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The Lengths We Go To

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...If you are reading this, it made its way through the screen test for the paper, and is hiding among the classified. I'm sorry if you were expecting another illiterate 'missed connection' or vexing advertisement for feminine company...

"Eryel?"

The woman at the desk sat upright quickly, releasing the pen. It rolled off the desk and struck the ground. Ink spattered across the floor, a handful of dark droplets on a dusty floor. Eryel was already gone before it went into free fall.

Her garments swished audibly as she stepped quickly through the hall into the back room, moving past the only chair back there and towards the only bed back there, as well, in the only room besides the store front. 

Sitting in the bed--not really a bed, but a mattress, tucked shamefully into the corner and draped with fabrics, blankets, rugs and whatever else they could muster--was her father. Her Pawpaw. Her family.

He was sitting up again, and she immediately took offense, sinking to her knees by his side. Her hands reached for the rag in the shallow bowl of water on the side of the bed, wrang it out, and pressed it against his forehead.

"Eryel, please. Please." He lifted his hands up in defense, but she dutifully washed his features, cooling his face and cheeks. He eventually caught the rag, and she let her hands drop into her lap. She blinked at last, realizing she'd been abstaining.

"But Pawpaw, your fever--" She barely even got four words out before he spoke over her. 

"It will pass, Eryel. Please. Don't worry so much." He took a sharp breath in, then coughed harshly. Her resolve broke, and she reached forward, as if to comfort him. He recovered eventually, and pressed her with a question; a familiar one at that. 

"Our things?"

She thought about her note, still unpenned at the table. She hadn't left the store yet, hadn't left her father's side. She couldn't; where would she go? Hyperion was a massive city, too large for her to navigate quickly and easily. She lacked the familiarity of her surroundings to know where to go, where to check. In the time it would take her to get the things back, hours would have passed. She often worried that a few hours would be all it would take for her father to grow worse.

She gnawed her lip. She had to tell him the same answer to the same question, again.

"Pawpaw, I'm sorry, but I can't find out--" Again, cut off. It was amazing she still chose to try and speak.

"Eryel, listen to me." He leaned forward. It pained him. It pained her.

"I will be fine, but without our belongings we have nothing working for us. For me to provide for you, for us." He took another breath, and didn't finish his thought. She clung to it, as if it might fade away. 

"You need to find out where it's been put," He told her. Again. "Just, please. Eryel. Be safe." 

He gave her  mild pat, and the dutiful guardian got back to her feet. Her garments swished with less vigor on her way back to the storefront. Before she even made her way back behind the counter, however, familiar moving shapes in the shop itself caught her attention. She paused, dusted herself off, and put on a smile. None too big, but genuine enough. She stepped through the curtain hiding their small home from the storegoers, and extended her hands in greeting.

"Hello there! Just browsing today?"

Alisaid Emmingwether had never appeared to age a day in his life. This was normal for many nonhumans, but less so for humans.

You could attribute this to many things about his life, from the way he chose his diet, to the way he spent his money. He was a knowledgeable and thrifty salesman, selling cheaper than most merchants could, and buying pricier than most merchants would, as well. From an outsider's perspective, you would assume he was either perennially in the red, or had some secret stash of money.

Looking at his shop, if you could call it that in Hyperion, you would never guess.

Perched behind the till, Eryel rested on her elbows. Her head was still propped up, proud and kind, but it was all on the surface, a facade put up as she watched the various folk browse their meager goods. The only things she had on offer were straightforward items, things she'd managed to keep in the wagon with them; a smattering of tasteful clothes, extra rations, and perhaps a knife or two. Beyond that, the rest of her offerings were mundane and overexpensive; easily found cheaper elsewhere.

They weren't her prices; Pawpaw was the merchant genius of the two of them, directing prices, negotiating deals for bulk shipments and arranging caravans, back in their home in Ashville. Eryel was the face of the business, certainly, with a knack for being straightforward and charming, reciting anything she was told on a whim.

But not even she could spin what they had in front of her into a meaningful purchase, even when if she was paying attention.

In her head, she was in the back taking care of her father. Was he able to lift the rag to his lips, or his forehead on his own? Maybe she should shoo the people out and go check on him again. She sighed audibly, and one of the shoppers stepping close by caught her attention, and she perked up, glancing over them quickly.

They had an outgoing look to them, the look of a travelled and weathered sort; the kind of person who goes far and wide, seeing and dealing with various things. Eryel supposed she could call them a mercenary, or a freelancer. An adventurer, maybe?

Her father in the back still beckoned to her in her thoughts, and she remembered that she had yet to hear about her belongings. The gears turned in her head, and she spoke, long before she even realized the words escaped her mouth.

"Excuse me, but are you perhaps an adventurer by trade?" She asked. She paused, and leaned against the counter, smiling at them.

"I may not have much available currently, but I am expecting more supplies. If you have a moment, maybe you could help me recover it. I'll reward you handsomely if you do."

Somewhere midsentance, she'd stopped talking to just the nearest visitor, and broadcasted her voice just enough to reach the others nearby.

"My name is Eryel," She introduced herself. Standing upright and smiling, she was a tall, graceful woman. Her layered clothing and tawny, rich brown complexion were elegant and warm, matching her kindly eyes and stilted speech, as she finished introductions. "My father and I have recently come to Hyperion from Ashville. With the rest of the migrants."

