Askinov RP

Be a knight in shining armor, a troll under a bridge, a helium-seller in a steampunk world...whoever you want to be.

Askinov RP

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Sat May 31, 2014 7:47 pm

The lower market sits just below the mountains, hidden from the sun and subject to the winter’s worst temper. The shoptenders are as malnourished as their goods, stolen horses and cattle often being rounded up by the Cougar police force. Scattered honest businesses attempt to ply their trade, neglected shops and rundown stores cluttering the crooked alleys. The slave market takes up a full block of the market’s center.

Only three walls shelter the common bidding ground from summer’s heat, or winter’s chill. Cages of every shape make up the barriers, and newfound slaves often huddle as close as the bars allow to the fire pits that are scattered about for the bidder’s comfort.

Pit cages are set into the floor as well, the dirt floor alternating between choking bidder and slave alike in the dry season, or drowning them in a dark, sticky mud. Those who misbehave or deemed worthless are set into hanging cages, high above the safety and comfort offered by the ground.

The bidding is up, slaves are being presented to the highest bidder. One may examine the prospective choices before making a silent bid to the Lynx auctioneers, who will keep track of the various wagers and make deals with the highest bidder. Slaves may look for their new owners, or choose to keep their silence.

GM Note: There is a post order to this RP, in the loosest sense that I can create. Each player has a week to post. If they miss that deadline, the RP moves on to the next person without delay. Collaborative posts, or even posts out of the posting order are acceptable, with the distinction that one may not jump ahead in the timeline of events.

Post Order: Guyshane, JackAlsworth, Narrative Dilettante, Qara-Xuan, Russet Divinity, Tohrinha, Agoraoptera, eli_gone_crazy, Pixelmage, Eric Kays
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Re: Askinov RP

Postby Guyshane on Sat May 31, 2014 10:36 pm

Vakann walked through the slave market in rich clothing that contrasted vividly with the dark, dank area. Others may have been worried that such dress would attract unwanted attention but the ability to throw fire with a word tends to make one feel safe.

The dragon mage kicked a grasping hand of a slave off his boot, the only part of his clothing that was clearly chosen for function. Really, how pathetic. I realize I am their better but these captives have no sense of dignity. Groveling is only appropriate if I’ve bought them.

He noticed several of the Lynx slavers grinning nastily at him when they thought he wasn’t looking. Not that their captors display anymore honor than them. At times they seem more like vultures than lynxes. Resigning himself to a conversation with one, he approached the nearest slaver. “I need someone vicious. Someone who has some skill with violence and who has been giving you and your men trouble. There's one in every lot, and I do so enjoy breaking willful slaves. I trust this will not be a problem?"

The lynx grinned, his teeth sharpened to points. “I don’t know if we do, Dragon. After all, there is such a large turnaround of our product. I hardly know one from the next.”

Vakann sighed and muttered a garbled word. The slaver was immediately knocked off of his feet by a small burst of force. “Forgive me.” The mage said in a tone that indicated that was a command and not a request. “I have very little patience on the best of days and being talked down to and lied to by a base merchant sours my mood so.”

Another took his place, bowing to his waist in front of the man. “I apologize, Dragon. We have several troublemakers. Is there anything more specific you are looking for? I have a Moose that would be a great yard servant, and could handle any amount of work, if trained properly.”

“I do believe I stated that I needed someone with an aptitude for violence.” The Dragon folded his arms and glared. “I have met Mooses in the past. They are hardly what I would call violent.”

“Uh… Yes sir.” The slaver bowed again. “We have a Wolf, sir. But she’s useless.”

Vakann tilted his head to the side. “Oh? Tell me more.”

“She has attempted to escape several times, sir.” The slaver swallowed. “This one injured ten of us in our original.. obtainment of her.” He paused, a sly smile working on his face. “She’ll come at a premium, to cover our expenses.”

“Do I look like I want for funds?”

“No, Dragon.” The lynx walked over to one wall, furthest away from the sputtering fire pit. “There. A young Wolf.”

“Interesting….” Vakann began walking a coin across his knuckles. “Step into the light why don’t you?” He said to the darkness of the cell.

A pair of yellow eyes glowed in the gloom, but the slave didn’t move.

The Dragon shrugged. “Fine, remember I offered to do this the polite way. I’m told that’s the preferred method for interaction among most.” The coin disappeared and Vakann spat another word accompanied by a snap of his fingers. The room lit up with a bright ball of light.

“Personally I’ve always preferred a more direct method.”

The Wolf girl growled, and slid further back into her cell.

“So, they tell me during their initial kidnapping you injured ten of them. They also tell me that you’ve made escape attempts though they failed to specify how many.”

Yellow eyes stared levelly at him, betraying nothing but a slight smirk.

“Ah so they were telling the truth then. How many escape attempts was it then?”

The girl said nothing, maintaining her glare.

Vakann sighed. “You may refuse to speak but you do at least understand what I’m saying, yes?”

The girl blinked slowly, and nodded without breaking eye contact.

Finally, progress. “You know this staring thing of your’s isn’t exactly the wisest choice. If you had given a mind mage this much time with your eyes and they would have had you rolling over and begging for a treat. Count your blessings.”

The eyes narrowed, and the girl looked away, clumps of grey hair obscuring her face.

The man stared at her with his crimson eyes. “How many escape attempts?”

She snarled wordlessly, and leapt forward, colliding painfully with the bars of the cage.

Vakann’s hand shot forward and grabbed the material of her shirt, pulling her forward from her rebound as he placed his forehead up against her’s. “Answer. The question.” He snarled, eyes boring into her’s.

She glared back, and bared her teeth.

Vakann slammed her head into the bars. “Please, do keep resisting. I have quite a bit of free time on my hands.”

Her eyes squeezed shut, and she went slack.

The mage let go of his hold on her. “While I’m asking questions I’ll have your name as well. Really while I have the time you really should be better behaved for a job interview don’t you think?”

She glowered at him, and rose up on one elbow. “Defy.”

“Finally, she speaks.” He noted dryly. “Now for the love of the totems will you tell me how many escape attempts it was?”

She added a scowl, and swallowed, looking away resentfully. “Six.”

The mage nodded and began pacing. “You must have been at least moderately successful. I doubt the slavers would risk merchandise freezing in this cell unless said merchandise was exceptionally difficult.”

She grinned bloodthirstily, staring now at the slaver.

The Dragon turned to the other man, his eyebrow raised. “It seems she is not overfond of you.”

He nodded, wringing his hands. “I was charged with her last several recaptures, Dragon.”

Vakann nodded, filing away the information for future reference. “I’ll be buying this one.” He turned back to look at Defy. “I have a feeling she will be most useful given time and the proper training.”

Defy snarled, uselessly rattling the bars of her cage. “No.”

Vakann returned a thin smile. “Yes, although I am glad to see that spirit. It’s the kind of will I need for my task.”

The Lynx smiled knowingly. “Our bid begins at 50 silver, Dragon.”

A bag collided with the slaver’s chest. “The extra 25 is your tip for a good find and proper respect. But only if I’m charged 50. Anymore and your tip may start to...dry up.”

The smile grew wider, and the Lynx trader bowed. “As you say, Dragon. Would you like her now, or to be delivered to your home?”

“Now, she’s going to try to escape in transit either way but I’d prefer to handle it myself.” The mage noted in a bored tone.

Defy growled, and kicked the door as the Lynx nodded. “If you’ll give us five minutes to have her properly tagged, she’ll be yours, Dragon.”

“Excellent. Would you tie her arms and hands as well? It will give me more time to get her closer to the house.” He produced a length of thick cord. “You do not even have to use your own rope.”

The Lynx nodded, retrieving the rope and bowing, before walking to the fire to locate the mage, leaving the two alone.

Vakann stared for a moment before speaking. “The first order of business after preventing your escape attempt will be to get you a good meal, you look horribly under-nourished. Food in the Flash can be a bit rich, so I advise you eat slowly.”

The girl glared up at him. “Gettin’ out.”

The mage shrugged. “With your skills? I must admit its possible. Of course, do not expect that to be easy. To we of the Dragon a true challenge is rarer than any rich from under the earth. We get very few of them you see. And now I have two on my plate.” He grinned in pleasure. “I’m very much looking forward to the near future.”

It took three Lynx to hold the girl steady while a golden tag was affixed to her right ear. The ropes were bound her arms in front of her, and she was shoved to her knees. She snapped at the guards, and stumbled to her feet, yellow eyes glinting dangerously.

“It has been a pleasure doing buisness with you, merchants.” Vakann stated, inclining his head incrementally. Then he took hold of Defy by her bound wrists. “Now then, there will be several relevant questions I’ll need to ask you on the way home. I would appreciate it if you would simply answer them.”

“Piss off.”

“Yes, yes, yes.” He commented impatiently as he began to pull her along. “You may not believe me but if you give this job a chance I think you will find it to your liking.”

The girl dug her heels in, twisting and biting at the rope.

Vakann sighed in exasperation. “Really you could at least give me five minutes to explain.” He kept dragging his new slave along. “And quit biting. I need you to answer questions and you can’t do that if I gag you.”
I say we nuke it from orbit...its the only way to be sure.
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Guyshane
 
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Re: Askinov RP

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Mon Jun 02, 2014 11:52 am

Lilian rocked back in her small cage, thinking. The smells of the Lower Market assaulted her nose, distracting her, but she resolutely ignored the squalour and the discomfort to focus on the task at hand.

Casually, she rubbed her hands along the filthy cage floor, gathering dirt on her palms and under her fingernails. She ran her fingers through her hair, mussing and dirtying it, then rubbed the remaining dirt over her face and arms.

Turning to the side, Lilian bashed her head against the side of the cage, just hard enough to bruise her cheek on the bars. There. Now she looked like trouble. Settling back in the cage, she fixed her face with a deep scowl.

Deep down, she knew that she would not be returned safely to her warren if there were no buyers for her today. She had seen slaves starve to death in the Market for want of buyers, and had no intention of that happening to her. All she wanted was to put buyers off long enough to buy herself a little time. With that much longer to think, she would come up with a plan to get herself out of here and free once more.

Idly, she watched the passersby as she thought, her face easing into its usual smile whenever she thought no one was looking. “Hi. You come here often?”

A brown face turned toward Lilian with an inquisitive look. The Rabbit waved half-heartedly. “Yeah, hi!”

One of the Lynx sellers wandered up the path, casting an eye toward the caged slaves. Seeing him come, Lilian’s face transformed, from friendly nonchalance to fury, hissing and spitting at the still-silent Crow. “Get away from me, you tailfluff Pecker! Don’ talk to me like that!”

The Crow tilted her head slightly, never breaking her gaze from the bi-polar Rabbit. Somehow Lilian had distracted the Crow from her task and caused her to take an interest.

For her part, Lilian continued spewing vitriol until she was sure the trader had passed. “So anyway, hi. You know why I’m here; how about you?”

“Strange, how hard you try to hide your true nature. As though that will make a difference with your fate.” The crow leaned closer to Lilian to further study her attributes. “I’m running a message. I’m not familiar with the name.” with a smirk, the Crow took a step forward. “Perhaps you know it? Valdar Tramier? Very important Dragon, I believe. His uh, location was unclear to me when I started my run.”

“Sorry, don’t know no Dragons,” Lilian said with a shrug and a smile. “But I know half the Rabbits in the city.”

“Shame. Perhaps if I ever have the chance to deliver to a White Tail like you, I might seek you out for directions.”

Lilian stretched leisurely. “I should start thinking what I’d charge, then.”

The Crow smiled and came up directly to the bars. Leaning in, a small bead on a string appeared around the Crow’s neck. “I like you, and I don’t like many people.”

Lilian smirked, crouching in the low cage. “I’m just so charming.”

Suddenly reaching in, the Crow grabbed Lilian’s shirt and pulled her against the bars. “That’s why I’m going to help you.” The Crow began to screech. “HELP! HELP! THE BLASTED CONEY’S BIT ME! GET HER OFF!” Pulling back her hand, the Crow ran to a pile of boxes and in a graceful leap landed crouched on the second story of the opposite building. Looking down, the Crow smiled at Lilian as the slave driver came to beat her back. Silently the Crow disappeared across the rooftops.

---------

The man peered inside the cage. “This one. Who is she?”

The lynx sighed. “Ah, sir, that’s just a Rabbit thief we caught goin’ through Flash district couple days back. Brought us nothin’ but trouble. No one wants a thievin’ slave, see, since old habits die ‘ard and all.”

The girl glanced up through the bars at the man, and winced. Phoenix. Still, she hadn’t expected her plan to delay sale to work so well, and she wanted out. Her stomach rumbled, and she gave the buyer her best good-girl smile. “Hi.”

Her prospective owner examined her critically. “I’ve seen this face before,” he murmured, “a long time ago. But it was in a Phoenix school.”

“That’s me,” she said, nauseated by how sincere she managed to sound. “Almost as pretty as a Phoenix!”

The man backed away, appearing to consider. “Fifty silver.”

The lynx gasped overdramatically. “You wound me, sir. She ain’t worth less than eighty.”

“She’s malnourished. I’ll have to feed her extra. Sixty.”

“Seventy.”

“Look at her bruises. Healings aren’t cheap. Sixty-five.”

The lynx, who hadn’t expected to sell her off for anything more than thirty, nodded despondently. “My daughter’ll go ‘ungry for a night. Sixty-five it is.”

The coins changed hands, the Market mage spelled her tags to reflect her owner, and the cage unlocked. Lilian was free. Well, relatively speaking. She flashed her new owner another smile, this one with a bit of tooth in it.

The man did not seem perturbed. “My name is Liazar,” he said. “What’s yours?”

“Maria,” she said airily, choosing the name of a jeweller she used to run with.

He stared at her for a second, then nodded. “Very well. Follow me. We have much to attend to.”
He set off from the market at a brisk pace. The Rabbit followed, at a slightly slower pace. At a carefully judged moment, she seemed to stumble, scooping a sharp rock up from the ground as she broke her fall, and hiding it in her curled hand.

He turned around, seeing her fall. “Are you hurt?”

The girl huffed a little. “Mighta been, ain’t I? Not helped by ‘ow fast you’re movin’. I’ll be all right.” Inwardly, she smirked. She was a Rabbit. If he’d been less of an arrogant bird, he might have thought it was odd that someone naturally far more graceful than him should be tripping. Instead, she had a cheap weapon, and even cheaper sympathy, for what it was worth.

He frowned slightly, but when he turned back around, his pace had slowed. “We’ll see to your injuries at my clinic. Can you read or write?”

Lilian shrugged. Stop talking to me like a person and let me plot my escape in peace. “Priest always said I was a smart ‘un. I pick things up, here ‘n’ there, you know?” This, strictly speaking, was true. This stranger did not need to know the lengths to which she had sometimes gone in order to pick some things up.

He nodded. “I’m in need of a personal assistant. You will help catalog and organize my workspace, aid me in simple menial tasks, and provide general housekeeping. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.” She gave him her good-girl smile again. “I won’t be any trouble, you’ll barely know I’m there.”

“That’s unfortunate.” He wasn’t facing her, but she thought she could hear a small smile in his tone. “In my line of work, it’s good to be noticed. People don’t like healers who don’t want to get their hands dirty.”

“I ain’t a healer, sir,” Lilian said with a shrug. “Magickin’s one thing I can’t pick up.”

“Not all healing is about magic. Most Phoenix expect a show, but the earth has provided us with the means of curing many ailments without resorting to brute magical force. Besides, many of my patients come to me with problems of the mind, and solving those is more a matter of patience and taking good notes.”

