Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

It's a castle....and it's floating! :O

Moderator: Floating Castle Mods

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Krika on Sat Oct 26, 2013 1:41 am

Nova walked towards of Lori's office, head hanging slightly as she walked slowly towards the stairs, arms straining under the heavy load of books. Voices could be heard in the office, and Nova strained not to hear the words.

“And why, exactly, do I have to do this? I barely know this place myself, and you want me to teach someone else?”

"Think of it as an exercise in scholarship and patience," Lori explained, irritation lacing her tone. "You make sure she doesn't die, and I won't kill you."

There was a sigh, and the other voice responded wearily. “Yes Loremaster, I will do it.”

Nova pushed the door open, stumbling slightly under the weight. Turning to face the pair, she smiled weakly, setting the books down on a nearby table. "I've gotten your books, Loremaster."

Lori nodded, sly smile on her face. "Nova, meet Fern. He'll be helping you adjust."

Fern smiled awkwardly and gave a weak wave. “I will be showing you around, making sure you know where everything is and such things, I guess.”

"H-hi." Nova mumbled, brushing her hair back from her eyes. "Thank you."

“So, ah, let us get going, I suppose.” He started for the door, hesitantly checking to see if Nova followed. She did, ducking her head respectfully at the Loremaster before walking out of the room.

Outside, Fern paused for a few moments, before starting off down a corridor. ”I suppose I should start with the main library…”

"I've already been in there." A small voice spoke up from behind him.

He stopped, and mumbled something to himself for a moment, before turning around and facing Nova. “I am sorry, I should have asked. I…” He paused for a split second “If you are the newest member, then I would be the second newest. I am still not quite clear on exactly where everything is myself, so….” He gave a helpless shrug. “What do you already know?”

Nova thought for a moment, "You're Fern, and this is a library." She frowned, head drooping lower than before. "I-uh, I don't remember much."

“You ha-” Fern started, before cutting himself off. “Right. Ah...right. Since you brought those books, I can take that to mean you know how to find where stuff is, and where it should be?”

Nova's head popped up, and she grinned, "I'm a good finder."

Fern chuckled. “If what I know is any indication, you will be doing that a lot.” He paused for a moment in thought. “Do you know where the kitchens are?”

Nova glanced down the hallway, and slid a cookie out of her pocket. "Want it?" She offered.

Fern took it with a grin and split it in half, handing one to Nova. “Found your way there, it would seem. Why am I not surprised?”

Nova ate the cookie quickly, "Smells good in there."

“That it does.” He ate his half pensively. “How about we wander around, and work on getting you acquainted with this place that way?”

--------

Anji leaned against the wall, boredom warring with tension as she waited to hear news of Salvantas' meeting. Glancing down the hall, she noticed a dark-haired person walking her way, carefully carrying what looked like a few sheathed swords in his arms. He got to the door, and paused to nod at her, before nearly dropping his payload.

“Oh, ah, Hello Nova!” He paused, looking her up and down. “It would appear that you found quite a few things since I last saw you….a few weeks back, I believe.”

Anji grinned widely, "Hey, Fern!" Glancing back at herself, she blushed lightly, "Yeah, I found my memories, for one thing. How are you?"

“Still carrying things at the Loremaster’s whim, as you can see. Research, nearly getting killed, more research…” He gave the best shrug he could while not dropping the swords. “Apart from the nearly getting killed thing, I have been fine.”

Anji walked over to the librarian, pulling a few of the swords out of his hands and setting them on the floor. "Glad to hear it." She glanced up the hallway, "I'd give you a cookie if I had one."

Fern paused, and began rooting around in one of the pockets of his robe, before pulling out a cookie that looked as though it had been in that pocket for at least a week, if not longer. “Ah….I do not think I will offer this one.”

"Eh, who cares?" Anji grinned, "I've eaten worse."

Fern gave her a curious glance, before handing it over. “I do not think I will ask.”

Anji broke the stale cookie into halves, and gave one to Fern. "Good. I don't feel like telling." Looking him up and down, she added, "My real name is Anjali." She paused, glancing around the room, "But... You can call me Nova still, if you want."

Fern nodded. “If you are alright with it.” He paused to give his stale half-cookie a once over, before biting into it.

"Of course." Anji glanced at the room adjacent. "Aside from the attempted murder, she treating you okay?"

“Oh, no, the attempted murder was not caused by her...not directly, anyway. I was tasked to do this thing in the city, and ran into some of those Anti-Guild people. I nearly got killed twice, and ended up collapsing a building.” He gave a light shrug. “Apparently these things happen here. I do not know whether to be excited or worried.”

Anji's smile widened, "I wish I could have been there."

“Really? I would rather that I had not. I do not think I am much for that sort of thing.”

"It's a thing I do," Anji shrugged. "You've got more patience with this--" she motioned to the piles of books and papers-- "stuff than I ever will."

“Well, then I suppose it is a good thing that you found what you like to do, if you would have been unhappy doing these things.”

Anji's eyes widened slightly as she apologized, "Oh no! That's not what I meant... Look, if you ever need a hand with easy things like punching people in the face, just call and I'll show up, all right?"

Fern nodded. “Then I shall. I did not take offense to your statement, though. I know that this can be dull.” He looked at the door to Lori’s office. “Is the Loremaster seeing anyone at the moment? I need to drop these off for her...experiments, whatever they might be this time.”

"A friend." Anji said, tension seeping back into her stature. "We'll be gone soon."

“Alright.” Fern began to gather up the swords again. “I suppose I will wait until you both leave, then. It was good to see you again, Nova.”

Anji smiled, and helped him pick up the weapons, "Don't be a stranger, Fern. If you need some help, or just a place to chill, come hit up Storm and Drive." She paused, shy smile on her face, "You're my friend, I guess. I make sure my friends are okay."

Fern returned the smile with one of his own. “I will keep that in mind. I would not want you to worry on my behalf.”

As the door opened, Anji sighed, "Well, if you insist." Looking him up and down, she added, "I'm serious. Don't lock yourself in a library all hours. Storm has enough rooms for... A lot more than we have. Feel free to drop by."

“If it means that much to you, I will be sure to do so.” He gave her a last smile, and as her companion left, he slipped into the room to drop off his burden.
Krika
>Narra has tiny jerk people in her socks.
>We are affirming our collective jerkhood by committing genocide on them.
Guyshane
>I'm going to read the logs and pray that that sentence makes more sense in context
>No
>No it does not
User avatar
Krika
 
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:07 am
Location: Home. I don't want to be.

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Guyshane on Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:16 pm

Timelime note: Takes place about a day before Quest 41: Water World

The Old Man In The Swamp

Dammit, why did there have to be a swamp? I hate swamps.

Marcus slogged his way through the swamp on the fifth floor of the castle. The sixth floor was still underwater so in the meantime he had decided to go looking through the fifth floor both to look for any new potential threats and to see if he could find anything useful.

So far he had not been very successful.

Marcus stopped to swat another bug out of the air that had decided the warrior looked tasty. “Damn swamps and there damn bugs.” There was one bright side, the falchoin was actually very useful for chopping through low hanging vines.

Come on. The soldier thought to himself. There has to be something on this floor besides trees and swamps and me wasting my time. A tomb, a monster, Something![i] That was when he heard a slight crack from somewhere above him. [i]The hell- Before he could finish that thought something dropped down and landed on his shoulders before he was somehow tossed into a nearby tree trunk.

Marcus was on his feet with both weapons out a mere instant after he landed. That was when he saw his attacker.

“You will not pass, villain!” the old man yelled at Marcus in defiance.

Marcus merely stopped and stared at the other person. He was an old man, barely taller than Anji and balding. He was dressed a loose fitting shirt and pair of pants with a ragged cloak hanging of his neck. Marcus sheathed his weapons and continued to stare.

“Oh I see! You think I am so weak that you can take me without weapons! It will not be so simple, Blackguard!” The old man exclaimed.

“Blackwhat?” Marcus asked in confusion.

The old man stopped and lowered his hands. “Blackguard, one who attacks from behind.” he replied.

“I haven't even attacked you yet, much less from behind.”
“Ah! but you were planning on doing so!”
“How? I didn't even know you were there until you jumped me.”

The old man stood in thought for a moment. “We will go to my home and settle this, we need to reach a decision and the swamp is quite dangerous if you stay in one place for too long.”

“I don't need-” Marcus began before cutting himself off with a sigh. “You know what? Fine, sure, whatever.”

The hermit nodded. “My name is Quoda. Now follow me knave.” he said before taking off in a seemingly random direction. Marcus rolled his eyes and followed
------------------------------
The hut was simple but sturdy and sat in the middle of a clearing that had been practically invisible before they had walked in. Quoda turned to face Marcus. “Alright rouge. Now prepare to be defeated.”

Marucs stared in confusion for what felt like the hundredth time for that day. “I thought we were still discussing if I was a threat.”

“No I meant settle as in defeat you and send you on your way.” Before Marcus could respond the hermit charged forward driving his fist into Marcus' gut robbing the big man of his breath.

What in seven hells? Then Marcus was bodily thrown through the trees to land in the water. Oh well today just keeps getting better and better. Quoda stepped out of the trees. “And stay out.” he said, smiling.

The warrior glared back. “Oh yes, very cute. You started this remember?.”

Before he got an answer he felt a something coil around his legs. Looking down he saw the body of a large snake a second before the second coil wrapped around his chest and arms. Now with its prey throughly ensnared the beast turned its head and opened a mouth that was clearly meant to eat its prey bite by bite instead of swallowing it whole as most snakes would.

This is how I'm going to die? I do not believe it. And yet that seemed to be the case as Marcus couldn't reach any of his weapons.

“Oi! Why don't you drive it off with your magic?” The old man piped up.

Constricted as he was Marcus still turned to glare before getting out: “What magic?”

“You mean you don't know?”

The snake seemed to be savoring the kill. “Look can I just be eaten in peace?” Marcus managed to gasp out.

Quoda sighed. “Well this whole situation seems to be my fault. Let me help you.” the man pulled out a bottle of wine and chugged it in one go.

My death and my only company are a drunk and the giant snake about to eat me The snake leaned forward to take a bite but before it could there was a blur of motion and its head was knocked away. What? It was Quoda moving incredibly fast and striking with such force that scales broke by the dozens wherever he hit. The serpent swung its tail at him but the hermit just leaned with the motion and dodged it completely before delivering another blow right between the eyes.

Seizing his chance Marcus slipped out of the coils and drew his weapon. The snake however apparently decided that this meal was too much effort and slinked off back to where it came from. Quoda looked up at Marcus and said “Predators are always at their weakest when they're convinced they've won.”

“What the hell was that?”
“You've heard of sea serpents? That was one of their cousins, a swamp serpent.”

Marcus nodded. “Right then” Then he began marching off towards the stairway to the other floors.

“Where are you going?”

“Anywhere but here.”

“You would leave a drunk, old man to fend for himself?”

“You seem to be doing just fine!”
I say we nuke it from orbit...its the only way to be sure.
User avatar
Guyshane
 
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:45 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Krika on Sat Nov 09, 2013 12:45 pm

Pestilence, or Why Fern Refuses To Ever Go Into The Sewers Ever Again, At All, Period

There were many things Fern wanted to do. He wanted to be in the library, doing research, reading books. or organizing things. He wanted to go down and see for himself what Nova had going on at her guild. Maybe……….well, actually he couldn’t really think of much else he wanted to do. That being said, there was quite a bit that he’d rather be doing than what he was doing.

He adjusted his toes on the small block of stone he was perched on, and twisted the rope he’d attached to some metal bars above him around his hand again. The smell of the greenish-brown sludge that covered the sewer beneath him was eating at his nose, and he had no intention of wanting to fall in, rats notwithstanding.

“Hands-on research my arse…” He muttered to himself. He was doing his level best to balance on a small ledge positioned a couple of feet above the ground on the long wall of a three-way intersection. A small amount of light filtered down through several layers of tunnels and grates to barely light up the intersection, and provide illumination for only a handful of feet down each of the three intersections before they were swallowed up in the gloom. Positioned at that border down each path was a blank of wood, each with several small runes glowing a faint blue inscribed into them at several points.

All this was bad enough, if circumstances that Fern had accepted that would have to be dealt with. No, the rats were what really pushed it over the edge. They were swimming in the water. They were crawling on what little walking platforms existed this deep in the sewers. They were hanging out on the boards of wood he had set up. They were squeaking incessantly. Fern suspected he was being driven slightly nuts by the constant rhythm of the squeaking on his ears.

“So, this probably confirms that rats are attracted somehow toward that particular spell. Somehow.” Now the only problem was waiting for all the rats to leave. He’d only put enough power into those runes to last for a couple of hours, but by his reckoning there was still another hour to go before they ran out, and then he’d have to wait for the rats to disperse before he could start making his way up.

He carefully moved one leg, stretching it out and shaking it a little to give his stiff muscles a bit of movement. He carefully slotted his his foot back into position, and sighed as he shifted the rest of his body.

As he did so, he heard several small plinks. Craning checking below him, he saw the water rippling, as if several small pebbles had fallen into it. ”Well, shi…”

He suddenly became aware that the incessant squeaking of the rats had ceased. Looked back up, he found his eyes meeting those of a rat. And another. And another.

They were all looking at him, in perfect silence.

“And that is not creepy at all.” Silence didn’t really feel as important anymore.

At the sound of his voice, the rats jerked into motion. Almost as one, they vacated their positions, and fled away from Fern, looking almost like a nauseatingly moving carpet as they disappeared into the darkness, the splish-splash of their feet and bodies in the water still the only sound, before that faded into silence.

“Not that I do not want to question my good fortune, but…..this does not feel like a good thing.”

A few moments later, hearing nothing but the occasional drip-drip of water, Fern cautiously started to get down, before a sudden noise sent him jerking back up to his perch.

Whatever was coming sounded...odd. A continuous splashing, unlike anything with legs, and big. Whatever it was, it was coming closer, down the tunnel to Fern’s right. As he heard it approach, he started to hear a low hissing squeaking noise, sending shivers racing up and his spine.

A small wave of rats emerged out of the darkness. These rats weren’t climbing over each other, or even jostling around. They marched side-by-side, barely jostling, moving with eerie unison, almost like marching soldiers. As the first wave fully emerged from the darkness, Fern felt the metaphorical bucket of cold water hit him as he realized that the second row wasn’t even touching the ground, at least, not most of the time.

The entire...thing, as it’s shape became apparent, was a massive pile of rats, that seemed to be moving as one entity, forming a single massive conglomerate. They seemed, oddly, to be held together by their tails, to the extent could determine this to be true. Some detached part of his mind noticed that there seemed to be a hierarchy - rats on the bottom layer or two seemed to be shifting between providing forward momentum, and riding on top of the bottom layer, and that the shifting seemed to propel the mass along in a worm like fashion as well as any actual walking did by the bottom layer. The top layers seemed to just be massing and milling around, in a constant, nauseating rolling of incredibly dirty brown fur.

Meanwhile, the rest of his brain was valiantly attempting to prevent itself from taking in too much of this thing, trying to prevent him from puking, and walling off the detached part of his brain from the rest of the whole.

The pile of rats flowed to a halt in the center of the intersection, directly under where he was perched. Well, the overall movement of the mass stopped. The rats continued to churn and wiggle around in the pile, unabated by the lack of overall momentum. As Fern stared, the top portion of the pile seemed to split apart, and a larger shape emerged.

This rat was no ordinary rat. This was the head, the leader, the prime rat. It had to be at least a good two feet long, and it’s fur would have been pure white if it were not for sewer dirt and grime turning it into a dirty white-brown. It stared at Fern with silver eyes that he would swear seemed to be examining him, as odd as it sounded.

At this point, his brain and body decided that enough was enough, and Fern had the instant of perfect awareness about what was coming, rising up from his stomach and out of his mouth. The king rat’s white coat was sullied even more by the bile that hit him after being ejected by the perched human.

Fern heaved a few more times, coming up dry. At some point, during his retching the detached portion of his brain had ambushed the rest of it, and slapped some sense into it. With a groan, he took in his predicament. Thanks to the rational portion of his brain, he was no longer in conscious panic-and-or-disgust mode, but he noted that he was having quite a bit of difficulty making his hand unwrap from the rope that it was now holding onto with a white-knuckled grip. His perch seemed to be in the same condition, and showed no signs of crumbling anytime soon. A quick pat-down assured him that he still had all the tools he’d brought down with him and that none of them were in the pool of water and rats below him.

This was lucky for him, because the king rat was glaring at him. Despite being covered in what appeared to be the last meal he had eaten (what hadn’t hit it had hit the rats nearby him, and with their constant motion wo-at this point his brain forcibly shut off that train of thought), it had barely moved, it’s silver eyes fixed on him.

“Umm...I am sorr-” The attempt at an apology was interrupted as the entire creature suddenly began emitting a noise that is best described as the bastard love-child of a hiss and a squeak pronounced by a shoggoth that had a chest cold and happened to be gargling bacon chunks. Fern found panic spiking as his entire body froze in place, barely able to breath, let alone move. Look at how big it was it could probably just use it’s sheer bulk as a stepping stone to get up to where he was and he could not get away in time and even if he managed to not get caught by it it could easily catch him especially as all it needed to do was keep pace and eventually he would trip and be caught and then it would just surround him and then he would be absorbed into it and the teeth would be tearing and eating and he would feel the entire thing and it would just let him suffer and suffer as he felt himself get eaten for who knows how long and he would not even be able to call for help it would just be rats everywhere and maybe Lori would want to know why he did not come back and send Peter or maybe Nova would be curious as to what happened to him and then they would be caught by the thing and then get eaten by it and they would feel the little teeth and squeaking and bites and rubbing that he would feel when it caught him and he would become one with the mass and and he would never get to see another book in the darkness and the rats and it would just be the squeaking glinting darkness forever and ever and there was nothing he could do and.............................................................................

-----

He very slowly came to his senses. As best he could tell, he’d been in a frozen, semi-catatonic state for who knows how long, induced by...whatever the impossible noise the mass of rats had produced. His body was still tensed up past the point of being able to move, but he thought it was slowly starting to loosen up - he began working his arms and legs, slowly working them into a somewhat usable condition. He began to work through his situation - after all, there had to be something he could do here. He would not let himself be swamped in fear. Again, anyway.

Alright, the first thing was the….thing. The mass was still writhing amongst itself, while the king rat was still sitting on top of it, still staring at him with a gaze that Fern found himself starting to think of as disturbingly intelligent. That...noise, could have been a mechanism used to immobilize prey by hitting the fear reflex, which implied….he really didn’t want to think about what that implied right now. He also noted that aside from the expected sounds caused by it’s passage, the rat’s bodies rubbing up against each other, and the...noise, it was completely silent. This, like many things about this situation, did nothing to set him at ease. On the other hand, since it hadn’t surged up the wall by now, it either couldn’t or didn’t want to, so he was relatively safe for the moment.

The second thing he had needed to figure out was his situation. The mass of rats was taking up the greater portion of the intersection he was perched on the wall of. He was able to stretch his legs a little, enough to make them less stiff (the fact that he could move them again was a pleasant development), but he didn’t want to stick them out to far, just in case. The grate he had attached the rope wrapped around his left hand to was sturdy enough, as he’d tested when first setting up this perch. Using it, he could swing well enough to avoid the main bulk of the mass, but unless he distracted it somehow, or discouraged pursuit, it’d be on him in moments and….he shook himself off that topic.

The final thing was the resources he had available to him. Which did not include a Summon. Gods above, he’d never leave the library without a Summon if he got out of it. Simple observation in the sewers, nothing that really needed a Summon. In for a couple of hours, and then out. That had certainly turned out well. Still, he did have a decently extensive set of several alchemical substances that could be useful here, though he’d have to figure out what to do with them correctly on the first try. This thing was certainly not like anything he’d ever encountered before, and he wasn’t even entirely sure what would work on it. That being said, he couldn’t perch here forever, and he should get started.

He sorted through what he had, noting things that might be useful, and things that weren’t as useful. As he did so, he reached three vials, and smiled, a bolt of hope making it’s way through him. ”I am never going to be able to thank Morain enough for finding these things….”

Before he got started, though, he wanted to test something. He carefully removed a small pack from his cloak, and flipped it open with his free hand. A wave of his hand spread a glimmering powder that descended in a cloud over the mass. As touch the mass, the cloud suddenly shifted, forming vague images of writhing shapes that appeared and disappeared around the thing, before the suddenly vanished. Perturbed, the mass screeched and hissed, though these cries were as normal as something produced by such an abomination could be.

”Interesting….maybe it can not do that very often, or maybe it just is choosing not to….Still, there definitely something wrong with whatever that is….”

Refocusing on the task at hand, he next palmed a small flask, and popped the cork, which dropped into the mass, which fortunately didn’t seem to take offense at that (maybe it didn’t even notice it). He raised the flask to his mouth, and downed it. It would take a minute to kick in, and he wasn’t even sure that he’d need it, but the additional resilience to the odors of the sewer that clearbreath provided couldn’t hurt. Next, he pulled a small crystal on a necklace out from underneath his shirt, and cupped it in his hand. A few deep breaths, and he felt his magic bend to his will, flowing into the crystal, which lit up like a small torch. Letting it fall in front of him, he then carefully picked up one of the three vials he had noticed, and palmed it along with a grey stone.

He closed his eyes, and shifted on his perch, making sure that his legs weren’t too stiff to move, and that he still had his mobility. He’d need it. He opened his eyes, and took a deep breath, and then tossed the two items at the corner of the intersection of the middle and right passages with as much might as he could muster in this situation.

The two items impacted the stone walls of the sewer, and both shattered. In the case of the stone, it shattered with a deafening bang. Fern, by virtue of expecting it wasn’t completely startled, but the mass, acting on primal instinct that whatever unnatural force unified it couldn’t suppress completely, flowed a foot or two away from the bang. The vial, on the other hand, shattered and released a thin reddish gas that flowed outward, given a push by the vial. As the gas passed over the thing, it made a another new sound - this one of pain. The rats on the outer layer began to screech and burrow into the mass, trying to away from the burning gas, exposing the ones that were then being pushed to the top to it in their place. Even the king rat seemed to wriggle in discomfort.

Fern had not waited to see how it would react, instead shoving himself off of his perch, and using the rope to swing across the intersection toward the right corridor, which to his knowledge was the fastest way to get to the ladder up to the next level. If he could reach it, he would probably be alright. Of course, that was if he could get there, but focus on the goal, focus on the next step.

His landing was passable. He was no great shakes at athletics, but he managed to land on his feet, without tripping. A moment of involuntary steadying, and he started onto a dead run down the corridor. At least, he would have if his first step hadn’t brought his leg right into one of the boards that he had set up for the experiment that had brought him down here in the first place.

His rather unmanly screech of pain echoed through the tunnels, bringing a hiss behind him as the mass reoriented itself onto the cry. The gas was already starting to disperse, and control was being regained. Fern spared a moment to check behind him as he started to try to run forward, hampered by his leg’s pain, and immediately wished he hadn’t. The mass had begun to flow after him, the king rat riding on top of it like a demented horseman. Attempting to control the panic starting to rise in him again, Fern limped his way into an almost run, trying to put as much distance between him and it as he could.

To his credit, he managed to stay ahead for a couple of yards, but then he felt an ominous tugging on his cloak, and a glance over his shoulder sent a spike of clarity-inducing fear through him as he realized that the mass had not only reached him, but had grabbed onto his cloak. He stumbled, the mass starting to reel him in as it both pulled his cloak in, and started to extend itself up it. He grabbed at the two remaining vials, and flung them at the wall, while scrabbling with his other hand to unclasp his cloak. The vials shattered against the stone, releasing their cloud, though it spread with agonizing slowness to Fern’s perception, as the second or two spent scrabbling for the clasp seemed to stretch onward. He swore he felt something unfamiliar rub against his back as his fingers finally undid the clasp, and he flung it behind him, bolting forward.

He didn’t even try to look behind him this time, focusing on getting as far ahead as he could. The phantom feeling on his back, whether a fear-induced hallucination, or the reality of how close the thing had been to him, spurred him into a flat out run, adrenaline making the pain in his leg feel inconsequential. The meager light of the crystal bouncing on his chest lit up a couple of feet, that seemed to tunnel as he ran. He had to get away, he couldn’t let the abomination catch him, he wouldn’t be eaten, he wouldn’t be taken, he had to get away.

And then he was at the ladder, slamming into it at the dead run he was at. A moment of confusion as he moved from blind panic at the thought of being slowed down, to naked relief at finally being there. He scrambled and grabbed the ladder, trying to pull himself up as fast as he could.

He got two rungs up the ladder before he felt his upward momentum suddenly vanish, and his right leg was suddenly jerked downward. His left hand reflexively clamped down onto the highest bar it could reach, and when he looked down, the panic that he’d been almost suppressing nearly overwhelmed him. It was there. Grabbed onto his leg.

The mass was growling, not the paralyzing noise before, and not the noise of pain, but an angry growl. The king rat was glaring at him, the silver eyes staring directly into Fern’s, as it rode the mass like the reaper of death. ”you are mine”, it seemed to say, ”you cannot escape”.The mass was pulling itself up his leg, and pulling him down. He could feel the bodies rubbing up against his lower leg and foot through his boot and pants, and he felt the deep panic rising up again, threatening to overwhelm him once more. His right hand frantically grabbed at a flask on his belt, and lobbed it at the most available target - the king rat.

The flask smashed into it, and shattered, and the mass screeched in pain. Not the pain before, from the gas, but this pain seemed to come from somewhere deeper, more integral to the thing. The mass collapsed into chaos, the acid in the flask eating away at the king rat as it sank back into the writhing brown chaos of the horde.

Fern, to put it succinctly, scarpered. Up the ladder, and away from the screeching noise that seemed to follow him as he fled. His pace eventually slowed as he adrenaline rush wore off, and the pain in his leg resurfaced. Limping his way up in the sewers, he did a quick review. Firstly, he was never going into the sewers. Secondly, whatever that had been, was not normal. Then again, nothing in this crazy castle was normal, but the magic sensitive dust that he’d used had reacted in a way that he’d never seen before. However that thing had come into existence, it was the result of some twisted magic the likes of which he’d never seen before. He shoved that knowledge far into the back of his head. Once he got back to the library, he was going to scribbled down a record of the entire thing, shelve it, and then go get drunk. He hadn’t ever really gotten drunk before, but he did know that people tended to drink to forget about things, and this was qualified. Finally, field research by oneself was a terrible idea.

With those words of wisdom and the shrieks of rats echoing in his head, he made his way toward the surface, and toward the light.
Krika
>Narra has tiny jerk people in her socks.
>We are affirming our collective jerkhood by committing genocide on them.
Guyshane
>I'm going to read the logs and pray that that sentence makes more sense in context
>No
>No it does not
User avatar
Krika
 
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:07 am
Location: Home. I don't want to be.

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Lordxana0 on Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:01 am

Lori tilted over a beaker, smelling it before jerking back, eyes watering. She gingerly set down the beaker, and was about to mess with a set of tongs, as someone walked into the room. Lori ignored them, carefully tilting a bright-green liquid into the beaker, causing a loud bang and a puff of smoke.

Jadas walked into the room with a small smile on his face, something he thought Salvantas would wear as he walked into the room with a scientist about or even more crazy than his ex. He watched her tilt the liquid into the beaker and saw the smoke rise from it and raised an eyebrow. “What was that and should I worry about being in the same area as it?”

Lori sighed dramatically, “It’s the cure for the common cold and if you don’t mind I could make use of a little privacy!”

Jadas began to process how Salvantas would react when a thought occurred to him. He didn’t actually care anymore. “Actually I do mind” he tossed a large parcel near her feet. “I am here to hire you, and I think you will be very interested in what I am offering”

“Salvantas doesn’t offer bribes, idiot.” Lori remarked, whirling on the redhead. “If you’re going to try to make a fool out of yourself, do your research.”

“Not trying to be Salvantas at this point cher, just being my own person, you can call me Jadas, that bastard, you scum, whatever you feel like, I have heard it all before” he found a chair that hadn’t been used in an experiment and sat in it. “So aren’t you going to offer me some tea, or sweets, you know for a host you are being quite rude”

“For a guest you aren’t much better.” The Lorekeeper snarked, turning back to her work. “What do you want, Jadas?”

“In that package by your feet is a powerful artifact of dark magic which seems to be able to spread plagues and turn people into zombies. Zombies that can be controlled by the one wearing the coat” he smiled at the Lorekeeper. “I want you to figure out how one could use it without any of the…. negative effects striking the user”

“Oh?” Lori asked, tone level. “So you can terrorize and maim? Surely your talents could go to better use, not to mention those of your other selves.”

Jadas laughed and leaned back in the chair. “Oh no Lori you are dead wrong. I don’t want to maim or terrorize. I want to keep the peace. I am a good guy after all” he stood up and walked over to her, standing a few feet away. “And shouldn’t us good guys all look out for each other?”

“I’ll look into it.” Lori said, before scribbling onto a piece of paper. “I need these ingredients, fresh and unmolested, by tomorrow night. I’ll see what I can do with your cloak, but it will probably take a while.”
“Oh I expected as much” he took the list and read over it, letting out a light whistle. “Quite the list” he folded it up and put it into his pocket. “Now then, I believe payment is due, in order to make sure this deal stays between us” he reached into his coat and pulled out a pure black book. “Tell me Lori, what do you think of Soul magic?”

“I think you’re mad.” Lori’s eyes brightened.

“Well obviously” Jadas grinned and put down the book. “This is a bible of sorts, containing everything there is to know about how to manipulate a soul and convert it into dark energy” he opened it, revealing hundreds of symbols. “But it is ciphered in such a way that no one I have met has ever come close to cracking it. There are spells that time and ages have forgotten, a little gift passed down from father to son” he leaned forward. “They even say there is a method to hide yourself from death, a method that could make one immortal” he shrugged. “Not really my thing if you know what I mean. But imagine all the research an immortal person might get done”

“Oh shut it and tell me why I can’t have it.” Lori growled, turning back to her beakers.

“Can’t have it?” he asked with a frown. “Why Lori this is your payment. Think of it as a gift between friends if you don’t feel right taking a bribe”

Lori laughed, and scooped up the book, “I’ll take a look at your toys, Jadas. Go have fun with your body, leave the work to me.”

He turned around with a smile. “I think that you and I have quite a future ahead of us Lori, and both of our names with go down in history.” he paused with his hand on the door. “And I feel that you know this, but I should say it anyway, I am doing this the easy way. If you rat me out, if the other guilds come at me and I figure out it was you…” he chuckled and gave a small shrug. “Well you don’t really need your legs to do science do you?” he opened the door and was about to step out. “By the by where do I get that tea we were discussing earlier?”

Lori smiled without amusement, “Get out of my library, Jadas.”

He laughed a bit and walked out the door, looking around the massive library. “Maybe I can get tea from one of the guards” he put back on his performance of Salvantas. “After all everyone wants to help out a hero” he repressed an evil laugh that wanted nothing more than to escape his lungs and gave a wave to the various Loreknights.
Who you going to call? ME!
User avatar
Lordxana0
 
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:36 pm
Location: Long Beach

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:27 am

Timelime Note: Immediately after the sidestory entitled "Hamsters for everybody!"