@vielle @Zashiii @Sanonymous @squid peanut @Peach 

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A small voice called out to Eryel from nearby.  "Wait what?  That's your pitch?!  Eryel nooooooo.  You have to make them want to help, sell them on the idea, not vague monetary promises!  I don't think they even know what you're trying to ask for"  The voice came from a large haphazard pile of overpriced products, more specifically a small alcove in the junk heap where a strange thing was sitting.

a young woman, no more than 4 inches tall, with messy purple hair and a green speckled dress.  She had long ears and insect like wings, and a thorny aesthetic to every bit of her.  She sat there holding a broken off piece of a nearby ration like she was a glowing, winged rat.  weirder still was that this small person hadn't been there moments before.  There was no lead up to the tiny person eating salted pork the size of her head, that just was today now.  Also of note was how even though the small person was calling out to Eryel with a remarkable clarity, they didn't seem to be heard by the rest of the store.  That, or they didn't feel the need to wonder, 'why is that pile of dishrags and rations desperately trying to coach the clerk about something?'

The small person, who was probably some kind of fairy if we must go there, climbed up mount Ration Dishrag and peeked over to look at the customers all facing Eryel.  Again, this fairy was either undetectable to everyone else in the shop, or such a common occurrence that no one cared at this point.  These two explanations were equally possible because Eryel probably didn't think she would see a fairy today either, so all bets were off.

"Ok ok, you can salvage this still.  You're random announcement of your name and refugee status has left them all temporarily stunned.  Now's your chance if you act quickly!  Come on Eryel, flip this pancake before it burns!"  The fairie's eyes were filled with 'believing in decent public speaking' that shot out like metaphorical arrows, straight to Eryel.

Edited by squid peanut
added a link to CS, also editted because super obvious typos

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It has been a rather long while but Tedimius has returned to her birthplace, Hyperion. Her venture with the cartel had been almost pleasant despite the unpleasant events she had to endure. Still, she was fortunate enough to be given a second chance at living and now she's putting that blessing to good use. Now that she has found a new purpose of life here in Hyperion, she will do her utmost to keep it that way.

So this brings her to this random store at this random part of the day. Her recent job here in Hyperion do have a lot of downtime between runs and she was happy for that. The nature of her work is too stressful for the common Hyperian but at least she can get by. Still, the enjoying the life of a common folk and indulging in commoner culture can be entertaining, at least for a short period of time. 

Just as she was about to leave the shop, this plebeian named Eryel tried to catch her attention. Oddly enough, the girl did catch it. Turning back to the speaker, Tedimius addressed the girl's concerns. "Tell more, peasant. What happened to your supplies?"

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• • •

 

A restless wanderer does not often a satisfied one make, Andraste comes to realize.

She has been on the move since the battle over Albor, the assault in the cold barrens, the quick jaunt in Aligoria. All the wildlands in the world are blurring together into something incomprehensible, something beyond concrete memory. She finds she misses a home to call her own, in her weakest moments, and that of all things is a devastating thought.

The Líadáin growls beneath her skin, a shadowy sea ravaging the shores of her mind. It hungers for prey to feed on, for blood and bone and juicy marrow, and it is a testament to how distracted she is that she nearly walks into a shelf in the store she’s found herself wandering through. Gods, but it’s almost embarrassing, if not for the fact that a very promising offer suddenly materializes in the stale air of the establishment. 

". .  . I am expecting more supplies. If you have a moment, maybe you could help me recover it. I'll reward you handsomely if you do."

The woman who’s speaking is then accosted by all matters of strange folk looking to capitalize on what appears to be the founding of a quest at the immediate time being, folk of a sort Andraste would normally stay far away from, but the lady’s pitch is interesting. Intriguing, even. Perhaps she should stick around and see for herself what value she may acquire from this endeavor. With the decision made, the khenra siddles up next to the migrant from Ashville and the two women she has attracted with her sudden introduction.

Edited by vielle
eww typos

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On 1/6/2020 at 12:10 AM, squid peanut said:

A small voice called out to Eryel from nearby.  "Wait what?  That's your pitch?!  Eryel nooooooo.  You have to make them want to help, sell them on the idea, not vague monetary promises!  I don't think they even know what you're trying to ask for"

Eryel glanced about quickly, eyeing the few patrons in the store, but none of them appeared to be the speaker. The voice seemed to have a source, though, and didn't come from behind her anywhere. A horrible thought dawned on her, and she paled somewhat, suddenly terrified. The voice wasn't in her head, was it? Was taking care of Pawpaw taking its toll on her? Did her long hours of overworking, little food and even less sleep rob her of her sanity at last? She clutched the side of the counter, and did her best to clear her thoughts, before catching something in the side of her vision.

Sitting amongst a stack of random belongings, the shopkeep spied who she could only assume to be the speaker, a small creature she could only describe as a pixie, or maybe a fairy. She was perched among a number of items on a nearby shelf, staring down at her from the shelf like a bird. Eryel stared at her for several seconds, still unsure of her own sanity. The pixie, or the fairy, or whoever this was, definitely wasn't there a second ago, she was certain of it. Had she wandered in like the other travelers? The others, speaking of which, didn't appear to have heard the pixie speak. They did appear interested in her request, though.