The Rabbit tuned out what he was saying, working on scraping dirt from the rock onto her fingers. Once her hands were properly filthy, she began to casually feel the metal tags at her ears, indulging a nervous habit. A nervous habit that, as an added benefit, dulled the metallic shine on the tags. Less likely to be noticed once she’d gotten away from her buyer. She refused to think of him as her owner when she didn’t plan to be owned past the day.

A hand touched her shoulder. “I do not expect much, but I do expect your attention,” said Liazar firmly. “I understand and accept your dislike for me, but if our acquaintance is to be mutually beneficial, you will have to learn from me. I do not expect you to learn everything I have to teach, nor do I expect you to enjoy the subjects I am capable of teaching. But I do expect that you make the effort. Am I clear?”

Lilian met his eyes for a split second, then looked away. A perfectly obedient, fresh-caught slave from any tribe but Sheep wasn’t believable; if she just rolled over, he’d know she didn’t plan to stay, and that would ruin her plans. “Yes, sir,” she said in a sullen tone.

Liazar nodded. “Good. Follow me. We have much to attend to.” He turned and started off again, apparently unaware that he had repeated himself.
Lead by example. Get lost in a swamp.

AS DICTATED TO INSTANTIATION 17-01-18-01.
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Re: Askinov RP

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:19 am

The Wolf scowled, and stopped biting, stumbling in her attempt to slow her pace. “Food.”

“Yes, I have plenty of food at my home,” Vakann replied.

“Now.”

“You’re awfully picky for someone who was trying to chew through the rope not thirty seconds ago.”

“Hungry.” The Wolf tugged toward a vender. “Food. Now.”

The Dragon rolled his eyes and walked towards the vendor. “I suppose I’ll indulge you for now.”

The girl gave a fierce grin, and tugged at the rope while his back was turned. The knot grew looser, and she rolled her shoulders before sprinting away.

While she was running there was a word spoken which was not loud but carried through the street unnaturally. A fireball streaked from behind her and impacted with an explosion in the path of her escape. The crowd parted for Vakann as the mage started towards her at a leisurely pace.

She growled, working harder at the ropes before streaking down an alleyway, Vakann close behind. A few moments with a rusty pipe, and the rope was cut.

“You know pup.” Vakann strolled into the alleyway. “The thing about surprise attacks is that they only work if the mark isn’t expecting it. I went to that market today wholly expecting an escape attempt from whoever I bought. Though I suppose I shouldn’t have left the job of tying you to the less competent.”

“Not Pup,” Defy called back, running to the end of the alley and down the street. At the next intersection, she threw the rope as far to the left as possible, tearing up through the lower market, and out into the slums.

She only stopped running after making several turns and backtracks, even running over a roof and then through a sewer at one point to further hide her scent. Winded, she stopped only to steal a small loaf of bread and a gulp of water, and resumed walking down the decrepit street.

Evilen never liked slow days. Slow days mean less money, and less money means less food. Without a consistent need for a runner, Evilen had to find other ways to raise quick cash. As frustrating as it was to track down the poor beggars slaves were, following potential runaways was always a solid option for money. Evilen seemed to have picked the wrong side of town to search, as she couldn’t find any conspicuous characters in the street below.

She was rudely shoved out of the way by a tall, whip-thin Wolf slave, who continued walking without a backwards glance.

Evilen immediately caught up with the wolf slave and asked “What is a dog like you doing so far up from the ground? Seems so far away from the prison you live on.”

Defy growled, and leapt back, snarling. “What did you say, Pecker?”

Smirking, Evilen chirped back, “I only noted that you have leaped higher than you can land.” With a swift kick, Evilen knocked the Wolf backwards and over the edge of the roof. Looking down, Evilen saw Defy stand up, clearly uninjured, though slightly out of breath. “Totems,” Evilen muttered. “This one’s gonna be difficult.” She leaped down to the street, drawing a small knife, ready for action.

Defy roared, and leapt over the girl, scooping up some dirt to fling into her face. She fell back, panting, and snarled. “Leave me be, Pecker.”

“That hoop on your ear tells me to do differently, dog. It is too bad I caught you on a slow day.” Evilen sprinted forward, anticipating to get a face full of dirt before reaching her target.

Defy leapt at her, driving her shoulder into the smaller woman’s midsection, her left hand reaching for the right knee, causing Evilen to topple.

Cripes, Evilen thought, clever girl. Quickly rolling over, Evilen got back to her feet and ran for the nearest stack of boxes hoping that the height would give her an advantage over the slave. The Wolf as staggering to her feet, winded and clutching her side. Evilen did not expect this from such a fierce wolf, and tilted her head slightly as she analyzed her foe. Getting down from the boxes, she walked up to Defy. The grey-haired girl smiled, and lashed out at the Crow. With a swift motion Evilen took the Wolf’s arm and twisted it behind her back, threatening to tear it from it’s socket. Instead of pushing further, the Crow twisted, releasing the Wolf, causing her to gasp in surprise and pain. Evilen smirked and smashed her palm into the back of the girl’s head. Defy fell limply to the ground.

“Ah, thank you for the assistance, however unnecessary. I will take things from here.” said Vakann as he strolled over, not having increased his pace at all during the whole chase.

“Of course, only a dragon could be so lazy as to lose a slave and still somehow claim the prize.” Evilen stepped between the Wolf and Vakann as he continued walking towards her. “I require a fee, before you take her back.”

“And only a crow would assume this slave was lost while not wondering how I found my way to this slave if she was indeed lost. And of course I will pay you a pittance, assuming Defy is undamaged in the long term.”

“She’ll work, though her pride might be diminished slightly from being beaten by a Crow.” Evilen walked toward the Dragon until she stood face to face with him. Despite looking up, she still made a formidable wall against him. “Five gold coins.”

Vakann snorted. “That’s extortion, and quite blatant extortion at that.”

“Clearly extortion you can afford, many times over.” Evilen glanced down at Vakann’s hand, indicating the dragon embossed coin he held. “Five gold coins for the trouble the Cur has caused.”

“Three”

“Three… and two pieces of silver. I want some ointment for the bruise forming on my side.”

Defy groaned, and began to pull her arm out from beneath her.

Vakann’s coin disappeared as he quickly counted out actual currency and gave it to the Crow. before moving past her and placing his heel on Defy’s back. The girl groaned, and twisted her head up to look at him defiantly.

“Sorry, Dog. Your Master was more compelling in his arguments. Better luck next time.” Evilen pocketed the coins and leaped for the nearest rooftop, disappearing over the skyline.

Vakann looked down on her in irritation. “You know despite expecting you to run I was hoping you’d at least hear me out first. We’ll discuss the rest of your punishment once we are at home and you are fed but for now: Your weekly stipend does not begin until next month.”

“Stipend?” The girl shook her head sharply, wincing.

“Yes, Stipend. As in allowance, operating costs, pay. You do understand the concept of money, yes?”

“Gerroff me.”

“Not until I’ve re-tied your hands. And really? Being taken down by a Crow miscreant? I thought you had an aptitude for violence.” As he spoke the mage wrenched her hands behind her back and tied them tightly.

The girl sagged, and winced, “Oi! Hurts, ya bastard!”

“Good, that means you won’t wriggle free this time. And I am not a bastard. My family has an extensive tree dating back to the founders...Well, we did anyway.”

The Wolf girl panted, and glared at him. “Lemme up.”

“Certainly” Vakann replied as he forcibly pulled the girl to her feet. “You did not answer my question. Do you not have an aptitude for violence?”

Yellow eyes glared back stonily, and Defy remained silent.

“Are you even going to bother to ask why I bought you? Or why I’m paying you?” Vakann was irritated but not for her escape. It was almost more in the manner of someone having his show not going according to script.

“Lie about pay,” Defy sniffed. “Slaves don’ make nothin’.”

“Some of mine do. Particularly the ones that carry out critical tasks for me.”

The girl eyed him. “I’ll bite it off first.”

The mage promptly smacked her upside the head. “Not that! I mean look at yourself, you’re more bone than anything else. Besides if I was buying someone for sex I would’ve bought a slave of more agreeable disposition.”

Defy staggered forward, and shook tears from her eyes to rush the larger man.

Vakann caught her by the throat and pinned her against the alley wall. “Think damn you! Stop being a snarling animal throwing yourself at everything and anything like the rest of your class! Display some of the cleverness of the predator you were chosen by. I bought you because you are violent, because you keep trying to escape and because you won’t back down even when a normal person would. Couple that with the knowledge that this work is dangerous enough that I will be paying you. What do I want you for?”

Defy snarled, and shuddered for a moment, going slack as she thought. The fire in her eyes burned dim, and she glared at him. “You want a killer.”

The dragon released his hold on her throat and grabbed her arm before she could run. “Close but no. A simple killer I could get anywhere. I need an assassin. Again there are several I could hire but word spreads quickly among the elite and all current assassins in the city have their proclivities well known by many of the Dragons and Phoenixes who bribe the police.”

She scowled. “Don’t follow orders.”

“I know. That’s what makes you a challenge.” Vakann’s eyes flared with excitement. “How to make someone with a pathological hate for authority and no friends or family follow orders.”

“Not a dog, either.”

“Are you still annoyed over the ‘pup’ thing?”

The scowl deepened, and Defy jerked her arm away from his.

“Fine then, I am….sorry.”

The girl raised an eyebrow, and poked a rock with a bare foot.

“I will not lie to you Defy. The training will be difficult and the work will be dangerous. But do well enough and I will allow you to take extraneous contracts where you will keep the whole reward. Help me accomplish my goal and I may even be able to arrange for your freedom.”

“No freedom for Wolf.”

“Nonsense. True freedom is having enough power that when someone says ‘You can’t’ you laugh in their face as you do.” Vakann’s eyes were glowing slightly at this point. “Work with me, crush my enemy and you will be a talented assassin with a high income and the backing of a powerful mage. Freedom at that point will be a simple matter.”

Defy eyed him. “Just want total loyalty, is it?”

Vakann snorted. “Total loyalty from you? That is likely a delusion. All I need is enough loyalty for you to come back.”

She smirked. “What, so now we’s allies, then? No beatin’s or nothin’? Just two ‘appy coves ‘avin’ a go?”

The mage punched her in the stomach. “Did I say no beatings? I don’t recall saying no beating. Make no mistake you are still in my service, just as you would have been to anyone else who bought you. The difference is that I will not have you killed for being too willful like just about anyone else in this city.”

Defy doubled over, coughing. “Fine. Fine. Back off.”

Vakann stepped back, a restraining spell waiting on his tongue in case she ran. The girl caught her breath, eyeing him warily. She hesitated, but did not run.

Well, its progress. “Come with me to my house. I’ll have a meal brought to you, the other half of your punishment can be dealt with and then we can work out the details of your new job.”

Swallowing, she slid closer. “Untie me,” she demanded.

“Run, and things will be worse for you.” The mage warned before stepping behind her and untying her hands.

She stretched, and rubbed a bruise forming on the back of her head.

“Let’s go.”

Reluctantly, Defy followed.
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Re: Askinov RP

Postby RussetDivinity on Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:11 am

Lisette tucked her hands into the pockets of her gray coat as she strode through the market. Vendors all around her shouted out the prices of their wares, only dropping low when they began haggling. Of course, their voices rose up again in outrage (often mock outrage, but she knew a few were genuinely offended by the offers) as customers tried to talk them into lower prices. Once or twice she heard the shout of a slave and the responding shout of an owner, and an angry heat rose up in her neck as she forced herself to move along. She didn't know whether the anger was at the slaveowners or at herself for being so indecisive about whether she ought to act. Treating other people as lesser -- or as though they weren't people at all -- was what she hated about the Council, but slavery was such a large part of life here that she knew she wouldn't be able to change it all at once. For all she knew, she wouldn't be able to change it at all. It was probably enough of a risk for her to think she could change anything.

As she drew further away from the slave bidding, she began to see things that once would have set her heart burning. Men and women in nondescript, baggy clothing stood near vendors, and whenever they got close to the booths, the vendors would draw them into whispered conversations. Small sacks would trade hands, and then the people in baggy clothes would slip away, vanishing into the crowd. Lisette knew beyond a doubt that the trades were illicit if not illegal, and if she were to search the vendors she would find that they had small collections of dried cloves and little bottles filled with extract of vanilla. Once, years ago, she would have gone after the spice traders and done her best to have them all arrested, but now she had larger things to deal with. As she closed her hand around a her totem, holding it tightly enough that the edges nearly bit into her flesh, she reminded herself that she had larger things to worry about than arresting smugglers. Some other Cougar was sure to deal with it, and even if they didn't, a little flavor might be good for people's spirits.

Sure enough, when she turned the next corner, she saw a pair of Cougars hauling away one of the spice traders, a Lynx woman who hissed and spat. One of the Cougars recognized Lisette and nodded, and she nodded in return, wondering if she ought to say anything, or what she could say. I'm sorry, Hiawa, didn't seem as though it would be enough, so Lisette merely turned her gaze away and hurried down the street.

Her stop was a shop that looked half-abandoned, with a door hanging off the hinges and dust covering the windows. Inside, she found a Ram bent over a stack of papers, peering with the help of an oil lamp. "Lisette," she said, her voice sharp as ever. "Have you brought the money?"

"It's good to see you too, Yelena," Lisette said. When Yelena only glared at her, she sighed and pulled a handful of silver coins from her pocket. "Here."

"It's not enough," Yelena said.

"Not enough? It's the same amount I brought last time."

"Prices go up," Yelena said. "Of course, I could just take a few pages off..."

Lisette gritted her teeth. She didn't want to deal with this now, not when her temper was already raging. She wanted to scream at Yelena that, since she was just about her only customer, she expected fair prices and maybe some damn respect. She wanted to break the windows and maybe tear some of the manuscripts on the table. Instead, she pulled a few more coins out and passed them to the Ram. "There. But there had better be no water stains this time."

"My papers are always good," Yelena said, accepting the money and giving Lisette a bound roll of papers. "If you're trying to keep a low profile, going into clandestine shops isn't the best way of doing that."

"I can take care of myself," Lisette said. She wanted to leave as quickly as she could; once, she and Yelena had gotten along, but for whatever reason, they could hardly stand each other now.

As Lisette left the shop, a small Mouse ran up to her, holding out a scrap of paper. It looked cheap, and the ink on it was hardly of the best quality. Just at a glance, Lisette could tell that whoever had written it didn't write often; the script reminded her of her own early attempts to write. "Are you Lisette?" the Mouse asked.

"I am."

"Was told to give this to you," the Mouse said, nearly out of breath. "Here."

As soon as Lisette accepted the paper, the Mouse darted off, not even bothering to ask for payment. As soon as she was gone, Lisette looked down to read the message. She didn't get through half of it before tearing the paper into quarters and tossing them to the ground.

Kit had tried to write her again.
Jubilation and despair are two sides of the same coin.
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Re: Askinov RP

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:11 pm

[Two days before either Lilian or Defy are purchased]

“How’d you do it?” asked a voice, when the sound of the Lynx’s footsteps receded.

Defy wiped a streak of blood from her eyebrow, and glared at the Rabbit. “Shut up, Whitetail.”

Lilian shrugged, a friendly smile still on her face. “Hey, I didn’t ask to be here. I’d be happy to try your technique, if you’d give me a hint as to how you slipped the fluff-tailed bars in the first place.”

Yellow eyes glowed in the dark, and the Wolf kicked at the bars in front of her. “Nothing a hare-brain could do.”