So I found this hamster, can we keep it?

Kevin rapped on the door lightly-- tipping his head over to knock, since his hands were full. “Eliziya?” he called, to the girl he hoped was in the room. “Her Highness Princess Anjali of Orono needs some medical attention, if you’re--”

“Good Crows, Kevin.” A soft thump echoed off the small room, “It’s like you want me to be embarrassed.”

He laughed, and kissed her. “It’s a package deal. You get me, you get the title. Besides, I thought we were going to tell your sister?”

"Sister? Jie? What's wrong?" Eliziya stood up urgently, slamming a book shut in her haste. As the pair walked into the room, she saw a bloody Anji being carried tenderly by a shirtless, laughing Kevin. "Jie! What in all-" she paused, realising how jovial Kevin seemed. "What..."

“You should tell her,” he murmured, smiling. “She is your sister.”

"Sister, tell me what?" Zi demanded, eyes frantically scanning Anji for wounds.

Anji glanced over at her sister shyly, face burning scarlet as she attempted to makes her mouth form words. “I-uh.. Well, you- ah… Kevin and I are…” She glanced between Kevin, her sister, and the floor, eyes silently pleading for help.

“We’re engaged to be married,” he finished, positively glowing with joy, before he sobered, continuing. “But more importantly, she’s cut in a few places and I would rest a lot easier if you, uh, healed her.”

"Healed her- saints above! You're all cut up, bruised and- oh, put her down!- does it really matter about engagement now when- just, argh, what by all the pits have you been doing?"

“Yes, ma’am,” he replied, laying her gently on Zi’s bed, before he faced Anji himself. “Actually, that’s a good question. What have you been doing, love?”

“I’m fine, you dolt.” Anji growled in fake displeasure as she was gently set down, teeth gritting in pain as Zi began examining her. “Nothing important.” She squeaked, eyeing Zi’s medical tools carefully, but remaining still.

"Nothing important.. but bruises all over,- fist to fist, sister? Your eye looks brilliantly black- incisions along the arm, oh saints, your ribs!" Zi mumbled under her breath as she began wrapping Anji's abdomen with spider-silk gauze. "There's only so much I can do, I'm not going to- I'm not going to- I can't heal you with magic. You're going to rest, I'll suture your wounds, but you must rest, understand?"

Kevin’s eyebrows shot up. “She needs a proper healer, Eliziya.”

Zi trembled under his gaze and looked away. "I.. I can't. Please. Don't make me."

Anji spoke up quickly, leaping to her sister’s defense, “It’s fine, Kev… Really.” She smiled softly, then added, “It’ll teach me to be better about getting into fights with knife fighters and their pets.”

He stood from where he knelt on the other side of the bed, brow creased. “I’ll get a healer, then.” He looked at the dark-haired girl, consciously softening his expression. “Please sit with her until I return?”

"N-no!" Zi burst out unhappily. "I.." There was a long silence before the girl spoke again. "I'll.. do it."

Anji frowned, “Zi, you don’t have to. Just let me know what I can to do help myself heal better the natural way.”

Turning to Kevin, she grinned impishly, “I suppose Kevin will just have to wait until I’m back to my old, highly energetic self before he can really have fun with me.”

Kevin jumped, looking alarmed. “Anjali?” he asked, scandalized.

Eliziya lifted Anji's hand and held it to her chest, letting her feel her erratic heartbeat. "You're my sister. I.. you and Kevin.. I'll do it." Quietly, the healer closed her eyes and, trembling, sent minute probes of restorative magic across Anji's body. The edges of the wounds itched and stretched, reaching to each other, reconciling, as the bruises faded to a barely perceptible blemish. When the deed was done, Zi pulled back slowly, muttering, "That wasn't that bad.."

Kevin looked up at her, eyes anxious. “She’ll be all right?”

“She just needs rest," she repeated, "rest for her body to smooth it over."

Anji reached out towards Kevin with her free hand, smiling as she said, “See? Nothing to worry about. A few days of rest, and I’ll be fine. I bet I can even make a walk over to see Ben today,”

He glared back, bending down to kiss her and lift her up again. “Nothing to worry about if you stay in your damn bed, sweet. We can talk to Ben with you in my arms or not at all.”

Zi tugged at Kevin's sleeves and pulled him away from Anji. Leaning in conspiratorially as he bent over, she whispered in his ear, "She could actually run around and be fine, but don't tell her that, or she'll want to get out immediately. But I'm telling you in case you want to, ah.." she cleared her throat discreetly, "and since you're already.. undressed," she coughed and winked weakly at him, before returning to Anji's side.

Kevin stood dumbstruck, looking astonished. He opened his mouth and closed it a few times before he could once again pick Anji up, holding her like precious china in his arms. He cleared his throat awkwardly. “Thank you, Eliziya,” he said, referring to far more than a whispered word. He grinned, despite himself. “I look forward to being your brother.”

The waif eyed his abdomen critically, opening her mouth as if to say something, then thought the better of it and, blushing, muttered to Anji, "Don't overdo it. He looks like he could split you in two." At her examination and her words, Kevin reddened from the roots of his hair to the waistband of his trousers.

Anji’s eyes widened in shock, a laugh bubbling from the middle of her stomach. She winced as pain shot up her spine, and she twisted in Kevin’s arms, curling up against him. “I can walk, you know.” She complained half-heartedly as he left Zi’s apartment. “You don’t have to go to such a bother.”

















------


Ben was still doing weapons practice when they approached. She was shooting from her small, curved bow at targets hung from string that turned and twisted in the wind, totally focused on the task.

“Put me down, Kevin. I can walk.” Anji’s exasperated voice filtered into the open space.

“Not until you’re better, love,” he murmured to her, laughter in his voice.

“I will kick you.”

In answer, he kissed her, slowly, before lifting his head and calling out to his friend. “Ben! I’d like to introduce you to the future queen of Orono.”

She understood his meaning at once, but because it took her some time to put the bow down and walk over, Kevin kept talking. “My heart, my soul, my love, Princess Anjali of Orono, has consented to be my wife.” He kissed her again, heart beating out the rapid pace of his excitement.

Anji bloomed scarlet, and attempted to scramble out of his arms, “Oh, you have got to be kidding me. Kevin… stop doing that!”

“That’s wonderful,” Ben said, reaching them before he could respond, her face open and pleased. She gripped Kevin’s forearm in a familiar gesture, muttering, “Took you long enough.”

“Yes, it did and now he wont let me go help me Ben!” Anji pleaded, laughing as she strove to escape onto her feet.

Ben turned to Anji, her eyes laughing as she wondered what gesture would be appropriate. She settled for putting out a hand to shake, as she said, “Welcome to the family.” Her voice was as affectionate as Ben had ever sounded.

Anji reached out to shake Ben’s hand, grinning as she finally pulled away from Kevin to stand. “It’s an honour and a pleasure, Lady Ben.”

“Ugh.” Ben glared at Kevin. “You’re not allowed to use titles,” she complained to Anji. “Especially--” she smiled wickedly-- “since you technically outrank me now, Your Highness.”

“I keep telling her that,” Kevin agreed in mock-complaint, slyly reaching over to grab Anji up again. “She won’t listen.”

“You were the one refusing to let me down!” Anji said, wobbling as she backed away from Kevin, eyes glinting mischieviously. “No, you don’t… I like being on the ground with the normal people.” She glanced over at Ben, smile flashing wider.

“You’re injured, my love. Would you prefer I carry you, or Ben does?” He glanced at his friend. “Because I’m sure that can be arranged, but--” he snagged her arm, tracing his fingers gently along her skin-- “I think it’s more fun when I do it.” She hesitated, and he pulled her into his lap, sitting cross-legged on the flagstone floor as he did so. “You see? We can even be on the ground!”

Some of the fight seemed to leave Anji as Kevin held her. She leaned on his shoulder, yawning slightly.

He stroked her hair gently, cradling her with his body. He glanced up to see Ben watching them, smile on her face, a misty look in her eyes.

“You should talk to Jenny,” he murmured.

She looked away. “Kevin, it isn’t--”

“She cares about you,” he insisted. “One way or another. And Alexander is married now; you don’t need to be anyone’s heir. You’re just… you.”

About to make a snappish reply, Ben caught sight of the redhead, clinging sleepily but happily to Kevin, and seemed to reconsider. She nodded curtly, and told him, “I’ll think about it.” About to turn away, she remembered something. “Oh!”

Ben pulled a ring, gold band with a small onyx stone inlaid in it, off her fourth finger and tossed it to Kevin, who had to fumble a little to catch it. “Your signet,” she reminded him. “Anjali will need that.”

Anji twitched softly in her sleep, face contorting in the throes of a nightmare. Afraid to wake her, but unwilling to let her suffer, Kevin stroked her pale cheek lightly. “Anji, love, I’m here. Nothing will hurt you, my love.”

Green eyes snapped open, fear filling them as Anji’s arms spasmed, seeming to reach for something.

“What are you seeing?” he asked sadly, wrapping his arms securely around her.

Her pupils dilated as she focused on his face, rapid breathing calming slowly as she gathered her thoughts. “I’m sorry,” she apologized, “I didn’t mean to doze off.”

He kissed her on the forehead, then on each cheek. “Never apologize,” he told her. “I’ll fight off the nightmares with staff and sword if I have to, sweet. What was hurting you?”

Anji shivered, attempting to curl up tighter in Kevin’s arms. “It was Charlie and everyone. And they... w-were screaming for me to help them… and I couldn’t do it… I never can.” Anji shuddered again, tears burning over her skin as they fell, unwanted. “I’ll be all right… Same dream every night.”

He held her close, locking eyes with her. “I’ll chase it away, Anji, whatever it takes… You know that wasn’t on you, right, love? The monsters who hurt your friends… it’s their guilt, their shame. Not yours.”

“I saved Zi… but they didn’t… I could have done something. I should have and I didn’t and they’re dead and in pieces because I wasn’t strong or stupid enough.”

“Whatever you might have done, my sweet, it would have been at the cost of something else to torment you unfairly. And whatever you might have done, the past is unchangeable… and you weren’t the one to hurt them. You weren’t the one to give yourself that false choice. You did what you could, and they told you that the rest was your fault, to hurt you.” His eyes were angry, but not at her; his voice remained gentle, concerned, comforting.

Anji sniffed, straightening in Kevin’s lap and embracing the man in a hug with such force that he rocked back, smile breaking through the clouds. Anji eventually released him, the pressure of her hips on his easing as she wobbled to her feet, extending an arm to help him up. “Sleep?”

“You should,” he agreed, lifting her again in his arms. “I’ll take you home.”
Lead by example. Get lost in a swamp.

AS DICTATED TO INSTANTIATION 17-01-18-01.
User avatar
Qara-Xuan Zenith
 
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:34 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:36 pm

Timelime Note: cotemporaneous with the just-finished round of quests. No, I am not double-posting. This post has obviously been posted by Adell. Just move along.

Choices

"Ian heard you out," Kevin pointed out.

"That was different."

"Oh?"

"I wasn't a dangerous criminal, for one!"

"Ian had every reason to believe you wanted him dead."

"Only because he was being a complete stick!"

"That's as may be. But the fact is, he only listened because I stood surety for your good intentions."

Ben raised an eyebrow. "And you plan to stand surety for Erastus?"

"Yes," he answered calmly. "Anjali trusts him, and I'm inclined to trust her judgement."

"Endearing as this circle of trust is," Ben snapped, "my faith in you isn't enough to make me all warm and fuzzy with a known murderer."

Kevin sighed. "He was your guild leader. You fought alongside him."

"Trying to make me feel worse about being taken in?"

"He was your friend, Ben."

"No. His mask was my friend. But that's all it was."

"How can you be sure if you don't speak to him?"

Ben faltered, but only for a moment. "Kevin, he's a stone killer!"

"But he's not a monster," he answered, not contradicting her.

Ben wanted to argue with this, but found she could not. It was true; Hector Erastus was no Innis Seira, no Soren Kavros to play with his food before he killed it. He may have ruined lives, and the path he had wreaked was a bloody one, but none of the reports of him ever spoke of torture.

Her silence was answer enough.

--------------------

“Yes, I’m certain this is the place,” Kevin said, amused by Ben’s lack of confidence. He rapped sharply on the hut door. It certainly looked like something Hector would have built, the wood structure looked like it was held together with a prayer alone, although at least the mountain on this floor of the castle gave it some protection from the elements.

Kevin knocked again, but there was still no answer. Ben was tapping a foot in irritation when the large green haired figure appeared from the side of the shack looking rather dirty, as if he had been wrestling in the dirt outside his home. His hair had gotten a bit longer since the last time Ben had seen him, just barely covering where the eyepatch was on the left side of his face, but beyond that it still looked like the same old Hector.

There was a brief silence between the three as Hector finally recognized who was making all that noise in the front of his house. An eyebrow was raised in confusion. “I… uh,” The man’s gruff voice awkwardly spoke out, “Wasn’t expecting any visitors today. Heh.” His good eye looked between Ben and Kevin, not really remembering the other man. “Do you two… need something from me?”

“We’re here to talk,” Ben said, shortly. “Will you?”

Hector tilted his head, looking back towards his cruddy shack. “I dunno… I’m an incredibly busy person these days.” As he said this a piece of the roof fell to his feet. There was a pause as a grin crawled across his face, “See how much I have on my plate? This is no job for a warrior.” He joked, before returning his attention to Ben. “I suppose we can talk, if you don’t mind talking out here. Inside isn’t exactly made for guests.”

“As you will,” Ben agreed stonily.

Kevin shot her an annoyed look, before smiling at Hector. “Thank you, Mr. Erastus. We appreciate your time.”

“Uh, no problem, Mister…?” Hector began, reaching for a name as if he should have known it. “Uhhh Mister Ben’s friend?”

“Kevin Aqaba,” the blond man said smoothly, offering Hector his hand. Hector accepted, his own hand rubbing dirt all over Kevins.

“Nice to meet you, Kevin.” The large man scratched the back of his head before continuing, “If this is about Luca and Asha, I already told Legias everything about what happened. They won’t be causing any more trouble now.” He explained rather simply, assuming the visit was for business. “You don’t need to worry about me interfering with the town, I’m keeping my distance; can’t have people panicking now while we’re just starting to rebuild.”

“That isn’t why we’re here,” Kevin said quietly. He looked pointedly at Ben, who glared at him, kicking up a small cloud of dirt with her shoe.

“Kevin thinks I was unfair to you, Erastus,” she said in a cold voice. “So I’ve come to hear you out. Your side of matters, I suppose.”

“... Oh?” Hector commented, rather taken by surprise. “My side of things… as in what happened before we arrived at this castle.” The man said, not asking but merely clarifying. Hector shuffled closer to the shack, where a small overturned log lay. With a small grunt he bent down upon it to sit somewhere. “Will knowing really change anything?” He suddenly asked. “You have made up your mind already, I imagine.”

Ben stiffened. “I draw my conclusions based on the evidence before me. Right now, the evidence I’ve seen shows me a killer who murdered dozens of innocent people and destroyed hundreds more lives. Aqaba seems to think that there might be more than that. If there is, I’ll reevaluate. Somehow, though, I doubt there’s anything left to tell. You can’t bring the dead back.”

“You promised,” Kevin murmured in a warning tone of voice.

“I am being civil, Kevin,” she snapped. “Don’t push me further.”

“Ben’s right,” Hector interrupted, looking between the two. “You can’t bring them back.” Hector’s eye looked behind the two that stood before him, lost in the past.

“Then why are we having this conversation?” Ben hissed, about to rise. Kevin put his hand on her shoulder, in what probably looked like a gesture of endearment. She knew he was just restraining her, insisting that she stay and continue to hear the man out.

“Because, you’re confused...I guess?” Hector attempted to understand. “I was known as a murderer, but the man you knew here has done nothing to suggest that.”

“You have to understand, Hector Erastus, the world Ben comes from.” Kevin spoke softly, but surely; his voice commanded their attention even as Ben glared at him.

“I have never judged Ben’s actions towards me.” Hector answered sincerely, “You’ve only done what you felt was for the best.”

“And yet you have a right to know why she judges you,” Kevin continued in a calm voice. “She told you she was from Lamada, but she isn’t merely a concerned citizen, Hector Erastus. Ben was raised to be an heir to Lamada’s throne; she’s a princess of the land yet.” He ignored the pain in his leg where Ben kicked him, continuing. “She sees every man and woman in that realm as her responsibility, her family. It is her duty to see justice done, or so she feels.”

Hector’s eye darted over to Ben in shock at this revelation, “You’re a girl!?”

Ben blinked at the man, once, twice. She’d forgotten, through her cool hatred, how he could astound her sometimes, and she fought the urge to laugh. “Woman,” she replied coolly, a thin veneer of scorn in her voice. “Unless you’d prefer to be seen as a boy, Erastus.”

“Fair enough, a woman.” Hector scratched his chin. “Hmm, seems kind of obvious now that I think about it. I even think Luca said something about Lamada royalty during that speech of his to the city...wow that went right over my head.” The man shook his head, returning to the topic at hand “So then… You want to know what to do with me? Under Lamada law?”

“Do with you?” Ben repeated distastefully. “I know fully well how the law applies, Erastus. But I am neither your appointed judge nor in Lamada at the moment. Which leaves us… Here.”

“As things tend to be around this castle. Here, that is.” Hector replied. “Out there I had been known as a killer at one time, but here I’m just… Hector, I guess.”

“Known as a killer,” Kevin said, leaning forward a bit. “But were you? A cold-blooded murderer? Or… something else?”

“The answer is not that simple,” Hector tried to reason, “combat always found its way to me somehow, … and I never backed down.”

Ben’s lip curled. “Your choices were your own.”

“There’s always a choice,” Kevin agreed sharply, in a quiet voice, “but not always necessarily a good one. Or not one that you can see. Sometimes it’s just a choice between equally unpleasant options, Ben.”

The redhead opened her mouth, about to snap a reply, but instead she found herself looking away, as a cultured voice echoed in her mind. ”I offer you a choice. In exchange for the girl, I will spare your miserable life. I may even allow you to keep the ability to walk. Refuse, and I’ll kill her in front of you.”

Ben blinked away tears as she turned back to face Hector, letting out a deep breath. “I don’t pretend to understand the choices you made, Hector,” she said frankly.

“But I recognize that you made the ones you had.”

“Recognizing those choices was the first step I took...” The man sighed gruffly, “Hiding what I use to be was unfair of me, although it does no good now, I still should have told you.”

“And I would still like you to speak with my brother when we leave this place,” Ben said. “But we haven’t left yet. And there are more dangerous enemies to be had than each other.”

“I would still rise to meet them, if you would let me.” The man replied simply.

“I’m not your commander, Hector.” Ben shifted, looking sheepish. “Though I seem to have pulled your guild out from under you. It’s yours, I suppose, if you’ll take it back; I never wanted that responsibility.

“Or, if you’re amenable, I’ve offered leadership to Anjali Torvan. She’s strong, and capable, and intelligent; and if anyone can unite two functionally-equivalent guilds, it’s she.” Kevin couldn’t help himself from grinning at his friend’s praise for his future wife.

“As Legias has said, it’s too soon for me to… come back.” Hector averted his eye, a light tinge of pain. “The people are barely over the civil war, it would only increase tension to see me in control of a guild. Heh, If you think Anji is capable, then you have my consent.”

“Thank you, Hector Erastus.” Kevin eased the pressure on Ben’s shoulder and she stood. About to turn away and return to the city, she stopped, looking back. “...We should spar sometime.”

There was a pause, but a grin crawled over Hectors face. “We should.” Hector relaxed a bit as she began to walk away, and he looked back over at Kevin. “I suppose I should be thanking you? Call it a hunch but I don’t think she was doing this on her own.”

“Then thank Anjali,” Kevin said blandly. “I don’t know you, Hector Erastus. I mean no offense. But it’s the trust that she bears you, not mine, that brought us here.”

“I see,” The man nodded, “Regardless of what happens here in this castle, I owe it to Ben to allow things to be settled once we leave. What that entails for me, I’ll worry about when the time comes.” He stood, preparing to leave, but suddenly remembers something. “Oh right,” Hector mumbled, before he darted inside the little shack and exited with a small slip of paper. “Heh, don’t know how he guessed we’d end up bumping into each other...” Hector shook his head. “Could you give this note to Ben? It’s from Tamar of Storm and Drive.”

Kevin nodded, accepting the paper. “I know Tamar,” he assured the taller man. “I’m a member of the same guild.” The blond man hurried on to catch up with his friend.
Lead by example. Get lost in a swamp.

AS DICTATED TO INSTANTIATION 17-01-18-01.
User avatar
Qara-Xuan Zenith
 
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:34 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:39 pm

In Which a Thief

Anji limped back into the city, one arm cradling her sword, now dull green. She ignored the happy cry from the wall guard, waving hello.

She had walked for several more minutes, slowly trudging up to the small apartment she had found, close enough to both guilds to ensure that she could help either if need arose. She sighed happily at the door, twisting it open and dropping her satchel on the floor, not noticing anyone else in the room.

Kevin took one look at his fiancee and dropped the books he had been holding in order to scoop her up into his arms. Kissing her face gently, he murmured, “You’re hurt, love. I thought you were just doing exploration.” He frowned. “Exploration that took long enough that I came here to wait for you.”

Anji grinned, and leaned up to kiss him. “Oh come on. I always come back.” Sliding out of his arms, she made her way to the kitchen, calling back, “Besides, by this point you ought to just move here.” She peeked out from the doorway, producing a few books and a pair of knives that weren’t hers, “Not like you’d have a lot left to pack.”

“We’re not married, love!” Kevin yelped, striding over to her to kiss the top of her head. “And you need a healer now.”

“They’re scratches!” Anji remarked, before scrubbing the grime and dried blood off her arms. “You see a papercut and want to rush me to the most expensive healer. I don’t have all that much in the way of funds, love.”

Kevin lifted her up again, sitting down on a chair with Anji cradled in his lap. “You do, sweetest,” he reminded her quietly. “What’s mine is yours, and I can more than afford a healer for my betrothed.”

Looking away in embarrassment, he added, “Or we can speak to Eliziya. I have a feeling she won’t charge you, so you really don’t have an argument to make here. Though she might object, as I do, to you getting yourself so cut up.”

Anji smirked, “It was just… I got lost in a floor. There was a thing… Tried to kill me and Kurt.” Looking over, she smiled at him impishly, “Killed it. ‘Sides, I’m fine. Shoulda seen Kurt. Guy looked like death warmed over.”

Kevin glared. “That priest spends his time in the… Just because he got injured is no excuse for you to do the same. Now, you can tell me which healer you’d prefer me to take you to, Nova dearest, or I’ll just pick my favourite one and get you fixed up by force.” He kissed her again, pretending to leer.

Anji grinned back at him, before stealing another kiss and walking away. “‘m getting food, love. Want anything?”

“I want my fiancee to stop bleeding,” Kevin complained stubbornly. “You can eat on your way to the healer’s.”

“No.” Anji reappeared, holding a sandwich. “I’m fine. Why did you say you came over again? Did I miss something important?” Her eyes widened, and she grinned widely, “Did a dinosaur attack the city while I was gone?!”

Kevin growled, swinging Anji up into his arms. “Yes,” he told her. “There’s a great rampaging beast terrorizing the city’s healers and you’re the only one who can help. I’ve been sent to bring you there, to do some good.”

Anji continued to eat her sandwich, “I can walk, you know.”

“Yes,” Kevin agreed reasonably, “but you won’t.”

“‘n why not?” Anji complained, glaring stonily up at him as he descended the stairs.

Kevin raised an eyebrow. “My dearest Anji, I love you well enough to know that if I put you down right now, there is no way you’d keep going to a healer. You’d run off to help people and get yourself in more trouble and get some worse injuries.”

“Or I could just relax. Read a book, eat some lunch. Enjoy my fiancee on his day off, apparently.” Anji wiggled her eyebrows suggestively, and complained some more, “Besides, didn’t you mention being a medic? Couldn’t you help me out?”

Kevin rolled his eyes. "If you'd broken a bone, I could set it; if your arm were bleeding out, I could probably fashion a tourniquet that would prevent you from dying of blood loss at the expense of the arm. What medicine I know is only useful in terms of preventing wartime casualties from mounting."

“Well good thing we’re not on a battlefield.” Anji said, lithely slipping out of his arms and onto the pavement. “I’d rather spend my time with you… well, with you. Please Kevin? I’ve had a rough few days, and I don’t want to be paraded in front of a healer who thinks I’m crazy for fighting.”

"I want to spend my time with you, Anjali," Kevin said calmly. "I don't want to lose you before our wedding because you misjudged the extent of your own injuries. If you don't want to be judged by a healer-- well, that's silly, but fine. We'll go to your sister; she won't think anything she doesn't already know."

Anji drew up to her full height, voice angry and petulant. “No. I’m going to go to my apartment. And I’m going to go to sleep or read a book or do nothing until tomorrow, when I can get up, and go do something for the guilds without being utterly useless.” She whirled away, heading back up the stairs, “Crow, you’re thick sometimes.”

"You..." Kevin ran a hand through his hair, following her with his eyes. "You killed a [/i]floor[/i], love. Nobody's going to call that useless. But what is utterly useless is letting yourself wander around injured without getting medical attention that is readily available. For God's sake, sweet, stop being so stubborn and take care of yourself properly!"

Anji rolled her eyes, slamming the door behind her.

It was about an hour later when there came a hesitant knock on the door.

Anji looked up from her book, sliding a knife into the pages to mark her progress before standing, walking over to the door. “Coming!”

She pulled the door open to see Kevin standing there, hands clasped behind his back, soldier-style, head bent slightly down and forward in a gesture of contrition. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I shouldn’t have pushed. I just… I care about you, Anji. A lot. I love you. And, well, I worry.” He offered her a wry smile. “I think you know how much I worry. The fact is that I’m not a medic, not a healer; I can’t make you better when you’re sick or help you staunch the bleeding without losing a limb. And I don’t like to see you hurt. From where I’m standing, it’s better to waste a little time at a healer’s even though it wasn’t needed than to stay home and find out later that it was.”

Anji looked up at him, face stony. “It’s all right. I’m.. It’s been tense. I overreacted.” She stepped back, pulling the door wider, smile playing on her features. “Want to come in? I was going to make a curry later.”

Kevin slipped in, settling himself on a chair. “I can help,” he offered. “But please promise me you’ll at least have Zi double-check that it isn’t something serious.”

Anji hugged him, and produced her sword, “Something’s up with this.” The blade began humming quietly, turning from green to silver as Anji’s hand made contact with the leather-bound hilt. “Never hummed at me before.”

“That’s new,” Kevin remarked, reaching out a hand. “May I?”

Anji nodded, and handed the sword to him. As soon as she let go, the blade shifted back to it’s early transparent green, and fell silent. Kevin turned the thing up and down, running a finger lightly along the metal before he handed it back with a shrug. “I’m sorry, love. If it was a sword-thing, I might have an idea, but something tells me it’s the fairy-thing that’s making it act up.”


Anji listened to the hum for a moment. “Oh, well. I guess I’ll just see what it does. Kurt did something to it, but I figure his magic isn’t made for the long term, anyway.”

Kevin muttered something inaudible about what Kurt’s magic was made for. Anji glanced over curiously, smile on her face as she sighed, and began to polish the sword. “So, what’ve you been up to? I surely didn’t have all the fun.”

“Mmm. I got to bully Ben for a change. That’s always nice. Oh!” Kevin remembered something, rummaging for a document his friend had given him. “She asked for you to sign this. Hector agreed about handing Severed Claws over to you for a merger, so Ben gave me the paperwork and went to check that her guildmembers are all right with it.”

Anji’s eyes widened, and she said in monotone, “What.”

Kevin shrugged. “I figured you aren’t going to be close friends with a dangerous lunatic, and there’s no call for Ben to go cutting off her friends with no reason. So we went for a talk, and resolved the matter of the guild while we were at it.”

“But..” Anji set the sword down, pausing to think before she spoke. “What. I… Thank you, I suppose.” She took the paper, reading it as she walked into the kitchen.

Kevin rolled his eyes. “Why’s everyone thanking me? All I did was give Ben some payback for once.”

Anji began to cook, chopping peppers while reading the paper, “Wait, I’m leading this thing? By myself?”

Kevin wrapped his arms around her waist. “Not totally by yourself,” he contradicted. “You’ll have a husband to keep you company.”

“mmmhm.” Anji agreed, “Right now I think he’s more a fiance though. Rather princely one, too.” She tossed the vegetables into the pan, turning to face the blonde man. “You’d make a lovely street rat.” She mused, mussing his hair.

“You think so?” Kevin grinned. “I’ve been practicing. I’m worried I might be too tall, though.”

“Yeah, maybe.” Anji remarked, punching his arm lightly. “Too recognizable, what with that hair colour you got going on.”

He nodded gravely, ruffling her scarlet locks. “Yes, I’ve often noted how this vibrant shade of sand just stands out in a crowd like a beacon. I’m thinking I’d have to dye it neon yellow or something if I’m to be a successful thief.”

“You’d look good with any hair color,” Anji mumbled.

“I don’t need to worry about how I look,” Kevin teased. “All I need to do is walk around with you on my arm.”

“Why would you want me on your arm? I’m so much more useful in other areas!”

Kevin’s face turned a brighter shade of red than Anji’s hair. “I think my arm had better keep you to itself until we’re wed, sweet.”

“Pervert.” Anji laughed, scooping the spicy curry into two bowls. “I was talking about killing things and stuff, not that!”

“In that case, my arm is the perfect place for you to be,” Kevin retorted, mustering back his dignity. “Otherwise how am I supposed to kill things with you?”

“I thought you just wanted to sit in that damn office and do paperwork all day while Legias sends me up to Crow’s Nest to find out what’s going on.”

Kevin glared. “Just because I can do your paperwork for you doesn’t mean I’m no good for anything else. Speaking of paperwork…” He nodded to the form that Anji still held.

Anji rolled her eyes, “I.. I forget how to write. Oh, how terrible. I should probably see if someone else wants this paper. I don’t need it when I can’t.. uh… read.”

“Nice try, honey,” Kevin said dryly, glancing pointedly at her laden bookshelves. “You know, I can legally sign for you,” he threatened. “I wonder what other things I should sign your name to while I’m at it…”

“Oh!” Anji looked scandalized, “You? Sign for me? Surely you wouldn’t!”

Kevin picked up a pen, orienting the paper to face him. “Just watch me.”

“Oh eat the curry before it gets cold, you louse.” Anji snatched the pen and paper, skimming it once more before scratching her name onto the parchment. “There, happy now?”

Kevin grinned at his fiancee. “Yes, love. I think I am happy…” He snaked an arm around her waist, pulling her close to plant a kiss on her lips. “...Guildleader.”