Eryel wanted to remain focused on her business pitch, but the unexpected arrival of the little visitor on the shelf changed things. As she was confronted on her proposal, Eryel did her best to keep one eye on the shelf, and the little spectator watching her.

On 1/6/2020 at 12:10 AM, squid peanut said:

"Ok ok, you can salvage this still.  You're random announcement of your name and refugee status has left them all temporarily stunned.  Now's your chance if you act quickly!  Come on Eryel, flip this pancake before it burns!"  The fairie's eyes were filled with 'believing in decent public speaking' that shot out like metaphorical arrows, straight to Eryel.

That was...unexpected, but not completely out of character given Eryel's limited contact with the fairy. She had a billion questions for the little creature, but business had to come first.

On 1/18/2020 at 3:29 AM, Zashiii said:

Tell more, peasant. What happened to your supplies?"

Peasant? Eryel considered ignoring the question entirely for that, turning down the insult and the offending woman, but unfortunately Eryel couldn't do that. For some reason, the pixie's enthusiasm in particular gave her a weak sense of patience that she otherwise wouldn't have. It was somewhat rude to consider snubbing someone, after being offered advice on how to deal with them. Nearby, another woman appeared interested enough to approach as well, keen on hearing her out at the very least.

"Well, I don't mean to brag, but my father is something of an entrepeneur." She said, definitely bragging. She leaned into the counter, arms crossed in front of her. She let her eyes flutter nearly shut a bit, hoping to channel some kind of 'hidden charisma' she seemed to lack. Maybe it worked. 

"That is, back home the two of us nursed a very broad catalogue of items, carefully collected over decades of hard work and shrewd sales." Had it really been decades? Perhaps; maybe a decade for her, and then some for her father. "Needless to say, after we left our home in Ashville, moving our belongings was somewhat trying. A lot of it has been reclaimed by a caravan we hired to carry our belongings for us." 

Hopefully that was a fine hook for those assembled. They seemed as if they weren't going to buy aught else.

"I only need to find out where my belongings have gone, and recover them as soon as I'm able. However," She glanced towards the shop. Even the motion of doing so caused her false confidence to crumble, and her face to become creased with worry.

"I would do it alone, but I don't have the time to leave my father for very long." She tilted her head towards the back room again, for her listeners to see.

"So, my proposition. You help me get my belongings back, however quickly we can do that, and in exchange I'll ensure you all depart with something either useful, or valuable. I'll leave it up to you to decide."

She waited, and added, as an afterthought. 

"My name is Eryel, by the way. Eryel Emmingwether."

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Shortly after her plea, the tiny fairy was struck with the realization that her speaking up probably served to startle and confuse just as much as inspire.  When you spend as long as Spear Thistle had, watching humans and the like talking their giant heads off, it becomes easy to forget that fairies aren't a thing most of them are expecting.  it's certainly rude to be so ignorant, but big things move slowly in more ways than one. 

In all honesty speaking to humans wasn't really something Spear Thistle did that often, messing with them was free rein but she often preferred to watch them from a distance, following their silly giant lives while plundering their pantries, good boys and girls would even get treats in return.  Eryel had been a particularly special case.  mountains of salted pork were as close to heaven as Thistle cared to look for, and having such a moving tale to watch unfold was like having icing on the cake that was just a second cake.  A young woman, forced to leave the only home she ever knew and live in a pale imitation of it.  Her one living relative bed ridden and the mercantile empire she had seen her father rule reduced to little more that a stall.  a series of tragedies that the girl had to hide behind a mask to the outside world.  Her life hinging on her innocent smile that had long since vanished from her soul.  How could someone like Spear Thistle not get invested?  Of course she had given a helping hand to make things a bit nicer, mainly stopping any would be rat or bug infestation from ever getting a foothold.  An act which totally not just a matter of territory.

Spear Thistle jumping in was because she was just so startled at Eryel fumbling her big shining moment of turning her fate around.  It may be true to the character but Spear Thistle wanted an inspiring call for help, she had gotten front row seats and everything. it felt like the perfect drama was shattering before her very eyes, how was Eryel ever going to meet a dashing prince and find true love now?  Things we looking even worse because Thistle had to open her big mouth.  "oh man, why'd I go and say that, what did I think was going to happen?"  Spear Thistle silently thought. "aaaaaaah, my motivation is dropping so quickly, aaaaaah what am I gonna do?"

When suddenly, spear Thistle was hit with an epiphany.  She's a fairy.  Young maidens being helped along their quests by helpful fairies is totally something that happens.  She's not a narrative dead end, she's a deus ex machina!  "Yeah, I'll be Eryel's adorable magical guide, sure to be a fan favorite and making sure this whole thing ends how it should, exactly how I want it to!  WA HA HA, my self esteem is now infinite!"

This spiritual journey took place over the course of half a minute, and looked like little more than if Spear Thistle had forgotten how her face muscles worked and was rapidly going through exaggerated expressions to refresh her memory.  The important part being that she had gone from confident and energetic, to confident and energetic and with an actual idea of what she was doing.