“You want to bet?” the Rabbit challenged. “I’m a hand with locks, if I had a bushy thing I could use with them. Bewhiskered Lynx took all my tools.”

“Good. Maybe you’ll learn to keep shut.”

Lilian eyed the other girl critically. “I thought Wolves were supposed to be good team players, or Pack players, or whatever. You share your secrets, we could maybe both get out, instead of rotting here until we kill each other or get bought.”

The Wolf snorted, and picked a shard of glass out of her elbow.

“How about that, then?” Lilian moved to the lock at the front of the cage, holding a hand out behind her for the piece of glass.

Defy stared at her steadily, and did not move. “We’re not partners.”

“Never said we were. Don’t mean we have to cut off our own whiskers to avoid helping each other.”

“What do I get, Flat-foot?”

“Same as me, Wolf-breath. Out.”

The girl sighed twisting in her cage in order to get some comfort. “Save it, no escapes tonight.”

Lilian turned away from the lock to stare at her cagemate, irritation finally showing in her face. “So, what, Wolf, you went to stretch your legs?” she challenged. “A brisk run, and then come trotting back to your masters? Did you carry them a nice bone on your way back here, too?”

Defy’s hand snapped out, grabbing the Rabbit’s neck and lifting her up, choking her.

“I can see you’ve got a real fighter’s spirit,” Lilian gasped out, hand reaching blindly for her captor’s wrist. “Kill the little Rabbit in the box with you, instead of the bastards who put you there.”

The Wolf eyed her steadily. “I am not a dog.” She threw the other girl against the wall, and retreated to her own corner.

“Then start showing it,” Lilian demanded once she had recovered her breath. “Or does it only suit your pride to get free if you can do it by yourself? I thought you were a Wolf, not a tailfluff bird.”

“Sleep.”

The Rabbit gritted her teeth, rubbing her bruised shoulder. She wanted to get home now, not after another night in a cage with a psychopath thrown in for extra fun. Silently, she went over the names of every Phoenix she knew personally, controlling her breathing as she did. “Fine,” she said at last. “Get your bushy beauty rest.”

A pair of eyes glowed in the dark, and Defy kept silent.

Lilian woke early, the bars of the cage doing nothing to block out the sun or dim the ache of every bruise and bump she had collected. “So, how about it, Wolf?”

Defy stared at her levelly.

“Only I’d like to never see you again, and it’s really hard to do that when we’re stuck in here together. Space gets a little cramped, if you know what I mean.”

The girl snorted, and kicked at a bar, denting it slightly. “Too thick. Better’n what I’s in yeste’day.”

Lilian examined the dent critically. “Better mark than I could make. Maybe if you widen it a little near the lock, I can reach around and fiddle from the outside. Always easier to open things from the outside.”

Defy shook her head, and produced the shard of glass. She grinned hungrily at the Rabbit.

Lilian eyed her uneasily. “You going to give that to me or what?”

Defy eyed her for a moment longer, and swiped the glass down Lillian’s arm, drawing blood.

The Rabbit yelped and cursed, pressing a bit of her ragged tunic against the cut. “You got a problem or something?” she demanded, forgetting to keep her voice low. “Or is it just some Wolf custom to keep trying to kill anyone who might be a help?”
Defy watched the Lynx begin to stir, and smirked, before bolting to the back of the cage. A few rags were shuffled, and a small hole appeared.

“Something you were planning to share with the rest of the class?” Lilian muttered, bolting into motion for the hole.

“Stay,” Defy’s hand planted into her chest. The Wolf looked her up and down, and then disappeared down the hole and out into the streets.

Lilian swore, running out a moment later, cradling her still-bleeding arm with one hand while she ran. She was halfway across the Market when hands grabbed her, and she kicked out wildly, hitting nothing.

“Where’s the wolf?” A voice demanded, stinking of fish and tobacco. He squeezed tighter on her arms, causing her bruises to blossom into teeth-grating pain.

“How the hell should I know? Let go, you’re getting your dirt all over my blood.”

The Lynx whirled her to face him, his ears coming to a whiskered point. “What were you two planning?”

“I wasn’t planning anything with that fluff-tailed, bushy-whiskered, long-eared dog,” the Rabbit exclaimed in outrage. “And I haven’t got a bushy clue what she was planning, or I wouldn’t be bleeding all over you right now!”

He frowned, and tossed her to another slaver. “I’ll go after the Wolf. See to it she’s in another cell.”

The second thug caught the light Rabbit like a sack of potatoes, gripping her arms as tightly as the first. Lilian glared up at him, venom in her eyes, and he shook her roughly, making her lose track of anything other than her cuts and bruises.

Later, several more bruises complementing the ones she had already collected, Lilian watched the Wolf girl get thrown into a new cell, both her and her captors somewhat the worse for wear. Defy snarled, and looked around, her eyes meeting Lilian’s. The Rabbit just glared steadily, absently rubbing a particularly nasty mark on her shoulder.

The Wolf smiled widely, and pointed to her arm.
Last edited by eli_gone_crazy on Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Askinov RP

Postby Tohrinha on Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:47 pm

Kamala pushed his way past a Ram trader who was standing inconsiderately in the middle of the passage. The shops were set close enough without people taking up all the space. She shot a glare at him and the woman with him as she edged closer to the wall and continued her conversation. Ignoring her, Kamala moved deeper into the lower market.

He ducked under part of an unsteady scaffold supporting an even more rickety roof. A shower of dust fell onto his already grimy coat as he did. His companion coughed, sending her own cloud into the air. He paused, turning.

The Bear waved the rest of the dust out of her face, looking uncertainly at the hole Kamala had just slipped through. “I’m… not sure I’ll fit through there.”

“Go around, Osh,” Kamala said. He jerked his head towards the rest of the alleyway, snorting. Mokosh opened her mouth to apologize, but Kamala waved her off. “Just trying to get there quick as possible.” He let out a breath in a long sigh. “If I could go through walls, I would. Get there and get this nonsense over and done with.”

A pair of Lynxes were hovering near the entrance, talking in hushed voices and making gestures that could have been prices being flashed between them. The taller one caught sight of the two fighters and with a last hand sign, ducked behind a cage. Kamala looked for him through the bars, but he had vanished.

The remaining Lynx came up to them. She was probably meant to divert them from the more shady areas of the market, in case they were on patrol. His irritation growing, Kamala cut off her greeting. “Have you brought in any Cougars in the last couple of weeks?”

She was silent, her ears twitching as she considered. After a moment, she replied. “None through me, not unless one came in just this morning. I could make certain inquiries, though, if you were to… ask the right way.” Kamala grimaced, but dug out a few silver coins. The Lynx deftly slipped them into her sleeve before disappearing like her partner.

“What do you say she’ll make off with the money?” Mokosh had crossed her arms. She stared at the place where the two traders had gone, waiting for something to reappear.

Kamala frowned. “She’ll be back. She doesn’t want us digging through for a thief.”

A hand wrapped around the bars of the cage. Kamala glanced over, meeting the Sheep’s brown eyes. They stared at each other for a moment, neither speaking. Kamala wondered vaguely if his tongue had been cut out. He hastily looked away.

The Lynx trader flitted back into view in front of them. Giving them a toothy grin, she beckoned the two to follow her. Kamala didn’t look back at the Sheep boy as he left.

They followed the Lynx through the warren of cages and cells sunken into the earth or the occasional convenient rock. She peeked into a few as they passed, sometimes slapping away a reaching hand. They would be snatched back by their owners, dotted with blood drawn by the slaver’s nails.

The Lynx stopped in the middle of an alley, looking expectantly at Kamala. He glanced into the cell behind her, seeing only the huddled form of a Rabbit in the far corner. The cage on the other side was empty.

“Where-?” he began, leaving off when he saw the dark holes in the ground. He knelt to peer through a dull grate by his feet.

Between the iron bars and his head, not much light came through, and what there was, was caught in the motes of dirt and dust. But there was enough to make out the shape of a scrawny Cougar, his jutting bones clear sign of starvation. At the sound of Kamala’s voice, he had looked up. One of his eyes was covered with a white film.

Mercenary. “That’s not him.” Kamala got to his feet. “Any others?”

“Well,” the trader said with the air of confidentiality, “there is another. She was taken maybe a month ago, but I could take you-”

“No.” Kamala grabbed Mokosh’s shoulder, pulling her around. Then he hesitated, thinking of the Cougar in the pit. Better a slave in the barracks than one in a cage. “How much for him?” he called back, looking at the Lynx.

“Thirty gold.”

“I can give you five.”

“Feed him up a bit, and he’ll give you good service. Twenty.”

Kamala shook his head. “Come on, Osh, we’re leaving. This was a waste of time,” he growled, stalking back along the alley. “Lev was never here.”

“You could still at least look for him,” Mokosh grumbled as they left the Lynx with the cages. “Had to drag you along here to look, I did. You’d think you thought he was dead.” She looked sideways at him as they walked.

“I am looking for him.” Kamala groaned and stretched, massaging the back of his neck with one hand. “Just forget it for now. Let’s go home. Maybe arrest someone on the way,” he said menacingly, brushing away a tiny Crow. Pickpockets abounded in the lower market.

Mokosh shrugged her large shoulders. “Up to you. Me, I could use a drink.”

“Yeah, sure.”
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Re: Askinov RP

Postby Guyshane on Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:47 pm

“I’m not going.” The Wolf curled up in the corner of her room, on the floor.

“You need to be healed so you’re going.”

She scowled at him. “Can’t make me.”

Vakann cracked his fingers. “Really? Would you like me to put that to the test?”

“Go right ahead, scales-for-brains.”

There was another harsh word from the mage and suddenly Defy’s arms and legs were bound with rope. He then lifted the tiny wolf and began walking out of the house.

She screamed, and began twisting, trying to bite him.

“Bite me and I’m beating you again before the healing.”

“I hate you.”

“Really? I had not noticed. You are simply too good at hiding your emotions.” Vakann shot back in a biting tone.’

“When I’m through with you, your carcass won’t even be worth carrion.”

“Have you considered the possibility of getting further in life if you don’t immediately threaten all your problems with violence?”

“Have you ever considered the possibility of shutting your damn mouth?”

“The only reason I keep talking so much is because I must keep arguing with you. Why I keep indulging is beyond me.”

Defy glared at him, but fell silent.

Finally, lets see if I can get her there before she tries to kill me, again.

-----------

Liazar answered the rather insistent knock on his door. “Good afternoon. How may I help you?”

Defy twisted, her face twisted in terror. “Help! I’ve been kidnapped by this man and he won’t let me go!”

“Shut it you.” Vakann growled. “I think calling the afternoon ‘good’ would be stretching it healer. I need her healed.”

“You need me tamed, more like.”

Liazar looked from the Dragon to the bound Wolf behind him. He jerked his head toward the infirmary. “Bring her inside.”

Vakann dragged the slave inside. “I thought we had arrived at an understanding.” He growled at her.

“That understanding didn’t extend to… Phoenix scum looking me over like some bit of horseflesh.”

“Defy it seems once again we must indulge in a thinking exercise. Why can I not afford to wait for you to heal naturally?”

Lilian looked up as the commotion neared the infirmary, and stood upright when she saw the Wolf. “I’m well enough to work around the house now, sir,” she said loudly.

“Perhaps because you’re a bastard.” Defy shot back, before glancing over at the Rabbit, a sly smile on her face. “May I have a knife, Dragon?” Lilian closed her fingers around the sharp rock she’d snatched earlier, edging away from the other slave while keeping her eyes on the door.

“And trust you not to stab me? Did you perchance break into my wine cellar while we were at the house?” Vakann paused. “And no the reason is not that ‘I am a bastard’ it has not been the reason for anything I’ve done yet and that is not changing anytime soon.”

“You want your obedient little dog, and giving me favors hastens the process.”

“An excellent theory, but no.”

Defy rolled her shoulders, frowning at the rope. “Let me go.”

“Do you promise to behave?”

A wolfish grin grew. “I am not a dog.”

“I certainly hope not. A dog would be useless to me. However I don’t know that I trust you enough to release you.”

Liazar walked back into the room, holding a vial. “You may not trust her, Sir Dragon, but I will be unable to cure her as long as she remains bound,” he said mildly. He turned to Defy. “Lay down on the bed nearest you, please.” To Lilian, he instructed, “There is a jar in the cabinet in my backroom labeled “Eferlom”. Please bring it to me.”

Lilian gladly left the room to get the jar, dawdling as long outside the infirmary as she thought she could get away with.

Vakann himself stepped backwards to create more distance between himself and Defy before muttering the word that released the ropes. Defy scrambled back against the wall, glowering at the Dragon. “Tooth-bit magic,” she cursed.

Liazar moved carefully toward Defy. “Lie down, please,” he repeated.

She looked at him without making eye contact, and glanced hastily around the room. “No.”

“There are two options here,” Liazar said, an edge creeping into his voice. “Either you continue to resist and put even more strain on your already overtaxed body, or you lie down and let me heal you.”

Defy tilted her head down, her shoulders stiff. Taking a deep breath, she edged to the nearest bed, eyeing the ground the entire time.

Vakann was gaping at Defy. “...How….”

The Wolf’s head shot up, and she snarled.

Liazar looked over at Vakann. “Apparently, you agitate my patient,” he said evenly. “I must ask you to leave. We will discuss payment once she is healed.”

Defy glared at the Dragon, and sat on the cot, suddenly small. “I don’t want to lie down.”

Vakann shrugged. “Who am I to protest? I certainly can’t get her to listen to me.” Then the mage turned and left. Defy watched him leave, relaxing once he had gone out of sight.

Liazar tuned back to Defy. “All right. This will sting, but please, be still. I need to be precise.”

Defy turned her head down and away from him, her far hand tightly gripping the cot’s blanket. Liazar poured a few drops out of the vial onto a rag, then placed it on her shoulder, where the cuts were deepest and most prevalent. She stiffened, a tight cry escaping before Defy bit her hand to stifle the sound. Liazar repeated the process - another rag, another few drops, another stab of pain on her back. Tears filled the Wolf’s eyes, and she remained tensely still.

Lilian entered the room, to thrust the jar she had been sent for at her owner, wary eyes on the Wolf girl.

Liazar nodded absently. “Thank you, Maria. That will be all for now.” The Rabbit scampered out, finding a quiet place to make the rest of her own preparations.

The Phoenix dabbed a few fingers into the jar. “This won’t hurt as much,” he told Defy, “but it will feel rather odd.” He drew an outline across the bruises on her shoulder. The girl began shivering slightly, her head twisting to look at what he was doing.

“Stay still,” he said severely. She turned back sheepishly. As the healing salve began to work, she relaxed, her muscles unknotting and smoothing out.

“I can give you a soporific, if you like,” said Liazar softly. “Your body needs rest before it can finish healing.”

“What’s a soporific?” Defy asked meekly.

“It will help you sleep.”

The girl’s eyes cut to the door. “What about him?”

Liazar didn’t turn around. “I can keep you in the infirmary until you’re fully healed. After that, I must discharge you into his care.”

She nodded. “Okay.”

“Maria?” he called. “Please get the bottle labeled “Sleep” from the cabinet.”

Defy tensed slightly at the sight of the Rabbit, and glanced at Liazar, who was finishing with the bruise salve on her back, before turning back to the floor.

Lilian dragged her feet again bringing him the bottle sullenly. “That one’s crazy, sir,” she said, glaring daggers at Defy. “And you’re crazy to treat with her.”

