despite tired eyes--but she wouldn't dare crush the young girl's enthusiasm. Marshall only had to peep in from time to time and if Caliben did awake while she was gone, Kitty was less likely to spook him than the brooding teenager who sported himself with leathers and not-so-hidden knives, as if he had aspirations to become an underground crew member despite Aelyria's disapproval. 

Nearly tripping over with eagerness, Kitty pranced into Aelyria's room only to face the disappointment of a man still visibly unconscious from whatever ordeal he was suffering from. Still, she was determined to follow through her task however boring and plastered herself in a chair by the fire, watching him intently. Hours passed and Kitty had made her circuit around the room, looking for anything to entertain herself with. She looked through books but she was still only learning to read--Aelyria had sparse any time left over from her other duties to teach her, though she made the effort when asked--so they quickly lost their luster. Marshall invited her to eat with the others when breakfast came, but after refusing out of stubborn determination, he brought a plate to her instead. Time continued to roll on, the morning slipping towards noon as made evident by the sound of the children outside the room, running about to tackle the day and pickpocket unsuspecting victims. Jealously piqued her and she became convinced she was sure to die of boredom. She eventually decided that Caliben was just some boring, ordinary grown-up man that somehow she ended up babysitting. Just as she began to consider what excuses to play should Aelyria ask about her disappearance, movement caught her eye. The man stirred. 

Kitty panicked. She didn't know what to do! It suddenly occurred to her that she didn't know if the man was dangerous or not. Sure, it was Aelyria's 'friend', but what if he didn't like little orphan girls? What if he was just like everyone else in Union City who spat and kicked them about like the street rats they claimed them to be? 'Worthless little shits that plague the city and sully its good name'. She would never forget the disgust raging in their eyes. So, she did what any typical Pit orphan would do when in suspected danger. She ran, bursting from the room without a care to close the door. Marshall was no where in sight and most of the other children were gone to pickpocket except for the few really young ones and Mikya, a girl probably in her early teens, who stayed behind to care for them. She had to alert them of the danger! The man in that room! He could hurt the young ones! They had to leave, had to run, had to survive when all everyone else wanted was to exterminate them. 

In her blinded fright, Kitty ran into someone within the hallway and toppled back. Instinctively, she cringed, tucking herself into make herself a smaller target to hit. But when the blow did not come, she looked up to find Aelyria looking concerned. Relief washed over her and she nearly cried, feeling suddenly safe, loved, and immensely stupid all at the same time.

"Kitty? Are you alright?" Aelyria asked, kneeling down to help the girl up with one hand while the other arm was occupied by a wrapped bundle and stack of papers. "What happened?"

Kitty hadn't realized she was crying, but now feeling the wet warm streaming down her cheeks, she hastily wiped them away and let herself be guided to stand. "N-n-nothing! I just had to go potty really bad and couldn't hold it any longer!" One of her brilliant little excuses she had thought of earlier. 

Not quite convinced but not pressing the matter, Aelyria nodded and stood. "Well, I'm back. Sorry it took so long," she said with an apologetic smile, gently patting the girl on the shoulder. "But you were a great help. Did our patient wake up yet?" Kitty shook her head. She couldn't be sure the man had seen her run out, but she didn't want Aelyria to think she had run out because he had in fact woken up and frightened her, albeit, to no fault of his own. Aelyria shrugged and patted her once more on the head before walking around her. "Not totally unexpected I suppose. Well off you go, Kit. If you see Marshall, let him know our business is done for today." Relieved and only mildly ashamed for it, Kitty ran off to join the others outside in the streets. 

Aelyria shifted the bundle in her arms and moved the small stack of envelopes to her hands. As she made for her room, she glanced at the seals and marks to see where the correspondences might have come from. A couple came from some merchants she was in touch with for information of dealings outside of Union City, specifically, with Valjer City. She looked forward to reading those. Another came from an informant she knew in the underground. Its seal was unmarked, but there was a distinct fold to the corner of the envelope that she recognized as his handiwork. The last one had a seal completely unfamiliar to her, that is, if you wanted to call it a seal. The envelope itself looked like it had been through its own mess of an ordeal, the ink of her name--which was important to remark as it was her true name and not a call sign--runny from water exposure and that of what she could make a semblance of a 'smiley face' looked rather sad now. She frowned at it, pausing briefly at the open door, and was so perturbed by it that she was completely unaware that the door should in fact not be open. Nevertheless, she stepped in, flipping the envelope back and forth in her hand and approaching the desk all the while assuming Caliben was still fast asleep. Unable to discern the origin of the envelope, she shrugged and restored enough situational awareness to realize Caliben was in fact very much not asleep. Playing off her surprise and the resulting embarrassment as smoothly as possible, she set the bundle and letters down on the desk before approaching him on the bed. 

"I see you're awake," she said with a hint of mirth in her tone. "Easy now, Cal. Don't get up too fast lest you pop a stitch. Your wound wasn't bad, but it's in a tricky spot that gets moved around a lot. How are you feeling? If you're nauseous, there's a bucket right here." A metal clang indicated where she tapped the bucket beside the bed. "That's my bed you're in and I'd rather not have it smelling of vomit. I only have so many clean sheets."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aelyria crossed her arms as Caliben looked around the room, suddenly acutely aware of her not so glamorous surroundings and his eyes spotting her. She remembered his ability and now all the dusty corners and the untidiness of her room became glaringly obvious. After all, he could catch all those fine details with a quick scan, catching all the things everyone else might overlook, and she couldn't help but feel embarrassed by it. To keep the anxiousness of her expression hidden from him, she turned away and plucked an apple from her desk among all the clutter. 

"You're in the Pit of Union City," she said with a wry smile and tossed the apple for him to catch. "Eat that. You'll need your strength. Anyway." She found another apple, red unlike his green, and took a crisp bite as she propped herself against the edge of the table. "We're at the orphanage of Pit city to be exact. Or, well, it wasn't recognized as an orphanage up until a couple of months ago. Before then it was just an abandoned building where orphans met and slept, seeking refuge from the streets. But don't worry, we're safe if that's what you're wondering." 

After stealing another bite, she set the apple down and wiped her hand on the leathers of her breeches. "Let's see... I got you here around midnight and it's early afternoon now. You've been out for a good half day for sure. You seem to be looking pretty good right now, so you recovered fast." She took the opportunity to shift her gaze to him, taking in the sight of him now that he was awake. She came to same conclusion about him as she had last night looking him over in the firelight. Whatever journey he had been on was no simple one, looking fairly worn from more than just a rough poisoning. A thought crossed her mind and she couldn't help but chuckle at it.

"You seem to have an unusual affinity for bad and good luck. Bad enough to get shot by a poison arrow, but good enough to have an apothecarian such as myself to treat you," she mused with a grin which then quickly faded. She crossed her arms again, her eyebrows furrowing with concern. "But it makes sense now, Caliben...or Forest. Or Moss. Whatever you actually call yourself. I had been trying to find out why Mr. Lyles had placed such a high bounty on this 'Moss' character everyone was chasing. I kind of feel stupid now not putting it together earlier that it was you. All the clues were there." She shook her head and then waved her hand dismissively. "Either way, it was a huge risk coming back here. Luckily I got some friends of mine to clean up the mess we left behind in the alley, but people are going to start asking questions and will eventually find out you're back. So tell me... Why exactly are you back?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×