Anji cleared up the dishes from dinner, smile playing on her features as she glanced down at her arm. “...Huh.” Her am was completely clear of any scratches and bruising, and she felt no soreness, not even when pressing where she knew a nasty cut had been not a half hour before. “Weird.”
User avatar
eli_gone_crazy
 
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:59 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Sicon112 on Mon Nov 18, 2013 7:18 pm

The mournful howl of the wind frolicking across the wasteland softly accompanied the tired, strained breathing of a certain priest. Dust motes were lifted to the roof far above and then gently scattered across the landscape, barely visible against the dimming sky. The sun had just finished vanishing beneath the western lip of the floor, so far away now. By this point, Anji had probably found her way clear of the desolate battlefield, leaving him with the position of sole being left alive on the ninth floor of the castle. That was good. It was better that way. Safer.

He slumped further down against the rock that served as his support. It had been a lucky turn when the glass still stuck in his back had vanished along with the rest of the illusions, though the wounds had not. The last of his bandages had been spent tightly wrapping his torso, but now that task was completed as well. At the sound of shifting parchment, he looked down at the yellowed bit of paper he had in his hand, and quietly whispered a word of thanks to the night. The paper, found on one of the multitude of corpses littering the floor, was deeply yellowed with age, and any writing on it had long ago become indistinct, but that mattered little to the priest. With a bit of reddish stone, he had managed to carve the sigil he so desperately needed across the top of the paper, and write a few nigh illegible words beneath it. However, he could feel that it was enough. His meager magic was returning to him bit by bit, and though there was quite a bit of resistance from the parchment due to the poor construction of the circle, the tiny pulse of energy he had channeled into it had been accepted. He was armed again.

As all light vanished from the sky, Kurt clambered to his feet with a low groan of effort. He was out of shape. Years of sweet-talking and con-games had left his mind wickedly sharp, but his body was nowhere near the condition it should be in. He definitely wouldn't have been this sore two years ago.

Stepping out from behind his shelter and ignoring the swirling dust that began to cover him, he raised his head to focus on his goal. Before him, looming over the night-blanketed landscape was an immense cylinder, towering far beyond anything else on the floor, and within it, he knew, was the stairway further up. There was a teleporter somewhere near the center of the floor, of course, probably close to where he and Anji had killed the mind of floor nine, but if the people below had already used it to get ahead of him and begun constructing settlements, he would wind up right in the middle of them. He didn't have the luxury of civilization, no matter how small. Not right now.

Tightening his scarf around his neck, Kurt stepped into the dusty red night. He had a tower to climb.
Normal people are the easiest to manipulate. Too smart and they have an annoying tendency to catch wind of your plans, too dumb and, in the words of a certain pirate, "You can never tell when they are about to do something incredibly...stupid."
User avatar
Sicon112
Meta-Witch Hunter
 
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:07 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Guyshane on Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:34 am

Escape from the Carnival

Cloth sat in her office, bouncing a small ball into the air and attempting to catch it in a cup as she awaited the assassin she had on loan to arrive at the office.

Hara stepped into the room. “Yes? You wanted something?” She asked in her standard irritated tone.

Cloth sighed and tilted the toy in her hand. “Have you ever seen one of these before?” the madwomen sighed and attempted it once more. “You see the goal is to toss the ball up and catch it inside of the cup, but I am having a hard time doing it, I do believe it might be rigged”

Hara rolled her unseen eyes under her hood. “Oh no a rigged game. What a change of pace for this place.” she replied her voice dripping with sarcasm. “Is this really all you brought me in for? Thrice damned balls and cups?”

Cloth sighed and put the toy down. “No actually, you see I have decided to kill you, and wanted to consult you about it”

Hara rolled her eyes again. “Oh no, betrayal. Never saw this coming.” she said throwing a knife at Cloth’s face before she had finished speaking.

The knife passed through Cloth, hitting the chair she was sitting on. “No I thought it was quite obvious actually, I mean have you ever heard of a team up between people like us that ended with both of them shaking hands and walking away?” the image of Cloth stood up, phasing in and out of view. “So are you going to ask why I am going to kill you?”

Two more knives appeared in the assassin’s hands as she turned looking for hidden attackers. “Can’t say I particularly care. You’re completely insane and this makes about as much sense as anything else you do. And the Guildmaster won’t care why because now destroying you will be a matter of pride regardless of your motives.”

Cloth clapped her false hands. “Bingo give the girl a prize” she gave a small bow to the assassin. “I want to start a war with your master, cause chaos in the city and upper floors as he attacks my advanced teams and catch civilians in the crossfire. In other words” Cloth leaned forward. “I am forcing him into action… because I am bored” she twirled around on one foot. “And you see it doesn’t even matter that he will be doing what I want, because his pride will drive him forward anyway. The perfect plan is built on realizing what the person will do no matter what”

Hara paused for a moment before she burst out laughing, spasms of amusement racking her body until the pain in her throat caused her to stop. She coughed a few times to make sure she would be understood. “Thank you for that. It is rare for me to hear such amusing speeches these days. I mean I knew your plan was insane but I didn’t realize it was stupid as well.” she rasped to the illusion.

“I am happy to make you laugh, it is so refreshing to hear one that isn’t coming from Comedy...or Tragedy depending on what it is calling itself at this point… seriously I really need to think before I act” Cloth shook her head. “So I am guessing you have an escape plan right?”

Hara smiled. “Who needs an escape plan? This place is so poorly guarded that a blind man could escape if he applied a moment of thought to the matter.”

Cloth giggled gently. “It amuses me so… that you think I have been showing you the main show” she vanished as the tent they were in was blown away by a massive gust of wind.

Standing outside of the tent was Comedy, dressed in a rather pretty pink dress and carrying a bloodstained broadsword on her back.”Hi Ms. Hara, I am going to kill you now okay?” she gave the woman a playful smile.
Hara’s knives were flying for the creature’s chest before Comedy had finished speaking. Cloth and her subordinates irritate me. At least Oracon or that Torvatine woman have the good sense to try and attack while they’re talking.

Comedy quickly danced out of the way of the knives, lifting the massive blade on her back and moving forward to attack Hara. “You know when I grow up I want to be just like you...except not dead...but I guess I kind of am dead… anyway I will miss having you around, it was fun watching you!”

Hara quickly had her jian out and had the razor sharp blade darting forward to keep Comedy out of reach in seconds. “I am not dead yet child. Also you are at the disadvantage here. I have both reach and speed over you. I’d advise you simply walk away from this whole affair. You have such potential, wasted as it is.”

Comedy shook her head and giggled. “No you big silly I have the advantage” she paused her attack. “You see I am a pretty princess and you are an old hag. Everyone knows the most beautiful girl in the land always wins at the end of the story”

Hara smiled once more as she held up the bomb she had been palming. “The old hags in the stories didn’t have explosives.” she replied before lighting the bomb on a nearby torch and throwing it before turning and running, blade still in hand.

Comedy managed to barely shield herself before the bomb exploded, coughing and looking at her ruined dress. “Awww now I need a new one” she looked at her now missing left arm. “And a new one of those too.”

After Hara had managed to escape a certain way she found herself before an open tunnel with only a single man standing in front of it. The man was dressed in long flowing robes, ones dyed with a musty yellow color. The robed figure also had a hood pulled over its face. “So you are the famous Hara hm?”

Hara threw yet another knife aimed at the man’s face. Why exactly due Cloth and her minions keep expecting me to play fair?

A wave of bugs appeared in front of the man, catching the knife in midair and letting it fall in front of him. “Ha, did you really expect such a pathetic little trick to harm me?”

“Based on how you’re prostrating like an idiot? The answer is a solid yes.”

“Your insults matter very little, after all a corpse doesn’t really have an opinion, and all are reduced to corpses when faced with I!” the figure struck a pose. “The Vermin Lord!”

Hara palmed her face. “That right there is exactly what I mean. I was stating a fact, not insulting you.” She threw another knife at her opponent. As it sailed through the air she said. “Feel free to keep blocking my knives. I have plenty.” Before shaking her head to clear her muddled thoughts. I must have spent too much time observing Oracon. I’m starting to sound like him.

The knife was not blocked this time, instead it hit the robed figure, cutting the fabric and sailed through the other side. “Aw yes, I do so love this new body” the man lifted his hand and sent a wave of wasps the size of a mans thumb after her. “Hard to hurt and a perfect incubator for all sorts of amazing bugs found only in this underground hell”

Hara quickly removed her cloak and let it loose in front of her like a net allowing the wasps to get themselves caught up in the fabric. Now only a simple cloth covered the lower half of the assassin’s face and revealing a large number of knives on her person.
She proceeded to walk right over her cloak making a point to step on the bugs. “I find myself wishing I had kept my bomb. Alas..” Now she charged her sword ready and another knife flying this time towards the Vermin Lord’s face.

He quickly dodged out of the way, two pitch black centipedes coming out of the sleeves of his robe and flying at her like whips. “Devil centipedes, they have a layer of mucus that acts like an extremely potent acid” one hit the ground near her, melting the stone floor.

Two more knives went into the bugs. A saddening loss but not a great one. “Cloth must have resurrected you somehow. There is no way in seven hells you have survived in this castle acting like you are.” she said as she approached now in measured steps. I can’t rush this if he has more creatures like that at his command.

“Alas you are correct, my life was stolen from me right as I was about to achieve the ultimate victory. But my soul was saved from the afterlife by Cloth” the man chuckled. “And now I exist as more than I was before ”he slipped off the robe, revealing a body with hundreds of holes in it, between which hundreds of small insects roamed between. “I am now something great… he calls me the Magician. But honestly I don’t like it, too plain. But I guess Vermin Lord doesn’t fit either… so I need a new name” he raised his hand and grinned as a legion of ants came out of his foot and rushed at her. “Call me Swarm”

Hmm...I see why Cloth picked him. Despite his tendency for drama his attacks are not entirely unintelligent. Hara backed up for a moment before taking a running leap bare seconds before the ants would have reached her. The assassin aimed to stab her opponent's eye with her blade.

He allowed the strike with a smile. “Gotcha” he touched the back of her neck and stepped away. “Say hi to my ultimate creation. I call it Charity” he smiled as a small insect the size of a pinkie nail bit into Hara’s neck. “I took a tick and infused it with dark magic so it could drink as much as it wanted and only grow to about the size of your thumb. Within two days it will drain you dry. And the best part is no matter how much you try to remove it you can’t. It can only be taken off by someone who wants to take it off out of kindness to you. It won’t be removed by any other means”

Hara let out an irritated sound from the back of her throat. “Damn, what a blunder. Although not as great as your’s I wager”. She said looking down at Swarm’s body where he would find five knives buried in various normally fatal spots. “I believe I’ve only missed the brain and the spine. Is that correct.?”

He looked down and quickly put a hand on the back of his neck, where a I symbol stood in stark contrast to his overall white skin. “Correct, not that it matters though” he picked up the robe and put it on, waving a hand for her to leave. “I already won this encounter. Now you can keep fighting me and lose precious time in finding someone to save your pathetic life. Or you can wander the streets, hoping someone is kind enough to help an assassin like you”

Hara reached behind her head and let loose her cloth mask so Swarm could see her frightening grin and the scar where her throat had once been cut. “The last person wasn’t good enough to kill me, what makes you think you are. And what in seven hells makes you think I’m out of knives already?”

As soon as the assassin said this she made a gesture with both hands and two blades projected from devices on the underside of her wrists

Swarm smiled darkly. “I am not the one killing you…” he summoned a wave of flying insects in front of him. “Your own decision to kill others is what will bring your downfall. After all monsters like us don’t deserve charity!”

Hara simply dove through the insects battering them aside with her body as she stabbed him in the face with her right wristblade. “Idiot.” She said as she pivoted behind him, her momentum throwing Cloth’s lackey to the ground. “If I was the one killing me it would be over already.” she finished as she stabbed the other blade into the back of his neck.

His body went still as she struck the mark on his neck “No...not...again… Swarm… liv..” the light left his eyes as the bugs within him made their escape from the now soulless husk.

Hara let out a sigh of relief. And here I thought he would never shut up.

A sudden round of clapping came from all around her. “Very good show, why I believe that was the best yet” Cloth appeared behind her. “Thank you for the entertainment, and giving us a new open spot. Never was a fan of bugs” she snapped and a door appeared in front of Hara. “Anyway thats the real exit, have a safe trip back…” she tilted her head. “And do enjoy the little gift he left, I will be keeping it up with my own powers just too see what you do”

Hara let her wristblades return to their sheaths and retrieved her jian. “I know you think this will kill me, but at best you’ve temporarily taken me out of play. I will return, and you will beg for mercy when I do.” the assassin delivered the last not as a threat but as a statement of fact as she turned and left.

Cloth shook her head and closed the door, turning to address the invisible crowds all around her. “And with that our era of lollygagging and waiting around has come to an end!” the crowd cheered and Cloth smiled. “Now we prepare our opening act, and we make sure the name Dark Carnival lives forever in peoples nightmares!”

----------------------------
Hara had waited an hour after her return before the Guildmaster had deigned to see her. She could feel the parasite draining her and it was quite painful, despite that she stood at attention awaiting her new orders.

The Guildmaster finally spoke. “You know why I made you wait.”

“Yes, sir. I made a mistake in my battle.”
“It is good to see you are both cognizant and willing to admit that. With anyone else I would simply leave them to die. However since you are my greatest student and most valuable piece, I can ill afford to not have at this juncture.

Hara nodded, nothing about this surprised her. It was all she had ever known. “What then must I do, sir?”

The Guildmaster tipped his head to the side as if his next statement amused him. “Go seek out Oracon on the eleventh floor. He will be able to remove the parasite.”

Marcus? How? She wondered silently.

The master chuckled. “Do not worry how my child. Never have I led you astray before. This will not be the first time.

Hara kneeled. Yes, sir
I say we nuke it from orbit...its the only way to be sure.
User avatar
Guyshane
 
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:45 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:45 pm

Hamsters...

“Where are you even taking me, Kev?” Anji asked, amused as Kevin led her through the town, sun shining clearly through the autumn air.

“Nowhere,” he laughed, not letting go of her hand. “The pleasure of taking you somewhere is enough without a destination in mind.”

“Pleasure, huh?” Anji struggled to keep her expression neutral, “At least you’re letting me walk now, you insane person.”

He paused in his tracks, a wicked glint in his eye, and he abruptly pulled her closer, taking her into his arms. “I could just carry you everywhere anyway, my love,” he agreed. Kevin gave a mock-tragic sigh as he added, “But I suppose you would complain if your legs atrophied from disuse.” He tilted his head to kiss her mouth sweetly before putting her down again.

Anji stared up at him, shy smile on her face. A blush bloomed on her face, and she turned, walking quickly away from him.

He hurried to catch up with her, longing playing across his face. “Where are you taking me, my sweet?”

Anji smiled distractedly, barely slowing her rapid pace as they left the center of the city. “Nowhere important.”

He reached her and pressed his lips to the side of her head, where her hair met her ear, still following where she lead.

“Why me?” she asked sadly at she abruptly halted.

“Why what?”

“Why not… someone… more than me..” She admitted quietly, thumbing the ring he had given her. “Sorry..” She shook her head sharply, a smile replacing the lines of worry. “Want to see.. I.. actually don’t know anything to just, go see.” she laughed quietly.

He put his hands on her shoulders, turning her around gently to face him. He met her eyes seriously, and said in a quiet voice, “There is no one more than you, beautiful brave Anjali. No one with your courage to face the worst for her friends, no one with your willingness to bear a weight so others won’t have to, no one with your smile, your laugh, no one with your kindness and patience and understanding, no one with your peculiar ability to make me blush to my boots, and no one whom I would rather love than you, dear one.”

Anji’s face burned under his scrutiny as she tilted her head down, flames of hair obscuring her face. “I’m not deserving of you.”

“That’s insane,” he told her, kissing her forehead before he continued. “You deserve… so much more than what I am, beloved Anjali. I have unwillingly tormented you, hurt you and pushed you away for weeks-- and yet you like an angel accept me. You deserve more kindness than I have shown. You deserve someone who can give you a proper life, a normal life, not the endless dance of ceremony and the weight of responsibilities that I will force on you-- and yet you don’t complain to wear my ring. You deserve…” He closed his eyes and shook his head, slipping down to his knees in front of her. “...Everything, my love, and I cannot give you that. To suggest that you deserve less than my paltry self is the very heart of madness.”

Anji grabbed his arms and pulled him to his feet. “You are the most amazing person I’ve ever met.” She said, “You know… about every bad thing I’ve ever done and you not only let me stay with you, but you want to stay with me. And you are so smart and kind and you think so little of yourself when everyone knows you’re the most amazing person in the room.” She looked up at him, tears in her eyes. “And you gave me this--” she pointed to the ring gleaming resolutely on her hand-- “and I don’t even know what it means, much less how to do anything with what you’ve given me.”

He winced when she indicated the ring. “It’s only because you don’t realize what it means,” he told her hoarsely, “that you don’t hate me for it yet.” He paused to take a breath. “That ring is a kingdom, Nova. That ring means that… you are me, in the eyes of the law. You speak for me, sign for me, should you so choose. It means that you must bear the same burden I do of responsibility for every man, woman, and child in Orono, to treat them fairly, to protect them, to preserve their lives and their happiness.”

Anji looked at Kevin seriously, and her eyes widened, “... That’s an insane amount of responsibility.” She admitted, voice cracking.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered. He looked at her face, as though trying to imprint her features in his mind, before he added, “If it makes you reconsider, I will understand.”

“Reconsider being happy?” Anji said, crooked smile filling her features. “Kevin…” A mischievious glint hit her eyes as let go of his arms, one hand intertwining with his. “How would you feel about ditching all of this serious responsibility for a day or so?”

“With you, sweet, that sounds marvellous.”

Anji beamed at him, and then sprinted away, her voice falling back to hit his ears, “Then try to catch me.”

Not knowing whether to scream in frustration or to laugh, Kevin called out, “And when I do?”

A voice whispered from above his head, laughing and innocent and teasing, “Why don’t you try to find out?” as Anji leapt over the rooftops, heading away from the town and into the woods.

Kevin glanced up, but she was already scampering across the buildings. With a sigh, he sprinted after her.

---

Kevin eventually found her panting on a mossy green rock in the middle of the forest, staring intently at the tiny waterfall that flowed down the side of a nearby cliff.

Throwing himself to the ground beside her, he slung an arm around Anji’s shoulders. “Found you!” he announced cheerfully.

Anji jumped at his touch, then hugged him tightly, lips meeting his as she kissed him slowly. “Took you long enough.” she said finally, breaking off the kiss. She pulled away from Kevin reluctantly, as he made a groan of protest.

Quietly, she began picking up twigs and bits of dry nature things, using her knife to cut a new sapling.

“If you tell me what you’re doing, I’ll help,” Kevin said curiously, watching her as his fingers played with some loose bits of grass.

“Fire!” Anji said with a grin. “And I might attack my betrothed with kisses if he continues being so adorable.”

He grinned. “Your betrothed wishes to inform you that he is utterly in your power, and courts attack with not a thought of self-defense.”

“Well, I do suppose I owe you for the merry chase I sent you on.” Anji giggled. “What do you want to do to your Anjali?” She asked, setting down the wood and settling next to Kevin, the smells of the woods clinging to her jacket.

He rolled over, pulling her into his arms. “Well, first,” he said, kissing her lightly on her neck and chin, “I think I’m going to never let go of you.”

Anji nodded sagely, relaxing under him. “That sounds quite lovely, actually.”

He nestled her head against his chest and settled peacefully with the weight of her. “...And I never bothered to plan past first,” he murmured, threading his fingers delicately through her hair.

Anji stared up at him, and laughed quietly, completely relaxed. “mmm… We are alone in the woods without any supplies or anything… I figure that could become a problem in the future.”

“I thought we promised not to think about the future today,” he laughed. “Just ditch all our responsibilities so that we can have a rest from being serious.”

“mmm.. okay then..” Anji curled up in Kevin’s arms.

After several minutes, Anji spoke up, “What was your favorite food?” she asked quietly, smile playing on her lips.

“Peaches,” he answered, startled by the question. He sighed lightly. “Palace cooks can prepare any sort of dish, I suppose, but when I would visit my aunt’s lands in the summers, she had a few peach trees in her courtyard and didn’t mind if I picked from them. That was the sweetest meal I had of any year.”

He felt Anji grin, and she yawned slightly as she played with a scar near his wrist. “Where’d that come from?” she mumbled.

He had to glance down to see what she was talking about. “Oh,” he said. “Occupational hazards, I suppose.” He had no memory to tie to the origins of that particular scar. “Probably from the wars or something.”

“Wars?” came the hesitant, slightly worried question.

“I mentioned that I’ve served as a soldier, right?” he asked, twisting the fingers of the hand she played with around to stroke hers gently. “Every man in Orono does. I suppose it’s not a war, not really. But the raiders never stop.”

“The sea sounds amazing.” Anji said, sensing it was a sensitive topic. “I’ve never seen it, you know.”

“You shall,” he promised. “But I suppose I can’t go speaking of the future now, can I? ...Have you seen the mountains, love?”

“I was born and raised in a city called Askinov.” Anji said softly. “It’s in a valley surrounded by mountains, but I never got a chance to explore any of them.” She hugged him and continued, “But I do think they are pretty, and I used to always climb the roof of the cathedral to watch thunderstorms hit them.”

His lips trailed across her face. “You shouldn’t stand on roofs during thunderstorms. I like you uncooked, please.”

Anji smirked, kissing her fiance lightly, “You worry too much.”

Kevin laughed. “And you, not enough.”

“My favorite food was this little thing..” Anji said, laughing, “They called it Burgin.”

“What is it made of?” he asked curiously. “What does it taste like?”

“It’s…”she paused, eyes shifting conspiratorially, “roasted pigeon on a stick.”

“I’ve never tried that,” he smiled. “Perhaps the palace cooks can learn its preparation, though.”

“Why?” Anji said with a wicked grin. “We can make it on our own.”

He nodded gravely. “In that case, we’ll only need the help of the Royal Mail.”

“Er,” Anji’s eyes clouded inquisitively. “Mail?”

“They’re the ones with the birds,” he reminded her, laughing with his eyes. “The kind that doesn’t make us ill.”

“Ah come on.” Anji said, “I never got sick!”

His lips twitched. “Yet. Let’s keep it that way, my love.”

“Worry wart.” Anji complained. “Fine then, we’ll kill a helpless mailman to make Borgin. You monster.”

He chuckled, tracing his fingers idly along her arm. “If you’re not afraid of tough meat, we can use a retiree. Let him do some good in the world.”

Anji leaned up to kiss his cheek before saying, “Who’s turn is it to ask a question?”

“Always yours, my love, if you wish it.”

“What’s your most favourite thing to do?” Anji kissed him softly. “And for fun, it can’t involve kissing me.”

“But you’re my favourite,” he complained. He kissed her again, as though to emphasize his point, as he fell silent. Kevin had never devoted much time to personal pleasure. Anji hugged him, and said nothing further. After some minutes lost in thought, he mused, “I’ve heard that Alexander of Lamada’s favourite pastime is studying to be the best king he can be for his people.” He shook his head. “But I’m not that virtuous. I suppose my favourite things are the little things. Riding on an open road. Watching the sun rise or set.” He shifted, moving his body closer to hers, and laughed lightly. “Loafing in a forest with the most beautiful girl in the world.”

Anji blushed a deep scarlet and hid her face in Kevin’s shoulder “Alexander of Lamada seems like a boring guy.” came a muffled squeak.

Kevin chuckled. “He’s a good friend,” he said, not contradicting her.

"Your turn." She said, peeking out again, green eyes flashing.

“Is it cheating to ask the same question?”

"I guess it's okay," she sighed dramatically. "Seeing as I'm trapped in your arms and everything."

A smile played on his lips. “And?”

Stretching, she said, laughter in her eyes. "I like watching the city at night. And reading whatever I can. I also enjoy torturing the man that says he loves me."

He sighed, turning his head to meet hers for another kiss. “What new torments do you have in store for me, my heart?”

"I think I'll just lie here and keep playing twenty questions with you for a little while."

“I can live with that,” he smiled.

"What did you do in the army?"

“Same thing any of the young soldiers did, really. I wasn’t technically in a command, though I suspect the generals were under orders not to let their prince get killed. Mostly I fought off well-trained raiders and tried to keep my companions alive.”

"Sounds fun." Anji remarked sarcastically. "Did you have any friends?"

He took longer to answer that question, thinking harder. “My aunt Julia was always my friend. Ben and her brothers. Ian of Valharbour.”

"Sorry..." Anji apologized, easing away from him. "Bad topic."

“Don’t apologize,” he insisted, moving closer to her again. “I get to stay with my best friend for the rest of my life now.” He kissed her softly on the cheek, to make sure she knew exactly whom he was referring to.

"I wonder when I'll stop blushing every time you so much as say my name."

“Your blush is beautiful.”

"You say that about everything." Anji mussed Kevin's hair in retaliation. "I believe it's your turn, if you want."

He sighed lightly, smiling at her touch. “mmmm. What’s your favourite colour?”

“Grey.” She said, beginning to play with his hair as she stared up at the trees, and the grey ceiling above. “It’s a nice color.”

Kevin slid over, so that his head was in easier reach for her hands as he reached up to rest one hand lightly on her arm, smiling peacefully up at the sky. “I guess it is.”

After several more minutes of silence, Anji rolled over, curling up next to Kevin as she yawned in the soft grass. “I still think it’s your turn.” she smiled sleepily.

“Always my turn, huh?” he grinned as he wrapped an arm around her, pulling her against his chest. “What did you think the first time we met?”

Anji hummed an unfamiliar tune for a moment, thinking hard. “I thought you were being really kind, helping out a random person on their job, and I was curious about you.” She played with his hand, trailing her finger along the nail of his thumb, “And I thought you were really cute.” A new blush deepened across her face. “I-uh, I was surprised when I found out you and Ben were together.”

He laughed, and lifted the hand to his lips to kiss it. “Ben and I were never ‘together’, honey.”

“Oh?” Anji smiled, “I thought all princes from exotic lands enjoyed that sort of thing.”

Her hand fell from his fingers. “What?” he asked, his voice carefully deadpan.

“I’m teasing you and it’s working beautifully.”

“You, my dear, are incredibly cruel.” He rolled onto his side to kiss her again.

“You’re the one asking me to marry you,” Anji said, grinning as she kissed him at length. Pulling away, she added, “I guess you must be a glutton for punishment.”

“The only punishment,” he murmured sleepily, “is when you leave like that.” He pulled her back to his lips for more.

They lay like that for what felt like moments, sun coursing its path over the castle. Anji eventually fell asleep, curled up next to Kevin.

He watched her, intense love filling his expression, as his own breathing gradually slowed and deepened. He planted a final kiss on the top of her head before he, too, fell asleep.

------

When he woke up, Anji was nowhere to be seen. Kevin frowned, missing the feel of her in his arms, and raised himself on his elbows to look around.

Anji appeared at the top of the cliff, grinning. “Morning, sleepy.” she called out.
“Love, what are you doing up there?” he asked warily.

“Nothing.” Anji’s grin became mischievous as she ducked back behind the wall of the cliff, out of sight.

“Hey!” He scrambled up, hair and clothes still rumpled from sleep, running toward the cliff to look for her.

Smoke lifted up from the ground above him in lazy clouds, and a delicious smell drifted towards his nose in the sharp fall air. Kevin heard Anji humming softly, and climbed the cliff.

“Love?” he called again, hesitantly. “What madness are you plotting?”

“The delicious kind, you sweet, lovely, dolt.” Came the teasing reply, “What madness is keeping you down there?” There was a slight pause, and an audible wince, “Should I kill it?”

“Only the madness of wanting to reach you without breaking either of our necks, my dearest. Would you like to save the killing-things until I arrive to prevent you from stabbing yourself instead?”

“You worry too much!” Anji laughed, flames of hair popping out over the cliff as Anji slid down the scree, bouncing off of rocks and hardy bushes. She tumbled into Kevin, laughs bubbling out like a spring.

He put out his arms only a moment too late to catch her, and they both went rolling down what remained of the hill.

“...Hi.” Anji said awkwardly as she lay on top of Kevin, noses centimeters away from each other. She kissed him quickly, softly, before standing and offering him a hand up. “Care to join me for dinner?”

He took the hand, and stood only to immediately kiss her again. “My love,” he told her, bubbly laughter in his eyes and voice, “I believe it’s closer to breakfasttime.”

“Oh, whatever,” She remarked, before tugging him up the side of the cliff. “It’s still food.” She lead him to the top of the cliff, slipping only once, before showing him a small fire with something roasting on it. “Told you there was food,” she said, smug grin playing on her face. She sat beside the fire, staring alternately between her lover and the flames.


------


“Kevin.”

“My love.”

Anji kissed him, her eyes closed as she breathed him in. “We probably should head back at some point.”

“At some point,” he agreed, kissing her back. “Doesn’t have to be yet.”

“Mmmm.” Anji agreed, pulling away just long enough to say, “Whenever you want to leave, then.”

“That’s not fair,” he complained, drawing her back down so he could kiss her again. “I will never want to leave this.”

“What, the woods?” Anji grinned. “They have those everywhere.”

“Silly. This.” He kissed her more forcefully, as though to make his point, hand tracing patterns up and down her back as he held her against him. “You are too beautiful, and I too weak-willed.”

Anji let him hold her, and smiled, “I don’t think you’re weak-willed.” She beamed, mischief shining in her eyes like starlight, “And you’ve resisted my feminine charm for ages now.”

“I’m charmed like you wouldn’t believe, my sweet,” he murmured, gazing at her with only a hint of wariness.

Anji nodded sagely, and lifted herself out of his arms. “I see. So I could believe it, if I wanted to?”

His brow creased. “You’re being deliberately confusing, my dear,” he complained. “Also, my poor arms ache from your absence.”

Anji met his eyes, her own nervous. “Well, first I wanted to give you something, if you want it.”

His eyes softened, practically melting into her own. “You’ve already given me the world, my love.”

“Well, that will make this even less impressive then.” She said softly, pulling her hair, now long, to one side in a shimmering display of fiery waves. Reaching behind her head, she unclasped a silver chain, unobtrusive up to that moment. Pulling the chain away from her, an iron pendant shone, the rose of the compass shimmering in the light. It was set with a stone of deep red, and as she offered it to her fiance, her cheeks shone with a similar color.

He let her place it in his hand, lifting his eyes slowly from the shining pendant to look at her. “Anjali, this is yours--” Whatever he saw in her face must have made him reconsider his objections, because he closed his mouth and fastened the chain around his own neck. “I’m truly honoured,” he told her quietly.

Anji refused to meet his eyes, her own focused on the ring she now wore constantly. “It’s nothing much.”

“On the contrary.” He touched the pendant self-consciously with a finger, then cupped her cheeks in his hands to kiss her. “You honour me, my queen.”

Anji hugged him tightly, and a tear rolled down her cheek. “Ah, your gift is more… awe-inspiring. I just gave you some cheap iron and garnet.”

He shook his head, holding her. “No comparison. This has meaning. The other has… weight.”

Anji curled up underneath him, enjoying his comforting presence for several moments, before asking, “What did you think of me when you first met me?”