Defy tensed, cutting her eyes up to growl at the Rabbit.

Liazar didn’t look up. “Thank you, Maria, that will be all.” Lilian left, relaxing when the Wolf was out of sight.

Defy swallowed tightly, and dropped her head again.

There was a small cup on top of the bottle Lilian had brought. Liazar filled it halfway with clear liquid, then offered it to Defy. “It does not taste pleasant, but it does not taste awful, either. Drink it all when you are ready.”

She sniffed it, eyes narrowing. She hesitated, and nodded deeply at Liazar in a gesture of probable thanks, before downing the odd tasting medicine. She wobbled on the edge of the bed, and shivered again, the medicine and salve both taking full effect. “C’n I lay down?”

“Of course,” said Liazar gently. “That’s what cots are traditionally for.”

She cracked a small grin, and lay on her side, still refusing to meet his eyes. “Thank you.”

He looked back at her, but she was already asleep.

-----

Liazar went out to Vakann, who was meditating on the front step. “She’s sleeping right now, but she will be fine. I’d like to keep her overnight, but she should be fully healed by sunrise.”

“Duly noted.” Vakann responded, not moving. “I suppose one night of her staying here will not hurt my time frame. Tell me healer, would you happen to know anything about the dragons behind the council currently?”

Liazar shook his head. “Not well, I’m afraid. My time spent with the council tends to be brief.”

Vakann stood shakily. “A shame. Yet another dead end.”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t be of any help. I do have the ear of Councillor Jarkin, if you think he could assist you…”

“Perhaps. But I think not. And you have been of help healer. It would have taken far too long for my servant to heal on her own.” The mage bowed deeply. “I thank you.”

Liazar bowed in return. “You are most welcome. My fee is fifteen silver; you can pay when you come for her tomorrow if you wish.”

Vakann nodded, before turning and leaving.

----

The sun had set before Defy’s eyes snapped open, instantly wary. She sat up, rolling her shoulders and finding, to her surprise, that she was only mildly sore. A smile rose unbidden to her face, her feet already taking her silently to the doorway of the infirmary.

Several smells conflicted with each other, and the infirmary made determining the location of the various members of the house nearly impossible. After several moments, Defy picked a direction and began exploring, searching for a kitchen or pantry to steal from.

Lilian jumped when she heard footsteps. “‘Ere, I can’t do my bushy work if you’re always looking over my-- you.” She took several steps back when she saw Defy, not dropping the adopted dialect.

Defy stared at her blankly, eyes glowing in the dark. “Yes?”

“Stay outta my way, Wolf.”

“Or what, flufftail?” Defy growled. “You don’t have your pet owner minding you now. What’re you gonna do?”

“You fink he’ll protect you from yours next time you’re all beat up if you go breaking his stuff?” Lilian demanded. She had no idea if Liazar would care about Defy taking a chunk out of her, but she didn’t intend on being there long enough to find out.

Defy laughed ferally. “Mine would be happy I did something.”

Lilian’s smile twisted. “Happy you did something, sure, that doesn’t take you off his leash.”

Defy moved quickly, pinning the slight girl up against the wall painfully. “Say that again, I dare you.”

Lilian moved her hand up to press the point of the sharp rock against her captor’s collarbone. “I don’t take dares from dogs. Stay outta my bushy way, or I’ll give mine a new spill to mop up.”

“Maria? What’s going on in there?” Liazar’s voice called from the direction of his workshop.

“I told you she was crazy, sir,” came Lilian’s furious voice. “Bewhiskered dog’s trying to kill me again.”

Defy glared daggers at the Rabbit, maintaining her silence.

Liazar came into the kitchen, looking more annoyed at the interruption than anything. “I assume you two know each other?” he asked wearily.

“Only from her previous attempted murders, sir. You might know about those from the mess you cleaned up on me when you bought me.”

Defy said nothing, but looked away from them both, focusing on the floor, one arm still pinning the girl against the wall.

Liazar sighed. “Put her down, please.”

The Wolf released the girl abruptly, stepping back from both the healer and the slave. Lilian fell gracelessly to the floor, quickly curling her fingers around the rock before her owner saw it. She waited until Defy was out of arm’s reach before standing. Defy shuffled further back into the shadows, head tilted down.

“Maria, I’m sorry for the trouble my patient has caused you. You may go.”

Lilian nodded sharply, and left the room, giving the Wolf a wide berth. Defy kept staring at the ground self-consciously.

“Look at me, please,” said Liazar, not unkindly.

She glanced up to meet his eyes for a moment, her yellow clashing with his brown, before focusing on a point right beyond his shoulder.

“Maria works for me,” said Liazar. “While you are in my care, I will not allow you to harm her. Do you understand?”

Defy glanced away, returning to her careful examination of the wooden floor before nodding.

Liazar examined her critically. “How long has it been since you’ve eaten?”

She shrugged. “Not that long.”

He continued to stare at her. “You’re lying.”

She tensed, and nodded.

“How long has it been?”

“I don’t know, sir.” Defy’s head hung lower, and she tensed.

Liazar nodded. “I believe you. Go back to the infirmary. I will get you something.”

She nodded, walking meekly back to the infirmary and curling up in one corner, watching the door. About ten minutes later Liazar entered as well, carrying a tray with a steaming bowl on it.

She focused on the counter across from where she was sitting, and curled up tighter.

“It’s all right,” she heard Liazar say. “I will not hurt you.”

She looked over at him and the tray distrustfully, uncoiling herself to stand, her back pressed against the wall.

“If you need anything, I will be in the next room.” Liazar placed the tray carefully on the counter and left. Defy waited until he had left before diving at the soup, pausing only to breathe. In less than five minutes, the bowl was empty, and the girl bit her lip. Quietly, she grabbed the bowl and walked into the other room, eyes flicking over the various oddities scattered around before tapping the bowl on a countertop to alert him to her presence.

Liazar looked up, smiling wryly. “That was certainly quick.”

The girl’s face twitched, and she held out the bowl, while focusing on a gyroscope on a bookshelf.

“Very well. Go back to the infirmary.” Liazar narrowly avoided chuckling as he took the bowl from her and went back to the kitchen. Defy ignored him, and began mutely exploring the office. The books were thick, and she ran her finger over the smooth pages before losing interest, the black scribbles meaning nothing to her. Next, she focused on the gyroscope, gently sending it spinning.

“Please don’t touch that.”

Defy backed several steps away, bunching her shoulders up. “I wanted to see what it does.”

Liazar stood in the doorway. “It’s mainly a curiosity, but it’s very fragile. Be careful.”

She nodded, sliding further away from the spinning top, her eyes deliberately avoiding his to focus on it. “What’s it do?”

“It’s mainly used to measure angular orientation.” Seeing her blank expression, he simplified: “It spins.”

The Wolf mouthed the words ‘angular orientation’ to herself, still staring at it. “You bought it to spin?”

Liazar chuckled. “As I said, it’s a curiosity. Sometimes watching it… helps me think.”

The girl nodded. “What do you do?”

“I… heal people, as you’ve seen.” He gestured towards the infirmary. “And I also look for ways to heal people more effectively.”

She nodded, seemingly to herself. “Would you like me to leave, sir?”

“Well, you may not be in pain but your body still needs rest to complete the healing cycle. You should lie down. I will bring you some more food, and another dose of Sleep.” He left again.

Defy stared at the gyroscope for a long moment, and set it spinning again. She stared at it until it slowed, and then returned to the dark infirmary, this time choosing to sit on the bed farthest from the door.

She stared quietly into space, examining a jar of salve that was outside of its cabinet. It was viscous and a deep, intimidating black. The smell, while not unpleasant, reminded her too much of blood for her comfort. She covered the jar with its lid just as Liazar came in with another tray.

She made a quiet, happy sound, and stood, setting the jar on the table to examine the soup. Liazar indicated the small cup beside it. “Take this when you are ready to sleep,” he told her. “This is a slightly larger dose; it should work until sunrise.”

She examined the syrup, frowning. “How does it work?”

“The chemistry is a bit complicated, but it essentially tells your brain that it wants sleep.”

Another mouthed word, and Defy smelled it. “Wormwood and baby’s breath?”

Liazar’s mouth twitched upward. “That’s right.”

“Just mix them together, they tell my.. My brain? My brain to sleep.”

“There are a few other agents in the solution, but yes, that is essentially how it works.”

“Seems easy.” Defy began draining the soup, frown tugging deeply at her features. “Hate masters.”

Liazar nodded. “I understand. Were I in your place, I believe I would hate masters as well.”

“Wants to make me a pet. Don’t want to.” She smirked, “You’re like him. Can’t complain.” She drained the rest of the bowl, and downed the medicine.

Liazar gave her an odd look. “No, I suppose I can’t, can I?”

She eyed him. “What d’you mean?”

He looked away. “It doesn’t matter. Rest well.” He stood and left the room. Defy stared after him, eyes slipping closed.

-----

Defy looked warily at her owner as she crouched in the back of the infirmary. She glanced around, and stared him down. “You came back.”

Vakann stared back with what may have been an amused smirk on his face. “Well, I had to eventually now didn’t I?”

She blinked, and nodded. “You gonna beat me again?”

“That would be especially pointless. You’ve done nothing to earn it. Your punishment has been served. Unlike some I’m not pointlessly violent.”

Defy’s eyes lit up with anger, but she looked down and away, saying nothing.

“Oh, pardon me. I was talking about other owners. Not you.” Vakann replied, his apology seeming stiff and awkward.

She tilted her head at him, eyes narrowing. “An apology from you? What do you want?”

Vakann stared at her and blinked once. “It is an apology. It is to express remorse isn’t it? I must admit I am somewhat inexperienced in these matters.”

“I can see that.” Defy slid to her feet. “What would you have me do, Dragon?”

“Well we’ll have to start training soon after we get back. Why are you not trying to rip my throat out? I feel as though I have stepped into one of the parallel dimensions the Mad Mage at the academy spoke of.”

Defy didn’t answer, her head hanging a bit lower.

Vakann said nothing. The confusion on his face was visibly increasing. The wolf risked a glance up, and back away again. “I’m not your dog, okay?”

“So you’ve said.” The mage replied, still obviously confused. “Several times. How does it apply to this conversation we are having here?”

Defy’s jaw worked, and she scowled. Through gritted teeth, she said. “I am your slave. It would be stupid to kill you, if only because it ensures my own death.”

“Yes, not that the fact has stopped you from trying yet.”

She refused to meet his eyes. “Learned my lesson.”

Vakann sat on the cot. “You aren’t used to spending any amount of time with other people are you?”

Defy squirmed, shaking her head.

“Believe it or not. I understand that.” The dragon said quietly.

She looked up at him, before returning to examine the floor. “Seem to be doing all right to me.”

“I ran off to the mage academy the first chance I got because I hated the world of politics and the tiny, pointless, moment-to-moment intrigues my family engaged in. Now I’m perhaps the only one of my family left.” He looked up at her his eyes blazing. “They weren’t much but they were mine.”

She nodded. “You want me to kill them.”

“I want you to kill some of them. You’re sorely mistaken if you think that there isn’t a portion of them who will suddenly and mysteriously catch fire.”

Defy smiled, baring her teeth. “As you say.” She stood, and made eye contact. “Since I am your slave, what do I call you, Dragon?”

“Nothing that will point anyone in my direction when you’re out in the field. Beyond that I don’t give a damn.”

The wolf scowled, but nodded. “Yes, sir.”

Just then, Liazar entered. “Ah, Vakann. Good. Defy, are you ready to leave?”

Defy’s head dropped, and she nodded. Biting her lip, she looked first at Vakann, then the healer. “Healer Liazar? Can I ask a question?”

Liazar nodded. “What is it?”

“Could you teach me?”

He blinked. “Teach you what?”

“How to…” Defy deflated more, and gestured to the various medical tools. “That. Heal.”

“Hmmm... I think Vakann has more say than I.” Liazar turned to the Dragon.

Vakann looked over at Defy. “Oh by all means, please explain why this will be useful to me.”

“Less suspicious to have a slave that can heal minor injuries than to be running to every healer except those of your own Totem every few days. I get hurt, and I can heal myself, rather than waiting on someone else.”

“Fair point.” He looked over at Liazar. “How much?”

“For lessons?’ Liazar considered. “It depends on what materials I use, but I'd say... three silver a day. Depending on how much of an aptitude she shows.”

Defy frowned, and eyed the man. “I’ll run errands for you if you make it one silver.”

“That may not be wise.” Vakann pointed out. “We’ve yet to work out a schedule for your other training.”

“I can do both.” Defy insisted.

“If you think so. I just want you to remember that you are the one who said that.”

Defy scowled, but fell silent.

“I will not charge you for the first few lessons,” Liazar offered. "Help you get your bearings. Healing can be very difficult, and not everyone can do it."

Defy looked to Vakann. “Is that acceptable to you? I can arrange not to be seen.”

Vakann nodded. “Sounds reasonable.”

Defy smiled widely, and returned her gaze to the floor. “Thank you.”

Liazar inclined his head. “You are most welcome.”
I say we nuke it from orbit...its the only way to be sure.
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Re: Askinov RP

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Wed Jun 11, 2014 12:18 am

When night fell, a small form crept out of the house, her shirt stuffed with bread and a few choice ornaments. Lilian moved slowly from shadow to shadow, hair falling over her carefully dirt-dulled tags, until the mansion of the man who had bought her was out of sight. Then she broke into a run, not slowing until she reached home.

The girl slipped into her little warren, startling a yell from the woman drawing water from the cistern with the sound of her entry. "Oh, it's you. Took you long enough to get home!"

"I had to wait until I got sold to slip away," Lilian explained apologetically. "Missed you, Nancy."

"You must be hungry. Are you hurt? We were so worried--"

The thief smiled at her friend's worry, and unloaded her parcels. "Seen to by a flash healer, given a proper meal and everything," she assured her. "And managed to get a little extra on the side."

"What about--?"

Lilian stretched out on the floor, grinning lazily. "I need a favour, Nan."

"What is it, you sly little fluffball?"

"Clay. From the Lower..." She held her hand up to the fire's light, looking at it critically. "No, Upper Market dirt. About two generous handfuls should do it. I'd go for it myself, but..." She tapped a metal tag lightly, wincing a little at the ache. "Get me the clay, I'll make the problem go away."

"Better," Nancy offered, "Rachel's apprenticed to a potter, I know she'll have some spare clay if I ask."

Lilian shook her head. "A potter's cast-offs is no good. Too high-quality, and the shade isn't right. It rained night before last, didn't it? Upper Market soil should be just the right colour and consistency."

The painter rolled her eyes, but she was used to Lilian's antics. "I'll get you your clay, Lil," she promised. "Eat something in the meantime. Missed you."

Lilian nodded absently, taking over the job that Nancy had abandoned of drawing up water. Making sure there would be enough left over, she dipped a sponge into the bucket, washing off the smells of the Lower Market from her skin. When she finished, Nancy was back, with two handfuls of dirt and a delicately wrinkled nose.

"Thanks, Nan." Lilian took the balls of clay in her still-wet hands, rolling them around slowly. She asked about news of their friends from the time she'd been gone, focusing mostly on her work.

"We put a collection around when Dinah said you were taken. By the time we had enough coin to try, you were gone."

The girl nodded absently. "Sorry about that."

She gradually rolled the two lumps into irregular, concave shapes, fitting one over each ear. "Keep talking," she said. "I need to make sure I can still hear you."

"What should I say?" Nancy asked. "Have I told you how worried I was? --We all were. I missed you, Lil. Warren's too big for just one."