Spear Thistle poked her head out from behind a ration bar to see who were actually interested in Eryel's proposal.  She was rather surprised by the fact that two whole people had come forward, and by how both of them looked super sketchy.  The first was a woman who looked like the kind of person who was a vivid character that could exist in different settings seamlessly.  Like, you could see her at a noble party, or a run down orphanage, or a demonic cult and not bat an eye once.  Hopefully getting to know her would rule out the third option, because other wise oh no.  The second was a giant dog woman who towered over everyone and had pretty nice hair.  She was pretty scary.  Dog lady had the whole wild animal vibe going on where it felt like she was always moments away from just trying to eat you.  The fact that the coloring of her face fur looked like a skull didn't help much either.  Neither did the fact that the dog lady seemed to be possibly aware of Spear Thistle's presence, somehow despite Spear Thistle being magically hard to see and behind a mountain of salted pork stacked on dishrags.  It wasn't impossible, but extra alarming if true.

Some of this fear was calmed however by the fact that Spear Thistle had built in defenses, her outfit's fuzzy spikes weren't just for show and many a predator learned this fact the hard way. 

Looking back at Eryel, Thistle saw that the girl was going for cute feminine charm out of desperation, a dangerous strategy when both of her targets seemed to be unmarried women.  To make sure this wasn't a death sentence, Spear Thistle sprung into action, discretely zapping Eryel with a spell to boost her charm.  These kinds of spells were hardly Thistle's forte, but there wasn't a fairy alive who didn't at least know the basics, it was a universally required course.

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"Well, I don't mean to brag, but my father is something of an entrepeneur."

Tedimius narrowed her eyes at that. Merchant or not, a commoner will always be a commoner. Those not of noble blood should always remember their place. It's bad enough she had to associate with peasants, even worse when plebeians do not get in line. It took all of Teddy's willpower to not spit out a witty retort.

"That is, back home the two of us nursed a very broad catalogue of items, carefully collected over decades of hard work and shrewd sales." Had it really been decades? Perhaps; maybe a decade for her, and then some for her father. " 

At least the woman's family are hard workers. Even if one does not have a drop of noble blood running through their veins, they could at least try hard enough to be someone in this world. She always admired that kind of attitude even if such a thing were to come from plebieans.

"I only need to find out where my belongings have gone, and recover them as soon as I'm able. However, I would do it alone, but I don't have the time to leave my father for very long." 

This little girl might have daddy issues. That much Teddy could deduce from the woman's words. What kind of adult keeps her life around their parent? It was bad enough that Eryel lives in her daddy's house, now it's worse that Eryel cannot leave her daddy's side for too long. Would daddy spank her if she doesn't come home for dinner?

"So, my proposition. You help me get my belongings back, however quickly we can do that, and in exchange I'll ensure you all depart with something either useful, or valuable. I'll leave it up to you to decide. My name is Eryel, by the way. Eryel Emmingwether."

"Very well, plebian," Tedimius spoke after a while. "I have heard your plea and will respond as such. I shall assist you in finding your belongings so you can take care of your daddy."

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Eryel glanced from one of the girls, to the other, but only one of them spoke up right away.

On 2/9/2020 at 1:31 AM, Zashiii said:

"Very well, plebian," Tedimius spoke after a while. "I have heard your plea and will respond as such. I shall assist you in finding your belongings so you can take care of your daddy."

Great! Eryel almost clapped her hands in delight, but something kept her from acting, keeping her from embarrassing herself further, perhaps. Nervously, she coughed once, and cleared her throat, before speaking flatly.

"Excellent. Then let me tell you what I know." Which, she couldn't say out loud, was admittedly not much.

"Me and my father rented a caravan service to help ferry our supplies from Ashville." She explained. "We only purchased from one service, so afterward the caravans needed to return to their stables, or customs, or what have you. From there, I suspect something went awry, and they decided to keep my family fortune for themselves."

Eryel didn't know where the wagons had parked, nor did she know precisely where their customs office, or stables were. However, she did have a fistful of theories, little ideas and fantasies she'd toyed with constantly while she guarded the front of the store. She leaned away from the desk, and reached behind the til, grabbing a knife still in its scabbard. Without much else to her name, she strapped it to her hip, and stepped around the counter, leading the way out.

"Well, let's go then, shall we?" She smiled at them, hoping she looked like someone who knew what she was doing. As she passed across the counter, she cast a glance back towards her father's room. She was tempted to talk with him, and explain where she was going, but he'd tell her to stay, and she wouldn't be able to refuse him if he did. Her adventure would fail immediately, and Eryel couldn't afford to wait any longer. Once their journey was through, it wouldn't matter anyway, as her father would have the money and tools needed to purchase his expensive medicine.

She ushered the others out, and into the sunlight.

Eryel imagined what it must have been like to see the sun after your entire life in the dark, or to see the first sunrise after a brutal winter. To be the first person to see the sun reappear after an eclipse; the birth of a new, radiant god from nothingness. Arrogant as it was, that's how she felt leaving the shop. The esteemed Miss Emmingwether had spent days upon weeks upon months doting after her father, long before they fled Ashville, She didn't mind it; of course she didn't, she loved her father immensely, he was the only family she had, or really cared for. Taking care of him was a full time job, though, and it taxed her body and brain to wait on him, especially now.