“I thought you were beautiful. And that I wanted to know you more.”

“Is that when you started learning about my past?” Anji asked, voice barely above a whisper.

He shook his head. “That was after Ben brought you home. I sought out what I could, in hopes of helping you.”

“How?”

Kevin pulled himself into a sitting position, holding Anji against his chest. He glanced warily around the forest, as though there could be people listening there, before he spoke. “It’s customary that the crown prince of a kingdom hold a meaningful position in his father’s court, to keep him busy, I suppose, until he inherits. Prince Alexander, for example, is his father’s prime minister.

“I don’t want to keep secrets from you, Nova. I told you once, evasively, that I spent my time doing whatever my father needed from me at home. Most often, that was in my capacity as captain of His Majesty’s spies.” He waited, arms going slack, as though afraid that she would leap up and run away from him.

Anji leaned in closer, as if wanting to hide in his arms instead. “This is probably the most dangerous of secrets to share, Kevin.”

He nodded, deadly serious. “This can’t be known, love. But you will have to know at some point, as Queen. And I have no desire to lie to my love, my wife.”

Anjali pulled away, eyes grave. “What capacities does the queen function under? Does she get to have--” she paused, smirk lightening her eyes-- “such interesting and fun-filled occupations as well?”

Kevin made a face. “The current Queen finds herself more than capable of taking up her son’s desk when he is away at war.”

“You royalty sure know how to have fun.” Anji smiled, turning her face up to kiss Kevin slowly.

He leaned into the kiss, relaxing his body. “This is fun,” he contradicted, his expression blissful.

Anji made a happy sound, and began to kiss him more forcefully, pushing him against the forest floor, dead leaves catching in their hair.

“mmmm. You are definitely testing my self-control, love.”

“You have that?” She mumbled, face flushed as she dove for another kiss.

“One of us has to,” he complained, kissing her eagerly.

“I have restraint!” She countered, making her way to his ear, littering his jaw and cheek with kisses.

“What a relief,” he groaned, making no move to resist her kisses.

“I really do love you, you know.” She whispered in his ear.

“I love you, too,” he breathed, heart beating rapidly.

She pulled back just long enough to make eye contact with him, panting and flustered and eyes shining with happiness. A shy smile played on her lips as she leaned in to kiss him more, raw emotion beating through her veins. “You’re cute when you get flustered.”

“And you are beautiful in your cruelty.” He smiled crookedly back, returning her kisses with his own.

“Me? Cruel?” An odd light touched her face, and she began kissing him less forcefully, ending by pulling away from him, shivering slightly in the cool night air. “Sorry… I thought…” Her face bloomed in deeper red as she stuttered, standing, “I’ll uhm… Sorry… I’ll just leave for a little bit? Yeah that might be a good idea…”

He put a hand on a nearby treetrunk to help himself stand, snagging an arm around her waist before she could get away. “Beloved,” he said, his voice unusually low. “You are the most desirable woman I have ever met, and you try my self-control to the breaking point with your attractions and attentions.” He closed his eyes and kissed her gently on the cheek. “I can find no fault with you, only with the fact that we are not yet wed.”

Anger flashed in her eyes for an instant as she replied, “I fail to see the importance of that, if you need to find someone to preside over something like that, there’s an entire city full of them not a day’s walk away.”

“Please, my love,” he protested. “I can’t…” He heard her own angry voice in his head, criticizing the arguments that waited to be spoken. People will talk. Your reputation. Your honour. He knew, with a sinking feeling, that she would only be hurt by his well-reasoned objections. “I was raised to respect women more than that,” he mumbled, cheeks burning.

The fire left Anji’s eyes as she let him kiss her, lip trembling softly. She said nothing, closing her eyes and shutting herself away from the steady gaze of her resolute fiance, who frowned slightly at her behaviour.

“Please, love,” he said again. “For your foolish friend’s peace of mind? Let it be official, and then I will gladly succumb to your many charms.”

A small smile played at the edges of her mouth, and said, opening her eyes slowly. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to be so… rude.” Her blush deepened once more as she broke eye contact. “I’ll be fine.”

He shook his head, a crooked smile on his lips. “The prerogative is yours, my lady. I knew the dangers in falling in love with someone so achingly attractive; it’s my responsibility to face them.”

“If it would make you feel better, I’ll wait.” Anji attempted to smile, but it didn’t quite reach her eyes.

He regarded her sadly. “I always seem to ask too much of you, dear Anji. Forgive me this once.”

“Always.” Anji said quietly as she shrugged further into her jacket against the cold.

He pulled her into a hug, warming her with rapid up-and-down motions of his arms, the crooked smile returning. “I swear if I can do it, I won’t make you wait long. But for now, sweet--” he swung her up into his arms, her head resting against his shoulder-- “I should take you home.”

Anji mumbled tiredly in protest. Kevin only laughed, and cradled her closer, as he made his way back into town.
User avatar
eli_gone_crazy
 
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:59 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Guyshane on Fri Nov 22, 2013 9:39 pm

Part 1: Hara needs help

“Look Mir, I’m telling you they’re lizards. We can cook them however you want but they will still taste like burnt lizard.” Marcus said. “And we can’t get anything else because nothing seems to live in this desert except lizards.”

Mirae frowned at the creature by the cookfire. “I’ve known people who could make lizard taste like it was prepared for royalty. Granted, they were smaller than this.”

Marcus sighed. “That’s nice but quite frankly I’m not one of them. And to the best of my knowledge neither are you. So unless you’re hiding some impressive cooking skills along with whatever your whole name is, this is still going to taste like burnt lizard.” He replied. Come on just give me a hint….

Mirae smiled a little. She crouched by the dead lizard and turned it over. “Well, I suppose we get to have burnt lizard tonight, then.”

Curses, foiled again Marcus sat on a nearby stone. “I suppose we do.” he paused for a moment. “You know we’re gonna have to head back down soon. We don’t exactly have much in the way of supplies left.”

“It would be a bad idea to starve two floors up. Probably,” Mirae said, grimacing. “Although we could drop down to the city and go through some of the other floors on the way back up. I missed them using my shortcut.” She glanced up at him questioningly.

Marcus walked over smiling and wrapped her in a hug. “Well” he said. “It’s good to know that I haven’t worn out my welcome with you.” He paused for a moment. “Although we might want to leave nine alone, I can’t explain it its just….” The warrior shivered. “I don’t know, bad feeling.”

Mirae kissed him lightly. “You know,” she said, looking up at him, “it might be easier to explore it with two people.” She tilted her head. “Or we could just come back to it later on, if it really is that bad.”

Marcus kissed her back. “Well I suppose if you-”

“Well isn’t this just sweet?” a coarse voice rasped.

Marcus’ eyes shot open at the sound and was quickly standing between Mirae and a dark shape at the edge of the light, weapon drawn. “What” he growled. “In seven hells are you doing here?”

Hara stepped into the light. “I’m here to make an offer, Marcus.”

Pulling out a knife, Mirae dropped back, walking to the edge of the firelight. She couldn’t see anyone else with the newcomer, but there were plenty of shadows. She scanned the surroundings, not turning away from Hara.

Marcus glared at the shape. “Look, Hara. I’m really not in the mood for your cryptic, assassin guild, nonsense. Could you kindly just defeat yourself and run back to your boss? Whoever they are. I was having such a nice night before you showed up.”

“No Marcus, no one is leaving yet.” The assassin responded. “The master told me that you can help me with a certain problem of mine. So you are going to help me and in exchange I will not kill your pet mage.”

Marcus blinked. “Wow, you are even more insane than I thought. Between the two of us we can take you.” He looked over his shoulder at Mirae. “Don’t let her get a good view of you, pretty sure she has knives, like a lot of them.”

Mirae nodded, deadening the lightning that had been playing along the edge of her knife. “All right.” She moved a little further away from the fire, into the shadow of a dune.

Marcus began walking toward Hara. “If you get a chance, hit her with a non-lethal bolt. I’ve got some questions I want to ask her.”

Hara growled and pulled her jian from its sheath and moving into a guard position. “One way or another Oracon. You will help me.”

“Doubtful.” Marcus replied as he swung at her. Much as he had expected she was able to avoid the hit and the fight ensued. The duel raged across the campsite and as it progressed two things were clear to the warrior: One, he was clearly outmatched, his fighting style not being very useful against a quick and precise fighter and two, that the whole fight felt horribly familiar. He couldn’t place what it was but it seemed like they were both anticipating each other’s favorite moves. He felt like he had seen the counters before. The fight progressed until at one point Hara smashed her hilt into his wrist causing him to drop his mace.

The assassin held her sword point at Marcus’ throat. “Now then, you are going to...to…” Marcus jumped away as Hara started wobbling like a drunk.

Mirae darted over to him. “Is it real?” she asked, nodding at Hara’s unsteadiness.

Marcus stared at her. “Who cares? Knock her out.”

Mirae chuckled, but Hara dropped. The mage ran to her and began looking the assassin over.

Marcus produced some rope and proceeded to tie up the unconscious woman. “Check her for knives while you’re at it.” Me, I have a different question. Marcus didn’t know what he expected to find under the hood but it was a way to start getting answers. However when he took off the hood he saw the face of a woman he felt like he had seen before. Why, the hell does she seem so familiar. Its like...No. The thought had occurred to him and it wasn’t possible but as he remembered the face and aged it up the several years it had been since he had seen her the warrior fell back from the unconscious woman, staring as if he had seen a ghost.

“Mar-? Marcus!” He was shaken roughly. Mirae waited until he looked at her before continuing. “Whatever it is you’ve realized, say it later. She’s bleeding out. Should we help, or no?”

“What?” he exclaimed moving past Mirae. “She can’t be bleeding out, I didn’t score a solid hit on her.” he explained as he quickly checked over the assassin. That’s when he noticed the pallor in her neck and the odd bruise like marking. “Mir, have you ever seen anything like this before?” he asked indicating the spot

She bent over it. “No,” she said slowly, running a finger over the spot. “It seems almost like a bite mark, but I’ve never seen anything like what’s around it.”

Marcus gathered Hara in his arms. “Doesn’t matter.” He said with conviction. “We have to save her. I’ll need your sharpest knife Mir. It looks like whatever made the bite is still under her skin. After, I save her….I’ll need to tell you some stuff. I’ll need to tell you about home.” The soldier finished, staring into the distance sadly.

“Hey.” Mirae tapped his knee with the hilt of a knife. She gave him a small smile. “Focus on the danger of death first, stories after. Let me know when you’re done, and I’ll help get some of her blood back.” She offered him the knife.

Marcus nodded. “Right.” he took the knife and laid his patient down by the fire so he could see what he was doing. “Healer Oracon back in business for the first time in a decade.” the doctor said before he got to work.

-----------------------------------------------

One surgery, an exploding tick and a long explanation later Marcus was finishing up his story.

“....So after the trail went cold on everyone I wanted to keep looking but I wasn’t rich before I was discharged, so I ended up in a mercenary company. After that I worked for about a year before rumors of an expedition up to a certain lost castle made their way around. I didn’t really have any reason to stay so I found the expedition and joined on. Then I ended up separated from everyone in a city full of cows, where I ran into this lovely mage.” He paused to smile at Mirae.
“A while back I investigated some corruption going on in the guards, I found a guild of assassins were responsible. The night after Darren and I finished the matter I was ambushed and threatened by Hara over there.” He dropped down onto the rock again. “But here’s the part that doesn’t make any sense: Hara is Kira. She was one of my closest friends growing up but she disappeared with everyone else. And now here she is one of the highest ranking members of an organization that seems none too fond of me.” He finished speaking and lapsed into silence, waiting the smaller mage’s reaction.

Mirae flicked sparks back and forth between her fingers, thinking. Finally, she said, “Well, that’s an unusual way to have a reunion.” Her voice got more serious. “You should talk to her. You’ve found one friend, more or less. Maybe you can find out what happened to the others.”

“I guess you’re right.” He walked over to the unconscious assassin. Well, here goes nothing.

Marcus shook her gently. “Hey wake up. Kira, wake up.”

Hara’s eyes opened. She quickly took in her surroundings and realized she was tied up. “Oracon, never realized you enjoyed this sort of thing.” she said gesturing at the ropes as best she could.

Marcus rolled his eyes. “Oh wonderful you have a sense of humor now.” he replied sarcastically before staring at her for a minute. “So Kira, I have two questions: How did you get away from the slavers and why are you working for the assassins?”

The woman blinked at him. “I work for the Guildmaster because he’s been there for me as long as I can remember. But what slavers? And who the hell is Kira?”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“No.”
“Hara...how much of your life do you remember.”
“Almost none of it.”

Marcus walked back to the rock and slumped against it. “I don’t believe it. I have to deal with this situation not once, but twice. And that’s on top of all the shit that has happened in my life until now. I mean first my whole hometown goes missing, then I come up here and instead of getting rewarded for facing danger all I ever get is more people trying to kill me, add on the people all the people I had to fight during the civil war some of whom probably didn’t deserve their deaths, plus that damn gamble and now I have to deal with amnesia again?!?” His rant had increased in volume until by the end he was shouting. “WHAT DID I DO TO PISS OFF THE UNIVERSE SO MUCH?!?” he bellowed and then just stood there panting.

A jolt of lightning ran across his shoulders, enough to be felt without being painful. Mirae stared at him resolutely. “It doesn’t matter. Everything that’s happened, has happened. All you do is take it as it is and continue.” She paused and tilted her head. “Besides, the more you have to deal with amnesia, the better you get at dealing with it.” She gave him a half-smile.

“What is it with you mages and your urge to shock me?” Marcus replied scowling. “Still...you are right, sorry I lost it. Its just been a difficult year all around.”

Mirae walked over and hugged him. “Hey, the universe might not like you, but there are plenty of people who do.”

Marcus held her. “I guess the year hasn’t been all horrible, maybe the universe doesn’t-” He cut off suddenly as a sharp pain shot through his back, just missing his spine. He turned and fell to see Hara free of her bonds. The warrior looked over briefly at the pile of weapons they had taken off her Nope, its official. Universe hates me.

Hara waved at the pair. “Thanks for your help. Wouldn’t have survived without you.” She said before disappearing into the darkness.

“Sorry,” Mirae murmured, before wrenching the knife out of his back. She started to close the wound. “Want to go after her?”

“No we really shouldn’t. Especially since this is a really unsafe place for healing, the knife went pretty deep I think and also you just pulled the weapon that was keeping me from bleeding freely out of my back.” Marcus attempted to get to his feet without success. “Get me to the transport...then we can find Anji she can take us to where Zi is and then...and then.” He shook his head briefly. “And then the two of you should be able to heal me.”

Mirae flicked him in the head. “Stop moving. Or I’ll knock you out and drag you to the transport, and I doubt that would be good for a knife wound.” She laughed quietly. “Let me get you somewhat stable, at least, then we can go.”

Marcus nodded. “Please hurry dear.” He frowned at the ground in front of him. “I’m feeling kind of dizzy, pretty sure that’s the blood loss. I’ll just let you work.”

“Thank you,” she said absently. She suddenly grinned. “You know, this does mean we’re spared from the burnt lizard.”

Marcus let out a brief laugh before coughing and grimacing. “And now I can’t laugh. Yep, universe hates me. Proven. Please don’t make me laugh right now.”

Mirae nodded. “Well, we can’t let that continue. I’ll see what I can do.” She fell silent, focusing on healing.

“Okay Mir I think you’ve done about enough to get me there, now we need to start heading out, not to question your abilities but it still hurts. A whole lot. I’d like to just get the whole healing and find a nice bed to sleep in for a few days.” He said, looking rather pale at this point. “Grab my cloak from my bag and you can use it as a bandage, then lets get to the transport.”

Mirae snatched it out and darted back. She quickly tied it around and helped him up. “Shall we?”

“Yes lets.” He said as they began moving. “I’m sorry about not mentioning the Assassins before now, I thought that they had forgotten about me or something.” he explained as they moved along.

“Well, I know about them now,” Mirae said, smiling encouragingly at him. “We’ll just keep a better eye out in future. If it will help.” She shrugged.

“Hell I’ll just remember to keep my armor on in the future. Damn rookie mistake. Could of avoided this whole mess.”

“That must be cumbersome. I suppose you get used to it, like carrying a spear.”

Marcus nodded, not seeming to take too much notice of the comment. “Never really liked it, useful but made me feel slow. I finally find good armor for my….style and then I don put it on, silleh.”

“What would you have used it against, lizards?” Mirae shrugged again. “If you always keep it on, you’ll be prepared, just not for the times you’d be better off not wearing it.”

He nodded again. “Sounds lika plan” he mumbled his head dropping a bit

Mirae looked sideways at him. “You do need a healer,” she said. “We’re almost there.”

Marcus looked up and saw the transport a little ways off. “Good, As soonas we get there I can poin you to where Anj is and she can take us to see Zi.”

“Good,” Mirae said. They stepped onto the platform.

----------------------------------------------------

Shortly after they were on the third floor and headed to Anji’s place.
I say we nuke it from orbit...its the only way to be sure.
User avatar
Guyshane
 
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:45 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Tue Nov 26, 2013 3:07 pm

These are not the hamsters you are looking for

Timelime Note: approximately cotemporaneous with the previous post

Anji flipped her knife casually in one hand, catching it smoothly. "Why did you need me to sign all of those papers, again?"

“You’re the guildleader,” Kevin reminded her in a self-satisfied voice. “You’re the only one who can sign them, love.”

"Bleh." Anji turned to face him, briefly smiling before laying on his shoulder. "How are you?"

“All the better for the sight of my betrothed.” Kevin grinned, twining an arm around her waist.

"Sound tired," Anji yawned.

“I think you’ve been taking lessons from a kettle of my acquaintance, dearest,” Kevin teased.

"You should probably sleep." Anji stretched, motioning to the bedroom. "I have some more work to do, and you're too tired to walk for half an hour to your place."

Kevin gathered up the papers and headed for the door, appearing to ignore her invitation. “You need sleep more than I do, love. I’ll leave for here at first light; we can finish up your work together in the morning.”

"Kev'." Anji called back sadly.

“Yes, love?”

"It's already really late. And... Well, I want you to stay. Please." Anji played with the edge of her tunic. "You can... I don't know..."

“I can’t,” Kevin said, pleadingly. “I owe you better than that, even if you don’t see it.”

"Owe me your exhaustion? Owe me missing you because of some arbitrary nonsense?" Anji curled up tighter, eyes shining. "I feel safer when you're nearby. And I feel better with you well-rested. So, either I'm crashing at your place, or you're staying at mine."

Kevin pursed his lips, setting his jaw stubbornly. “I can’t sleep in your home, Anjali. You know that.” His expression softened as he relented somewhat. “If you need me, I’ll… stay by you, love.”

"Then I'll sleep at yours." Anji smirked, before beginning to gather her things.

“Dearest!” Kevin yelped, alarmed. “I… you… we… you’re always welcome in my rooms, but it’s night, you need sleep, and we can’t…” He narrowed his eyes. “You’re doing this deliberately, aren’t you, love?”

"Yes." Anji smiled brightly, grabbing her sword. "You're being an idiot and forgetting the simple fact that we can coexist without the sudden departure of my senses, causing us both to cross lines you aren't comfortable with."

Kevin sighed. “It still isn’t proper for us to spend the night together, my love. Even if nothing happens… there’s the look of the thing.” His cheeks turned pink as he self-consciously tried to defend his sense of propriety.

"Who's going to judge us? Ben?" Anji laughed, before hugging him tightly. "If you're that set on it, fine. But you are getting some damn sleep."

Kevin gave his fiancee a lingering kiss, before he turned back toward the door. “I’ll see you in the morning, then, beautiful.”

Anji nodded sadly, one arm rubbing her shoulder. "Don't bother coming at first light. You need more sleep than that."

Kevin grinned crookedly. “When will you be up, then, love? I don’t want to waste a moment that I could spend in your delightful company.”

"Just come whenever." Anji attempted a smile, already dreading sleep. "I'll either be here, or at the guild house."

“I’ll see you, love,” Kevin promised. He twitched his smile at her. “Dream of me.”

Anji nodded her head, and shut the door behind him. Running her fingers through her hair, she walked over to her papers, poring over them until she eventually dozed.

------------

Anji jerked up from the table, nightmare fresh in her mind. Her eyes slid open slowly, sunlight meeting them with a joy that was stopped by her mood.

“Sorry, am I here too early, love?” Kevin flicked his eyes worriedly back to the door. “I can go, give you more time to freshen up. There are things I can do.”

Anji stretched, wiping the drool off of her face self-consciously. “Ah, no… It’s all right. I’ll just… Hi.” She stood, nearly tripping over a chair on her way to the bedroom. “Make yourself at home.”

“Relax, sweet,” Kevin said, picking up the papers she’d had in front of her. He frowned. “Love, did you get any sleep last night? You were supposed to put these away and go to bed.”

Anji leaned out from the bedroom doorway, deep purple bags under her eyes fading slightly as she cleaned up, “Yeah, I got some sleep. Dozed off, is all. No need to worry.”

“Right. Dozed off. I can tell,” Kevin commented dryly.

Anji smiled tiredly, before walking towards the kitchen, “You hungry? I can make you something before we get started.”

“Get started?” Kevin raised an eyebrow. “Better idea. You rest, sweet; I know my way around enough to whip something up for you. Then you can tell me exactly what it is we’re getting started on.”

Anji rolled her eyes, picking up a pan and heading towards the pantry. “I’m fine. I figure we need to get going on that paperwork, I couldn’t finish it all last night. Next we should probably get the guild profiles going, see what skills we have and where.”

Kevin ruffled Anji’s hair in exasperation. “Silly Anjali. You’d have saved yourself a lot of effort and sleeplessness if you’d waited for me to finish up with the papers. It’s not your job to crack your head over the reports when someone else can summarize for you.”

“Wasn’t sleepy anyway.” Anji began frying eggs, one hand busy with the fire, the other focused on straightening her messy ponytail. “What else you want?”

“I want to make you happy,” Kevin said with a smile, jotting notes about the reports on a blank sheet of paper.

“Yeah, well. I’m happy you’re here.” Anji replied lamely, smile lightening half her face. She began toasting some bread, yawn threatening to unhinge her jaw. “Did you sleep well?”

Kevin rolled his eyes. “All the better for seeing you, dear.” He patted the couch beside him. “Here. We’ll look at those profiles together, and then you’ll get some more sleep.”

“Don’ need sleep.” Anji brought a pair of plates to the couch, handing one to the blond man before sitting next to him. “I got you.”

“I am not sleep,” Kevin laughed, stretching his arm across her shoulder. “You can have both, you know.”

“‘Mmm?” Anji asked, leaning against him. “You’ll leave.”

“Won’t leave you, beautiful,” Kevin assured her. His lips twitched wryly. “That only happens at night.”

“I should sleep in the daytime then,” Anji said stubbornly, “Make the best use of my time.”

“How is it a good use of your time to sleep when I’m around?” Kevin raised an eyebrow and kissed the side of Anji’s head. “Then we don’t get to talk and things.”

“No more nightmares.” Anji mumbled, curling up and smiling calmly. “”s better when you’re here.”

“I’m here,” Kevin said gently, pulling her into his arms.

Anji slept hard for several hours, while Kevin calmly reached around her to compile more notes on the guild. Suddenly, Anji twitched, before sitting up, screams twisting into violent sobs, “Please! I’ll do anything! Just stop!”

“Love!” Kevin stroked her hair, frantically trying to wake Anji up without hurting her. “It’s okay, Anji sweet, you’re safe. I’m here.”

Anji shook her head clear, shuddering sobs still pulling her down as she curled up on the couch, hiding her face.

Kevin kissed her gently, not letting go from his reassuring grip. “What was it, love? what did you see? It’s okay. I’m here now.”

“They took him,” Anji curled up tighter, trembles shaking her. “They took him and they hurt him and I can’t help him oh god why did I ever agree to that.”

“It’s okay, sweet. It’s over. I’m here now, Anjali. Just a dream. Time to wake up now, okay, love?”

“Kevin?” Anji sat up immediately, rubbing her eyes sheepishly as she stood, walking towards the bedroom. “Sorry. I… I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“It’s okay, love,” Kevin said, following her. “There’s nothing to apologize for. I’m here for you, all right? You can tell me about it if you want. Or I can leave you be.”

“Sorry. I’m... I’m okay. Just a dream. Just a dream.” Anji looked at the bed longingly, before heading to the kitchen to prepare coffee. “I’d like you here. Thanks for sticking around.”

“Always,” Kevin said. He beat her to the kitchen, setting water to boil as he washed off a mug. “I’m here, if you want to talk about the dream. Or if you’d rather just talk about miniature cows or something.”

Anji huffed out a small laugh, settling onto the table. “I just… I sleep better when you’re around.” She squirmed, looking around the small apartment as if inspecting for fire lizards.

“Better than that?” he asked quietly.

Anji smiled at him tiredly, pointing out several scars and healing cuts on her arms. “I uh, sometimes I forget about the knives.”

Kevin frowned deeply. “That’s not okay, sweetheart.”

Anji shrugged, pulling over a piece of paper. “What else needs to be done for this paperwork?”

“Not a whole lot.” Kevin shook his head, taking the paper out of Anji’s hand. “We should talk about that, love. I won’t stand for you hurting yourself like that. Can you keep the knives in arm’s reach but off of you when you sleep?”

“I’ve tried hiding them before. It’s the first thing I go for.” Anji squirmed some more, “I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“Not something to apologize for, my love. Just a problem to solve.”

Anji nodded while walking over to grab the mug of coffee. “I’m okay.”

“I’m not,” he said flatly. “Not if you’re getting hurt like that.”

“Then I won’t get hurt like that again.” Anji said testily.

“How?” Kevin asked gently, reaching out toward her.

Anji walked towards him, embracing him lightly. “Dunno. I’ll figure something out.”

Kevin leaned his head on hers, biting his lip gently before he spoke. “Will it help if I’m here?”

Anji’s breath caught for a moment, before she nodded. Tilting her head up, eyes filled with worry, she asked, “And you?”

Kevin kissed her on the lips, careful and firm. “I’ll be all the better for your company, sweet.”

Anji looked troubled, but nodded her head once in agreement, before shuffling off into the living room, shoulders slumped.

“What’s wrong?” Kevin asked softly, as he followed her.

Anji quickly willed away the tears that brimmed in her eyes, “Just… I don’t want to worry you and I did and now you know how much of a freak I am and now you’ll hate me.”

Kevin narrowed his eyes sternly. “You are not a freak, my Anjali, and there is no power that could make me hate you. You’re hurt, and… yes, I’m worried for you, but I’m happy that you shared with me. I’m your partner, okay? You can share anything with me. Tell anything to me. I can’t love you less from anything you say.”

Anji frowned, “I’m making you uncomfortable. I want you to stay with me, but not out of obligation, ‘s all.”

“I am not obligated to stay with the love of my life,” Kevin said crossly. “We’re to be married, sweet. And this isn’t an arrangement of convenience. You mean more to me than anyone in the world, and I don’t know what I can do to make that plain.”

Anji seemed to curl up on herself, shrinking as she played with one thin wrist. “I’m sorry. I love you. You’re perfect and wonderful and and and… Yeah. I want you here, if you want to stay.”

“I love you, my beautiful Anjali, however wrong you may be about my virtues.” Kevin smiled, hugging Anji close. “I will stay with you as long as you want me to.” He gave her a quick kiss, smile twisting up into a grin. “And we should probably see about that wedding sooner rather than later.”

Anji breathed him in, before yawning once more. Glancing between the papers and the bedroom door, she pulled away, curling up on the couch. “I can help you until one of us gets sleepy.”

Kevin stroked Anji’s hair as she fell asleep, then lifted her up gently and laid her on her own bed, tucking her in. He retreated to a chair outside the room, where he was in eyesight and earshot of her in case she needed him. Anji twitched and mumbled in her sleep, tears leaking down her face as she cried quietly. One dream pulled a whimper from her throat, plaintive and pleading.

Kevin rushed to her side, smoothing her hair away from her face and rocking her gently in his arms until her sleep grew more peaceful. Anji’s breath came more slowly, and the scarred girl looked more rested than she had been in days. Kevin stayed by Anji’s side, smiling as he watched her, until he felt sleep tugging inexorably at his own eyelids. He left the room again, taking refuge in the armchair so he could maintain some standard of propriety while he slept, without letting Anji leave his line of sight.

He woke up to find a blanket tossed over him, and a pillow supporting his head. Kevin looked up, panic rising in him as he realized that Anji was nowhere in sight. Glancing distractedly down at his rumpled clothes, he left the apartment, barely remembering to lock up behind him as he charged through the city, looking for his fiancee.

Anji was standing in front of a small book stall, flipping through a dusty, moth infested tome, “Now are you sure this is the one I’ve been looking for?”

The stall owner nodded, and motioned to the first few pages, “It’s got the details you mentioned, and it’s the only one I’ve found.”

Kevin sprinted past, almost colliding with a vegetable stall as he made a comically sharp turn, swinging around to all but barrel into Anji. “There you are!”

Anji yelped as she collided into the blond man. “Kevin? Is everything okay?!”

“No, it most certainly is not,” he answered indignantly. “You had me worried, love! You just disappeared!”

Anji laughed, face quirking into a crooked grin. Tossing a few gold pieces to the shop owner, she grabbed Kevin’s arm and began walking down the street. “I just needed to run an errand, is all. I didn’t want to wake you up.”

He shushed her frantically, going red. “It’s perfectly all right to wake me up, sweet.” Glancing around left and right, Kevin saw that no one was paying attention to what they were saying. “People might get the wrong idea,” he muttered.

Anji grinned, before kissing him at length. “You’re cute when you get flustered.”

Kevin sighed, and kissed her. “So she’s trying to scandalize her poor swain,” he teased. “This explains so much.”

“Just relax, Kevin.” Anji hugged him tightly, and glanced at the people walking around them, completely ignoring their indecency. “See? No one cares.”

“I care,” he said softly, burying his lips in her hair. “If I treat you wrong, I’ll know.”

“Kevin. If you were going to treat me badly, I think you would have already done it.” Anji began tugging him to a food stall, smile flitting across her face. “You’re helping me make dinner, by the way.”

Kevin grinned. “Sounds good to me.” He paused at the stall next to that one, hand reaching for his belt. “At least let me treat you to breakfast, to apologize for the grievous wrongs one or the other of us doesn’t think I’ve committed.”

Anji sniffed, “I don’t know. How can I tell if you are truly repentant of these horrific and imaginary crimes you label with yourself?”

Kevin nodded. “You can’t. In fact, I’m probably not. But if I can’t buy you off with a hot apple turnover, I don’t know what will do it.”

“Make it a cinnamon bun, and I’ll consider your offer.”

“I think, my lady, that we are in business.” Kevin turned to the bemused stallholder, buying an apple turnover for himself and passing the sweet glazed cinnamon bun to his beloved. Anji tore into the food, while picking up more ingredients. “So, what are we doing today, my sleep deprived betrothed.”