"Perfect," Lilian said with a smile. "Loud and clear." She paused. "I missed you, too, Nan. Can you do me another favour, while I wait for these to dry?"

The dark-haired girl sighed. "What now, you lummox?"

The thief indicated the two sparkling bowls she had lifted from Liazar's house. "Take those to Johnny for me? I could in the morning, but he always likes it better when sellers come by dark, and otherwise they'll burn a hole in my pocket until tomorrow..."

Nancy made a face. "I don't know why you deal with the Ram. You're better than him, Lil."

"Good fences make good neighbours," Lilian informed her airily. "And Johnny's the best of the best. Always gives me my fair cut."

"Fine."

The petite girl smiled smugly-- she'd known she could get Nancy to do it-- and settled on her stomach, tilting first this ear, then that, toward the fire. She began singing quietly, under her breath, timing the clay's baking with the verses of the song.

"...And ever, to this day." Lilian looked up with a smile, hearing Nancy come in just as she finished the song. "Perfect timing."

"Your ugly hornhead friend gave eight silver for your stolen goods," she said grumpily.

"That's great," Lilian said brightly, ignoring the implicit disapprobation. "Tell me, Nan, what do you think of my ears?"

"Your-- what?" Nancy examined Lilian's head critically. "They look kind of dumb. Like those huge jughandle ears Timothy had before his head grew to catch up."

"So... stupid but not unnatural?"

"Pretty much. You did that with clay? I think Rachel would be envious. You're wasting your time with the thieving."

"Thieving's more fun," Lilian answered absently, before throwing herself at the other woman for a tight hug. "I'm home," she whispered, grinning.
Lead by example. Get lost in a swamp.

AS DICTATED TO INSTANTIATION 17-01-18-01.
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Re: Askinov RP

Postby RussetDivinity on Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:53 am

Now that she had her papers, Lisette retreated to her room, close enough to the market that she could afford the rent -- after all, the building was just as dilapidated as the marketplace, and she suspected the main reason it was so cheap was because her room only had half a roof -- but far enough away that she didn't have to be bothered by hearing the slaves. Sometimes she wondered how it had not bothered her.

She didn't know what to expect when she unrolled the papers, and when she saw the title of the first one, she sighed and put it on the pile reserved for the fire. It was another explanation of how Wolves, Crows, and various other tribes were naturally inferior. It had the look more of a pamphlet than a proper paper, and she suspected it had been written specifically so there would be multiple copies that would be distributed. There were no hints about the author on the paper, and it was most likely that Yelena had given it to her simply as part of the stack, but she would still have to ask about who had sent it. There were a few people she could trust to work with if the author seemed particularly difficult, though more than likely she would just go down to a house and interrogate a Mouse; the handwriting was good enough that whoever wrote it would need nimble fingers. The Mouse would be working for someone, though. Before she could work on the puzzle more, she turned back to the rest of the papers.

The next wasn't particularly interesting, but she decided she might as well look through it anyway. It was a history of mountains, specifically the mountains near Askinov. Most was local legend and the rest hearsay, but there might be enough grains of truth to make it worth reading. Besides, she hadn't read anything about mountains in a while. It might be refreshing.

Beneath that was a collection of legends passed down from bards. She set that in the fire pile as well.

The others looked more promising. One was a paper written on the properties of a poisonous plant, questioning whether the poison could have any purpose in nature. The next was another about mountains, but this time it was an exploration -- or at least a supposition -- on their formation. The last was written in small print, and Lisette decided she would save that for a day when she would be able to see it clearly, but it looked the most interesting of all. From the title, it seemed to be a direct refutation of the first piece, arguing that the various tribes were more connected than they appeared. She doubted she would be able to find the author of this one; it was a dangerous piece to write, and even more dangerous to read. If its author was still alive, he would likely be using a different name or have fled the city.

Perhaps Yelena had planned this after all.

Before Lisette could start reading the botany paper, she heard a knock at the door. Cursing every tribe but her own, she got to her feet and opened it. Before her stood the Mouse girl from before, looking up at her with wide eyes. She seemed oddly thin and surprisingly dirty. Lisette would have expected her to be at least reasonably well-fed, but then, some Mice were apparently unlucky enough to be caught in the slums. "What do you want?" she asked.

"Wanted to know what the paper said," the Mouse said, peering past Lisette into the room. "Nice place. I've got more roof, but at least you've got a bed."

"Why do you care?"

The Mouse shrugged. "Curious. That Kit seemed pretty anxious you get it. Didn't read it," she added quickly, stepping back as though afraid Lisette would strike her. "Just peeked and saw the name at the bottom. Is he your lover?"

"He was," Lisette said. "The letter was him asking me to come back."

"Will you?"

"No." Lisette was about to close the door, but she was too curious. "Why do you care?" she asked again.

"Information's important," the Mouse said. "Knowledge on how to build things is good, but knowledge about people can be useful too."

"You can read?"

"Da taught me. Said reading was like secret knowledge, that I have to be very careful who I tell. He was't careful enough, though, and got his head chopped off." The Mouse looked slightly saddened by that, but only in the way that someone would be saddened by the inevitable. "Anyway, I figured I could trust you since none of the other Cougars go into Yelena's shop, and if you were in the barracks, Kit wouldn't need me to run a message." The Mouse grinned. "You're a rogue."

"And you're not to tell anyone," Lisette said. The Mouse nodded. "Wait here." She went back into her room and grabbed one of the papers. "I haven't got any money to pay you for the message and your silence, but I thought you might want this. It's a bunch of bardic legends. None of them are true, but I thought you might like them." She had liked legends when she was a child, and Mouse children couldn't be all that different to not enjoy a good story.

The Mouse scanned the page and nodded. "Not all truths are real," she said. "Thank you." She darted down the hall, and Lisette closed her door so she could finally read that botany paper.
Jubilation and despair are two sides of the same coin.
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Re: Askinov RP

Postby narrativedilettante on Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:15 pm

“Excuse me, sir?” Mona’s voice came out small and high-pitched. She wasn’t certain that the Ram heard her. “Sir,” she repeated, more loudly. This time he looked at her.

“What are you calling me ‘sir’ for, squeaker?”

“I’m afraid the shop is closing. Please finalize any purchases or else exit the building.”

The Ram stared at Mona for a moment before bursting into laughter. “I’ll exit the building when I damn well feel like it, pipsqueak. You haven’t even proven to me that these locks of yours work.”

“Well,” said Mona, “They’re the same kind that I use on the store and we’ve never been robbed.”

“Maybe because your wares aren’t worth stealing, you ever think of that?”

Mona was so angry at that implication that she forgot to be afraid. “I’ll have you know that my locks are the finest in all of Askinov, and if you disagree then you can just get out! I don’t need your business anyway!”

The door behind Mona opened and a Rabbit poked his head around it. “Your employees just left for the day. You need to lock…” he caught sight of the Ram standing defiantly in the middle of the store. “Oh, trouble?”

Mona nodded.

“All right then,” said the Rabbit. He came through the door to stand beside Mona, pulling himself up to his maximum height. He was tall, if gangly, and while he didn’t necessarily look intimidating, he at least managed to look confident. “What are you still doing here, bighorn?”

“Giving squeaky here a lesson in economics. What’s it to you?”

“You got a lot to learn about economics if you’re hanging out after hours in places you’re not welcome. The greater you’re in supply, the less you’re in demand. Got it?”

The Ram looked confused. “So… you’re saying…”

“I’m saying you’d better get out of here before your value drops to the point where we’d pay to get rid of you. Now do you get it?”

“Okay, okay, whatever. I’m out of here.” On his way out the front door, he pointed a finger at Mona. “But don’t think I’m letting you off the hook, pipsqueak. Tomorrow, we’ve got business to discuss.”

As soon as the door shut, Mona rushed over to throw the lock in place. “Thank you, Roland,” she said, fighting to breathe normally and avoid a panic attack.

Roland shrugged. “Hey, what am I here for?”

“Ideally, I wouldn’t have to rely on a Rabbit for security.” Mona led Roland through the workshop, where she locked the back door, taking time to check that the lock’s enchantment was still in place. “Maybe tomorrow I should have Bruce watch over the store while I’m there,” she remarked as they left the business section of the building and entered the house section.

A huge Bear stood watch at that door, and inclined his head as Mona and Roland approached. “Everything quiet, Bernard?” Asked Mona.

Bernard nodded, just as a muffled shout came from upstairs. “Well, mostly,” he grumbled. “Aside from that.”

Mona sighed. “What are they fighting about this time?”

“Dunno. Have to ask them.”

Upstairs was mayhem, as a Sheep chased a Crow around the house while a Wolf shouted taunts at them. “What’s going on here? Seymour! Why aren’t you getting dinner on the table?”

“Damn pecker stole my slotted spoon!”

“Claude! Give Seymour back his slotted spoon!”

“I told him, he’d have to catch me first!”

“Sheep’s not clever enough, Crow’s not skilled enough. It’s a stalemate!” Shouted the Wolf.

“Wilma, stop exacerbating things! Where’s Bertha?”

Hearing the sound of her name, a formidable Bear lumbered into the room.

“Break this up, will you?” Mona instructed, pointing at the whirlwind that was Claude and Seymour’s mad chase. “Make sure Seymour gets his spoon back. And make sure Claude never does this again, do I make myself clear?”

“Crystal,” the answer rumbled, as Bertha smacked a fist into her palm.

Mona directed her eyes elsewhere. She didn’t like to think about violence, even when it was necessary to the serenity of her household. Wanting to get out of the living room for the next few minutes, she went to check on things in the kitchen.

“Seymour? What do I do when the stew’s bubbling like- Ah! Mistress!”

The new slave dropped the ladle into the pot and hastily bowed low to Mona.

“Oh goodness… Get that pot off the fire!

Without thinking, Talia grabbed the handle of the pot with her bare hands, then yelped in pain. Fumbling about for a cloth, she yanked it off the merry fire as smoke wafted out from the serenely charring oxtail stew.

“Honestly,” said Mona. “Do you have any idea what you’re doing? Did Seymour just leave you in here all alone?” She guided Talia to put the pot down, and then examined her hands. “Am I going to need to call a healer for this?”

“I’m sorry, Mistress,” Talia hung her head miserably. “Seymour ran out shouting something about a slotted spoon…”

“Nevermind that now. Why don’t you run some cold water over these?” Said Mona, examining her slave’s reddening hands.

Talia blinked, not comprehending her master’s words. “Run… water… over… why?”

“I don’t want them scabbing up.” When Talia didn’t move, Mona added, “Quickly!”

Talia jerked into reflexive motion, obeying Mona automatically. Holding her hands under the tap, she winced, then slowly relaxed as the blistering pain began to fade. Then Talia realised with a start: Mona didn’t want her hurt. She closed her eyes, overcome with emotion.

Now that the new Sheep was finally taking care of herself, Mona examined the stew. It would still be edible, probably, but it certainly didn’t look appetizing. “Seymour!” She called, and he came running into the kitchen. His face fell when he saw the smoke rising from the pot. “Dinner’s ruined,” Mona explained. “Do you think you could boil some potatoes or something to make up for it?”

Seymour nodded. “Um, yeah, I think so.” He grabbed another pot and set it on the fire, giving it an occasional stir with his recovered spoon.

Mona returned her attention to Talia. “Feeling better?”

Talia nodded, tears curving down her cheeks. “T-thank you, Mistress,” she croaked.

“Okay. I want you to tell everyone that there was a problem in the kitchen, but that they can have the burned stew if they’d rather not wait. Think you can handle that?”

“Anything, Mistress, anything.”

“Get to it, then.”

Talia rushed out of the kitchen, wiping away the tears from her pink eyes. Truly, she was blessed to have such a kindly master.

As the new girl left, Mona shook her head. It would take a while before that one was able to handle herself. And tonight they wouldn’t be able to all eat dinner together, which was a shame. Mona much preferred being able to sit around a table with everyone at once. Well, everyone aside from the two guards who had to be on duty at any given time. It wouldn’t do to compromise security for the sake of comfort.

So it was a smaller group than usual once dinner was properly served that night. None of the Bears had elected to wait, and nor had Claude. Wilma had scarfed down everything that was left in the pot when the others had had their pick. At least it meant Mona didn’t have to worry about properly disposing of the leftover food. That was one advantage to having a Wolf in the house.

Still, even though there wasn’t much aside from potatoes and some bread rolls, and even though there were only four of them, Mona thought that this was her favorite part of the day.

“So I’m up to date with Roland, and I figure the highlight of Seymour’s day was when Claude stole his spoon, but I haven’t had time to chat with everyone else. What did you get up to today, Milton?”

“Swept out the attic,” the Moose replied. “Wasn’t that exciting. Lots of dust.”

“Well, thanks for taking care of that. The attic’s needed attention for a long time. What about you, Talia? Anything noteworthy happen to you today?”

"Um... I got a bath!"

Mona grinned at the Sheep’s enthusiasm. “I’m glad to hear it. Cleanliness is certainly an important factor in keeping this home comfortable for all of us. And how are you adjusting? I hope no one’s giving you a hard time.”

Talia looked ready to run over and hug her diminutive master. "No, Mistress, everyone's been nice. Thank you."

“Good, good,” said Mona, distractedly, as she checked that everyone was through eating. “Well, I think I’m ready to retire for the evening. Seymour, tell Wilma and Claude to clean up, will you? And make sure Claude does his fair share. I want him to make up for causing that stew to burn. Milton, you’ll watch over me.” That last part she said less as a command and more as if stating a fact. When she stood up from the table, the Moose followed.

"Seymour," Talia murmured, "is the Mistress always this nice?"

Seymour eyed his new companion warily. “She’s nicer if no one misbehaves. God, what hell-hole did they pull you out of?”

"I used to be a mask-dancer," Talia said, looking away. "Barliagh- the tavern owner- used to whip me if I didn't bring in enough for the night. If he ever thought I was cheating him of his money, he'd pour wax on my back. I thought... I thought that's how all masters were."

“Oh, I’m sorry,” said Seymour. His eyes widened at what Talia had told him. “I… sometimes I forget, how much worse other slaves can have it… I mean, I’ve heard stories about posh lives up in the Flash, too, and life here really isn’t the greatest, but I guess where you’ve come from, this place would seem like heaven. Just, uh… watch out for her. She’s usually fine, but she can get… creepy, sometimes. Like, she’s so worried about people getting into the house she’d rather weld all the doors shut so nobody can get out. So, yeah, over time I’m sure you’ll be disillusioned. But sure. Enjoy the good while it lasts.”

Talia stared at him, perplexed. "What... what's wrong with that? Doesn't it make sense? That way nobody can get in."

“And then we’d all starve.”

"Oh..." Realisation dawned on her face. "Oh... I get it. Okay. Huh."

“Yeah. Like I said, she’s usually fine, but… sometimes she loses it a little.” Seymour stood up from the table, stretching his arms. “Well, I’m beat. Let’s make those good-for-nothing layabouts clean this place up, and then we can call it a night.”
Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after.
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Re: Askinov RP

Postby Guyshane on Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:04 pm

“So what is your preferred weapon?” Vakann asked Defy as they entered the Flash.

“Use anythin’.” Defy answered quietly.

“Give me something. I can have high quality weapons made but I’m not ordering one of each.”

She smirked. “Never trained wi’ anythin’ fancy. Jus’ used what I had.”

“You used something to wound a party of twenty lynx. What was it?” Vakann growled, starting to grow irritated.