Hyperion's open streets and markets were busy as ever; the walls of nearby buildings cast short shadows across the roads, and bodies and beasts and vehicles took up all the room before her. Yet, when she took a sharp inhale, breathed in that well-used oxygen, it tasted like freedom, or a break even. She took another sharp inhale, and let her shoulders relax. A lazy, hopeful smile glanced across her features, and the turned back to her newly hired 'posse'.

"Okay," She clapped her hands once. "Okay! So first of all, we need to find our way to the office in question, and find out what we can about the caravan we hired. Following that, we'll need to talk with the folks who interred my family fortune. Then we get paid!"

She turned around, and began walking down the street, keeping to the side of the building they dwelt in. Noticably, Eryel moved incredibly slowly as she passed by the house, particularly when she felt as if she were passing by her father's bed. She glanced at the hovel guiltily, and hesitated for a second, staring at the side of the house.

Maybe this was a bad idea, maybe she should head back inside.

Eryel stared at the wall, practically entranced for a second, and then a minute. Her body language had changed; tight back, tense muscles, her breath catching in her lungs. Her eyes didn't appear glassy or out of focus, but rather overfull with emotion.

Edited by Jotnotes

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Spear Thistle watched as the merchant girl went about her version of the hero leaving home scene.  While not the sort of thing that deserved a standing ovation, there was definitely good reason that such a moment was such an established cliche.  Granted, Spear Thistle could only appreciate Eryel's adorable mix of confidence and trepidation for a bit.  There was still a lot of things that everyone had to do for this to not end horribly, and the shadiness of the two first responders didn't exactly fill Thistle with confidence.

they better not think they can take advantage of such a sweet young girl! the fairy thought to herself.  although honestly this is probably on Eryel as well for being so careless about it.  Like, you're a sweet baby girl and you're desperate and all that but you should still have standards.  at least abou-... OH, CRUD.  Spear Thistle cut her rant to no one short as she noticed that the store was now empty, and she could here three sets of footsteps on the other side of the canvas wall. 

Crud Crud Crud Crud Crud! Spear Thistle thought as she zoomed down to the base of the wall and squeezed herself under a part of the tent.  It would have probably been faster to have just flown out and around the shop, but shut up though.  Luckily, an onset moment of doubt had stopped Eryel in her tracks.  This was hardly a good thing, but it also meant that Spear Thistle didn't have to sprint to catch up with sweet baby girl and the (possibly) gruesome twosome.  Better still, was that a fairy suddenly appearing was like, the number one solution to stuff like "oh, how will little ol' me ever do the thing?".  putting that one GE from fairy college to good use, the coolest fairy ever worked her magic.

 As Eryel stood there, staring at the hobble wall, mind full of doubt and worry, eyes filling up with emotion.  A gentle voice called to her, like a person wrapping their arms around her in comfort.  "Do not worry child, the current path may seem scary, but is one that you can most definitely walk, and, it is one that you do not walk alone."  a small ball of warm purple light drifted down from the sky to right between Eryel's face and the wall.  In an instant, this light transformed into a small winged woman, no larger than a child's wooden doll.  she wore a fuzzy green dress and had bushy purple hair, which was reflected in a green rod that she held, which was topped with a round amethyst.  This Fairy looked an awful lot like the one that had harassed Eryel within the shop, but the way this one presented herself made it unclear if both fairies were one and the same.

"Hello dear, I am the Spear Thistle fairy.  I have been summoned by your pure heart and noble quest, and as such I will stand by you until you need me no longer."  The Fairy looked and had the voice of a girl even younger than Eryel, but spoke and smiled as if she was a kind grandmother that Eryel had never known she had

HA, I'm so good!  Spear Thistle silently thought to herself

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Eryel's trance, that lingering doubt that kept her routed in place, blocked out all thought temporarily. Somewhere, on the other end of the wall before her, her father was still in bed. Was he sleeping? Maybe he was awake, and needed her help; maybe he was calling for her even now! Her fingers twitched and flexed reflexively, as if she might tear a hole in the side of the building to return to his side. The world seemed not to grey out, or black out, but blur out. Depth was removed; lights and shadow blended into the same thing, as if she suddenly couldn't see properly--her eyes fixated on where her father was waiting for her.

Then, a small glitter--no not a visual glitter, but a glitter of sound, somehow--reached out to her. To be specific, there was also some sort of glitter, but the voice was a bit more invasive and important.

On 2/27/2020 at 9:08 PM, squid peanut said:

"Do not worry child, the current path may seem scary, but is one that you can most definitely walk, and, it is one that you do not walk alone."  a small ball of warm purple light drifted down from the sky to right between Eryel's face and the wall.

Eryel stared at the orb of purple light, then blinked in surprise as it quickly flickered into the shape of a small spirit. A fairy, she supposed. She was small, with little wings beating furiously behind her to keep her airborne, draped in what appeared to be moss. Her hair was similar to a frazzled purple mess of yarn. 

Eryel frowned, and the thoughts of her father's distance vanished from her memory, as if scrubbed away. Was this the same voice and spirit from inside the shop? They sounded...dissimilar. This one, for example, sounded like she knew what she was doing. The one indoors kind of sounded like a hype man.

She looked backwards at the other followers almost curiously. Were they seeing this too?