“Not so sleep deprived, thanks to someone,” Kevin pointed out. “Your choice, my love. Your day. I am yours to command.” He delivered a smart mock-salute, bowing slightly to Anji, who rolled her eyes and mussed his hair.

“I think you should pick today,” Anji said, impish grin on her face.

“Hmmm. Well, we could get married,” Kevin offered, a mischievous glint in his eye. “I’m sure someone or other will be available to officiate.”

“Oh, we’re moving the wedding date up now, are we?” Anji glanced around the street. “What about all our friends and stuff. They’ll want to be there.”

Kevin waved a hand dismissively. “We can give them a party later. There’s no particular reason to wait.”

“Well, why now?” Anji smiled quietly.

“Why not now?” he argued persuasively. “It would certainly solve our worries about scandal. And my worries about sleeping in the same room as you. And a host of other concerns. And then we’d be married!”

“Ugh, yes, and I’ll be chained to a stick for the rest of my natural life.” Anji moaned dramatically, before grinning widely and kissing Kevin, lingering until he pulled away finally. “If you want to, sure.”

“Really?” Kevin asked hopefully, then took her by the hand, half-pulling her down the street. “Excellent!”

Anji tumbled along, before regaining her balance. “You’re, uhm, eager.”

“Yes, I am. I’ve been wanting to marry you for a very long time, my dearest.” Kevin smiled in satisfaction, coming to a halt outside the Guardhouse. “We’d like to speak to Captain Legias,” he said, smiling up at the guard on duty. “She owes me a favour.”

Legias opened the door slowly, eyes haggard. “What d’you want, Aqaba?”

“We’re getting married,” Kevin said, grinning hugely.

“Okay….” Legias looked between the excited Kevin and the nervous Anji, “Congratulations, how do I fit into all of this?”

“You have the authority to make it official,” Kevin explained, still grinning. “So we can get married. Right now.”

“I’m a military leader, not a priest.” Legias explained slowly, “I can direct you over to the cathedral, but I’m not equipped to marry someone.”

Kevin shook his head impatiently. “You’re the temporal power here. You have the authority to pronounce us wed. No priests necessary, Captain.”

Legias looked pleadingly at Adam, who immediately ducked his head behind a book, chortling. Kevin just stood there, one arm tightly wrapped around Anji, grinning expectantly at the woman. Legias groaned and said, “I pronounce you married. Get out.”

“You ought to write something down about it at least,” Kevin complained, grin never fading, as he fished in a pocket with his free hand.

Legias glanced over at Adam pleadingly, who set down his book and began scribbling. “There you go, I have stuff to do now go away.”

Kevin’s grin, against all possibility, seemed to grow wider. “If I may, love?” He slid a slender golden ring onto her fourth finger, depositing a second ring into her palm to put on him.

With a small bow, he nodded to the other two. “Thank you kindly, Captain. Lieutenant.” He swept Anji up into his arms as he left the office, smothering her with kisses. “My love, my beautiful Anji, my Nova, my wife.”

Anji let herself be carried outside of the guardhouse, laughing at Kevin’s joy. Pulling away, she looked him in the eyes, her own hopeful and scared. “So… What now?”

Kevin’s eyes danced. “Well, you could put the ring on my finger. If you’re sure you want to go through with marrying me.”

“Marry you?” Anji laughed, sliding the ring onto his finger with a kiss. “I’d be crazy to.”

“Thank you,” Kevin whispered, leaning down to kiss her resoundingly. “My love, my wife.”

“Oh Crow,” Anji pulled away, panicking slightly. “Zi’s going to kill me.”

Kevin frowned. “Why? She can’t do that.”

“She can kill things with her brain. I’m sure my murder would be relatively easy.” Anji squirmed, trying to get out of Kevin’s arms. “Agh. I can’t. get. Down.”

“But what’s wrong, love? Did Eliziya turn evil again?”

Anji gave up, laying back in Kevin’s arms. “She wanted to be there. That’s all.”

Kevin smoothed Anji’s hair, giving her another kiss. “I’m sorry, love. We can still have a party with our family. That was just… necessary bureaucracy.” He grinned, as he headed back for the apartment. “Besides, if she wants to commit murder for it, you can just point her to me. It was my fault.”

“Yeah well… Can’t I walk?” Anji looked down at the ground, several feet away.

“If you really want to,” Kevin sighed. “Though it is traditional for me to carry you into our home.”

“Oh.” Anji shrunk back into his arms. “Sure, sorry. Following tradition is a good thing.”

Kevin gathered her closer, kissing Anji thoroughly as he walked. “I could put you down if you wanted,” he murmured. “But it would be so much harder to do this.”


Kevin set his wife-- his wife!-- gently down on the bed, and flopped himself back beside her. Looking over, he saw Anji staring nervously at the ceiling. “Hey… What’s wrong, love?” he asked softly, brushing her cheek with a finger.

“N-Nothing.” Anji said, turning to face him.

“It’s okay,” Kevin said, pulling her into a light hug before releasing her and edging away. “If you don’t want to do anything right away… We’re married, love. There’s no obligation attached.” His face turned a deep red, and he looked away.

“N-No. I want to make you happy I’m just..” Anji shook her head and slid closer to Kevin, burying her head in his chest.

“Hey. Hey, sweet. This isn’t about…” Kevin swallowed hard, trying to understand her concerns. “You’re my wife, Anji love. You aren’t mine. You have no need to make me happy, but for what love you bear me.” He fluttered his lips against the top of her forehead. “What makes me happy is having you happy, and safe, and near.” Kevin closed his eyes. “‘m never, never going to hurt you, my love.”

Anji nodded. “I’m just… I’m just scared. I’m sorry.” She frowned, and moved closer, “You just had to marry the most damaged girl in the castle.”

“Don’t be silly, sweet. What are you scared of?”

Anji shuddered, and looked guiltily up at Kevin. “I don’t want to upset you.”

“Then talk to me,” he urged gently. “I swear I won’t hurt you.”

Anji glanced around the room before mumbling. “I just… I don’t want you to change. And… Well, I don’t want to get hurt.”

“I’m never going to hurt you, love,” Kevin said quietly. “Nothing’s changed but my willingness to allow myself to love you. I’m still the same Kevin as before. Still your Kevin. Just this guy, you know?”

Anji leaned up to kiss him, smiling softly. “You’re more than that. I’m sorry.”

“Nothing to be sorry for, my love. I don’t want to ever frighten you. But it isn’t your fault if I do.”

Anji relaxed, changing the subject. “So, you’re finally married.”

“As are you, my wonderful wife,” Kevin pointed out, easing into a grin.

“Do you miss home?”

“Home is where you are.”

“Even if we lived in a shack?” Anji laughed.

“Even if we lived in a cardboard box.” Kevin ruffled her hair.

“I love you.”

“And I love you, my beautiful, amazing… wife.”

“She’ll have a big head if you keep complimenting her like that.”

Kevin nodded gravely. “It’s an occupational hazard, I suppose.” He stretched, rolling onto his side so he could face her properly. “What do you want to do, sweetest Anji?”

“Be with you.” Anji’s eyes were almost black, and she leaned up to breathe him in.

“I can do that,” Kevin agreed.
Lead by example. Get lost in a swamp.

AS DICTATED TO INSTANTIATION 17-01-18-01.
User avatar
Qara-Xuan Zenith
 
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:34 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Guyshane on Wed Nov 27, 2013 7:40 pm

Part 2: Marcus needs help

“Kay dear, its this next left up here. Next to da shop.”

“All right,” Mirae replied. She walked him up to the building. “Here,” she said, ducking out from under his arm to rap on the door.

Kevin yanked the door open, wearing… not a whole lot. He looked like he’d just pulled a pair of trousers on, though he was holding a dagger in his hand. “What is it?” he growled.

Marcus looked at the dagger in his hand wearily. “Don’t bother Kevin, someone already beat you to it.”

“Do you mind? We’re a little busy here.”

“Look what you’re doing is your business. I just need-” Marcus cut off his speech as another bout of dizziness hit him.

“Anji,” Mirae spoke up. She gave the stranger a cursory glance, but Marcus seemed sure on the place. “Or a healer, whichever works.”

Marcus nodded briefly. “Zi, Mirae is good but the wound is deep.” he managed to get out before sliding down the wall. Mirae crouched beside him, hand on his shoulder.

“Kevin? Who’s at the do-Oh Crow, you look like death.” Anji was better put together, sword free in one hand, the other holding a jacket closed.

Kevin tossed his dagger aside, reassessing the situation. Stooping to pull Marcus into his arms, he ordered the two women, “Clear the couch for him. God, but your timing is terrible, Marcus.”

“Next time I’ll get stabbed at a more convenient time of the day for you.” The warrior wheezed back.

Anji vanished into another room, and reappeared with a first-aid kit, hopping as she slid into a more convenient pair of leggings.

“More convenient day of the year’s all I’m asking,” Kevin replied absently, taking the bandages Anji passed him. “We can probably staunch the blood. Anjali, are you all right getting your-- No.” A swift glance at the dark window made him change his mind. “Take my place with Marcus, I’ll bring Eliziya.”

“Ah, no.” Anji slid the scabbard over her spine, before tossing more towels to Mirae, “I’m faster than you are any day. Keep him alive.”

Kevin nodded, worry in his eyes. “As you say, love.” He saw her heading for the door, and smiled despite himself. “Anj? It’s cold outside.”

“Oh. Jackets. Right.” Looking around, Anji grabbed the first jacket she found, one of Kevin’s, nearly being swallowed by the thing. Smirking back at Kevin, she glanced down at herself and sighed, “This is too big. I’ll just run without. See you in ten.”

Kevin shook his head, hiding a smirk as his cheeks turned a delicate pink. “Keep it, sweet… at least do yours up.”

Anji rolled her eyes, glaring at Marcus as she zipped up her jacket and walked outside. “Marcus, you live through this and I hear any teasing, I will murder you.”

Kevin shook his head as she left, sliding a hand under Marcus to raise the man’s head. “You don’t have to worry about her murdering you,” he told the man confidentially. “If you’ve been eyeing my wife, I’ll have to kill you first.”

“I’d appreciate all this banter if I wasn’t actually in danger of dying.” Marcus replied struggling to keep his eyes open and irritation seeping into his tone.

“I feel so unappreciated,” Kevin sniffed. “If you’re the famous doctor, why don’t you tell me what I can do for you beyond mopping up an inordinate amount of blood?”

Marcus glared as best he could. “You know Anji would still be a coat hanger if it wasn’t for me, you don’t see me complaining about how little credit I get.”

Kevin pulled his hands away from the bandages. “I’d take it as a kindness,” he said coldly, “if you refrain from speaking about my wife like that, whether or not I’m currently engaged in saving your life.”

Marcus let out another string of coughs. “Right now all your doing is letting me bleed on your carpet.”

“And who brought your bleeding carcass over to my home in the first place?” Kevin retorted, adding another layer to the bandages. Remembering the woman who had brought Marcus, apparently for the first time, he nodded to her, offering a bloody hand to shake. “Kevin Aqaba. You always keep company this bad?”

“Only if I’m lucky,” she answered, looking up at him. She briefly took his hand. “Mirae.”

“Can you keep him stable for a bit, Mirae?” Kevin asked. “I’d like to wash my hands and see if there isn’t something more useful we have tucked away somewhere for him.”

Mirae sent healing through the bandages, searching for some way she could lessen the injury. “I’m not the doctor here,” she murmured as she worked. “It should really be you dealing with dressings and bandages and the rest.”

Marcus smiled wearily. “You healing mages all think its so easy. Never thought I would hate having to say ‘I told you so’.”

“There’s a reason I stick with lightning.” Mirae laughed. “Other than that it’s fun. I’ve never gotten used to anything more than emergency healing. Or small things.”

“I know this is probably a bad time for criticism but considering where we live right now, you might consider expanding your skills a bit.”

“It’s kept me alive so far.” She smiled, tying off the end of a piece of linen. “But I’ll think about it. Let’s see if I can make your gash any less deep.” She placed a hand over the bandage, eyes losing their focus.

Marcus felt the pain recede a bit. “Have you given any thought to telling me your whole name?” he asked, a ghost of a grin on his face. “ I realize you don’t want to tell me but given the circumstance.”

Mirae flicked her eyes up to his face. “What circumstance?” she asked, the corner of her mouth twitching. “I don’t see any way my name would help you heal.”

“No but it was still worth a shot.”

“Hm.” Smiling to herself, she dropped her gaze again.

“One day, Miss no name. One day.” he paused for a moment. “Mir I’m kind of sleepy, is it safe for me to go to sleep or do I need to stay awake? I realize you only have a….what’s the word? Not specific? idea but...still”

“Go ahead and rest,” Mirae said, putting a hand on his shoulder and squeezing it gently. “I’ll try and keep the rest of your blood inside while you do.”

“Kay” he replied, eyes drooping. “Don’t worry about Anji. Shes mostly harmless….Maybe keep a little lightning on hand, just in case.”

“I always do.”

He nodded before closing his eyes and sleeping.

Kevin returned, carrying a few small bottles. “We can wash the inside of the cut now,” he explained. As they worked, removing the newly-tied bandages to pour the liquid over the abrasion before retying the cloths, he asked, “You the one who stabbed him, then?”

“What?” Startled, Mirae glanced up. Her voice still confused, she said, “I’d hardly be looking for a healer if I had put a knife in his back.”

Kevin shot her a grin. “Way he carries on, wouldn’t blame you if you had.”

Mirae shook her head. “Too much hassle, too much blood. There are cleaner ways to injure someone.”

“Oh?” Kevin cocked an eyebrow. “Should I be tiptoeing around you, Miss Mirae?”

“Whatever you do, Master Aqaba, I’m sure we’ll be out of here soon enough, and you can go back to your normal way of walking.”

Anji tumbled back into the apartment, face pale as she smacked into the door jamb. “Here, Ziya. He came in about.. twenty minutes ago?” She rubbed her head, wincing painfully, “Complained of a stab wound to the back.”

“Stab wound to the-” Zi stopped, then sighed. “M-Marcus.. would you please be more careful?” She eyed the bandages with a critical eye. “How did he get stabbed?” demanded the small healer.

“Friend of his from the assassins.” Mirae stepped away as she responded to give the other mage more room. “You’ll be able to help?”

“Able to help,” she repeated. Eliziya undid the crusted bandages quickly, then jabbed at the wound with a searching finger. Ignoring Marcus’ groans of pain, minute amounts of probing magic identified the depths of the damage, and Zi bit her lip uncertainly. It was too big for her to heal fully, too deep a wound, but she could at least stabilise him. Swiping some of the blood back into the wound, Zi began to knit the sinews back together, one strand at a time.

“You’re lucky it missed your spine and your lungs,” she sniffed primly. “I think- shut up!-” she growled at empty air, then continued. “-whoever stabbed you was incredibly careful, or you’re just very lucky.”

Then she stabbed Marcus with a needle, threading the edge of his wound and stitching it close, all the while letting an ambient aura of overall well-being seep into his body.

“No anesthesia for you,” she informed him, “because you’ve lost too much blood already. I don’t think you’re going into shock, but sleep-leeches would probably weaken your heart even further. That’s bad,” she explained as if to a child.

“I was stabbed in the back Zi, not my brain.” Marcus growled from the couch

“You have a brain?” Anji remarked calmly from the armchair.

“He tries to hide it,” Kevin explained, still hovering beside the couch.

Eliziya ignored their banter, scrunching her eyes in frustration, tilting her head to the side as if listening to someone else. “By all the saints, I’m trying to concentrate here!”

She maneuvered him such that Marcus was lying on right side, before applying pressure to the sides of his wound with heated fingers.

“This is going to hurt,” Zi warned. Then her fingers began to glow cherry-red and the smell of charred flesh began to enter her nose. Drawing a line down the sutured incision, Eliziya cauterised the vertical wound, leaving behind a blackened scar.

“It’s the only way I could ensure your wound didn’t re-reopen,” she stumbled over her own words. “Also, the internal damage is severe enough that you probably won’t be able to move around much for two weeks. Less, if I heal you some every day. Knowing you, I sh-should do that, right? Or should I let things take their natural course?”

Marcus once he had stopped gritting his teeth spoke up. “Saints, I forgot how much cauterization hurt. No need for you to concern yourself with me everyday Zi. I already have a healer.” he looked over at Mirae questioningly. “At least, if you’ll put up with me slowing down your exploration Mir.” She smiled at him and shrugged.

“Ohhhh.” A look of dawning comprehension came over Zi and she giggled. “That kind of healing. Just, um, don’t be too vigorous moving about. Just.. stay on the bed, and let her help you. Or the couch. W-wherever. Probably won’t reopen the wound.”

“Not our couch,” Kevin muttered.

Marcus went red and shot a glare at Zi. “I meant literal healing. Do you assume that with everything? Its like that time you put Anj and Julius in the cot together. You get way too much pleasure out of….match-making.”

“Well, they do say that that is the best healing.. As a healer,” she said solemnly, eyes glittering with deepest sincerity. “I am honour-bound to facilitate your recovery in whatever way possible.”

“Oh, go heal Tamar or something.”

Anji glanced between Marcus and Kevin, sighing quietly. “Marcus, you and Mirae can stay here until you’re healed.” Looking over at Kevin, she stood, and walked over to the couch. “Help me get him up.”

Marcus shook his head. “No I wouldn’t want to intrude on any….ahem, healing.”

“Cot?” Kevin asked.

Anji glared at them both and said, “We can move you to an inn in the morning, Marcus, if you’re that set on leaving us alone. For now, you’ll take the Crow-begotten bed.”

“This night keeps getting better and better,” Kevin commented, hoisting Marcus up again. “What was that about a cot?”

“We have a cot?” Anji smirked, picking up bloody clothes carefully.

“Not what I meant, dearest. Why haven’t you shared this delightful story of yours with your husband?” Kevin carried the man into Anji’s bedroom-- his and Anji’s bedroom, for all it mattered right now.

Anji bloomed red, and dragged a spare blanket and pillow out into the small den, “I’ll explain later, Kevin. Let’s focus on getting Marcus okay, and then I’ll talk about it.”

“I look forward to the explanation. Does his friend need somewhere to stay, as well?”

Anji looked over at Mirae, “She’ll stay with him, if that’s amenable to her. Otherwise she’s her own person.”

Kevin looked shocked. “Love, I don’t think they’re… Ah. This would be another of those cultural differences, wouldn’t it?”

“Yes, you stick.” Anji walked into the kitchen, and began brewing coffee. “Want any?”

“Why push off sleep?” Kevin grinned, twisting his arm around Anji’s waist. “Once we’ve got our guests settled, we can share the couch. Make something of this wedding night and all.”

Anji sighed, “I’m sorry. This place seems to have the worst sense of timing.”

Eliziya stopped tending to Marcus and stared at her sister. “Wedding… night?”

"Uh, yeah.. Funny story, Mei..." Anji looked desperately at Kevin for help.

“My fault,” he said quickly. “Definitely my fault.”

Zi stiffened, then put her hands to her temples as if struck by a ferocious headache. “It.. It’s oka- no, no, no, shut up, I- she has her own life- not her fault- shut the hell up, shut the hell up-”

“We can still have a proper celebration with you and Ben…” Kevin said tentatively.

Zi looked back at the newly-wedded couple and smiled painfully. “Yes, yes, of course, I’m sorry, I just, it’s ah, look, I”ll be okay, as soon as it just shuts up, yes..”

Anji winced, "I'll get you home, Ziya. Okay? We can talk more in the morning, when we're less sleepy and stuff."

“Y-yeah, Jie. Don’t worry, it’s not- not- not you, I just.. Look, you and Kevin ha-have a good time tonight, okay? Don’t need to bring- bring me back.” Zi began staggering towards the door.

"Mei, you're my only family. I want you here." Anji spoke quietly. Kevin looked away and took a step back, giving the sisters their space.

“I- ah..” Zi paused between the door and her sister, wavering uncertainly. “If- if you want me here, I guess, then I’ll stay, but, ah, I need a bit of- a bit of fresh air. I’ll be back, I pr-promise. Oh, and M-Marcus? When you lie down, keep your chest higher than your legs. Otherwise the blood flow might make the internal damage worse.”

Marcus casually waved his hand in her direction. “Thank you Zi, You aren’t the only one with medical training here.”

"See you tomorrow, Mei?" Anji offered cautiously, pulling away from Kevin.

“No, no, no,” Zi said hurriedly, grimacing, “I’ll be back in an hour, plus minus an hour- plus minus an hour- plus minus an hour. D-Don’t worry about me.”

Anji nodded nervously. "As you say, then."

She fled the apartment panickedly with unseeming haste, and Kevin crossed the room in the opposite direction, to stare distantly out the window. Anji frowned, and began to walk over to him, before thinking better of it and retreating to the couch.



Marcus closed the door to the room behind him and Mirae before turning to regard her. “Hey, Mir?”

“Hm?” Mirae looked up from rummaging in her bag.

Marcus tilted her chin up and gave her a long kiss. “Sorry, I caused you so much trouble tonight.” he explained once he had broken off.

“Hey, it was an adventure,” Mirae said, ruffling his hair. “Just try not to make more adventures end with us having to search out a hospital, all right?”

“Oh like you were expecting her to have another knife after all of them we had taken off her.” he joked, pulling her into his arms.

“Well, obviously we should assume that everyone we meet has one more knife than we were expecting,” she said. She kissed him, pushing a hilt into his hand. “Like this one.”

Marcus looked down at the knife in his hand before looking and raising an eyebrow at the short woman. “This one is here because….?”

“I’m guessing you trust these people,” Mirae replied. “But someone does need to hunt down supplies, and you shouldn’t be lying here completely defenseless.” She slipped out of his arms. “And in case you get bored and tired of sleeping.” She reached back into her bag and pulled out a very battered book, tossing it at him. She smiled.

Marcus held the knife and the book in one hand. “You know I do have a knife of my own….so to speak.” he said pulling out a rather large tooth from a leg sheath. “Well it stabs people like a knife anyway. But Mir, the sun isn’t up yet you need your sleep too.” He finished opening up the book to the first page and looking inside as he did so. Briefly paging through the book before looking up at her. “Fables? You know the most disturbing part is I think we might encounter the inspiration for some of these up here.”

Mirae grinned widely. She sat on the floor next to the bed and looked over his shoulder. “Now, that could be fun.”

Marcus rolled his eyes. “I continue to surround myself with the most insane people that I can find.” He said before pulling her into another kiss. “Now come on. You can get some supplies when the vendors open. Until then you’re getting sleep just as much as I am.” he said laying her down on the bed.

“I suppose one night won’t hurt. Now sleep. Or read. Or something,” she said, muffling a yawn.

“Yes, dear.” he replied before wrapping her in a hug and falling asleep. Beside him, Mirae’s eyes drifted shut, and she joined him in sleep.



Kevin only turned back from the window when he heard heavy breathing from the next room. Perching on the arm of the couch on the far side from Anji, he said quietly, “I thought I was your family, too.”

Anji glanced over at him, eyes clearing from deep thought. "In a way, yeah. Same way Zi is, I suppose." Anji attempted a smile, "Still getting used to this married thing. I'm sorry."

“Not your fault,” Kevin said wearily. He gazed off into space rather than look at her directly. “Just a little confused is all.”

Anji frowned, and patted the couch beside her. "Confused?"

“You told Eliziya that you wanted her by, because she’s your only family. I suppose I was just… taken aback by the sentiment you expressed,” Kevin explained stiffly. “I apologize.”

Anji curled up tighter, hurt by his sudden formality. "I didn't... She... I'm sorry. She doesn’t really remember her parents. I'm all she has too. I didn't mean to exclude you."

“It isn’t either or,” Kevin said softly. “I don’t mean to sound like I wish to… take your sister away from you or some such. There can be more than one kind of family, more than one kind of love, all the same. I love my parents, and I love you. They are my family, and you are. Neither takes away from the other. I suppose you don’t see things the same.”

Anji shook her head. "Sorry. I'll learn how though, if you give me a chance."

Kevin shook his head. “Sleep well, love.” He stood, carrying a stack of papers with him to the armchair.

Tears rolled down Anji’s face as she stood, grabbing one of Kevin’s jackets and a knife, slamming the door behind her.


Kevin caught up with Anji on the darkened street. “Please, wait…” He fumbled with his hand for a moment, then pressed something small into her palm. “I’m so sorry,” he told her in a tearful voice. “I thought… I didn’t mean to hold you against your will, Anjali. I love you. I thought… I should never have… I’m sorry.”

Anji examined the object in her hand for a moment. "You don't want me too?" She asked, fear and pain deadening her tone. Slipping the ring onto her thumb, she nodded curtly, tears in her eyes. "I'm sorry I wasn't good enough for you."

“More than anything,” Kevin said in a tone so passionate it bordered on anger, “I want you, have wanted you almost since we met. I love you. But I will not bind myself to a woman who does not love me. I won’t have you living with me out of a misplaced sense of obligation, Anjali. I can’t do that.”

Anji looked up at him, "I love you too. I married you, you dumbass."

“Because I pushed,” he pointed out. “I pushed, and you agreed, to avoid a fight. Maybe you like me, Anji, but I won’t do that to you.”

"Oh, so my agreeing to marry one of the two people I love most in the world is now void because you suggested it first?" Anji's voice rose in irritation. "I still chose to go. And I still love you, though that decision seems more and more ridiculous the crazier you behave."

I’m behaving crazily?” Kevin objected. “I… I just don’t know how to understand you,” he said finally, deflating. “You say you love me and then you turn away. You marry me and then refuse to look me in the eye. You…” His cheeks went pink. “After that, you say that I’m not family. It isn’t crazy to wonder if I imagined that you loved me because I so wanted it to be true.”

"You're my husband. I... I don’t know..." Anji rubbed her temples. "Zi and I were siblings out of necessity. You are mine by choice. I'm sorry for being such a continual disappointment to you, but I wasn't so lucky to have a chance to learn the proper way of doing everything."

“You aren’t a disappointment, my love,” Kevin said heavily. “Far from it. I just… I suppose I’m so worried about rejection that I keep anticipating it when it isn’t there. Please forgive me, Anjali. It was wrong of me to make you feel bad over my… crazy behaviour.”

"Is there something I can do to help ease your insecurities?" Anji smiled softly, holding out the ring as a peace offering.

“This shouldn’t be about me,” Kevin said, sliding his hand into hers and his finger back into the ring. “But maybe if your friends aren’t snoring too loudly, we can keep each other warm on the couch.”
I say we nuke it from orbit...its the only way to be sure.
User avatar
Guyshane
 
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:45 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Sicon112 on Fri Nov 29, 2013 3:27 am

The harsh, grating calls of a tiny, battered group of black crows was the only birdsong that still rang out across the winter wasteland of the twelfth floor, the trees withered husks that looked like they hadn't spread their leaves in centuries. Snow lay heavy on the branches and on the forest floor, and the sky was a foreboding grey, overcast by dull clouds as though the very color and life had been sucked away from the white fields.

A bit of metal glittered in what light was reflected from the white expanse below, and the hiss of cable being quickly played out joined the crows' cawing. The black birds started and looked in confusion at the tightly wound bunch of steel wire that wrapped a death grip around their branch of choice, then they went airborne, crying loudly with fright and annoyance as blue lightning darted through the air, and with the crack of fabric snapping in the wind a black form shot through the cloud of snow dislodged from the tree above him.

A bush to the left exploded in white, frozen dust as a fur-coated form leaped snarling from its ambush, teeth bared. A snarl turned into a yelp of pain as its teeth met a boot moving at twenty miles per hour, sending the wolf-like creature crashing into a tree trunk. Another hiss of twisting cable, and the creature felt a sharp tug on its neck as the person it was trying to kill skidded to a stop, dragging on the wire in his hands. A sharp crack of breaking bone resounded through the dead forest, and the limp corpse of the wolf fell to the ground with a whimper, twisting as it did so, outline expanding into a hunchbacked, unnatural biped that crashed limply into a mound of snow and lay unmoving.

With a flick of Kurt's wrist and a hiss of metal siding on metal, the priest's wires slipped back beneath his coat as he turned and shoved aside some underbrush, stepping out of the dim light of the trees and onto a crisp, untrodden snowfield. As he looked across the field, his eyes narrowed threateningly and his hand slipped into his shirt pocket to remove a bit of old, yellowed paper. Looming ominously ahead was a huge building of stone, a castle keep amidst a veritable fortress of thick walls and towers. Nodding to himself, as though he had found the place he was looking for, the priest tightened his grip on the paper, sending arcs of lightning along it and shifting its form into a deadly looking knife.

As he walked quickly across the snow, the huge wooden gates loomed before him, but his eyes focused on a small form sitting calmly near their base, surrounded by a field of old weapons jammed haphazardly into the snow. Looking up, the small man, or at least the being with the appearance of a man, sniffed the air quietly, before looking towards the approaching form of Kurt. “Well, well, well. Her majesty wasn't expecting guests today. I sent some of my men to inform the creatures of that, but they are so hopeless they probably missed you, Old Man.”

“They didn't.” Kurt didn't bother to lessen his stride, and the expression on his face told the world that he was ready to dismantle anything that got in his way.

“Oh, so you gave them the slip then? I'll have to discipline them once I finish with my dinner.”

“You can't discipline the dead, monster. But I intend to send you to join them, so you can pass on your displeasure then.” Kurt flipped the knife from a normal grip to a backhanded hold as he stepped forward, lightning arcing along the blade threateningly.

The creature at the gate, on the other hand, let out a snarling noise, like some sort of dog. “Don't get arrogant just because you killed those pups. I'll have you for dinner like every proud warrior that came to these doors before you!” As he spoke, his voice warped into an inhuman growl, and the edges of his form writhed as they expanded, leaving a huge wolf the size of a building towering over the priest, jaws dripping with slobber and teeth gnashing as it snarled.

Kurt became a blur of black as a huge, claw tipped paw crashed to earth where he had just been standing, sending up a wave of snow that vainly chased him as he was yanked to safety by the cable wrapped around an enormous sword. Landing feet first on the flat of the blade, the priest flipped forward and up, soaring over the snapping jaws darting towards him. With a shout of defiance, he slammed the tiny blade in his hands into the top of the wolf’s head, and as the creature howled with rage and whipped its body back and forth, dislodging him, he shouted the trigger for the burial rite carved into the blade. “CREMATION!” With an explosive roar, the crown of the canine creature's head burst into flames, its grey fur consumed by the frenzied dance of orange and red. Even yowling in agony, the wolf-guard did not lose his skill, and the massive creature threw itself sideways, rolling onto its back in the cool snow and then flipping to its feet again, snarling to let its displeasure be known.

The wolf, still smoking slightly, glared at Kurt with fury in its eyes, then clamped its jaws around the hilt of the huge blade beside it and tore it out of the ground, flinging snow everywhere. Kurt barely had time to widen his eyes in surprise before the huge wolf flipped the sword around in its mouth and then snapped its head sideways, swinging the massive sword through the air in an attempt to behead the priest. Flicking his hand out to the side, Kurt sent a wire flying through the winter air, and latching onto a naginata ten feet to his left. With a yank, he sent the polearm spinning towards him. Twisting himself over backwards as though doing the limbo and reaching out his arm, he caught the spinning weapon without slowing down its wild rotation and pulled it over his body. The massive sword passed over him and slid against the whirling naginata. Deflected, the huge blade's angle changed just enough to save the priest, but the force of the collision shattered the old polearm he had just gained and sent it hurtling away in tiny pieces as Kurt himself flipped sideways from his bent over position and skidded to a halt, scooping up a katana lying in his path.