“Broke out with a rock. Used some rope to strangle a few. I stole some knives from one, and that took care of a few more. Had them chase me, then sent them straight to a gang looking for a fight.”

Vakann stroked his chin thoughtfully. “Hmm...well a knife for back up is simple enough. But rope gives me another idea. Tell me Defy, have you ever heard of a meteor hammer?”

“No.”

“Its quite simple really. Two weights connected by a rope or a chain. However it is rarely taught to anyone anymore so few know how to defend against it. And obviously the rope or chain means that you could easily strangle a target if you caught them by surprise. Not easy to learn certainly but I believe in this case the results may speak for themselves.” The mage explained.

“As you say, sir.” Defy deferred, as they approached the house.

“I will have to get someone to teach you weapons. To divert suspicion tell anyone who asks that you are being trained as my bodyguard.”

“Yes, sir.” Defy hid herself in the darkest corner of the room, curling up on the floor.

“You know we have furniture for a reason. I’m told it's quite comfortable.”

She looked up at him without meeting his eyes. “Sorry, sir.” She stood, and sat carefully on a plush chair.

“Umm...certainly.” Vakann replied obviously confused. “I’ll have someone hired tomorrow. If you need any food simply let the chef know.” The mage then strode off towards his study.

Defy retreated to the corner again, eventually falling asleep.

----------

It was breakfast before Defy saw Vakann again. He stumbled in holding a hot drink and looking as though he hadn’t slept.

She glanced up from her place on the floor of the dining room, a few plates already lying discarded on the ground next to her.

Vakann sat down before taking a long pull from his drink. Defy shuffled away from him, and pushed her plate out of the way.

Vakann promptly stole a bit of bacon off her plate. “You’ve been doing that since we got back.” He noted, still half-asleep.

“Doing what?”

“Backing away.”

Defy hung her head a bit lower. “Does it bother you?”

“Strictly speaking it doesn’t. On the other hand it is worrisome that my assassin is suddenly bashful.”

She cut her eye at him, then back down. “I can still kill.”

“Then what is the problem?” Vakaan asked as he ate another piece of bacon.

“...Nothing, sir.”

“I do hope you can lie better than that when you’re out on assignment.”

“Yes, sir.” Defy’s lip curled derisively, and she reached for the last slice of bacon.

Vakann yawned. “Good, ugh. I need to stop studying so late.” He took a sip of his drink.

“Study, sir?”

“A text on greater rituals specifically those pertaining to wards and bindings.”

Defy stared at him blankly.

Vakann let out a long-suffering sigh. “Powerful shields and tethers. So powerful one needs prepare for hours at a time in order to bring them into existence.”

“You are making chains?”

“Inelegant but your description is technically accurate. It would be more correct to say I’m learning how to forge a massive trap no one would be able to escape from for several hours.” Vakann paused and considered. “Of course turn that learning to its reverse and I am also learning how to create a powerful magic defense. These have been areas of my training I’ve been more neglectful towards, I’m already a skilled evocator.”

Defy mouthed the word ‘evocator’ and tilted her head. “What would your trap be for?”

“Not you. Don’t have to be a mind mage to hear that thought.”

Defy eyed him. “‘d get out, anyway.”

“Unless you had no reason to get out.”

“Why would I stay?”

“Because you’d be part of the trap.”

She tilted her head quizzically.

Vakann smiled at her. “Certainly you didn’t think I’d have all of my enemies killed one at a time did you? Certainly some will be killed that way but its highly inefficient and some could escape.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Really? Its quite simple. We gather them in one place, trap them and then kill them.”

“I am to be trapped with your prey?” Anger quietly filled Defy’s voice.

“Technically we’ll both be trapped with them until the spell runs out of energy.” The mage replied.

“You will risk yourself?”

“They certainly won’t light themselves on fire, no matter how much I would enjoy that spectacle.”

“I thought mages did their murders from a distance.”

“If you want to be technical about it I don’t know that most mages commit murder. Their rivals just seem to become the victims of tragic and fatal lightning strikes.” The dragon shrugged. “At the very least that is what I’m told is often recorded by the city peacekeepers.”

“What am I being forced to do?”

“Well before anything else we must find a Master-at-arms to instruct you.”

“I thought you wanted me to be unknown, sir.” Defy challenged quietly.

“Yes well that is the challenge isn’t it.” Vakann commented stroking his chin. “We need someone with knowledge of an exotic weapon who I can purchase training from but whom no one would go to for information.”

Defy watched him for several moments, slowly inching up to a standing position. She glanced at the door, and began walking slowly towards it.

“And where do you think you are going?” The mage demanded his gaze locking onto her.

“Out.”

“For what purpose?”

“None.” Defy growled to herself, and added. “Sir.”

The dragon’s gaze darkened as did the room around him before it returned to its normal hue. “Dammit Defy. Fine, go. Do something useful while you’re out. Don’t get caught by any bounty hunters.”

“You only want for me not to get caught?”

“That and to realize the next time you try to sneak out there better be totem-damned good reason.” Vakann replied sullenly.

Defy’s eyes narrowed. “I can sneak out. I can also sneak in. You can’t stop me.”

Vakann spat another word and suddenly Defy was hanging in mid-air. “You will be able to sneak out. You will be able to sneak in. I won’t be able to stop you. But that is for the future because right now you couldn’t effectively sneak past me and I’ve only slept an hour yet.” He released the spell, dropping her. “This is a one time thing. Next time I won’t be so lenient.”

She rolled up onto her elbows, not meeting his eyes.

Vakann fell back into the chair and rang the bell for the cook. “Well? What are you waiting for?”

She stood and left, choosing to climb out the window furthest from her master.

Vakaan glanced over in irritation at the bootprints on the wall from Defy’s exit. Is it worth teaching an assassin to enter and exit through a door...probably not.
I say we nuke it from orbit...its the only way to be sure.
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Guyshane
 
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:45 pm

Re: Askinov RP

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Sun Jun 15, 2014 9:14 pm

It was a Tuesday, and a group of youngish Rabbits were gathered, as they were wont to do, in a small room. This time they were in Timothy's warren-- sometimes Timothy's and Rachel's, but the potter was conspicuously absent, signifying that they were on the downswing of their relationship again.

And, as they were wont to do, they were bickering lightly. Lilian leaned forward in her seat, her brown eyes intense. "I think it's time we did something. Phoenix is too overconfident; someone should knock them off their perch."

Timothy and Nancy exchanged rolled-eye glances. "It's all very well to talk," he said quietly, "but taking action is hard. We're Rabbits, not fighters, Lilian."

"After years of hard labour, Tim, who's really not a fighter?" the thief shot back.

Tilda the weaver gave a squeak of outrage. "What hard labour? You've never done a day's labour in your life, hard or otherwise!"

Lilian turned that intense gaze on Matilda. "I was a slave," she pointed out, her voice taut.

Nancy gave an inelegant snort. "Seventy-two hours, Lil. And it was only that long because you couldn't get yourself sold fast enough."

The ruddy-haired girl faced her friend, anger growing in her eyes. When she spoke, her words were quiet and measured, but tight. "Would you like to be grabbed and stripped of your property and freedom by a Lynx brute? Would you like to spend three hungry days in a cage, not knowing between the fatigue and the dangerous lunatic behind bars with you whether you'd even make it out alive? Would you like to have a mage pierce your ears with an announcement that you belong to someone else? Because you seem to think that my three days were a picnic, just because I was lucky enough to get away."

The dark-haired artist backpedalled right away, taking Lilian's hand as a conciliatory gesture. "I'm sorry, Lil. I didn't mean to suggest that your suffering wasn't-- real." She met the other girl's eyes. "I missed you a lot. I just don't want you doing anything rash, that would make us lose you again."
Lead by example. Get lost in a swamp.

AS DICTATED TO INSTANTIATION 17-01-18-01.
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Re: Askinov RP

Postby JackAlsworth on Tue Jun 17, 2014 2:52 pm

Defy sprinted through the city, an amused smile on her face. When a Bear or Cougar appeared, she would duck into an alleyway or behind a vendors stall. A few nicked pieces of food later, and Defy was enjoying a small sandwich, nose twitching in pleasure as she knocked on the back door of Liazar’s house.

The door opened quietly. “Salutations,” came the distinctive voice of the Phoenix, “how may I assist - oh, hello, Defy. Come in, please.”

The girl slipped into his house, staying meekly by the door. “Hullo, Healer Liazar.”

“How has this day found you?”

“Well sir. I was… I have leave to be out today, sir. Can I help you, sir?”

Liazar blinked. Clearly he was not used to people asking to help him. “With what would you like to assist?”

“Anythin’ you need, sir. ‘d like to learn, but I c’n do anythin’ you need.”

“Mmm… well, my usual helper is… out, so if you would like, you can help me with some pain-relieving tonics. It’s not typically a two-person process, but I would appreciate the extra hands.” Liazar brought her over to the main worktable; a large mixing bowl occupied the center of the space, with many different herbs, strange-colored liquids, and other ingredients surrounding it.

Defy examined the various ingredients, nose flaring. “Tonic?” The word sounded awkward in her mouth, garbled and nonsensical.

“Do you remember the Sleep I gave you the first time you were here? That was a type of tonic. It’s simply a fancy word for a medicine you drink, as opposed to, say, apply to the injured area. Does that make sense?”

The girl nodded, “What did you put on my back?”

Liazar considered for a moment. “The disinfectant, or the Eferlom?”

“It stung, and smelled sharp.” The girl mouthed the words ‘disinfectant’ and ‘Eferlom’ to herself.

“The disinfectant, then. I don’t make that myself; I purchase it from other Phoenix alchemists with better access to the necessary resources. It is applied to open, bleeding wounds to make sure no harmful cokkus can damage the area further.”

Defy nodded. “It hurts.”

Liazar couldn’t help a small smile. “Have you ever poured alcohol onto an open wound?”

“Once,” the girl winced. “Didna mean to. I… bought the alcohol for to numb the pain, some spilt on me.”

“One of the main agents of disinfectant is a type of alcohol. Don’t try to drink it,” he added severely. “I speak from experience.”

She tilted her head, sniffing it. “Why?”

“Alcohol in drink tends to be diluted, occurring as a by-product of fermentation. Alcohol in disinfectant is neither of those. Much worse for your insides.”

“Oh.” Her eyes narrowed. “But Eferlom is different? Why?”

He nodded. “Eferlom is a healing agent. The herbs, when mixed together, help accelerate the body’s natural processes; skin and blood vessels mend faster, things like that. The disinfectant cleans an area; the Eferlom actually fixes it.”

“Oh. So the tahnick makes you not feel, the dissinfecktaunt kills things, and the Ehfairlamb heals?”

Liazar prevented himself from chuckling with an extreme effort. "Tonic is much more general than that, but you are, essentially, correct about the other two."

She sniffed the random assortment again. “Ginger? Cardimom?”

“Yes. Quite an impressive sense of smell you have, there.”

She stared at the floor, shoulders hunching. “I can stop, sir.”

“Not at all,” he said, smiling. “Use every talent you have in the pursuit of knowledge. I would never ask you to handicap yourself to learn.”

She smiled to herself, still carefully not meeting his eyes. “How do I help, sir?”

He pointed to a smaller mixing bowl on a separate table. “Take a handful of each of the plants on the main table and grind them into a paste.”

She nodded, and grabbed the various ingredients, quickly mixing and grinding them. “Where’s the Rabbit?”

“As I said, she is out, running errands for me.” Defy twisted, her eyes running coolly over the man, who continued steadily measuring out different liquids.

“Sir, why did you lie?” Defy instinctively hunched up, leaning away from the healer.

“What makes you think I lied?” He avoided her gaze.

“Smell changed. Your breathing too.”

“Ah. Fascinating.” He did not turn from his work.

She watched him for a moment longer, and warily turned back to her own work.
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Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:40 pm
Location: Western Washington State

Re: Askinov RP

Postby RussetDivinity on Wed Jun 18, 2014 1:14 am

Lilian stalked through the Upper Market, her fingers itching to do more than steal today. Her normal peaceful, easy nature was replaced by the pent-up fury from the past few days, finally coming to a boil. The comfort of her newly-minted lockpicks tucked away in sleeves and pockets was not enough to calm her; she wanted to make them bleed, the vicious Lynx and the arrogant Phoenix and the rest of them who thought they could rule over folk like Rabbit.

Lisette had too much on her mind to focus on minor details like the people in the street around her. She had an old friend to shout at and a Ram to interrogate, so she didn’t see the Rabbit girl until she had already nearly knocked her to the ground. “Sorry,” she said, grabbing the girl’s arm to keep her on her feet.

Lilian jerked away from the Cougar violently, her arm still caught in the iron grip. “Don’t you cats look where you’re going?” she snapped. “Or it doesn’t matter if it’s only Rabbit and the like you step on to get there?”

“Perhaps you ought to keep an eye on where you’re going.” Lisette released the Rabbit, but her annoyance was fading quickly into curiosity. “Are you always this willing to fight someone who could snap you in half?” She looked the Rabbit up and down, wondering if perhaps she had judged the girl’s totem wrong. But no, she had the eyes of a Rabbit. Something was happening that she didn’t understand, and that excited her.

Lilian thrust her chin into the air, her eyes flitting around to find escape routes merely out of habit. “Are you threatening me, cat?”

“I wouldn’t threaten anyone unless I thought they were a challenge. I just want to know. You’re the first Rabbit who’s ever spoken to me that way.” Of course, most of the Rabbits she had encountered had been while she still worked for the Council, and after that she had tried to keep to herself. “So. Are you always so confrontational, or did I just catch you on a bad day?”

Lilian smiled a mysterious smile and tilted her head to one side, still half-glaring up at the oddly polite fighter. “Little of one, little of the other, maybe. How many Rabbits would a Cougar bother to speak with in the first place?”

“Not enough, normally.” Lisette glanced up and down the street. There were no obvious threats, but there could be eyes and ears anywhere. For all she knew, this Rabbit was bait meant to draw out dissenters. But she was hardly subtle, and Lisette was sure she would have heard at least whispers if there were some sort of plot afoot. “Is there any way I can get you to trust me? There’s something I’d like to tell you, but I’d rather not say it in such a public place.”

“Rabbits don’t trust foxes,” the smaller girl said bluntly, then shrugged. She didn’t have any special plans for today. “Lead. If I think it’s worth my while, then I’ll follow, and listen.”

“I suppose I can’t ask for more. Keep up if you can.” Lisette set off down the street, trying not to move so quickly that she would lose the Rabbit. The only problem now -- aside from whether the girl would follow -- would be finding a safe place. Her room would likely be too dangerous to do anything more revolutionary than reading her papers, but there weren’t many other places she could trust for privacy. At most, she could think of two.

Lilian stalked through the Market, her black mood abating somewhat with the onset of her curiosity. Wide eyes ever darting around to watch for danger, she followed the tall Cougar, to what looked like a bakery, but only from the loaf of bread sitting in the window.

Lisette let out a breath of relief. Hans had kept his shop open. She wasn’t always entirely sure whether she could trust the man or even if he was one man and not several going by the same name, but he was nearly always there when she needed him. “In here,” she told the Rabbit, holding open the door. The inside of the shop was dim and empty, but she was still cautious as she headed to the half-hidden stairs that would lead up to the attic.

Lilian hung back, still constantly seeking different ways out. She wouldn’t be trapped, not in a cage or anywhere, not again. At last she accepted the open door and went upstairs, staying by the entrance of the small room.