On 2/27/2020 at 9:08 PM, squid peanut said:

"Hello dear, I am the Spear Thistle fairy.  I have been summoned by your pure heart and noble quest, and as such I will stand by you until you need me no longer."  The Fairy looked and had the voice of a girl even younger than Eryel, but spoke and smiled as if she was a kind grandmother that Eryel had never known she had

Pure heart and noble quest? That sounded fairly aloof, by her standards, though maybe she was wrong. After all, recovering her valued possessions and perhaps saving her father's life felt pretty noble now that it was mentioned.

"Oh? Then you're here to help me recover my family fortune?" She asked. Then, not a moment later, said somewhat skeptically. "That seems like a hard sell, actually. I don't really know how noble it is to figure out who stole our stuff."

The rest of the party joined them at that point, and Eryel turned to the others.

"Okay, right. Enough dallying. Shall we get a move on?" She offered them a confident smile, and the party resumed their travels quickly.

Agan, Eryel had no real idea where she was going in Hyperion, and their ability to find out where to go was largely hampered by this inability to navigate. She did her best, as did her companions, but it took them the better part of a few hours to eventually find what she was looking for. Having walked for some time, and backtracking more than she was okay with, Eryel finally found the large exit to the city proper, and through a little trial and error, figured out where the other wagons were going.

Eryel approached the first person she saw working with the carts--a youngish looking elf with short brown hair.

"Excuse me?" She tapped his shoulder. He turned to look at her, and she quickly found herself stumbling with her words. Making eye contact was difficult. She forced a smile regardless, and tried to power through the social interaction.

"Me and my father had some belongings go missing on a cart. Do you know where I'd go look?" She asked.

He glanced at her, and gave her a smile. Eryel fidgeted uncomfortably. "Yeah, most caravans coming in have to unload outside of the city, so the goods inside can be moved into smaller carts. Anything that doesn't get into the smaller carts will usually end up in storage in warehouses, wherever the space is available. You want me to check the ledgers for you?"

She sighed out loud, immediately relieved. 

"That'd be fantastic, thank you!"

The elf led her into the caravan post, through a short doorway into a fairly wide room. It was pretty sparse on her side of the room, but the other end had papers and maps and notices and all sorts of little scraps tacked to the walls on cork boards and posts. Separating her from that was a large desk, that spanned the entirety of the room.

It was somewhat crowded on her end, with everyone around her. She made herself a bit of space by stepping away from everyone else.

"Right, right." The elf consulted a paper, and then another, and then another after that. "I just need to find the log from your trip. What day did you ship out?"

Eryel stepped forward to speak, then stopped. She glanced to her companions. 

"Sorry, but this looks like it's going to be somewhat boring?" She offered them an apologetic smile. "You guys wanna go look around while you wait? I'll be back in a bit."

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"Okay, right. Enough dallying. Shall we get a move on?"

Tedimius curtly nodded to this. They've been standing here for a while, chatting longer than was necessary or more than she was comfortable with. Any longer and she would die of boredom or inaction. That and the fairy really weirded her out. Despite her innate sensitivity that acknowledges the fairy's presence, Teddy tried her best to ignore that that thing ever existed. She would just roll her eyes and trail after Eryel.

The walk through the city was enjoyable at most. It has been a while since she had some free time. Mal was always piling mission after mission on her. Once in a while, it feels refreshing to just sit back and relax. Helping some random bloke find his stolen stuff was the kind of relaxation Teddy needed. No civilians dying, no heavy responsibility. Just pure mercenary work. She does not even care for any compensation.

"You guys wanna go look around while you wait? I'll be back in a bit."

"Very well," Teddy replied. "I can wait."

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Eryel waited for the elf to go through her information, and filled out the necessary paperwork provided. She didn't mind the bureaucracy at all, in fact, while her father was still running the family business she ended up doing a lot of the papers for him. Filing most of their expenses under her name, rather than his, meant that he could dodge unsavory taxes and finances on things like property, and trade. Given that she didn't pay for these services herself, she was largely exempt when it came to these taxes when her father did his work. Her handwriting was elegant and clean by now, and bespoke of professionalism. 

That didn't help.

He took her information in, and flipped through the ledgers quickly, but Eryel was watching. He flipped right past a series of familiar dates, and familiar names. She said nothing, instead. He flipped through the book quickly, and flipped back. When he glanced up at her with that fake, apologetic smile, she was already looking away.

"I'm sorry, but I'm not seeing anything coming out of Ashville from us;" He lied. "It might have been handled by one of our competitors," He laughed softly. "I'm a little hurt, honestly. You're going to put us out of business."

She didn't know what this feeling in her hands was, but when she glanced down, noticed that her knuckles were white, and her fingernails, clean and shapely, were digging into the palms of her hands. She exhaled quickly, all at once. Her breath was hot, and her temper was suddenly, unexpectedly, rising.

"Yes! Well, then I suppose I'll go and check with them, then." He gave her a false laugh earlier; she gave him a false smile. It barely concealed her sudden, unexplainable fury.

"Thank you very much for your time." She pushed through the door quickly, before he got a word in edgewise.

Outside, her companions were still waiting. She stormed up to them quickly, and grabbed the nearest of them. She couldn't even remember their name right now.