Rolling to the side, Kurt managed to, with a fraction of a second to spare, escape the greatsword as it crashed down where he had just been standing. Flipping through the air, he landed on a spear more firmly pressed into the dirt that most of the weapons, and the old wood bent dangerously, then snapped back into position, flinging him back toward the wolf's weapon. With the clank of metal striking metal, Kurt landed on the edge of the huge sword, still stuck into the ground from a moment before, his metal-soled boots protecting his feet as he dashed straight for the wolf's stunned face, swinging his new weapon before him.

Blood stained the snow, and the wolf stumbled away from the sword, swinging its front paw through the air blindly, blood dripping from a cut across its left eye. Kurt, still flying through the air, managed to swing his katana up to block, but the blade was sent flying away from him as he was sent crashing through the old wood of the ancient gate. Rolling to a stop amidst a snowbank in the courtyard, which was filled with even more weapons, Kurt stumbled to his feet as the gate slammed open with a bang, the huge form of the wolf-guard soaring over his head and landing between the priest and the keep. As the creature pounced again, this time back towards Kurt, he scooped up a spear and twirled it around him, but the wooden shaft was split apart by a mighty paw-swipe that sent Kurt skidding across the snow. Twisting to avoid a follow up attack, Kurt felt the deadly claws of the wolf's paw slip through the air barely an inch away, and with a battle cry, he twisted himself around and slammed the broken shaft of the spear straight through one of the soft pads of the animal's foot.

Stumbling to a halt as the creature howled in pain, Kurt fell to a knee, panting. Just as his enemy turned to focus on him again, Kurt prepared himself to leap to his feet once more, only to be interrupted by a calm, nigh-emotionless female voice, seemingly spoken right into his ear. “Dodge left.” A voice coming from right behind him, would, under normal circumstances, cause him to spin to face the speaker, weapons ready, but the voice in his ear was far too familiar. He knew well exactly who the owner of the voice was, and he acted instantly, the matter requiring no thought at all. He jerked his head to the side, and at the same instant something shiny and metal hurtled past his right ear and stuck into the wolf's already bloodstained left eye.

The enormous creature gave a sound somewhere between a howl of rage and a whimper of agony as it stumbled backward, nearly toppling as it turned its remaining eye towards the broken gate. ”WHERE?!” Its twisted voice cried, resounding throughout the snowy courtyard. But in the same instant as it opened its fanged maw to ask this question, it received its answer in the form of three crimson flashes flaring to life in its newly created blind spot, and a monochromatic blur of silver and raven black streaking between them, bounding from one to the other with incredible speed, carried with increased speed by the arcane lights that the priest immediately recognized as the cuboid familiars of the assassin mage of the thieves’ guild.

Stopping his accelerated flight over the wolf’s head, the Phantom Thief smirked, sweeping his sword from his back as he fell like lightning, wreathed in the fluttering fabric of his distinctive coat. “Try here!” He roared, digging his blade deep into the titanic wolf’s back, staining the creature’s grey fur with a shower of deep crimson as he ripped his sword free, then leaped away as the beast reared up on its hind legs, shaking wildly as it lashed out in vain, unable to catch the thief as he flung himself to the side.

“I will not be shamed by a pretentious PUP!” The wolf bellowed, lowering itself on its haunches, then pouncing with frightful speed towards the airborne thief. But Seire merely smirked, completing a rather theatrical flip and landing softly amidst the snow, staring down the oncoming wolf as, in the next instant, a black and crimson bullet came streaking down from the wall, bounding across the floating crimson cubes that had carried the first thief to the scene of the combat as they aligned themselves like stepping stones. Yet again taking advantage of the wolf’s blinded eye, the Thief King’s sworn brother now joined the fray, closing in before the creature realized he was there and dealing a mighty, two-handed stroke with his towering longsword to the beast’s flank, catching it off balance and sending it stumbling wide of its original target, rolling with its overextended momentum and crashing through several deep drifts of snow before rising once again. With a wordless howl, the beast once again lowered itself to pounce… only to find its legs immobile as a creeping sheet of ice rose up from the show and began to encase them.

“Hold it, furball,” Joined a rough, cocksure voice as a third figure smirked, rising into the air atop a fourth familiar as he leveled his gleaming saber, the ice surrounding the wolf flashing as he brandished the arcane weapon. “See,” Zess continued. “I always wanted ta’ get me a nice winter coat, but that dandy o’er there keeps ‘em all to himself. But ya’ know what? I think a wolf pelt’ll do just as nicely. So why don’t ya make this easy and just die before I have ta’ cut you up and gut you like a fish? Your hide’ll look nicer that way.”

The wolf’s only response was an indignant, furious howl, as, with a mighty effort, it tore its legs from their icy prison, then spun around, sweeping out its front paw in an enraged lunge for the airborne pirate. But Zess merely laughed, and, leaping from the floating magical cube upon which he stood, flipped over the beast’s head and landed alongside his comrades - although not without releasing a small shower of razor sharp icicles from his sword, which embedded themselves in the already furious creature’s back. Rising to his feet alongside Shirou and Seire, the pirate smirked, while the Phantom Thief himself turned back to give a cheery wave to the priest as Kurt rose to his feet, recovering quickly from the blows he’d received.

“Hey, there, Kurt!” Seire called out with a smirk. “Fancy meeting you here! Looks like I showed up right on cue, though. Did you want this one? ‘Cause if so, I’m afraid I’ll have to steal it. You can have a cut of whatever loot he’s guarding if you join my guild permanently, th-” The Thief King’s jest was cut short by a maddened howl as the wolf turned once again to face its nimble opponents, its remaining eye bloodshot and wild. The priest simply sighed and massaged the bridge of his nose at the thief-caused chaos.

I’ll rip out your hearts, and feast on your bones!” The mighty creature roared, lunging with reckless abandon towards the assembled thieves. But yet again, Seire merely chuckled, seeming completely unphased by the enormous creature bearing down on them.

“Scarlet?” He called casually, snapping his fingers.

“As you command.” The emotionless, ethereal voice that had resounded in the priest’s ears before did so once again. Although there was no visible speaker, the reply was heard by all as, in an instant, the three crimson cubes that had appeared initially floated down in front of the thieves, each flaring to life as the fourth, upon which Black Zess had ridden briefly, rose high above them into the air, its light flickering to punctuate the telepathic speech of its owner. Then, as the wolf came on, the familiars’ brilliance surged to a fever pitch, as from the heart of each flashed a radiant crimson circle, all marked with simple, identical runes. The barrier spell that Scarlet had cast through her constructs was as basic as the familiars themselves, but that by no means meant it was ineffective. Rather, cast in triplicate, it served to create a three-layered wall that the already weakened wolf could not penetrate. Ramming into it, the creature howled with pain, and stumbled back as the barrier once more flickered into nothingness, the runic circles of light that had formed it now rearranging themselves into a different shape. Another flash, brighter than the last, illuminated the courtyard as from each familiar, a basic elemental lightning bolt surged forth, striking the wolf head on in the burnt patch where Kurt had embedded his personal weapon. The beast howled, and then fell, toppling to the side and kicking up a blinding cloud of snow and dust. In the same instant, the fourth familiar descended from the air - only now, it was occupied. Gingerly, the elegant black-clad form of Scarlet stepped down, while Shirou quickly planted his sword and offered his hand to help her, as though aiding an ordinary lady in dismounting a carriage. Seire chuckled at his companion’s leftover knight-like mannerisms, but nevertheless seemed largely focused on the large cloud in front of them.

“Great work, Scarlet,” Shirou said, grinning to his stoic companion, who merely nodded calmly - albeit in a distinctly happy manner, for one as unemotive as herself - as he turned to reclaim his blade. “It’s lucky she found this place, or we’d never have been able to show up and bail you out, Kurt,” He turned his attention now to the priest, giving him a respectful nod.

“I don’t require your help in the slightest.” The priest cast an annoyed glance in Seire’s direction as he pulled a falchion from the snow beside him. “I had the situation perfectly under control before you managed to enrage him beyond all sensibility. I did manage to get the gate open, did I not?”

“Says the one who poked him in the eye and lit his head on fire,” Seire replied pointedly.

“Well obviously I had to give him some impetus, or he would never have opened the doors for me by way of his giant face.”

“Oh, so getting flung headlong through a wooden gate was all part of your plan, was it?”

“No, but I’m good at improvising. It’s something I picked up from dealing with you for so long. You couldn’t hold together a coherent plan for five minutes if your life depended on it.”

“Not my fault you can’t grasp my strategies. How long are you gonna stay on my back for lighting the mansion on fire that one time, anyway? I told you that was what I’d meant to do all along, didn’t I?”

“That’s funny, Kaitou, because as I recall, you just remembered the information that I got you had pinpointed a secret stash of coin behind the cutlery drawer and you just decided the best plan would be to tear it out of the wall and hurl it across the room, knocking our only lantern into the silk curtains!”

“Hey, it got the guards off our back, didn’t it?”

“And it got us labeled as dangerous terrorists, blew my cover, and got us run out of town just ahead of an angry mob!”

“Eh, that Landgrave had it coming, anyway. He insulted my coat.”

“Did you seriously repair that thing again even after the state it was in a few months ago?”

“Don’t be silly! This is my spare… Or, one of them, anyway,” The thief replied matter-of-factly. “Speaking of which, you really need to see a tailor about replacing that cape of yours. It looks like it’s-”

“Pardon my interruption,” Scarlet said gravely. “But it appears our adversary is not yet dead.”

“No shit,” The former pirate said, nodding his head towards the enormous gray form of the wolf as it rose, giving a mighty howl the sheer force of which was enough to scatter the dust lingering around its body like chaff on the winds of a hurricane.

“Well,” Kurt dusted the light coating of snow from his coat as he sneered sarcastically at the PTA members. “You were the ones so excited about killing it. Break a leg.”

“Which one? It has four,” Seire replied cheerfully.

“Yeah, but I stabbed one, so breaking that wouldn’t make much of a difference, now would it?” Picking up his stolen falchion once more, Kurt stepped back and off to one side.

“I’ll just take that as all three of the others, then,” Shirou interjected, grinning as he raised his heavy blade and leveled it with practiced - not to mention rather deceptive, considering the weapon’s tremendous weight - ease. “Scarlet? Would you set the stage?”

“Understood. Analyzing battlefield… activating ritual space… commencing battle.” As she recited this mechanical mantra, Scarlet raised her fragile hand, sending the four crimson cubes around her scattering outward in all directions. Forming four corners of a large square, they encompassed the entire courtyard between them. In an instant, their radiant glow expanded once again, this time not in the shape of a circle, but rather, in the form of countless lines running outward from each familiar. First, large lines joined them all together, then diverged into several smaller ones, expanding until they had formed a precise, even grid across the ground throughout the courtyard, dividing it into several dozen large squares of equal size. Then, in the next instant, six flashes of light appeared in the air above - one over each square within the grid where a combatant was standing. Between these, another series of lines took shape, linking the familiars to the fighters beneath them, and each familiar to each other.

“Ritual space complete. I am prepared, sir,” The quiet magus said, nodding to the thief at the head of the group, who grinned, raising his own blade.

“Alright, then,” Seire said with a smirk. “Let’s get this started, brother!”

“You don’t have to tell me twice!” Shirou replied, leaping forward alongside his comrade, his fiery mane of hair trailing in his wake.

I’ll send you to hell!” The wolf roared, raising both front paws and bringing them down in unison, aimed to crush the pair of thieves, only to give a growl of surprise as, unexpectedly, both men accelerated, darting nimbly to each side as the familiars over their heads flashed with light, illuminating the grid squares beneath them momentarily with a single rune: a speed enchantment. Reshaping her ritual space to lend the needed advantage to her comrades, Scarlet lowered each of the two forwards’ familiars to their sides.

“Aim for its back legs,” She directed psychically. Shirou and Seire, their reactions instinctive after years of working as a team, didn’t need to be told twice. Leaping outward, they each rebounded off of the familiars linked to them, launching themselves with even greater speed beneath the rearing wolf, each man dealing a mighty blow to one of the beast’s back legs. Emerging on either side of it as it fell, they moved with perfect synchronization, bounding once again off of the other’s familiar and launching into the air, moving out of the way just in time to clear the playing field for the next combatant. “Now, cripple the target,” Scarlet directed, continuing to press the assault. With a raucous laugh, Zess lowered himself to the ground as yet another rune took shape beneath him, giving a single flash and launching him high into the air. Rebounding off of his familiar, he directed all of his momentum forward, slashing his enchanted saber across the guardian’s shoulder, freezing its remaining unwounded limb as he passed. The beast howled with pain, and toppled once more towards the ground. The former pirate landed behind it, only to cry out with surprise as he found himself standing right beneath the collapsing beast.

“Father Schweinorg, break the beast’s fall and move it back into the air. I will provide the necessary strength.” Following this order without a second thought, the priest leaped once more into action, launching forward as a rune like that which had propelled Zess now hurled him into the air in a similar manner. Leaping off of the familiar above his own head, he found himself flung forward as though shot from a cannon, only for the familiar linked to Zess to appear in his path, allowing him to hook it with a wire, swinging around the falling guardian and pulling the cable taut behind the beast’s neck. In an instant, the grid space beneath him flared bright crimson, a new rune appearing in the space below his feet. As the light rose up from this emblem, it encircled his arm, running down the extended wire as, against all apparent possibility, the wire held firm, snapping back into place like a slingshot at the same time as the ground beneath the wolf formed a basic propulsion rune, the force of the rune of strength allowing Kurt to launch the creature, while the rune of propulsion guided its motion… right into the path of the two airborne warriors who now descended, blades in hand and ready to finish their attack.

“Aim for all of its vitals simultaneously. One strike at least is sure to get through and finish it off.” With this final command, Scarlet moved each fighter’s linked familiar into place behind them, and yet again launched them at their target. With a mighty roar, Shirou leveled his blade, slamming the two handed sword directly into the wolf’s exposed underbelly. “You’re MINE!” He bellowed triumphantly. Unexpectedly, however, a flash of blue pierced the nape of the beast’s neck as, bounding off of his own familiar, Zess flew past from behind, dealing an icy cut at the beast’s throat. “No,” He shouted. “It’s MINE!”

“Think again!” Seire finished, whirling his blade above his head as he descended. “It’s MINE!” With this resounding cry, he plunged his black and silver sword directly into the wolf’s heart. The defeated guardian gave a pathetic cry as it crashed to the ground. The victorious trio landed, grinning competitively as they sheathed their blades and turned to walk away… Only to be interrupted by a rasping snarl as the wolf struggled to rise once again.

I will not be bested here… My fangs have rent the bodies of countless warriors. My claws have torn asunder the flesh of all who challenge me. Nothing can sate my endless hunger. I will not die to the likes of you! I will not-

With a flash of light, a pathetic whimper, and the wet thud of a blade embedding itself in the flesh of its target, the falchion of the priest dug deep into the thrice-wounded scalp of the guardian, silencing it for good.

“Actually, as you’ll find I was here first, it’s mine.”

The three warriors gazed on in disappointment, and gave a mutual sigh.

“Killstealer,” Seire pouted.

“I’d just like to point out the blatant irony of a thief accusing me of his favorite crime.” Kurt flicked the falchion and sent blood splattering across the snow. “Besides, as I just established, it was mine in the first place. Now if you don’t mind, I’d like to know exactly what you think you are doing here.” It wasn’t a question.

“Sightseeing,” Seire replied without missing a beat, his voice deadpan and practically dripping with sarcasm. He might have continued, but to his surprise, he was interrupted by the most unlikely of individuals.

“Our objectives are to survey the higher levels of the castle, discover any alchemical reagents we might be able to acquire, and establish a base of operations far from the civilization on the lower levels,” Scarlet stated matter of factly, her voice sounding a bit strained as the grid of crimson light and the ten familiars comprising it faded away from view. Shirou gave a wry, slightly anxious smile. Although she was certainly capable of creating more than that number, supporting so many familiars and a combat grid was nonetheless hard on the young magus, and it showed.

“Yeah, pretty much,” Seire confirmed, shrugging his shoulders resignedly as he adjusted the black scabbard slung over his back. “Speaking of which, since we’ve taken out this flea-ridden carpet, can we head in and steal everything that isn’t tied down already? This place is pretty boring, and I’d like to get a move on.”

“How did you even get up here? Last time I checked, the portal wasn’t working and I left a horde of angry worms down on floor eleven when I came here.” Looking around in vain for some way to store his new weapon, Kurt finally let out a sigh of defeat and accepted the fact that he would just have to carry it around unprotected for the moment.

“Oh, so you’re the one who pissed those things off?” Zess asked pointedly, shooting a glare in the monk’s direction. “I hope you’re happy. They nearly ate us the moment we entered the floor.”

“Oh, come on. It wasn’t that bad,” Shirou said cheerily. “They were pretty weak.”

“Easy for you to say. You didn’t have one burst up under your feet and have to crawl out of it from the inside,” Zess retorted.

“Yeah, and that huge one was kind of a pain,” Seire chimed in. “I cut it up plenty, but it just wouldn’t stay down. I gave it some scars for its trouble to match the set you made, though. Seriously, though. I thought I’d never get that sand out of my coat.”

“Uh… you didn’t, brother,” Shirou replied lamely. “You just switched coats.”

“Did I? Huh. I don’t even remember.” Shrugging, the thief turned towards the looming tower the wolf had been standing guard over. “Well, whatever!” He declared cheerfully. “Since that oversized guard dog’s out of the way, there’s no sense loitering around here. Let’s head on up to the next-”

“Not so fast!” The booming voice resounded throughout the courtyard, punctuated, fittingly enough, by a high pitched, distinctive laugh - the sort of jeering, overly drawn out sort of laugh that made you want to suffocate the overly pompous, doubtlessly aristocratic woman responsible with a teaspoon, or perhaps a live hamster. Seire winced at the high pitched, keening cackle, immediately turning his eyes up to glare at the speaker - a figure standing atop a balcony above the courtyard, and who, more importantly, didn’t seem particularly inclined to stop her shrill laughter any time soon. Just when Seire had managed to find his scissors lying next to the body of the wolf and was preparing to try to shut her up that way, however, she seemed to decide it was high time to mock them with words instead of just meaningless syllables. Well, it was either that, or she was finally out of breath, but the thief didn’t particularly care, because he’d just noticed something else.

“Wait a minute,” He asked aloud, his eyes widening with disbelief. “Is she wearing a dress made out of DIAMONDS?”

“...I think so,” Shirou confirmed, nodding somewhat numbly at the realization. The Thief, however, only seemed horrified.

“Curses! Such riches, right before my very eyes, and yet as they are being used as clothing by a woman, it goes against my manly pride to steal them!”

“I think yer being way too melodramatic about this, boss,” Zess chimed in, raising an eyebrow. His words, however, seemed to be completely ignored.

“And you!” Seire continued, pointing in a rather over the top manner up at the noblewoman on the balcony. “How dare you make such an entrance? Come down here and speak to us face to face, or else silence yourself and get out of our way!”

“Are you really the one to talk about other people making entrances?” Shirou asked pointedly.

“But of course!” Seire declared boisterously, rounding on his sworn brother. “In this castle, there is only one man allowed to mount the stage of conflict so majestically! And that man… is me!” He cried, pointing to himself. “Of course,” He added as an afterthought. “When I do it, it’s actually cool. She’s just being annoying, what with that laughing and whatnot.”

“Er… I seem to recall-” Zess began, only to be cut off by a sudden loud crash and splintering of wood as a spear was sent flying upward towards the balcony above, embedding itself in the stone of the wall behind where the woman had stood, whilst she herself vanished in a flash of light only moments before the javelin struck home, appearing once again atop the stairs leading into the tower at the opposite end of the courtyard.

“All of you shut your mouths. That witch’s screeching gave me a headache and you’re only making it worse.” Kurt snatched his falchion from where he had stuck it into the ground and started marching towards the staircase. “I’m just going to crush her and her castle and get on with things. If you want to stand here in the snow and keep arguing about nonsense, be my guests, but don’t you dare start until I’m out of earshot.

“Well, you’re certainly as cheerful as ever,” Seire said, sighing as he slipped his scissors back into the sleeve of his coat, reaching instead for his sword and drawing it once again. “So, basically, this broad’s some sort of magic user, and she doesn’t want us going through this way?”

“Such seems to be the circumstances,” Scarlet confirmed, nodding dutifully.

“Don’t equate me with a mere magic user like your fellows, knave,” The aristocratic lady said scornfully. “I am the Silver Witch, queen of this land. Before my absolute power, even the seasons themselves bow!”

“...So let me get this straight,” Zess said skeptically. “You’re saying you have the power to warp nature to the point that you can even change seasons… And the only thing you used it for was to make it snow? What, didja want to go skiing or something?” The pirate laughed derisively.

“Silence!” Roared the queen. “I have had enough of your foolishness. You have come far, to be sure, but the likes of you can never defeat me. My reign is eternal, and my power infinite! Kneel before me, and beg for my forgiveness, and I ma-” The witch was abruptly silenced by a gleaming sword blade sweeping upward almost casually towards her face, forcing her to jump back to avoid having her brains rearranged via falchion - an evasion which she executed with surprising alacrity, considering the substance and the complexity of her garments. “Why, you insolent-” The Witch began, only to be cut off by a scornful, icy reprimand from her attacker.

“Is everyone in this place a braggart? I believe I told you to be silent and get on with this battle. Now either step out of my way or defend yourself, or I will make you.”

A cry of outrage from the Witch was swiftly punctuated by a downpour of bizarre, frigid light, seeming to wash over the priest in an instant, leaving only ice in its wake. But, just as the queen was about to - evidently - indulge in another ear-piercing laugh, she found herself silenced by a sudden cut from above that came very close to decapitating her, forcing her to backpedal once again as Kurt, trailing snow from his gleaming, magic-resistant scarf, fell back down to earth, sword in hand as he finished evading the large part of the arcane assault.

The thieves, meanwhile, scattered to escape the deluge of ice and magic, Scarlet summoning a familiar and rising into the air along with Shirou, whilst Zess countered the tidal wave of ice and snow for a moment with his own sword, then cut an exit route for himself and Seire before the freezing spell could engulf them.

Another slash sent the queen stumbling backward, and this time, she only escaped by teleporting once again, vanishing from sight, only to be revealed once again as the persistent monk slashed open the doors to the tower just in time to dodge a series of razor sharp icicles that came streaking forth to greet him. Rushing through the doors, the thieves followed close on his heels.

Giving an angry cry, the Witch appeared once more atop a large staircase at the opposite end of what was evidently a great hall. Clapping her hands, she swept them out, causing a chill wind to spread throughout the chamber. Then, before her, an enormous shape began to rise from the floor - a knight made of ice at least three times Kurt’s size, an enormous, double-edged sword in its hand as it swept the blade down towards the monk from the side.

Dashing as he was toward the witch before him, Kurt only caught the movement out of the corner of his eye, and bending over backwards, he threw himself into a handspring, clearing the blade by a fraction of an inch. Catching his fall by slapping his left palm onto the stone below him, he flipped himself backwards and skidded across the entrance hall as he regained his feet, right arm still extended, no longer gripping his sword, which clattered to the floor where he had been standing, but gripping his cable, which, now wrapped around the sword of ice, yanked him from the floor.

Swinging wildly from the blade, he flipped over the golem’s head and planted his boots on either side of its spine, tugging with all his might on the wire, which crackled brilliantly with blue bolts of magic. Constricting on the sword blade, the ice began to crack as the coils of steel wound ever tighter, before with a loud echo that filled the hall, the sword split in two, sheared apart by the cable. Now held up by nothing and standing sideways on the back of the golem, Kurt began to drop, but a flick of his left hand sent a second wire wrapping tightly around the golem’s left arm, and his fall was turned into a swing as he spun out and up, landing atop the golem’s helmeted head, throwing out his first cable once more and latching onto the golem’s other arm, as it stared in confusion at its broken weapon.

Shouting with exertion, Kurt dug his heels into the helmet and pulled, wires once again coming to life with magic lighting, and with another resounding crack, the cables sheared off both of the golem’s arms. Hands still gripping his cables, Kurt let himself tilt back and fall gracefully from the golem’s helmet, flipping over as he fell to land on his feet. However, the flip only served to disguise the motion of his arms as he cast the cables out once more, and as he slid to a halt with his arms crossed in front of him and cable wrapped tightly around his wrists, he smirked calmly. Then he yanked with both hands, and with a final bang, the golem’s head was severed from its torso in an instant and rolled across the hall as Kurt caught his retracting wires once again.

The Witch cried out with anger, and raised her hands to cast another spell, only to be cut off yet again: this time, from behind, as a sudden blitz of crimson lightning came streaking down from the ceiling and struck the queen dead on, sending her stumbling forward and quite nearly falling down the stairs before she balanced herself, rounding on the source of the weak spell that had unexpectedly interrupted her, finding herself face to face with Scarlet. The pale-haired magus floated down from above atop her familiar, readying herself to cast another spell. However, the Witch was quite obviously her superior when it came to the arcane arts, and it showed. In an instant, before Scarlet could finish preparing her own magic, the queen had already cast another spell, sending an enormous spear of ice shooting towards the tired magus.

This projectile, however, had been fired without taking a very important thing into account. That thing was, specifically, the red-headed knight with a zweihander who, being rather violently protective of his stoic spouse, was currently dropping from the ceiling with his sword raised high overhead, cleaving through the projectile and very nearly bisecting the queen also with a single mighty stroke, missing only because the Witch yet again managed to backpedal with uncanny speed. Raising her hands, she once again began to create a spear of ice, aiming this time for the knight, only to be yet again interrupted by the entrance of another figure as Seire landed atop his sworn brother’s sword, raising his own smaller blade in front of him, as, to the queen’s surprise, Shirou hefted both his blade and the man standing atop it with a roar of exertion, and then, sweeping it downward, catapulted the thief straight towards the elegantly clad magician.

With a loud crash, the spear she had been creating quickly reformed itself into a shield of ice, but, half-formed as this defense was, it crumbled beneath the mighty attack, revealing a fourth figure in the Thief King’s place: Zess, who with a single slash through the rubble assumed control of the shards of the Witch’s shattered shield, launching them straight for her. Sweeping up her hand, the queen caught this barrage, and once more took control of the ice, forming it into a long, thin blade just in time to catch the pirate’s saber as he closed in, hoping to land a blow while she was preoccupied. Turning his weapon aside with practiced ease, she pivoted, spinning to deflect a blow from Seire as he once again joined the fray. To her surprise, however, the instant before the monochrome saber of the Thief King met her own icy blade, he suddenly sidestepped, cutting off his attack and spinning through without striking, revealing, to the Witch’s surprise, Shirou, who, leaping off of Scarlet’s familiar to gain momentum, launched himself like a rocket towards her, shattering her overextended weapon with a single blow.

Before she could create another, or even turn to face to incoming thief, Seire had already raised his sword to finish her off. The blade closed in, its glinting edge rushing towards the spellcaster’s throat… Only to stop yet again, this time involuntarily, as, giving a cry of surprise, the thief found himself yanked back by a cable that had suddenly wrapped itself around his waist, skidding back before righting himself alongside the monk, just in time to see a chandelier collapsing from the ceiling upon the spot he’d just occupied.

“What the hell?” Seire asked as the thieves hastily retreated, moving to a distance to avoid the queen’s retaliation now that their attack had failed. “Where did that come from?”

“If I had to venture a guess, the ceiling.” The priest’s tone was still in its usual sarcastic drawl as he snapped up his wire once more and let it slip beneath his cloak. “It probably got dislodged by a part of that golem I broke.”

“Lucky her,” The thief said irritably, leveling his sword and preparing to attack once again, his readiness to strike the woman at the center of the group only increasing when she began to laugh once again.

“It’s no use!” She cried mockingly. “Try all you like, but there’s no way you peasants can dethrone me. My reign is eternal!”

Kurt’s eyes narrowed as he stared at the woman while she cackled to herself. “Something isn’t right. We need to start moving for the exit. Get Scarlet to take over coordination and see if we can’t break past her and get further in.” The priest bent down without taking his eyes off their opponent and grabbed his sword from the ground.

“Err… right,” Shirou replied, nodding as he turned to the floating magus by his side. “You got enough power left to get us out of here?” The white-haired spellcaster merely nodded.

“Where to?” She asked quietly.

“That pillar rising from the back of the castle. It’s the gate to the next floor.” The priest shifted into a combat ready stance, testing the weight of the unfamiliar weapon.

“Understood,” The magus said calmly. Closing her eyes for a moment, she balanced herself atop her familiar as he let out a faint pulse of light. Then, opening her blood colored pupils, she turned towards a side door leading out of the chamber.

“Like I’d let you run!” The queen cackled, releasing a blast of ice straight for the young woman atop the gleaming cube, only for this to be turned aside instantly by an identical projectile as Zess raised his hand, firing as a command resounded throughout the ears of all of the allied combatants.

“Zess. Disrupt her magic with your own. Everyone else, move for the door on the left. I will bring up the rear and provide shielding to allow for your escape.”

For a moment, the icy shot was slowed by the pirate’s attack. In the next, however, the witch struck with renewed force, only for the white haired spellcaster to dart nimbly to the side atop her familiar, streaking down in front of the other four as they turned for the door and, after Shirou burst it open with a strike of his two-handed sword, rushed through it. Yet again, the Witch opened fire with her magic, only for it to be turned aside as Scarlet hastily erected a barrier, then launched herself backward, tearing through the open door. The Witch gave an angry growl, and vanished once again in a flash of light, re-appearing at the end of the hallway just in time to receive yet another burst of crimson lightning directly to the torso, sending her staggering as, in the next instant, Kurt lunged forward, blade raised to attack.

“Kurt, aim for the rafters above. Bring them down with your cables to cut her off. Shirou, the wall is weak to the right. Break it down. Zess and Seire, clear the area beyond.”

His sword deflected to one side by the smug witch, Kurt pretended to stumble, hiding the flick of his wrist that sent cables soaring through the air. Turning his faked moment of weakness into a handspring, Kurt cleared the Witch’s follow up and vanished into the cloud of dust and debris that filled the air as the wall was blasted apart. Before the witch could finish shouting, lightning darted across the rafters and cables clamped down and sliced through rotten wood. With a roaring crash, fragments of roof began to rain from the sky, but the party had already vanished into the next hallway over.

…..

“Zess, lock her in place! Shirou, bring that statue down on her. Seire, feint an attack and catch her counterspell, and Kurt, finish her while she’s open!”

…..

“As expected. Kurt, fall back while Shirou moves in to draw her attention. Zess, prepare a powerful spell, I’ll give you support with my lightning. Seire, wait for a wide range attack, then rush in to stab her with your scissors to serve as a target for our magic. Wait for her to deflect the attack, then fake using the fallout as cover to try to land a killing blow. Break off your attack at the last moment, while Kurt drops in from above to take her by surprise.”