“I understand why you’re afraid,” Lisette said. “Even if I weren’t armed, I could probably kill you pretty easily. Still, you can trust me.” She still didn’t know if she could trust the Rabbit, but there was only one way to find out. If she was found out and arrested for this, then so be it; she couldn’t start anything by being overcautious. “I no longer work for the Council. In fact, I’ve been trying to find a way to work against them.”

The thief’s lip curled slightly. “I’m not afraid of you, cat,” she said calmly.

“Then perhaps you could call me by my name. I’m Lisette.”

Lilian nodded sharply, struggling with herself to hide her amusement at the name. After a few moments of surliness, her better nature won out. “Lilian.”

Lisette was both relieved and anxious. She had won enough of the Rabbit’s trust to get her name, but she wasn’t sure where to go beyond that. Her plans -- if they could be called plans -- were to somehow build an army and force the Council to be more fair. Of course, there had turned out to be a fair bit of planning and stealth involved in both aspects, so she hadn’t gotten very far. “So, Lilian, do all Rabbits have a hidden fierce side, or is it just you?”

“I dunno.” The Rabbit smirked. “Why don’t you ask them?”

“Because they’d run as soon as I opened my mouth. It’s like you said: Rabbits don’t trust foxes, and they don’t trust Cougars, either.” Her eyes lit up as a moment of inspiration struck. “But they’d trust you. I know this may be a lot to ask, but would you be willing to help me?”

Now Lilian rolled her eyes at the woman’s exaggeration. “What tells you another Rabbit’d trust one like me?”

It was a good question. After all, if Lilian was as unusual a Rabbit as Lisette was a Cougar, she wouldn’t have many people to talk to. “You’d at least have a better chance than I would. I’d even try to pay you a little. I don’t have much money to spare, but I pick up papers and things from a Ram named Yelena. Have you heard of her? She sells all sorts of subversive things.” And some that were quite the opposite of subversive, which had been the reason she had gone out today. She could ask Yelena about the paper any day, she reminded herself. This might be her one chance to get Lilian on her side.

“Rabbit doesn’t play with Ram much, neither,” Lilian said guardedly. “And I don’t take handouts.” Still, something hard glinted in her eye as she added, “But I’ll work with you, Cougar-Lisette, if you’ll make the Phoenix bleed.”

Lisette smiled. She liked this Rabbit, and if all of them proved to be the same, then she might well have a well-hidden army. “Either the Phoenix will bleed or I will, Rabbit-Lilian,” she said. “If you could seek out any new allies, I’d be grateful. I think many people will find you more trustworthy than they do me. If nothing else, they’ll think you’re less threatening.” Perhaps it would help in gaining allies to not have a reputation of being nothing more than a warrior.

Lilian gave that noncommittal shrug again. “You want I should send folk to your bakery here, or the hornhead, or what?”

That was another thing Lisette hadn’t thought ahead about. “Have them bring a message to Hans. I think he’s more trustworthy than Yelena. Hans is the baker here,” she added, not sure if Lilian knew that, “but I can’t tell you who he belongs to. I just know that he’s with us, so long as I don’t pull him into any fighting. He’s promised to let us use this place as a safehouse, and in return I’ve promised not to pry into his secrets.” For his sake and hers, she hoped he wasn’t a Phoenix. She doubted many would accept one, even if he renounced his people.

The girl’s nose wrinkled. “How’d he get you to promise that?”

“By offering a safehouse that wasn’t my apartment.” Lisette grinned. “Unless you’d rather send them there. It’s got only half a roof, would fit about a third of the people this place would, and would be easy for arsonists to make an ‘accident’ of. I think you can see why I jumped for the offer. Besides,” she said, her smile slipping a little, “if he’s willing to go so far as to hide his face when we talk, I think he’s got secrets worth protecting. I won’t pry into yours, either.”

Fair’s fair, the little thief thought. “You’re interesting,” she told the Cougar frankly. “I’ll keep this in mind.” With that, she turned and skipped lightly through the door, leaving by a different way than she had come in.
Jubilation and despair are two sides of the same coin.
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RussetDivinity
 
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:56 pm

Re: Askinov RP

Postby Tohrinha on Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:13 pm

The north barracks were crowded with the end-of-day influx of soldiers. Kamala shouldered his way past a laughing pair, making a slow path towards the salt table.

In his decade-plus of living in and around the barracks, he still hadn’t heard one sure answer for why it was called that. An old bunkmate had sworn that some traveling band had carved one out of the seashore to keep protocol far from home, and the name had stuck. Another friend said that they used to dust coins with salt to make sure they were real. And it was still a bit of a running joke to tell new recruits that it was where their bodies would be preserved. Humor ran dark around here.

But there was no salt to be seen around it today. Just a greying officer and a strongbox dragged out from under the wood planks, and a list of names and monthly salaries to be dolled out.

“Evening, Patrick.” Kamala strolled forward to the table. The officer yawned, looking up from a pad he was scratching notes on.

“K’mala,” Patrick said, nodding at him. Rubbing a clawed hand over his face, he bent over to unlatch the strongbox, pulling his feet off the top as he did. “What’re you due? Twenty gold five?”

“Thirty fifteen, and don’t check that.” Kamala grinned as Patrick’s hand reached back up and scrabbled for the parchment. “You’re going to get robbed if you keep sleeping on the job.”

A tiny brown bag clinked onto the salt table. “Twenty and five, and not a copper more,” Patrick said as his head reemerged. “You’re the only one who’d be robbing me around here, til Zia and Neil get back. Th’ others still all tiptoe around me. And I’ve been here all day.” He rested an elbow on the table, fixing bright green eyes on Kamala. “You want my job? I’ll promote you.”

Kamala leaned away, raising his hands in defense. “You’re welcome to it. I will take this, though,” he said, reaching a hand in mock trepidation towards the money bag.

Patrick flicked the bag in his direction with a curt laugh.

He caught it lightly in one hand as a friendly voice called out to him. “Going to save some of that this time?” Kamala staggered as someone bumped into his shoulder. “I’m sick of buying.” Snorting, Kamala reached behind him and pushed the man off of him, not bothering to see who it was. The person’s footsteps soon dissolved into the rest of the clamor.

“You’re still on that, huh?”

Kamala glanced back at the table. “And?”

“And what kind ’f hints have you gotten?”

Shaking his head, Kamala pulled an identical bag out of a pocket. “I’m still trying to get an audience with the councilmember.” He tipped the few remaining coins into his new bag. His safe hadn’t been seeing much use of late. Tossing the empty leather back to Patrick, he stowed the other away. “It seems like you have to be one of those rainbow feathered vultures or better to see any of them.”

Patrick slid the bag into a small bin with one hand. “If you ask me, you’d be better off not trying with ours. We’re our own bodyguards. You want someone needing protection, go ask the Rabbit.”

“That just switches one councilmember for another. Still leaves me with people to pay off, and I don’t even get to pass as some activist.”

“Take a better look at who you’re paying off. Go talk to some Dragon or Phoenix, if that’s what you think’ll work. It’d keep you out of trouble while you scrounged for the money, too.” Patrick smirked from behind his desk, feet going back up on the strongbox.

Kamala paused, already half-turned to leave. His consideration was interrupted as Patrick’s gaze shifted from his eyes to something behind him. Finishing his turn, Kamala caught sight of a large figure making its way through the mass of fighters. He chuckled as Mokosh approached the table, nudging smaller predators out of her way. She greeted them with a brief “Hey, Kamala. Pat, got any for me?”

As Kamala took a step away, resting a friendly hand on Osh’s shoulder before leaving, Patrick looked back up from his paper. “Kamala? Don’t take this too far. Chase ghosts all you like, but don’t forget we’re the ones paying you.”

He waved a hand in acknowledgement, then headed off. As he threaded his way through to his bunk, his thoughts kept returning to Patrick’s suggestion.
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Tohrinha
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Re: Askinov RP

Postby Guyshane on Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:22 pm

Defy opened the window, falling gently to the floor of the wine cellar. It was after dark, and the girl eyed the room carefully before slipping upstairs, the rest of the house dark and silent. THe girl tilted her head, and climbed up the stairs to one room, a single person sitting on the floor quietly.

Defy crept closer, a small knife slipping free of its holder. She stopped a few feet away, her eyes watching the man impassively.

Vakann felt his neck prickling, drawing his mind away from the ice caves he used to clear his thoughts. “Let’s see…All my usual servants know not to disturb me here, if you were sent by an enemy you would have crossed into my circle and triggered the warning, therefore it must be you Defy.”

The girl remained quiet, her eyes flicking between the floor and the mage. “Circle? Don’t see one.”

“Well it wouldn’t be much of a secret alarm if anyone could see it now would it?”

“What does the alarm do?”

“Take another three steps forward, its non-lethal.”

Defy eyed him, and slipped forward. As soon as she took the third step, a bright light blinded her and there was a high-pitched whine in her ears. Soon there was a pair of hands on her shoulders steadying her and a muffled voice that began to clear up.

“-should be returning now. Your sight will follow shortly after. Just stay calm.”

Defy keened quietly, shaking her head sharply. “Whatsit?” She blinked several times. “Hurt.”

“Believe me that’s reduced. During the early stages of learning it I would blind myself for days at a time.” Vakann told her as he helped the wolf over to a nearby chair.

Defy smelled carefully around. “Didn’t hurt my smell.”

“Well I doubt it was designed to do such. Normally sight and sound are enough to send any enemies staggering.”

“Happens to you, too?” The Wolf motioned to the inside of the circle.

“Its targeted to whomever breaks the circle. That being said there have been a few time when I’ve been tired and not deactivated the circle in a proper manner before exiting,” the mage explained.

“Can I learn?”

“I am sorry, but it is part of my magic just like anything else. If you could learn the dragon would have come for you and not the wolf.”

She blinked at him, returning to passivity. After a moment, she looked away, examining the room. “Your workplace?”

“Such as it is.” He replied looking around the room himself. It was largely spartan in its furnishings aside from several different circles on the floor, a full bookcase and a comfortable looking chair.

The girl stood. “Where do I sleep, Dragon?”

“This way.” He said, leaving the room and gesturing for her to follow. She did, following several paces behind, watching his movements.

They walked through several different hallways before arriving at a door which Vakann opened to reveal a room that was fairly comfortably furnished. Defy smelled the room, glaring grumpily. “It has a window.”

“That it does,” the mage agreed.

“What happens if it’s opened?”

“The window opens, obviously.”

She watched him for several moments. With a blur of movement, she entered the room and slammed the door behind her.

Vakann stared at the door for a minute before shaking his head. I do not even know if she is attempting escape or merely acting odd. “Defy? What are you doing?” The mage called out.

“Go away.”

Vakann simply shrugged and strode off.

-----------

A few days later

Defy waited until she saw the last servant leave the room before slipping into the kitchen of Vakann’s house through an open window. It was just after midmorning, the girl having been free of her master for three suns, now. Quietly, she began rummaging through the shelves, looking for food.

“You know,” said a voice from behind her. “You could have just talked to the chef.”

Defy jumped, stiffening. “He was not in the room.”

Vakann leaned against the wall eating an apple. “Remarkable you could see that since I watched you climb through an open window.”

There was a pause, and Defy leapt at the open window, scrambling to get out of the house.

Vakann spoke another work and a burst of orange energy sailed towards Defy. She stopped short, colliding with the windowsill painfully and collapsing to the ground.

Vakann walked over and glared down at her in irritation. “Why? What was even the point? I’ve left you alone in your room peacefully haven’t I?”

The girl glared up at him silently, unable to move.

The mage let out another word and suddenly Defy’s mouth could move again.

“Wolf take you, bastard.” She spat. “Let me go.”

“And what incentive do I have to do that?”

The girl scowled, growling audibly. “Need me.”

“And what use will you be if you aren’t willing to work with me?” He growled in response.

“I have,” she shot back. “Let me go.”

Vakann knocked some bread off a nearby shelf which landed square on her chest before releasing her from the spell. “Try the bread, its some of the finest in the city.” He commented as he left the pantry.

The girl watched him go, an odd expression on her face. After several minutes, she ripped off a piece of bread, eating it thoughtfully. Once she had eaten, she slunk through the mansion, pausing outside of Vakann’s study. She peeked in carefully, ready to sprint away.

Vakann was sitting in the chair reading one of his tomes from the bookcase. She watched him for a moment, and hesitantly stepped the rest of the way into the room, shoulders tensed.

The mage looked up at the sound of her footsteps. “What is it?” He asked in an irritated tone.

She stopped, looking down. “You are angry with me.”

“Brilliant deduction.” He replied acidly.

“You act like you’ve been doing me favors.” Defy snapped.

“I’m curious. What do you think would have happened to you if I hadn’t bought you?”

“I’d’ve gotten out.”

“Horseshit you would have. You would have tried and they would have promptly killed you because you were too much hassle and they needed more space.”

Defy deflated a bit, still glaring furiously at the ground. “I won’t worship you for making my cage golden. You are still as bad as them.”

Vakann slammed his book down and stood. “I know that! I’m not pretending to be a saint or even that I’m doing any of what I’m doing out of the goodness of my heart!” He breathed and sat back down. “But I do keep my word. If you help me you will be free and with more power than you could have possibly gained otherwise. Is it too much to ask that you don’t fight me for every damned inch?”

“And I’m supposed to believe you?” Defy snarled. “You want a killer. I kill for you, and soon I’ll find another knife, in my own back. Wolf is not stupid.”

“You have yet to prove that. And I consider you an exceptionally intelligent member of your class.”

Growling, Defy leapt at him, her right hand balled into a fist. Vakann blocked with one arm while swinging a counter-blow with the other. She twisted, sliding underneath the punch and kicking out at his knee.

Vakann simply moved his leg and let the kick pass under the gap in the chair legs. The mage stood using his momentum to lend extra power to the next punch he swung at her. It connected, and the girl collapsed to the ground, gasping for air.

“This is precisely what I mean. Do I look the type that has never been in a fight to you?”

She snarled wordlessly at him, attempting to stand.

“If you have so little faith in me then kill me now.” He snarled down at her. “Because you are right: I cannot get my revenge without you. And if we continue on this way we shall surely both be discovered and killed.”

She sagged against the edge of the chair, panting heavily. “I am just a slave. You can replace me at will. Send me to the factories. Why should I trust you?”

“If I wanted a disposable assassin do you think I would be bothering trying to train someone as stubborn and confrontational as you?” He glared down at her.

“So you want me to see you as Alpha and have a pack.”

“I...what?”

“You want my loyalty.”

“Loyalty is too strong of a word for what I want. Loyalty implies something deep, abiding, and formed by mutual bonds. All I want is for you to work with me long enough to kill some bastards. After that I pull some strings, get you your freedom and we never have to see each other again.”

The girl’s face hardened further. “Fine.”

Finally, some totem-cursed ground in this fight. “I know you don’t believe I’ll keep my word. And not unjustly given how the dragon and phoenix manipulate the council and flaunt the laws your class is subject to. However none of that is my style. If I’m going to kill someone I tell them right before I stab them in the heart. The fact that I’ll have to lie to accomplish my goal sickens me.”

The Wolf curled up, glaring at the floor. “What do you need me to do, then?”

“For now there is a class I have signed you up for, apparently someone has already created a course to train slaves as bodyguards, the instructor is well versed in all manner of weapons.” Vakann explained. “You start next week.”

She nodded. “That’s it?”

“For now. And obviously you must be the one to make sure you’re keeping up with your work from the healer. However, since you asked for that I have no doubt I don’t have to remind you.”

The girl yawned, “I’ll be in my rooms.”