"He has what I need," She hissed. It became apparently that she wasn't just angry. Tears of frustration stained her eyes, from the slightest inconvenience. "He has what I need, and I want it back."

It took her some time to calm down, and when she did, she explained what she was talking about.

"My family name, and my home, are in that ledger he has," She told them. "He didn't show it to me, and said it wasn't there. He's lying to me about my family coming to his company, and I want to know why. You want to get paid; get in there and take it from him."

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Though she has heard little of particular interest in the murmurations of the eclectic lot that have suddenly banded together right then and there, Andraste follows them wordlessly as the woman named Eryel leads them out into the busy streets of Hyperion. The sun glares down upon the shifting tide of travelers amidst the cobblestoned roads, the warm heat simmering but ultimately unheeded as business is conducted and money freely changes hands. It is a busy day, no doubt, and one she shall use to her advantage.

It does not take much of an effort to blend into the crush of bodies, twisting her limbs to and fro to stand where the townspeople become walls to hide behind. In everything, Andraste is vigilant, no matter how the lazy sway of her footfalls speak otherwise.

She takes note of their leader’s hesitance, rooted to the spot by the sight of some rundown building across the street. She takes note of the strange entity that introduces herself as the Spear Thistle fairy, speaking of pure hearts and noble quests—things Andraste cannot quite claim to understand very well. She takes note of the route their journey has taken them, from the innards of the city to the caravan post just beyond its walls. She takes note of the hustle and bustle of the wagons carrying goods, despite the droning boredom that begins to descend; perhaps she can make use of this information in some other way. Light fingers can be a useful means to an end if they know where to stick their thumbs in.

Perhaps it is this distraction, daydreams of thievery and riches, that makes her stumble ungracefully when Eryel strides out of the building and grabs her arm, shaking her so hard it makes the coins in her pocket jingle. He has what I need, she tells them, he has what I need, and I want it back

“What does he have?” The khenra finally speaks, her raspy voice twisting the words sharp and jagged. Eryel does not immediately respond, tears pooling out of her eyes in a way that makes Andraste vaguely uncomfortable, but then she finally calms down and explains what she means. When it all comes down to it, between a weeping lady and a chance to make use of her skillset, Andraste figures she knows what she needs to do.

“If you need it, I can certainly try and steal it for you.” There is confidence in the way Andraste’s mouth curves into a devious smile, eagerness in the way she rubs her palms together. “I tire easily of roundabout, pointless conversation. Therefore, I suggest that I make my way within and retrieve that ledger without all of that nonsense chatter. Unless, of course, one of our other companions would like to suggest a more—benign approach?” She casts her gaze to the others with a faint air of impatience.

 

@Jotnotes @squid peanut @Zashiii

Edited by vielle

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The lengthy trip to the caravan post did little to calm Spear Thistle's tiny heart about how well she thought this was going to go.  Like honestly, the decision to be all 'oh your noble quest' with Eryel wasn't something Thistle bought into that much herself, because from her perspective this was feeling more and more like a growing series of poor life choices, which she was now enabling.  The best she could do was sit on Eryel's shoulder and keep her eyes on the red flag sisters.  A pair, with the brightest red flags being that neither of them had seemed to have given their names at all, in fact both seemed to spend the entire trip silently following Eryel like they were a pair of hitmen waiting for the perfect moment to strike.  like Bunpleb was a pretty of a box standard higher then thou weirdo, but Skull dog person just as unsettling 30 minutes later as she had been prior.  Like, she seemed to be spending the entire walk moving like her grandpa's a nightmare creature and she's looking for an excuse to mug someone.  Honestly, Spear Thistle didn't even know if that thing was female, it had like long eyelashes and like sexy lady hair, but then that could mean nothing because giant mute dog person.  

Besides that the walk was nothing special, Eryel didn't have the best sense of direction but that's fiiiiiine.  No sudden muggings or cult manifestos so things were looking up.  Eryel talking to the elf went fine, and she was going to go and try talking things out.  In a normal situation, Spear Thistle would join her and be a little guardian angel on her shoulder, but here sorting out their two companions was way more important right now.  Maybe there was nothing to worry about, the two of them did agree to help a poor troubled young woman for nothing but vague monetary compensation.  That could be the acts of good people.  So Spear Thistle decided to start things off with friendly introduction

"Well, I must say I'm very grateful that the two of you were willing to help Eryel in her moment in need, but I don't believe I was able to catch either of your names, would you both mind sharing them with me?" ... aaaaand, nothing.  not a peep out of either of them. Thistle wondered if she had made herself visible and she was pretty sure she had.

"um, excuse me, I was wondering if you two could tell me your names.".... This silent treatment was getting really old very fast.  Skulldoggery still had that look on their face like  'hmmm I'm going to steal candy from a baby, and then, eat the baby.' and plebbun seemed like she had suddenly gone deaf or something.  So Spear Thistle fluttered over to where she was looking and tried to get her attention again.

"uh hello, you can still hear ri-"  Spear Thistle said while waving her arms, before noticing that the instant she locked eyes with the perpetually angry woman she quickly looked the other way.