…..

“Use the end table as a shield, dodge magically enhanced cutlery. Evade enchanted ovens, then retaliate with anything on hand. Yes, there. Now, throw the cheese.”

…..

“Kurt, dodge up, then use the support pillars to vault forward after waiting precisely one second. Zess, shoot down any attacks that get close to Kurt. Once he’s interrupted her spell, Shirou, launch from my familiar to attack from the front. Kurt and Zess will loop around from both sides. Expect a large scale defense. She’ll attempt to push you back. Give no ground. Seire, wait for me to summon two more familiars, then once I’ve disrupted her defenses, use them to launch in and attack. Dodge the ritual trap that will be located directly in front of her, then close in, feint a high cut, and strike at her legs. She’ll be expecting a kill shot. When she retaliates in close quarters, block with your sheath, then shatter her weapon with your sword. Most likely, she’ll employ a polearm, so aim for the haft just below the blade. Once she’s disarmed, Zess will keep her from repairing her weapon, Shirou will cut off her rear, and Kurt will move in to push her into Shirou’s blade. Aim to bisect her with a single swing. Also, watch out. There may be more traps in this corridor. If you feel a chill below you, then warn the others and pull back.”

Stumbling as the Thief’s blade grazed her ankle, the Witch hastily raised her hands, creating a long spear from ice, only to be taken aback as Seire cut through it with ease before it had even finished forming. The usually emotionless magus gave a satisfied smirk as the Witch found herself unable to create another weapon as Zess rested control of her ice, just as she’d expected. With no means of defense available to her, the Witch began to backpedal as the priest hounded her every step, dealing several cuts, many of which hit their mark. And then, just as the spellcaster had planned, Shirou cut off the queen’s final escape, raising his sword with both hands and lashing out. With a mighty roar, his blade swept up, cleaving the Witch in two at the waist…

Or rather, cleaving through where she’d been. Even Scarlet’s eyes widened in disbelief at the spectacle. It was impossible for her to have readied a teleport spell in the time between when Shirou struck and when she moved, and yet somehow, in the blink of an eye - almost as though she’d been there all along - the Witch was suddenly standing several feet to the left, just beyond the reach of the knight’s formidable sword. There had been no signs of movement, or any evidence of magic. Rather, between one moment and the next, she’d simply ceased to be in the path of the swing, as though the world itself had simply deemed it so, and bent to accommodate that reality.

“Again?!” Zess roared, leaping back along with his fellows as ice erupted beneath where they’d been standing, forcing them to retreat yet again. “What the hell is she? No matter how much we kill her, she doesn’t even get hurt! We’ve been at this for twenty minutes and she’s barely even broken a sweat!”

“This isn’t normal at all,” Seire said grimly. “Scarlet!” He called. “Is she using some sort of illusion?”

“Negative,” The coordinator replied, floating gently to the ground as the familiar she’d been riding ran out of power and blinked out, along with one of the other two she’d summoned. It seemed she was reaching her limit, no matter how expertly she’d commanded the course of the battle up until this point.

“But there’s no way for somebody to just instantly move without teleporting, right?” Shirou asked, seeming skeptical. “Are you sure this isn’t all just some kind of trick?”

“It’s a trick, all right.” Kurt’s tone was dark as he glared at their opponent. “But it isn’t her trick. I saw this happen before, down on floor nine. Something about this place doesn’t want her to die, and it is willing to break reality to do it.” He tossed his badly mangled falchion over his shoulder and listened to it clatter down a set of stone stairs. “When I first found this floor, I ran into a bunch of strange animals that started talking. They insisted I turn back, since ‘only a group of four chosen heroes could fulfill the prophecy and free this land.’ I wasn’t taking them seriously, but I’m reconsidering. Apparently, if they are to be believed, then the floor is just going to keep doing this to us until it gets its group of four, and unfortunately, we came here as a group of five. I’m pretty certain this fight is impossible to win.”

“Damnit,” Zess cursed. “See, Seire? This is what happens when you invite other people in on your jobs without thinking first.”

“...You fail to meet the overly specific requirements of some obscure prophecy and are thus doomed to inescapable failure?”

“Well, not always, but still, bad things usually happen.”

“Because we could have totally seen this coming,” Shirou interjected. “So, what, then? If we can’t win, what are we supposed to do?”

“Retreat is the most favorable course of action,” Scarlet advised quietly.

“Me? Retreat?” Seire asked incredulously. “Never! I’m the man who makes the impossible possible! Who cares if we can’t win? I’ll find a way to anyway, and laugh in the face of destiny! I, Seire Valefar, never run from a fight!”

“In case you hadn’t noticed, we're running out of weapons and ways to kill her, and we have far too many floors left to cover. Staying here and fighting to help sooth your pride is a waste of our time.” Suddenly Kurt’s eyes narrowed and gleamed with a rather devious light. “Although… maybe all we need to do to win is change the conditions a little.” He glanced quickly around the long hall they stood in. “I need a weapon.”

“Oh, fine, we’ll retreat,” Seire sighed disappointedly. “We’d have won ages ago in an actual fight, anyway. Not my problem if she’s just a cheater, nor is it worth my time. But what exactly are you planning to do? And where will you-”

“Excuse me,” Scarlet interjected, calling her remaining familiar down to herself. “I apologize for the interruption. However, Father Schweinorg, I believe you may have some use for this." Extending her hand, she placed it on the side of the remaining cube, closing her eyes as she quietly recited a mantra to herself, a small magic circle forming on each face of the cube. “Accessing stored records. Commencing replication.” With those words, the familiar floated once more into the air… and then shattered into light, which spread out overhead, and then flickered out, revealing several small objects that evidently had come from within the familiar. They were tiny slips of parchment, each cut precisely to an identical size, and each marked painstakingly with an identical arcane sigil and line after line of indecipherable text, stored and replicated perfectly within her familiars from a time long ago on the faraway mainland.

Papers fell gently from the heavens like snow, and the Silver Witch looked around her in confusion. However, Kurt simply let his expression slip into a smug grin. Swiping his hands through the air with blinding speed, he held up his fists, papers slipping between every knuckle of both hands. Glancing over at the rest of the party, he smirked again. “The exit should be down that direction. I’m sure Scarlet will be able to find it. I’ll handle things here.”

“Like I said before,” Seire sighed, sheathing his sword. “You’re a freakin’ killstealer. Keh. Whatever. Just don’t take too long. We’ll be waiting for you on the other side.”

“We’re seriously retreating?” Shirou asked, although whether his incredulousness was due to concern for Kurt or because Seire simply issued the order to fall back so rarely that its occurrence now seemed almost miraculous to him.

“Yeah. You know Kurt,” Seire replied. “He’ll probably be done here with enough time left to grab some tea and still not keep us waiting. Now, then, if he’s gonna buy us time, let’s not waste it, huh?”

“Alright. Scarlet, care to lead the way?” Shirou asked. The magus once more nodded, and turned to head down the hallway, the others following quickly in her wake.

Kurt watched their backs vanish in the distance, but as the witch raised her hand to fire off another spell, opening her mouth to sneer at him, his hand blurred through the air faster that she could blink, and suddenly she found herself motionless. Struggling with all her might, she couldn’t even twitch in place, only able to turn her eyes slightly, vision landing on her shadow, impaled with five sinister black knives. A chill of fear suddenly ran through her as he looked back at the priest, already holding a new set of knives in his hand as he grinned ominously. “I’m going to have to ask you to stay right there for a little while. We have a lot to discuss.”

……

The roof shuddered as several large shards of rubble crumbled, their pillars toppling with a loud crash as the marble ceiling of the hallway came tumbling down. The Witch stared upward blankly, musing that it was quite fortunate that none of the shards happened to be falling upon her, as she’d have been quite unable to escape them if they had happened to. With one leg’s muscles maimed by a series of impalements, and the other incinerated beyond all hope of use, she wouldn’t have been able to walk, even if her petrified left arm hadn’t been affixed to the floor by a knife, preventing her from rising at all. Blood pooled slowly around her as she watched, motionless, trying to restore the various parts of her body that had been turned to stone.

“Oh, I wouldn’t be too worried. I’m sure your magic can manage to fix all of that, given enough time. Otherwise, none of those wounds would have happened.” The amused, mocking voice of Kurt rang throughout the hall, along with the shuffle of paper as he sorted out the haphazardly fallen sheets. “Prophecies are such funny things, aren’t they? Always so obsessed with exact wording. Almost like a con-man who doesn’t like to tell lies.” He smirked at some in-joke beyond the witch’s comprehension. “It was pretty simple, once I figured it out. All your boasting about your reign being eternal and the prophecy nonsense those animals spewed. I can’t kill you no matter how hard I try, but it’s more than that. Whatever I do, I can’t end your control over this floor. Since Seire and his cronies would have liked nothing more than to take over this castle and loot it for all it was worth, nothing we did before would hurt you. But me? I’m just here buying time for some allies to escape, that’s all. Not trying to de-throne you, not trying to kill you. Nothing like that.” He picked up the last sheet of paper and carefully wrapped it up with the rest in a black leather cover, using a bit of string to bind it together into a book. “Speaking of which, I’ve got places to be, so I had better head off and catch up with Seire and the rest. Have a nice recovery.”

Waving casually over his shoulder, sardonic voice still ringing through the hall, the priest vanished into the corridor toward the exit and escaped.
Normal people are the easiest to manipulate. Too smart and they have an annoying tendency to catch wind of your plans, too dumb and, in the words of a certain pirate, "You can never tell when they are about to do something incredibly...stupid."
User avatar
Sicon112
Meta-Witch Hunter
 
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:07 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:32 pm

Anji nestled closer to Kevin, smiling sleepily as they lay curled up on the couch.

Kevin traced abstract patterns on her shoulder, watching as the sun slowly began to rise, sending light streaming through the window. “You know,” he murmured, his lips hovering beside her ear, “you never did tell me that story.”

Anji tensed, and shook her head slowly. “What story did you want to hear?”

“I’m an incredibly jealous husband,” Kevin teased. “Our local invalid mentioned something about you being in bed with another man. Admittedly before I’d met you.”

“Julius Valerian was my friend.” Anji began, “We met when I was… procuring some items from the new explorers on the castle. A man, you know him as Adam, was trying to create his own army. Julius stopped him. And well, he protected me. He was my friend. He helped me lead Storm and Drive, and taught me what he could about culture and history.

“He even taught me how to read.” Anji smiled sadly. “The only person who knows more about me is you.”

“I look forward to meeting him.” Kevin smiled wryly. “I just hadn’t realized that your friendship with him was so, ah…”

“We were close.” Anji admitted. “But I got injured, and then he left.” Anji attempted nonchalance, shrugging half-heartedly.

“Cot can’t have been much bigger than this…” Kevin mused, then shook his head. “I’m sorry. Not my affair.”

Anji smiled, “During the civil war, I ran myself ragged trying to keep everything together. I wasn’t… I didn’t sleep for a week. Julius, he had been running scouting missions for me, just got back. Refused to sleep until I did.

“So I called Zi over, and demanded that she drug him so I could work. Zi obliged, and then drugged me too.”

“Drugged you,” Kevin repeated flatly.

“Yeah.” Anji turned to face him, “She’s a little troublemaker. She thinks she knows who’s best for me.”

Kevin laughed, and kissed her on the nose. “Good thing we’re here already, then, or she might try to drug me, too.”

Anji giggled, and pulled him closer, sighing happily. “What else do you want to know?”

“Only what you want to tell me,” Kevin said apologetically. “I want to know about things that are important to you. Cherished memories. Traditions.” His eyes danced mischievously. “Past loves.”

Anji kissed him passionately, “You’re the only one that matters.”

“mmm. That’s always nice to hear.” Kevin cuddled Anji, leaning back against the couch. “You can still tell me stories, if you want, love. I promise not to turn into a jealous beast again.”

“Don’t know what to tell you,” Anji mumbled. “”sides, it’s your turn.”

“My turn?” Kevin grinned. “What do you want to know?”

“What types of adventures did you have?” Anji played with Kevin’s hair, eyes slipping closed.

“mmm. Adventures? There was the time Ben co-opted me into finding her luggage. I got whacked at by a guy with a stick, and there were dragons. And she dragged me along to help her brother find someone to marry. I almost fell off a mountain, we got spat at by wyverns, and then I got fed up with her ridiculousness and just set him up with my aunt. Not a very adventurous life, sorry.”

“I always wanted to see a dragon.” Anji mentioned, making a soft happy sound deep in her throat.

Kevin kissed her ear absently. “Sorry we killed them then, love. Knew I shoulda just tied it up and bagged it for you.”

“You didn’t even know me.” Anji laughed.

“That’s why I should have done it,” Kevin insisted. “Make a good impression from the start. Amazing you married me, really, considering I didn’t present you with a fresh-caught dragon on our first meeting.”
User avatar
eli_gone_crazy
 
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:59 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby AMimsyBorogove on Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:14 pm

---24 Hours Prior To the Earthquakes---

“Arr,” Spoke the man in white, much to the frustration of his darker clad colleague as the two of them casually hefted a large crate out of the burning barracks, placing it among a pile of many others assembled at the village center outside. “This be a fine haul.”

“I’m telling you, Seire,” Zess insisted irritably. “Pirates don’t actually talk like that.” He dropped the crate roughly to the ground, listening to the satisfying thud of the goods inside as Seire reached down, sliding his scissors into the lock of the chest and quickly twisting the poorly made seal open, kicking back the lid of their plunder a moment later.

“Yarr,” He said thoughtfully. “Don’t be a buzzkill.”

“No, seriously, I’m telling you-” The pirate stopped mid sentence, gazing longingly at a large bottle protruding from the chest’s contents. “Is that-”

“ARR!” Seire shouted triumphantly, snatching up the bottle. “There be rum!”

“Aye, sir!” Zess replied, a manic grin emerging on his face before he stopped for a moment, considering what he’d just said. He looked back to the thief, who was currently grinning broadly as though to say “I told you so.”

“...This doesn’t prove anything.”

“On the contrary,” The thief said, his tone returning to its usual sly, chipper manner. “I do believe that this means I’ve won our argument. Winner gets the rum, thereby meaning that it is henceforth my property!”

“Wait, what?!” Zess protested. “Since when was that a thing? We didn’t even know there was rum here! Besides, I’m the one who noticed it, it should be-”

“NEVER!” Seire roared, ripping forth the cork from the bottle and throwing it away as he hastily raised it to his lips, as though attempting to down its contents in their entirety before the pirate could stop him. Which would, of course, have been impossible anyway, but the fact that the bottle was shattered into countless pieces by a thrown knife in the very next instant did little to help him. The thief jumped back just in time to avoid being soaked by the scattering droplets of rum. The stunned pirate, already jumping forward to try and snatch the bottle for himself, wasn’t quite so fortunate, and ended up being thoroughly doused in the alcohol.

“Wh-wh-wha…!” He sputtered, torn between grief at the loss of his rum and anger at finding himself soaked in the wasted beverage. He spun about, turning to face the culprit. “What the bloody hell, man?! That was RUM! Are ya’ MAD?!”

Kurt calmly caught the knife that flew back at his face, pulled by the cable tied to its hilt, with two fingers, making it shift into a harmless sheet of paper with a flash of blue lightning. Shuffling it calmly back into his black book, he raised an eyebrow at the infuriated pirate. “My mental state is not yours to question, seeing as you are the one attempting to get drunk in the middle of an extremely time-sensitive operation. Or would you prefer I simply leave you here to be found wasted out of your minds when the enraged army of centaurs return to their burning warcamp.” As if to emphasize his point, the building he had just exited suddenly became a torrent of flames as the thatched roof was ignited by the flames within it. “By the way, even though no one appeared to care because they were too busy looting, all of the fires have been lit, and in a few minutes there will be a column of smoke a mile high to show for it.”

“Aww,” Seire said sadly, reaching down into a small crate at his feet and casually snatching a strip of some sort of cloth, followed by a dagger, a fur pelt of some kind, and, oddly enough, a cabbage. He idly tossed this last object into a blazing hut behind him, smiling cheerfully at the resultant crash and rumble as the already unstable building swiftly collapsed upon itself in a spurt of flames. “It’s such a shame we can’t stick around and watch the fun part. Oh well. I guess this means we just take everything the can and head out. Zess, search those crates over there, would you?”

“Oh, for the love of…!” The pirate cursed. “Seire, I’m covered in alcohol, standing in the middle of a burning village. I’d rather not ignite, thank you, so would you stop your looting and go? We already checked those, and there was nothing but birdseed and cabbages!”

“Yarr,” Seire repeated at last, dropping down from the mound of assembled crates as it, too, caught fire. “Still a buzzkill.” Sighing, he slipped the pilfered objects he’d actually kept into some of his many pockets, and turned towards the gate of the camp, where Kurt was already waiting. Nodding to Zess, he headed out, the pirate following close behind.

The thief smiled as they left the blazing camp. After arriving on the thirteenth floor, they’d been rather surprised to find that despite the sentience of the inhabitants of the rolling hills, desolate tundras, and sprawling grasslands on that particular floor, the Centaurs who lived in that area had been far from willing to negotiate, instead attacking the new arrivals on sight. No, more than just that, the previously scattered and mutually antagonistic tribes had suddenly chosen to reconcile their differences and form a five-way alliance almost the moment the climbers had reached their floor. Seire didn’t believe much in such superstition, but he was beginning to think that this castle would have been better off leaving out the unlucky thirteenth floor.

So, being unable to advance thanks to the literal army of angry horse-people standing between them and the tower leading up to the next floor, they’re done what they always did: improvised. Since the tribes had been relatively ineffective prior to forming their alliance, the solution was obvious: break up the clans by any means possible. If that included framing one nation for an attack on another, then the only remaining issue was making it happen.

Naturally, Seire had immediately settled upon the option of “Fire attack.” But even by his standards, this particular “burn and pillage” operation had been immensely successful. With the warrior tribe that dwelt within the former warcamp - the Gunnar, if he recalled correctly - conveniently lured away by the appearance of a Human warrior on the edge of their territory, the rest of the group had been free to kill the remaining guards left behind and burn their village to the ground. In the mean time, their neighbors, the Tamini, well known for their fleet runners, would likely be experiencing a similar distraction, which would lead their forces and the Gunnar’s to come into contact. Of course, they wouldn’t necessarily be still ALIVE at that point, but that would hardly matter to those surveying the aftermath. From what the thief had gathered, these tribes were only united by their common enemy. They were itching for an excuse to fight one another, and thus, it would be easy to incite them to civil war once he gave them that justification. With this, phase one of the plan would be completed.

“Speaking of the centaurs, though, I wonder how Scarlet and Shirou are doing?” Zess muttered as the three walked calmly away from the camp as it was consumed by flames. “Anybody’d be in over their heads dealing with the number of enemies we left those two to deal with. I hope they’re alright.”

…..

“Huh? Where are the other centaurs?” The knight asked, glancing around him as he drew his oversized blade from the body of one of the many corpses strewn across the forest road. A tree collapsed in the distance with a quiet, mournful creak as Scarlet floated calmly down from above atop a familiar.

“All enemies have been eliminated,” She intoned quietly. “Both the group whose attention you diverted, and the few riders I lured in in the aftermath have been utterly eradicated.”

“Aww,” Shirou said sadly, wiping off his zweihander. “That’s all of them?”

“That was all of them,” The magus confirmed, meeting his disappointed gaze with her own unchanging crimson eyes. Floating as the small girl was, she was actually on the towering knight’s level for once.

“A shame,” The red-headed man sighed. “I was having fun.”

“You were chasing them through the woods shouting ‘Kadoosh’ every time you hit one,” Observed Scarlet skeptically.

“So?”

“I would like to respectfully observe that your definition of ‘fun’ seems to be rather skewed.”

“Oh, come on,” Shirou protested, smiling cheerfully. “You know how much I love fighting.”

“I merely said that it was skewed,” The magus replied. “Not that it was incorrect.”

“That’s the spirit, Scarlet!” Shirou said, grinning as he searched the piled bodies around himself. Many were too badly maimed by his heavy blows to be recognizable, save for the Tamini and Gunnar emblems prominently displayed upon the sparse armor that had failed to protect them from his blade. But, soon enough, he found a relatively unwounded body, marked only by faint burns caused by Scarlet’s familiars during their ambush of the two patrols. Drawing forth a small bundle from his coat, he unwrapped it, removing an ornate spearhead and plunging it into the flank of the deceased centaur. Glancing around, he smiled contentedly at the carnage. The bodies were relatively mingled, so that centaurs of both factions had fallen one atop another. The blood from their wounds had spread so far that it would look to a casual observer that they’d bloodied their weapons fighting each other, and that the Tamini - whose casualties were far fewer in number thanks to the slain party having fewer members - would seem to have been the victors.

“I’d say we’re done here,” Shirou said, smiling at his companion as she reached out a hand, helping him up onto the familiar. “Let’s get going before those Gunnar realize they’ve been duped.”

….

“They are perfectly capable of setting up a simple frame job, even if Shirou will no doubt insist upon wreaking some unnecessary havoc while he is working.” The priest slipped his black book beneath his coat again and glanced back over his shoulder at the plume of smoke rising from over the hills. “As long as we manage to escape the search parties the Gunnar will no doubt send after us, the operation will be a success, and the Tamini will take the fall. Now we just need to break the rest of the alliance. Let’s head for Sarsi territory.”

Seire chuckled, casually toying with the stolen dagger and tossing it into the air, only to catch it again - oftentimes by the flat of the blade, seeming to have complete disregard for his own safety - as he followed cheerfully along. “You know,” He observed, grinning. “It’s been a long time since we’ve done something on this scale. This reminds me of the rebellion.”

Kurt’s face darkened slightly, and he responded with a rather more pointed than normal sarcastic jab. “Which one? We’ve been in so many now.”

“Tch,” Seire grunted, his smirk vanishing. “I meant the one back on the mainland, where I first ran into you. But, now that you mention it, I guess it hasn’t been so long after all…”
…...

The pounding of running feet echoed up and down the inside of the ancient aqueduct as a small group of figures ran down the silent, dust-covered tunnel, fleeing as though chased by the very devils of the underground itself. Even here, beneath the cobblestones of the old city above, the running thieves could still hear the stamping of countless feet, and the angry roars of a thousand maddened voices screaming out their murderous rage as one. Already, in the streets on the surface, complete chaos reigned, and the thieves had no intention of making themselves potential victims of the lawless rioters and their desire to slaughter anyone with any affiliation to the guilds. Not even the many distant branches of the thieves’ guild were safe, even despite their anonymity, for the rioters would kill anyone so much as suspected of being a guild supporter, no matter how flimsy, or even nonexistent, the evidence against them. Those thieves who chose to continue their daily lives rather than actively affiliating themselves with Seire’s enterprise had done so out of a desire to keep their ties to the PTA a secret. But, with such chaos in full swing above them, they no longer had any choice but to flee back to the only place where they might hope to be safe: the fortified warehouse of Phantom Thieves’ Anonymous.

Ever since the warehouse had changed hands unexpectedly, the new guild leader had done his best to ensure that the thieves would have at least one safe base. It had meant supplying both the city guard and almost all of the other guilds with over two thirds of the weapons in the warehouse, but at the end of the day, the PTA was still sitting pretty on one of, if no longer the largest stockpile of weapons in the explored regions of the castle, with a small fortune accrued in their many arms sales that was almost immediately put to use in building back the warehouse’s old fortifications, bigger and better than before. Salvaging thick, heavy bricks from the old warehouses and vaults now crumbling around the PTA’s own warehouse, they had constructed a circular bastion of respectable height and thickness - given the comparatively small size of their base and the rather large budget they had, Seire’s thieves hadn’t needed to economize much in either of these departments - and even fitted it with a thick wooden gate and portcullis, the latter of which had cost most of their remaining funds. It wasn’t a castle, but it was most certainly an easily defensible position, which, if all of its occupants rallied to its protection, might hope to hold against the riots in the city it overlooked. And so, although it would mean damning themselves in the eyes of the public by aiding in the defense of such a distrusted and disliked guild, it might also mean saving their lives to flee into that fortress and bring word of the rioters now exiting the city and making for the exact same destination. It was only a question now of who would arrive first. But, unburdened either by supplies - the refugees hadn’t had time to gather up many, if any of their belongings before the riots had broken out in full force - or by distractions, the thieves would almost certainly arrive a good quarter of an hour ahead of the mob.

They could only hope that this head start would be sufficient to warn the PTA, and to seal the gates of the stronghold before the rampaging horde could reach their target.

* * *

Suffice to say, to the group of four gathered in the War Room of Seire’s warehouse, the warning they were about to receive was the last thing they were expecting. Old Aldric was absent from the meeting, as he was currently busy overseeing the storage of a small shipment of supplies that had been brought in the previous day to replenish their dangerously low stockpile of provisions. It wasn’t enough to fill the shelves, but it would last them until their next full shipment.

Meanwhile, the trio of Black Zess, Shirou, and Scarlet were all gathered in the upper room, amusing themselves with a rather peculiar game of cards introduced to them by the former pirate, where each player would draw from a deck of solely numbered cards where each suit had its own unique effect on the number of total points a player had, and each participant would wager on the point number they expected to have at the end of each round of draws, all the while trying to avoid exceeding 15 points without falling below 5. For quite some time, Scarlet had been winning almost every hand with apparent ease, something that had eventually made the wily pirate rather suspicious, and rightly so, for after investigating beneath the deck where it sat atop the glass surface of the planning table, he had found a particularly small red cube emitting faint pulses of light every few seconds - one of Scarlet’s trademark observatory familiars, which she’d evidently been using to see through the deck to observe which cards she was about to draw, and bet accordingly. The former pirate was torn between congratulating the seemingly impassive young magus on her unexpected deviousness and demanding his many lost wagers back, while Shirou was busy monologuing about honor and manliness, although nobody was really sure whether he was berating his spouse for breaking the rules or just speechifying for his own amusement.

The sounds of their gameplay frequently distracted Giselle, who was reviewing the warehouse inventory. She was surprisingly relieved when Scarlet’s cheating came to light; she couldn’t stand playing games with people who resorted to magic or other underhanded tactics to get ahead, so her decision to sit the game out and focus on work was reaffirmed. Little did the archer know, however, that her current duties would soon be the very least of her problems.

With a sudden crash, the doors swung open, and a panicked figure rushed into the room, prompting the players at the table to abruptly halt their dispute, both Shirou and Zess dropping their cards and jumping to their feet out of habit, while the familiar beneath the table covering swiftly flickered out and several more took its place, filling the air around Scarlet with several of her cuboid specters, a flicker of lightning beginning to shimmer around each as she instinctively prepared to defend herself. Fortunately, it seemed that this, at least, would not be necessary.

The intruder was a young man with dirty blonde hair, the unkemptness of which was concealed by a ragged hood, although the tattered clothing he wore was visible even beneath the cloak draped loosely around his shoulders. His garments were patched, his face haggard and worn. But, untrustworthy though he might have seemed in any other War Room, this street rat was instantly recognized as a comrade by the members of the Phantom Thieves’ Council. Both Shirou and Zess drew back their hands from their blades, while Scarlet’s familiars flickered out almost the instant they appeared.

“Apologies, sirs! Er... ma’ams too,” The man exclaimed as he hastily knelt, evidently cowed by the somewhat hostile display that had greeted his entrance. Yet, the panic in his expression hadn’t changed from when he had entered, tipping off the perceptive pirate almost immediately that something was wrong.

“What is it?” Zess asked, stepping out from behind the table and walking swiftly over to the newcomer. “Come on, get up and tell me already.”

“Y-yessir! It’s the townsfolk, sir!”

“The townsfolk? What do you mean?” Shirou asked, cocking an eyebrow.

“Th-they’ve... g-gone mad, sir!” The man exclaimed. “They’re c-coming to kill us all!”

Giselle put away the inventory list and quill. “A riot?”

“N-not just a riot. An army! They’re coming, with weapons and torches and ladders and-”

“Is it the guard?!” Zess shouted, cutting the man off. “Or the guilds?! Don’t tell me... Are they planning on eradicating us while our leader is busy helping them? The damned cowards!”

“N-no, sir. The guilds and the guard are both under attack as well! Defectors have armed the public, and now they’re taking over, killing anybody who might stand against them!”

“You mean that this is some kind of a coup?!” Shirou asked incredulously. The panicked man merely nodded.

“How many of our allies escaped the city?” The quiet voice interjected from the end of the table as Scarlet at last spoke up. Indeed, the fact that she spoke at all was more than enough of an indication of how grave the situation was.

“Just a few dozen, ma’am,” The man replied, shaking his head. “There were others with us, but the madmen cut them off. They were like animals... They just ripped all of them to pieces...!”

“What of those who didn’t try to escape?” Shirou’s grimaced, fearing for the worst.

“I know a few of my mates locked themselves in their houses and decided not to get involved. They’re probably safe, for now. But there’s no time for that! Those lunatics are coming! They’ll slaughter us all in an instant! They tore my brother to pieces with their bare hands, damnit! Can’t you see what they’ll do to us now that they’re armed?!” The man howled.

“Damn it all, man, THE GATES!” Zess roared, violently shaking the frightened man. “Before you start consigning us all to the grave, shut the bloody gates!”

“Y-yes sir!” The man cried. Whether he was more afraid of the boisterous pirate of the mobs now wasn’t clear, but in any case, he wasted no time in rushing outside to give the alarm. But, nevertheless, they were far from ready, and even as shouts began to ring out in the courtyard below, a more pressing issue struck all of the members of the council.

“What about Seire?! He has only twenty men with him!” Shirou realized. “If this army finds him, they’re sure to recognize him!”

“Damnit! The fool had to leave now, didn’t he?” Zess cursed.

“That’s not the point,” Scarlet interrupted quietly, a certain level of insistence even in her voice, a level of resolution that was quite the opposite of her usual passive demeanor. “We must warn him.”

“But... how?!” Zess groaned. “We’ve got an army between us and him!”

“Seire isn’t scared of anything so simple as an army. He’s fought and won tougher battles than this,” Shirou declared. “And I, as his sworn brother, am the same!”

“What are you suggesting, Shirou?” Giselle asked, knowing all too well what the boisterous knight’s reply would be, just as she knew the truth behind his words.

“Simple. There’s still time before the enemy arrives. I’ll set out immediately, use the old aqueduct to enter the city, find Seire, and warn him about what’s going on.”

“And what happens if they catch you?” The pirate interrupted, crossing his arms.

“Then I’ll kick all of their asses, and pave a road to my brother with their bodies!” Shirou roared back. “I’ll do whatever it takes to aid Seire. That is the oath that I swore as his brother. I’ll leave the three of you and Aldric in charge here.” Turning to the seated girl, he nodded. “I’ll be counting on you to rally the troops for me, love. They’re good men. I think they’ll be able to follow your directions without any problems.”

“What about you, Shirou?” Scarlet asked quietly, the same uncharacteristic worry lingering in her voice as her namesake eyes met the confident gaze of the knight. “You’re strong... both of you. But you need someone to be your eyes. I can help you find him, help you bring him back!”