Vakann nodded. “Enjoy yourself with whatever you do.”
I say we nuke it from orbit...its the only way to be sure.
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Guyshane
 
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:45 pm

Re: Askinov RP

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:49 pm

Defy waited until dark to leave the house of her owner. The sun, a golden-red, was burning low in the sky, the shadows of the mountains cloaking the lower market and Flash. The city, ever against sleeping, still bustled with shop owners and slaves, each dedicated to their task. The wolf ignored them, for the most part. Likewise, they ignored her, and within minutes, she was in the upper market, eyeing an apothecary’s stall.

A few fast steps forward, and the Wolf tilted her head, sniffing at the various wares. The owner was distracted, an attractive Ram girl was pointing at a bunch of nightlock and smirking. Defy frowned, and picked up bits of herb, sniffing them all. some ended up back in their bin, while the rest were carefully placed inside a small satchel she carried around her waist.

“I hope you’re planning to pay for that,” someone said from behind her. “Unless the prices are too high. Then you can just toss a few coppers and run.”

Defy stopped, glancing at the shopkeeper, who was still engrossed in conversation. “What’ll you do if I have none, Cat?”

“I’d have to turn you in, I suppose. Unless you feel like giving those herbs back.” The Cougar looked over the Wolf carefully. “What do you say? Sneak them back in the bin, and I’ll let you walk off free.”

Defy sighed, turning contritely to the stall. A hand reached into her bag, and she bolted down the street, away from both stall and Cougar.

Footsteps sounded from behind her, pounding against the road. Defy didn’t bother glancing back, and shot down a narrow alleyway.

“You’re going to a lot of trouble for those herbs,” the Cougar called. “Why are they so important to you?”

A cart blocked the way ahead, and Defy slid to a stop, before ducking underneath the wooden boards and popping up on the other side.

The footsteps stopped, then faded. The Cougar must not have been nimble enough to keep up the chase. Defy smiled, a fierce grin coloring her features, and turned to head back to the Flash.

The Cougar stepped out of a side street, grinning just as fiercely. “Did you really think you could lose me like that? Here, I’ll give you one last chance. Take the herbs back, and I’ll just walk you home to your family.” She hesitated a moment. “You’ve got a family, haven’t you?”

Defy glowered at the soldier and spat on the ground in between them.

“If that’s how you want to be, I might as well drag you back to the jail.” The Cougar grabbed Defy’s arm. “You’re going to return those herbs first, though. Try to fight back, and I’ll dislocate something of yours. I’ve the training, so don’t think I’m bluffing.”

Defy smirked. “Let me go.”

“Not a chance. I don’t trust you, Wolf, though I’ve tried. If there someplace you’d rather go than jail, feel free to tell me.” The Cougar tightened her grip on Defy’s arm and began pulling her toward the stall.

Defy snapped her hand down, following with a quick kick to the Cougars knee.

The Cougar growled as she pulled her leg back not quite in time to avoid the kick. She responded with a punch aimed for Defy’s throat as she threw her weight, trying to knock the Wolf against a wall.

The punch clipped Defy’s collarbone, and the soldier’s shoulder hit her chest, pinning her painfully against a brick and mortar wall. Defy wheezed, trying to push the Cougar off. The wall also beat loose the clay holding her tag back, and a glint of gold shone behind silver dreads.

The Cougar didn’t release Defy, but she stopped her attack. “You’re a slave?”

The Wolf panted, stonily glaring at the Cougar.

“Why didn’t you say something about this?” the Cougar asked. “I could have…” She hesitated and glanced around before lowering her voice. “Who’s your owner?” With her free hand, she grabbed the tag, and her voice grew even lower as she said, “Vakann. I’ll need to get you back to him.”

Defy growled softly. “Let. Me. Go.”

The Cougar shook her head. “You want me to risk my neck for you? If it were anyone else, I’d do it without a second thought, but I can’t go against Vakann. Not yet. I don’t have enough allies.” She leaned closer to Defy and whispered, “But I’ll try to help you. I swear. Just not now. Come along peacefully or I’ll have to beat you up some more.”

Defy’s eyes narrowed for a moment, then cleared. She relaxed, and stared down at the Cougar. “I keep the herbs.”

“Fine. I’ll see they’re paid for.” The Cougar loosened her grip a little, but it was still tight enough that anyone looking wouldn’t think twice about whether the Wolf could escape. “My name’s Lisette. If my plans work out, you might want to remember it.”

“Defy.”

The Cougar’s grin was friendly this time. “That won’t be hard to remember. Come on. If Vakann gives me a reward, I’ll save some of it for you.”

Yellow eyes examined Lisette’s, and Defy nodded, meekly following the Cougar.

Lisette pulled Defy through the streets, weaving around people and glaring at anyone who stared until they looked away. They went out of the market, into the part of town where the streets were cleaner and the people didn’t look quite so guarded. Passers-by lifted their eyebrows in surprise when they saw a Cougar out of uniform leading a Wolf, but then they would shrug and go on with their lives.

Lisette didn’t say a word until she had brought Defy to Vakann’s door and banged her fist on it. Then she whispered, “Good luck,” just before it opened.

Vakann stood there looking at Defy in annoyance. “Why do you even bother coming back at this point?”

The Wolf shrugged. “Didn’t have a choice, this time.”

“That’s hogwash and we both know it.”

Lisette rolled her eyes. “She didn’t, really. If you’d like, I can beat her up some more to prove it.”

Defy grinned, and looked down in an attempt to appear beaten and contrite.

Vakann shot Defy a glare. “Your acting needs work.” He then turned to Lisette. “No, she came back of her own choice. I don’t care how skilled you are, she’s vicious.”

“Look,” Lisette said, “do you want her back or not? I’ve gone to all the trouble, and the least you could do is take her off my hands by taking her back, or free her, so you don’t have to worry about her running off anymore.”

Vakann let out a deep laugh. “I know it is a commonly held belief of the lower class that Dragons hold enough political power to release slaves. And the truth of the matter is…” His voice dropped to a whisper. “We do, or at least, they do. I just so happen to be on the outs.”

His voice regained its normal volume. “Now what sort of exorbitant price are you asking for her return today?”

“Twenty gold,” Defy piped in.

“That sounds perfectly fair,” Lisette said. “As you said, she’s vicious. I could have had my kneecap broken if I weren’t fast enough.”

Vakann rolled his eyes. “Everyone in this city is an extortionist.” He then tossed Lisette a bag of coins. “Come on Defy we have to...I don’t know, something.”

Defy cast a ghost of a smile to Lisette, and disappeared into the house, Vakaan shutting the door without another word.
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eli_gone_crazy
 
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Re: Askinov RP

Postby Guyshane on Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:11 pm

Defy waited until the door had closed before slipping past Vakann, headed for the kitchen.

Vakann followed closely behind. “I am serious, why do you even bother coming back when you escape so often? Is it just to make both of us miserable?”

The Wolf tossed him the satchel, and grabbed a bit of meat from a plate, gnawing on it.

Vakann opened it up and looked inside. “You know, you might have just told her you were on an errand. That untraceable stream of money doesn’t grow on trees. I had to spend a whole night beating up muggers to get the amount I paid her.”

Defy watched him steadily for a moment. “She caught me. I ran.”

“You are a terrible thief.”

“She promised me a portion of the money, as well as escape, once she had the contacts. She could be valuable to you.”

“See? You can be clever when you try. Which is rarely.”

Defy snorted, and grabbed a piece of bread. She hesitated, and offered it to the Dragon.

Vakann tore of a small piece from the end and began snacking on it. “So are you actually hoping to gain me an ally, or just finding new people to help you stab me in the back?”

“She can’t free me. Not enough contacts. You need a guard, and you want me to be tamed. I can do one of those.”

“Why do I need a guard?”

“You’re the one wanting to have half the city murdered. Do the math, oh clever one.”

The mage snorted. “I don’t want half the city murdered. I simply want to find which other family benefited from the fall of mine and kill them all. Its quite different.”

“Of course.”

“It is!” The dragon insisted. “The rest of the city can do whatever they like so long as they stay out of my way.”

“As you say, Dragon.

“Why do you never believe anything I say?”

“I never said I didn’t.”

“You’re thinking it.”

The Wolf smiled. “I would prefer results.”

Vakann sat down across the table from her. “Well, how are the lessons coming then?”

“Which ones, sir?”

“The combat lessons.”

“Well enough. I don’t enjoy them, but they are useful.” Defy motioned to the satchel. “I can use those to kill you.”

“Yes well, that’s why I prepare my own meals since you arrived.”

Defy grinned fiercely. “They can also be used to save lives. Or yours.”

“I’d have more faith in that statement if you hadn’t already threatened to kill me a number of times.” Vakann replied blandly.

Defy nodded, eyes cool. “I would prefer to move to armed fighting, soon. The slow pace chafes.”

“Yes well I got a look at some of your classmates there. None of them seem particularly bright, hence the slow pace.” He shook his head. “Why so many want their bodyguards to be idiots I’ll never know.”

“You did just call me dumb.”

“No, I called your classmates dumb. Please pay more attention.” Defy nodded, and settled into the shadows of the kitchen.

Vakann sighed. “Whoever these people are they’re good. I can barely find any evidence of any bribery.”

“What can I do?”

“Nothing yet. You need more stealth training.” He shot a glare in the general direction of the front door. “Clearly.”

Defy frowned, and glanced at the floor.

“We can start on that tonight if you like.”

The Wolf nodded. “Yes, sir.”

Vakann nodded. “Very well then.” He went into the pantry and retrieved a brown bar. “This, is chocolate.” He broke off a small piece and set it down in front of her. “Try some.”

Defy sniffed it, turning the piece over in her hand. “What does it do?”

“Its food.”

Defy ate the piece, closing her eyes at the flavor.

Vakann grinned. “The goal is to steal the bar without me noticing. You will give me two minutes to prepare.”

“Magic?”

“Well yes.” Vakann replied as if that should have been obvious. The wolf snorted, and curled up on the counter.

“You’re at a minute forty-five.” she mumbled.

“Fine, fine.” He replied, waving his hand and strolling away. Defy waited for a minute longer, and crept through the house, slipping outside to the brick siding. Climbing up that, the girl cleared first the first floor, and most of the second. Vakann was sitting and meditating in one of the rooms with his hood up, the chocolate bar laying on the table in front of him.

Marking the location, Defy slipped back to the first floor. Swallowing, she slipped out of her boots, the pads of her feet whisper quiet on the floor. A few furtive moments more, and she was right outside the room the Dragon had chosen. She eased the handle of the door… and the door squeaked on its hinges.

Vakann did not move. Defy sniffed the room, and tentatively stepped in.

The mage still didn’t move. Defy slid more confidently around the room, swooping in with a quick motion to catch the bar from the table. Which is when she noticed that the figure in the robes was actually just a straw man.

“Ah, damn-”

A circle suddenly sprung to life around the two, while the mage stepped out from the closet. “Not a bad first attempt. But you got too focused on your goal.”

Defy nodded, and tapped on the air above the glowing circle. “Let me out.”

“I really should just leave you there for an hour or two...but I suppose.” Vakann made several gestures with his hands before breaking the circle, cutting off the light. He then snatched the chocolate from Defy and broke the bar in two, offering one half to her.

The wolf smiled, and gnawed on the chocolate. “Left me in there, I’d’ve eaten the bar.”

“Slow down, savor it. This isn’t exactly cheap.”

Defy stopped mid-chew, looking up at the Dragon for a moment before continuing to eat, this time more slowly.

Vakann took a bite of his own piece. “Believe it or not they make this out of a bean. A very specific bean that only grows in warmer climes.”

“Can it be poisonous?”

“Not that I’m aware of. Certainly there are no documented cases of someone poisoning chocolate.”

Defy smiled widely, and took another bite.
I say we nuke it from orbit...its the only way to be sure.
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Guyshane
 
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:45 pm

Re: Askinov RP

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Sun Nov 16, 2014 6:44 pm

“You ever head to the market or what?” the Rabbit challenged. “Can send me, if you like.”

Liazar didn’t move his eyes from his work. “I seem to recall the last time I left you unsupervised, you took an unplanned jaunt back to (wherever she went the first time).”

“Ended up back here, din’t I? You planning to starve wi’out supplies, or just leave me here on my own when you go do your own chores?”

Liazar couldn’t hide a small smile. Sometimes he forgot how sharp she was. “Very well. You have done well with your time here. You deserve some time in the city.”

Lilian smiled her good-girl smile. “Thank you, sir. Do you have a list for me?”

“A list will not be necessary. We will be going together.”

She smiled to herself. Cocky Phoenix flufftail. Think you can keep an eye on me on my own turf?

Out of the house, Lilian transformed into a shyer girl, a typical twitchy Rabbit slave. She pressed up close against her owner’s side, wide brown eyes taking everything in innocently. The Phoenix still felt it necessary to keep her in check, gently guiding her in the direction he wanted to go - as if she couldn’t have guessed which stalls he’d want to shop at.

After the second vendor, Lilian looked up at Liazar sidelong, gazing at him through long, low eyelashes. “I’ll be right back, sir. I have some… women’s items I need to take care of.”

Naturally, he still took her at face value. “Take the time that you need,” he said, nodding.

“Thank you, sir.” She waited until her back was turned to show the smirk on her face. Lilian shook her head briskly, letting long strands of goldish hair fall loosely in front of her face to cover the metal tags on her ears. That would see her until she had something better.

At the edge of the Upper Market, she slowed down. No need to send Nancy back for clay when she had some right here. Tucking the purse she held under her belt, she knelt to scoop up two generous handfuls of the dirt that would make good false ears.

“Lilian?”

Looking up, she saw Liazar looking at her shrewdly. The girl went from kneeling to running in record time, sprinting away from him without a backward glance.

“Excuse me, miss! You dropped something!” he called after her.

“Didn’t you hear him, girl? The man said you dropped something.” A kindly-looking Sheep woman put out a hand to halt Lilian. “Here, can I see your--”

The Rabbit stiffened. If she ran from the woman now, they’d have seekers out for her, and that would be more difficult and painful, in the long run, than going back with the old man and waiting for another opportunity. “Oh, thank you,” she said, unnaturally loudly. “I’d best go back and see what it is.”

Lilian turned and trudged slowly back, hating herself and hating him every step of the way. When she reached Liazar, she glared viciously. “You’re wrong,” she spat. “I think you dropped something, sir.” She met his eyes, silently daring him to feel ashamed.

He showed no emotion as he went through his pockets. “Hmmm, perhaps you are right; my money pouch seems to have gone missing. You wouldn’t happen to have seen it, would you?” His voice was light and conversational, but his gaze was stern.

“Never seen nobody’s wallet,” she answered automatically.

He nodded. “Very well. Would you mind terribly helping me look for it?”

“What’d you have in mind, sir?” she asked, eyeing him mutinously.

“Oh, I’m sure it’s around here somewhere. Let’s retrace my steps and see if we can find where it fell. Unless you have more pressing business, of course?”

“What if I do?”

Liazar made a sweeping gesture. “Then by all means, away. I shall not keep you.” He dropped his voice. “But I will be watching.”

“Maybe you left it at home. Phoenix think the world’ll roll over for you, money or no.”

“Oh, no, I’m sure I had it with me. Maybe I just misplaced it…” And he wandered off, muttering under his breath. Lilian followed, her brown eyes narrowed at him in mistrust.
Lead by example. Get lost in a swamp.

AS DICTATED TO INSTANTIATION 17-01-18-01.
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