'Oh, this absolute bitch!' Thistle thought.  'she's trying to ignore me, even when she's the weirdo and I put my best wing forward!  I should teach this creep a lesson!'  but before she had the opportunity, the small fairy had the wind squeezed out of her by a pair of giant hands that held her tighter than she expected or preferred.  Also it caused her to make a shocked 'BLEH' sound.

Spear Thistle quickly blinked out of the grip and heard the outcries of Eryel while the fairies body remembered how to breath.  The news was terrible and Eryel's hands bleeding from having grabbed a particularly thorny fairy probably didn't help much either.  Nor did Eryel's demands for justice that were leaning towards a request for criminal activity.

“What does he have?”“If you need it, I can certainly try and steal it for you.”  'oh great' Spear Thistle thought 'ol Skulldoggery can talk and they sound like an absolute serial killer!'  

The tiny Fairy tried to calm things down. "woah!  Hey!  Hold up there everyone.  Eryel, I'm super sorry about your hands, I can heal them but you really have to calm down.  Creepy dog lady person thing... look I don't know your name, but we gotta talk.  Ignoring for a moment the general and obvious problems with stealing things, I really don't think your the best one to do it.  People sort of tend to notice giant dogs with skull faces and I am immensely afraid of what you can do and so is society, probably." Spear Thistle had expected for things to go bad, but things were going bad really really fast.

 

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Eryel squeezed her hand. Bitter tears of frustration still blinded her vision, accompanied by a few stinging tears from the pain of pricking her hand. She wrung her wrist, and felt, rather than saw, the few blood droplets dribbling onto the grass beneath her. Absentmindedly, she reached for her knife, releasing her wounded hand for a moment in order to cut away a strip of her clothes--near the bottom of the garment. She used the scant bit of cloth to wrap around the bleeding, and apply pressure to the pricks in her hand, while her companions chimed in, eager for blood.

Well, no, not for blood. That was Eryel's mind again, racing forwards towards violence, rather than taking it easy. She sucked in a few shallow, shaky breaths as she attempted to calm down a bit. 

On 3/21/2020 at 9:46 AM, vielle said:

“What does he have?” The khenra finally speaks, her raspy voice twisting the words sharp and jagged. Eryel does not immediately respond, tears pooling out of her eyes in a way that makes Andraste vaguely uncomfortable, but then she finally calms down and explains what she means. When it all comes down to it, between a weeping lady and a chance to make use of her skillset, Andraste figures she knows what she needs to do.

“If you need it, I can certainly try and steal it for you.” There is confidence in the way Andraste’s mouth curves into a devious smile, eagerness in the way she rubs her palms together. “I tire easily of roundabout, pointless conversation. Therefore, I suggest that I make my way within and retrieve that ledger without all of that nonsense chatter. Unless, of course, one of our other companions would like to suggest a more—benign approach?” She casts her gaze to the others with a faint air of impatience.

Eryel, angry as she was, quite liked that option. The idea of breaking in, snatching the ledger and maybe beating that pretty elf in the face for lying to her sounded like a fine deal. After all, her father was on the line here, far away and likely cold as the grave without her. She had to be quick about this, before any harm came to him!

Before she could give them a nod of approval, though, The fairy that had wriggled out of her grasp when she'd cut herself on her thorns interjected again. She continued to breathe, trying to calm down while the fairy flitted about, 

On 3/21/2020 at 6:49 PM, squid peanut said:

"woah!  Hey!  Hold up there everyone.  Eryel, I'm super sorry about your hands, I can heal them but you really have to calm down.  Creepy dog lady person thing... look I don't know your name, but we gotta talk.  Ignoring for a moment the general and obvious problems with stealing things, I really don't think your the best one to do it.  People sort of tend to notice giant dogs with skull faces and I am immensely afraid of what you can do and so is society, probably." Spear Thistle had expected for things to go bad, but things were going bad really really fast.

Eryel glowered at the fairy...then felt bad about it shortly afterwards. Her temper was waning--she really did need to calm down, and take this easy. Rushing headlong into a violent act wasn't going to generate any results, after all. Or rather, it would, but Eryel needed to stay in town afterward, in order to care for her father, a thing she couldn't do while being hunted by the guards for untoward violence. 

She took another breath, and exhaled noisily, still frustrated.

"Listen, I don't care who does it, or how we do it." She was still very testy, but was speaking slower, and no longer crying. She still applied pressure to her wounds as she continued. "But the fairy is right. If word gets out that we're smashing through shops looking for my fortune, it's going to be difficult to explain my motives to the cops. We have to take this easy, and safely. So..."

She sucked in another slow breath, and made eye contact with Andraste. "You're going to go in there, and give him a little scare. Threaten him, terrorize him, whatever you want. But," She held up finger. It was smeared with blood, which was drying quickly. "No hurting him--badly, that is--and no damaging the store." That finger she held up flicked towards the other volunteer. 

"And you," She said. "Are going to get in behind the counter, take the ledger, and anything else that might be important while he's distracted. I'd prefer it if he didn't see you, but if he does, your friend on the other side of the counter will lean on him."

She dropped the bloodied bit of cloth, which was drenched by now, and held her hand towards the fairy. "We do this quickly, and easily, and then we can figure out which warehouse my fortune is hiding in. You all get paid, my father gets his medicine, and I can look into buying property in town here quickly."

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