“Don’t worry about me or my brother. We’ll find a way back somehow, like we always have,” Shirou reassured, grinning as cheerfully as he could in spite of the situation. “But when we do, we’re going to need some way of contacting those of you here, aren’t we? And in the meantime, we’ll need eyes everywhere to keep our enemies from slipping past our walls. I wish I could have you help me, Scarlet, but you’re needed more here. Don’t worry, though. I’ll make it back, and when I do, Seire’s coming with me. That’s an oath, too.”

Scarlet nodded slightly, albeit not without a tinge of regret crossing her otherwise impassive face. “Then... go...” She said quietly. “There’s no time left.” Shirou nodded, and then turned for the door.

“I’ll leave at once,” The knight said quietly. “I leave everything in your care.”

* * *

The third floor was peaceful, with not a sound in the air save the breeze and the rippling of distant waters - and, of course, the voices of the newly arrived band of rogues. The formerly white-clad thief sat idly upon a solitary old fencepost, casually watching the tall grass of the fields sway in the breeze as the medic of his expeditionary force - a rather jumpy young girl who still seemed to think she was working under a common, undignified bandit, and who thus flinched at Seire’s every move, making her work take much longer than it otherwise might have -  finished winding a long swath of bandages around his wounded arm. Although Seire knew full well that his injuries could have been much worse, he couldn’t help but feel dreadfully grieved over the loss of his beloved coat, even if he had at least four spares exactly like it waiting for him back at the stronghold.

“Alright, that’ll be enough,” Seire said calmly as his rather jittery medic finally finished fumbling with the bandages on his arm, only to look discontentedly at her work and nervously prepare to retry the entire process. The medic merely nodded, and hastily fled in fear of Seire’s nonexistent wrath. What did she think he was going to do, anyway? Attack her for tying a bandage one degree to the left of a perfect horizontal line? Yeesh. Thief or not, it wasn’t good for morale to have his comrades terrified of him.

“Okay, everyone!” Seire declared boisterously, standing up and shouldering his sword within its new, albeit somewhat oversized sheath. The conversation that had moments before been echoing through the square of the deserted, ruined village died down instantly as all twenty of the guildsmen present turned to face their leader. Once more, the only sounds were the wind, the water, and the rustling grass. And the... hissing of the teleporter? Seire turned to face the only recently activated pedestal, only to gawk in surprise at the figure that emerged.

Gasping for breath, a tall figure dropped from the podium, crouching upon the cobblestones and leaning heavily upon a sheathed zweihander for support. Although his customary black and scarlet garments were stained heavily in the latter hue, and he bore several rather painful looking injuries, there could be no mistaking the defiant, not to mention triumphant gaze of the redheaded man.

“Shiou?!” Seire shouted, rushing over to his sworn brother. It didn’t take a genius to tell that the loyal knight was wounded. “What the hell happened?! Who did this to you?!” He asked, his voice torn between disbelief and furious, boiling anger.

“No time,” The knight gasped, slowly standing up. “You have to get back... The fortress is... is under siege.”

“WHAT?! By who?!”

“It’s a coup d’etat. The villagers... parts of the guard... they’re trying to take over the castle... and slaughter the guilds and the guard while they’re at it. There are riots in the streets, and the fort is surrounded on all sides. Zess, Giselle, and Scarlet were preparing to defend the walls last I saw... but the men are in a panic. Our informants are either dead or locked in their homes, and our little army isn’t ready for a war. They need you, Seire. You’re the only one... who can give them the courage they need... to take on an army... no matter the odds...”

“What about you?” The Thief asked quietly, sizing up his comrade’s wounds.

“Me...? Hah!” The knight gave a short, breathless laugh. “I’ve survived a thousand times worse than this. Besides, I need to get back there, too, and bring you with me. There’s someone there who’ll be very disappointed if I don’t keep my promise.”

“Then I won’t make a liar of you,” Seire replied gravely, turning the confused mass standing behind him. “MEN!” He shouted. “You heard Shirou! We don’t have the time to just stand around here when our comrades are fighting an army for us! We make for the fort! We’ll show these rebels not to doubt the honor that exists among us thieves!” His shout was returned by 19 others, and by a meek nod from the medic, who was already shuffling over towards the injured knight.

“I’ll warn you, Seire,” Shirou said quietly. “The entire city’s going to stand between you and the guild. I managed to get lucky and slip through with comparatively little trouble, and look at how I turned out. With this few men, we aren’t going to just be able to walk right up to the gates. Not without casualties.”

“Tch.” Seire grimaced, giving a slight nod to show he understood, although he rather disliked the fact he was being forced to accept. “Fine. We’ll get creative, then.”

“You know I hate it when you use that word, brother,” Shirou sighed, slumping against the podium as the nervous medic began investigating his wounds.

“Relax. I’m not the one who’ll be calling the shots, this time,” Seire replied, giving a knowing grin. Shirou, for his part, merely slapped his palm against his forehead and began massaging the bridge of his nose as though trying to deter an oncoming aneurysm.

“If that was supposed to reassure me, it didn’t,” The knight replied with a groan.

“I know. I hate to call on his help to bail out my comrades just as much as you do, but although I’m beginning to come up with a plan, I’ll need his unique brand of assistance to put it into execution.”

“Well, if there’s anything that con man is good at, it’s execution.”

“Well, I’m glad to see that your sense of humor wasn’t wounded, at least,” Seire replied, grinning. “In any case, since we can’t just waltz right in there as we are, I have a feeling that we’ll be needing... disguises.”

“For the love of all that is holy, if you try and make us all dress up in drag, oath or not, I am going to kill you, brother.”

“Relax. I don’t think we’ll be needing to go that far. Actually, considering who we’re going to go contact, there’s a much simpler method we can employ.”

“Thank god,” Shirou said quietly, slumping back against the podium in an overdramatic fashion that made it seem more like he’d just been spared from certain death than from certain embarrassment.

* * *

“This can’t possibly work,” Shirou groaned, grimacing as he pulled the featureless brown mantle more tightly around himself, at the same time trying in vain to hide his long mane of crimson hair as it yet again attempted to poke out from beneath the concealing hood he wore. Still, although the former knight was not the only one having trouble with his disguise, Seire seemed to be brushing off all such issues, despite the fact that his usual careless demeanor suggested that his disguise would possibly be the worst of the lot. Actually, as he shuffled along with head bowed, hands folded, and voice perpetually murmuring barely-intelligible blessings and prayers for those he passed, the thief seemed to fit perfectly into his assumed role as a priest come to bring relief to the victims of the riots. And, as the head of the small procession of disguised thieves was oftentimes the only individual the frantic crowds saw as they rushed past, the entire train of followers nervously bringing up the rear went almost entirely unnoticed.

“Shh,” The King of Thieves silenced his follower in stifled tones once yet another group of shouting, maddened anti-guild members had passed them. “Look at how far we’ve gotten already. The church is just a block away now. If we can get there, everything will work out fine, so stop complaining and just believe in me here for a bit.”

“You know, I’m not exactly reassured here. Saying that just doesn’t have the same effect when you look like a monk.”

“Well if I look so much like a monk, you shouldn’t be worried in the first place,” Seire shot back. “Now let’s move. More will come soon, and the further we can get without anybody noticing us at all, the better.” Shirou sighed, and relented, motioning for the remaining thieves to follow as Seire stepped out into the wide street, continuing his placid march towards his destination, still offering obsequious wishes of goodwill to anyone who happened to look in his general direction. It would have been comical, if it were not so astounding to see the usually boisterous and wild thief assuming such a humble demeanor. But, if anything, Seire was good at his job, one which might require him to wear any number of masks. No matter how chaotic the city around him was, the legendary phantom thief was, right now, in his element.

And, if the angry shouting from up ahead was any indication, and the hints of a scarlet cloak that showed through the gaps between the ranks of an angry mob surrounding the church, somebody else was getting ready to exercise his own special talents, too. Specifically, somebody who was exactly who Seire had been searching for.

“Is that a priest out there?” One of the thieves in the small procession asked quietly, his eyes wide as he watched the rioters closing in on the lone figure standing between them and the doors of the church. “He’s totally outnumbered! Shouldn’t we go help him?”

“Oh no…” Gasped a quiet voice that Seire recognized as that of the timid medic who had treated his still-aching wounds. “Sir?” She asked meekly, seeming torn between the desire to help the man who was surrounded and fear of the crowd blocking their path.

“Relax,” Seire said, smirking slightly as a familiar voice rang out across the plaza. “If anybody’s going to need help here, it’s those idiots trying to get into the church. Those schmucks have no idea what they’re screwing with.”

“W-what?” The girl asked, confused. “What do you mean, sir? There’s no way one person could possibly-”

“Ah, but that is no ordinary person. That… is the Hammer of God.”

One of the mob shouted a curse and threw a punch. Someone screamed.

……..

“I… I don’t…” Stammered the medic, eyes wide as she surveyed the rows of groaning rioters laid out on the floor of the cathedral, the monks moving quickly between them to treat their wounds in a remarkable show of kindness, considering the mob had been attempting to storm and pillage the very church in which they now lay only moments before.

“Don’t believe it?” Seire chuckled. “He gets that a lot. And, although I hate to say I told you so… Okay, actually, that was a lie. I told you so!” The thief grinned broadly, patting the rather twitchy medic on the head, causing her to hastily recoil and draw back. It seemed she still had yet to get used to him, but at least she’d finally quit gawking at the priest’s handiwork.

“U-umm… Should… Should I help them?” The young thief asked uncertainly, glancing at the incapacitated horde. “Some of them look like they got hurt really badly…”

“Well, you are certainly free to stand around like a brainless and useless sack of flesh.” The medic squeaked in fright as she found herself caught in the cold glare of the priest standing next to Seire. “But if you feel the sudden, startling urge to actually make yourself useful, well, don’t let me stop you.”

“A-ah, sorry!” The timid medic hastily retreated, rushing off to assist in the healing. Seire sighed, rubbing his temple.

“You’re not really good at talking to people, are you?” The thief sighed. “You just went and hurt a girl’s feelings. I hope you’re proud of yourself.”

The priest coughed loudly into his hand, and then completely ignored Seire’s comment. “So let me get this straight. In a spectacular failure of the highest caliber, you have managed to go on a sightseeing excursion at the same time as an angry mob has surrounded and besieged your headquarters, and now you, your second-in-command, and twenty members of your guild that comprised most of the actually combat trained population of your fort are stuck defencelessly in the midst of mob-controlled territory while the rest of your people are trapped without any supplies inside your warehouse.”

The Thief shrugged casually, giving a wry smile. “Seems to be that way. Think it’s too late to start praying? You’re the priest here, afterall.” Seire gave a sly smile, casually adjusting the sleeve of his fake monk’s robes.

Kurt just gave the thief a derisive snort. “As completely unsalvageable as your situation appears, I do happen to have a solution. But of course, you already knew that, or else you would be off shouting nonsense somewhere and fighting an angry mob instead of here.”

“Working miracles, huh?” Shirou interjected sarcastically. “I wasn’t aware you’d become a saint since we last met. Well, there’s no time to lose, and any option is better than wandering around in plain sight waiting for somebody to recognize us and call down the horde on our heads. Where do we start, then?”

The priest turned a critical eye to Seire’s group. Examining each in turn, he finally turned back to the phantom thief and spoke. “You already have.”

Shirou looked down at his disguise and winced, realization slowly dawning on him what exactly the priest meant. “Oh, you’ve gotta be kidding me… Seriously, I’m telling you guys, this’ll never work!” But there was nobody to hear his protest - or at least, nobody paying attention to it.

Kurt had already half crossed the room with quick steps, calling out to the monks not occupied tending to the injured. “Begin gathering as many supplies as you can find. Use the emergency store rooms beneath the cathedral. Bring them all up here and then gather what monks you can. We’re starting a relief effort!”

…..

“There's the signal.” Kurt spoke up, breaking the long silence in the tiny cave where three figures sat. Out over the plains, now swept with shadows as the dark of night claimed them, a red flare arced toward the heavens, leaving a long trail of crimson sparks in its wake. Where he sat with Seire and Zess, high up the side of a ridge, he had a clear view as the hastily assembled rocket reached the apex of its flight, however, anyone on the path that ran below their hill would find the flare hidden from their view.

Quickly donning his black duster and the crimson scarf that still remained of his shroud, Kurt strode out of the cave before his companions could speak, and jumped down the hill, foot extended. He hadn't bothered to look. There was no need. The centaur patrols operated more reliably than many clocks, and exactly as expected, the patrol he was interested in was waiting at the base of the hill to be introduced to his boot.

Kurt crashed foot first into the face of the lead centaur, and as they shouted furiously in their tongue and lifted weapons to strike him, his cables yanked him up and over the opposite ridge. He cleared the ridge and caught a glimpse of the last few sparks from the rocket vanishing and nodded contentedly. Everything was going according to schedule. Right now, the war council between the Gunnar and the Sarsi tribes, called to respond to what appeared to be a cowardly raid by the Tamini, but was, in fact, an artfully woven ruse courtesy of the con artist, would find the same rocket crashing through their roof, detonating the gunpowder within it. Right about now, even as he fled from the Harathi patrol behind him, enraged bands of centaurs would be riding toward the source of the rocket, launched by a fire spell from one of Scarlet's familiars.

Of course, they would have no doubts about who the weapon belonged to. The Harathi's gunpowder weapons were apparently quite famous amongst the centaur tribes. They would be wrong, obviously, since the creation had been assembled the previous night by Kurt, using supplies stolen right from under the Harathi's noses, but they would still be quite certain. It payed to have a few phantom thieves as friends, sometimes.

Making sure to keep the rolling hills between him and his pursuers, only letting them catch tiny glimpses of him as he vanished over another ridge, Kurt ran on, finally leaping over a line of scraggly bushes and dropping into a ravine. Glancing around to make sure he had the right place, Kurt located the charred wild grass that revealed where the rocket had launched from. Nodding again, Kurt suddenly whirled as a rustling came from more brush, clogging the far end of the ravine.

…......

They had almost caught the human! He was fast, but the Harathi scouts knew he couldn't keep up that pace for long. He would tire, was tiring, and they would close in and take their prey. For every hill they crossed, he remained one ahead of them, but as time passed, he had begun to appear for longer and longer intervals as the gap between them closed.

Finally, probably exhausted, he dived into a ravine, but the fastest among the patrol had already reached the top of the last hill just in time to glimpse where the human had hid. Shouting the word back to the rest of the group, they galloped down the side of the hill and charged into the ravine, weapons raised to strike the human down where he stood.

He wasn't there. In fact, the entire ravine was empty. Confused, the centaurs looked at one another, and then began to poke about in the underbrush, though it was too small to conceal him. Then they heard the approach of many hooves.

Turning, surprised, they faced the entrance to the ravine just in time for a horde of centaurs, looking partially charred, to round the bend, screaming war cries at the top of their lungs and brandishing weapons. The head of the patrol started to open his mouth, thinking perhaps the second group was after the human too, somehow having picked up his trail. He never got the chance to speak, since a spear pierced his throat a moment later. The ravine fell into chaos.
"The Apocalypse is basically just a tutorial." - Sicon112.

"Due to the ambiguity of this wording, I am unable to determine whether or not I am the leader of the X-Men!"
"UNIVERSE-BREAKING EPILEPSY RAVE!" - AMimsyBorogove
User avatar
AMimsyBorogove
 
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2012 3:38 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby AMimsyBorogove on Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:15 pm

---Approximately 18 Hours Prior to the Earthquakes---

“The plan is proceeding according to our forecast.” Scarlet’s voice resounded throughout the cavern as the remaining two individuals in the cave listened intently, a smile of satisfaction playing on Seire’s lips.

“Very good. So, the Gunnar took the bait, did they?”

”Indeed. They moved within hours of their warcamp’s destruction to seek aid from the Sarsi tribe. However, thanks to our interference, the conference was disrupted by a high yield firebomb, delivered via rocket. This pins the blame on the Harathi. Father Schweinorg has already lured one of their patrols into the position from which the rocket was fired. The Gunnar and Sarsi forces have currently engaged this group, and seem to have fallen for the trick. Kurt has also been successfully evacuated, and is currently standing by at 350 feet to observe the battle.”

“And what about you and Shirou?” Zess asked.

”We are currently maintaining our distance at a hiding spot a short distance from the battle, so as to keep Father Schweinorg airborne. Once the battle ends, we will rendezvous at the meeting point, as per our plan.”

“So, it all worked out, then?” Seire chuckled. “That’s good. And here I was worrying that I didn’t burn enough of their villages to the ground.”

”It seems the battle is coming to a close. We will depart presently.”

“Very good,” Seire said, standing up. “I guess that means we should be headed there too, Zess. Let’s go.” Nodding to his comrade, he turned to watch as the crimson light of the familiar faded into the darkness of the night, and blinked out, recalling a similar, albeit reversed image from a recent memory which had been all too keen on his mind after Kurt’s retort earlier in the day...

…..

The thief sighed, glancing around the darkened tunnel as a crimson light flashed dimly in the distance, slowly making its way towards him. It seemed his contact with the inside of the fort had finally arrived. Stepping out of the side passage he’d stood in, he waved his regrettably bare arm, mourning the loss of his coat as he signaled the familiar. Stopping before him, it blinked for a moment as a voice rang out throughout the empty tunnel.

“I’ve found him,” came the calm report of Scarlet, followed quickly by another voice.

“Seire! There you are. About time you showed up,” echoed the familiar, irritated tones of the former pirate.

“Heh. You’re lucky I got here as quick as I did. It wasn’t easy to slip through a horde of angry rioters to get here,” The thief replied, leaning casually against the wall of the tunnel.

“And it won’t be easy to slip through them to get inside, either,” interjected Giselle from the other end of the line.

“Huh,” Seire observed. “You know, Scarlet, you never told me these things could get four way.”

“Wait, wouldn’t it technically be two way, just with three people on one end?”

“There’s no time for this,” The archer interrupted forcefully. “Seire, things are bad in here. Although they have yet to scale the walls, and the gates have held quite well, they’ve already mounted several rushes with ladders. We haven’t lost many people, but we’ve got quite a few wounded. There are several casualties on the enemy side as well. Morale’s pretty low right now since you are Shirou are gone, and what’s worse is we’re running out of supplies. If we can’t get this mob to break up soon, we may have some of our people start trying to desert. And if somebody opens those gates and joins the enemy, this whole place will fall apart in an instant.”

“Indeed. You getting inside is all well and good, but that won’t mean anything if we can’t get enough materials to treat the wounded, food to eat, and water to drink. Worst case scenario, like she said - mutiny.”

“Well,” The thief said calmly, giving a grim smile. “Then I guess it’s a good thing that it won’t come to that. I happen to have everything you need already prepared. All that’s left is putting my plans into execution.”

“Explain,” Giselle interrupted. “You’re telling me you’ve somehow got enough supplies for the whole guild, the means to slip them through enemy lines and into the walls, and somehow intend to rout the mob while you’re doing this, to boot? Seire, you know I respect your abilities, but I think you might just be overestimating yourself.” Even sequestered in the room they were using as a planning station, the noise from outside was nearly deafening. It was difficult to tell from moment to moment what the mob was doing, but the reports that came in were consistently discouraging.

“Lady’s got a point. Ya’ aren’t exactly known for being a master of subtlety. Well, unless your plan involves lighting the enemy camp on fire. In that case, knowing you, you’d probably be able to pull it off.”

“No fire today, sadly,” Seire replied, shaking his head slightly. “But I don’t believe we’ll encounter any major problems, either. It’s pretty simple, really.” Pushing off the wall, he began to pace before the familiar, outlining his strategy. “I’ve enlisted help. We’ll distract the mob, then, once they’re a fair distance from the walls, we make a sortie. I’m currently in disguise in the enemy camp, pretending to have come from the church with humanitarian aid. Consequently, I have access to almost all of their supplies. With the mob in confusion, and with the advantage of surprise, I’m confident we can push through to their stores, steal their provisions, and then get back behind the walls before they can retaliate. With no food or medical supplies, they’ll have no choice but to fall back for the time being, giving us time to get back on our feet.”

“Nice plan. But how exactly do you intend to ‘distract’ them? They’re a mob and all, but they’re kind of set on wiping us from the face of the earth right now. I don’t think they’ll just respond to a ‘hey, look over there!’”

“Oh, but I think they will,” Seire replied, grinning. “Like I said, I enlisted help. Just leave it to him.”

…..

“This so-called guild is nothing but cowards, thieves and murderers!” The mob shouted and cheered as a sandy-haired man in a tattered, patched, and worn grey suit, perched atop a haphazard pile of boxes within full view of the warehouse walls shouted his speech, building the mob up to a fever pitch. “They rob our homes, kill our family, and now, when we come for justice, they hide behind their stone walls and attack us, thinking they are safe! But we will not be stopped! Justice will not bow before scum like them! If we cannot break their walls, then we will break them! Their oh-so-famous leader, Seire Valefar, never made it to his little safehouse. Even now, he is here, in the city, sneaking about in back alleys and hiding from our wrath!”

The group of assembled officers atop the walls watched with wide eyes as the mob congregated around the demagogue, who stood out sharply at their center, with his pale colored hair and distinctive black and crimson attire. His voice boomed and echoed across the hilltop, reaching the ears of the group on the besieged rampart even without the assistance of the magus among them and her familiars, which revolved uneasily around the walls, watching the crowds of rioters below.

“Damnit,” Zess cursed, biting his lip. “I don’t know what the hell Seire’s planning to do, but with them onto him, and this pissed, he doesn’t have a chance of getting back in here. To think we’d fail before we even started.”

“Hold on. He said he had a plan. I know this looks bad, but… I’ve come to rely on Seire’s plans.” Giselle commented. “I wish I didn’t have to rely on Seire’s plans… goodness knows I never want to, but right now relying on Seire’s plan is all we’ve got.”

“Even if you say that…” Zess began, but quickly silenced himself as the speaker continued his tirade.

“But I know where he is! I found him, in the shadows where he skulked, and tried to bring him to justice, but he fled like the coward he is! Look!” The man suddenly reached down into the crate beside his vantage point and pulled out a bundle of white and red fabric. Holding it up and waving it wildly in front of the mob, he unfurled the bundle, revealing the bloodstained and torn remains of Seire’s signature coat.

“How’d he-?!” The pirate cried out, gazing with disbelief at the tattered garment. It seemed unbelievable that their leader would allow his signature attire to be so badly mutilated, and even Zess knew that the thief would never part with it willingly. If this crier had it, that must have meant he was telling the truth… didn’t it?

“Wait, wait wait…” Giselle held a hand to her head as she gestured to Zess to give her some space to think. “Seire wasn’t wearing his coat. He’s always wearing his coat, the showoff, but he wasn’t wearing it when he spoke to us.” She looked down at the display below, the man showing off the bloodied remnants of Seire’s favorite piece of clothing. Seire would not be easily separated from his garment. If ever it were removed from his body, Giselle would expect that either Seire or the coat would have been completely destroyed. “No. It’s a ruse. It has to be.” Her voice was hopeful and convinced in equal proportions. “Seire must have left it for them to find, somehow. I swear this man is lying.”

“Please calm yourselves.” The quiet voice from behind interjected as Scarlet stepped to the front, casually setting down a small crate and opening it up, beginning to fumble around inside it before removing a distinctive bundle of pure white cloth. “This is all part of the plan.” Playing upon the stoic girl’s face was the slightest of smiles as she casually began unfolding a familiar coat. Nodding to the surprised archer next to her, she handed off the coat, then knelt, closing her eyes and seeming to focus intently on some kind of spell.

“This is the coat that scum wore! He probably stole it from some innocent mainlander, and now he intends to steal all that we have worked so hard to gain here in the castle! But he won’t get to! We won’t let him! He is injured now, and he can’t hide forever! We will run him down like an animal!” The speaker was thrown into a frenzy, waving and gesticulating like a madman as he screamed orders in every direction. “Get the dogs! Form search parties! We’ll get his head on a stick and put it up where the slime still hiding inside that warehouse can see!”

With countless wild shouts, the crowd sprang into motion, rushing this way and that, taking up weapons and torches and beginning to pour forth from their encampment and into the city beyond, and on the ramshackle podium, the speaker’s mad grin slowly shrunk into a smirk as his posture radiated smugness. “It’s amazing how sharply individual intelligence drops when you get enough people standing together and shouting about something.” The voice that issued forth from the sandy-haired man’s throat suddenly changed entirely, dropping to a deep and intensely sarcastic tone. With the change of voice and posture, he no longer appeared to be suited to such worn garments, as he glared down at the madly rushing crowd with a distinct air of superiority. “Really, what a bunch of lemmings.” There was a cracking noise as the man snapped his fingers.

...And then, there was a much louder crash as the crates beneath the man exploded into splinters, a tall figure rising up from where the pile had once stood, planting an enormous sword in the wake of a single, mighty blow that had destroyed the entire stack of wooden crates like a hot knife through butter. But the crier, to the astonishment of the shocked crowd, far from falling, instead rose sharply into the air on a glistening cube of red light, still smirking.

Shirou laughed triumphantly, his fiery hair streaming out behind him as he turned towards the wall, hefting a rope over his head. Sweeping it upward, he hurled it up to the surprised group on the walls.

“Catch and pull!” He bellowed, nodding to Zess as the pirate instinctively caught the thrown rope and gave it a mighty tug, before the knight on the ground turned, ripping his sword forth from the earth and reaching down to grab something else laying by his feet. Then, in the next instant, as Zess yanked on the cord, up sprang a ladder, at the top rung of which stood two familiar figures, each laughing with each triumph as they towered over the dumbstruck crowd below.

“Hey, all you peons down there! So, you want to kill Seire Valefar, King of Thieves, now do you? Well, then… HERE I AM! You want to take my head? COME AND TRY!” Dropping down onto the wall alongside his sworn brother, he reached out and snagged the coat held by the astonished archer. “Thank you, Giselle,” He added as an afterthought, sweeping it dramatically over his shoulders as he turned to face the gathering mob below. “Now, then… OPEN THE GATES! ALL FORCES, ATTACK!” Punctuating this booming roar came the grinding of gears as the portcullis of the small fortress rose upward, and the gates swung open, revealing an assembled host of at least a hundred men, clad in armor and standing firm, weapons in hand. Shirou wasted no time in joining this assembled mass, and Zess hastily followed suit, taking up his position in the formation as the sortie commenced, the thieves-turned-soldiers roaring out a battle cry as one as they burst forth from the gates, descending like a tidal wave upon the confused, baffled mob.

Seire, meanwhile, turned to Scarlet, who nodded, summoning another familiar, onto which he stepped out, drawing his sword. Cocking his head back, he grinned to the magus and the archer. “Nice to see you again, Giselle. We can catch up on old times later. Right now, I’ve got a battle to fight. Thanks for the coat!”

With that, the familiar dropped sharply, and streaked out over the fray, its occupant already beginning to bark out orders to the crowd below as the battle commenced.

Bewildered, but not entirely surprised, by Seire’s sudden reappearance and trademark nonchalance, Giselle merely mumbled a “You’re welcome” too late to be properly heard, and held an arrow up to her bow. It was time to step out from the schemes and tactical barricades and join the fight…

…..

The sandy-haired crier hopped lightly to the ground as the familiar hovered in a dim alleyway. Waving the glowing cube away dismissively, the crier began to search his pockets for something, finnally withdrawing a small, corked bottle of water. Poping the cork with a flick of his thumb, he upended the container over his head. Running his hands through his hair, which rapidly drained of colour, and stepping out of the pool of water dyed blonde, he ruffled up his hair, leaving it silver and spiky, as he normally wore it. Pulling off his tattered jacket, he flipped it inside out, and pulled it back on, fastening up what now appeared to be a crisp, flawless black suit jacket, of the type sometimes worn by preachers. Reaching behind a garbage bin, he withdrew a long, black duster, and pulled it on as he exited the alley, now appearing a completely different man, and walked in the direction of the cathedral.

Far behind him, the sounds of shouts and combat could be heard, and as he listened, his expression darkened. Someone screamed as they were cut down, but he shut his ears to the noise. No good would come of his return to the warehouse now. Seire's thieves could handle themselves with him in command, and the mob would probably only attack him without thinking in the blind rage they were in. Then he would have to fight back, and his presence would only add to the body count.

As long as Seire stuck to the plan, the fight wouldn't be lasting much longer anyway. He would sortee, and raid the mob's supply stock, recently brought to them by the ever-kind Church. The supplies had always been intended for the PTA, but the mob would never know that, and in the meantime, they would assume the Church was supporting them, instead of suspecting that they were harboring guild members, which they probably would be. However, for the time being, the cathedral and the monks within would be safe, and that was what Kurt had been aiming for all along.

Of course, with his little display earlier in the day, word would get out, and the new anarchic society would be after his head for hospitalizing quite a few of its members, but he could handle that too. With a little convincing, he could probably talk the abbot into letting him join a charity party leaving for the upper floors. That would be the best course of action, but he would need to move fast. As the cathedral came into sight, Kurt was already planning what to pack to take with him, and the shouts and sounds of combat faded away into the night as the priest pretended not to hear them.

…..

The thief gazed down at the hilltop as dust mingled with ash swirled lazily across the empty plains that had, only an hour before, been the site of a furious, if brief, battle. The tattered, charred remnants of tents fluttered like flags of surrender over what had once been the enemy camp, now little more than a scorched, desolate hillock, devoid of activity and of life. The enemies had fled. They had won. But Seire was far from satisfied. Although the bodies had largely been moved from the field of battle to the empty ground at the back of the warehouse, and the wounded were currently being treated by what medical personnel the thieves’ guild had, that didn’t change the fact that there had been casualties. Amidst the mob, Seire had confirmed two dozen killed, and over two hundred wounded - although many of these had fled, leaving only 47 in the PTA’s custody. Although the thieves had been ordered to refrain from lethal force, confusion, panic, and anger amidst the ranks had nevertheless caused several of the rioters who rushed the assembled unit wildly to be killed where they stood. Meanwhile, in the confusion, many others had been severely wounded, even crippled. And that didn’t even take into account the men who had been trampled underfoot.

But Seire… Although he usually would have regretted such an outcome, he couldn’t bring himself to feel pity for the enemy dead they had burned along with their camp, or for the wounded prisoners they now kept under guard. They had brought this upon themselves, and they had suffered the just consequences of their actions. No, if anything, he’d been merciful, sparing them at all. On his side, he held the advantages of training, position, weaponry, organization, surprise, and leadership. Even though outnumbered, his elite unit could easily have wrought a massacre upon the enemy in their initial charge, instead of merely crippling and incapacitating their foes. And yet, he had spared them… And now, he couldn’t help but wonder why.

Out of the thieves elite force of 150, 37 men had died that day, with an additional 24 casualties from the various attacks on the walls over the course of the siege. 51 men dead, and their lives lay on Seire’s shoulders. That didn’t even consider the wounded of the battle - a number somewhere in the range of 82, as very few men in the attack force had returned unscathed thanks to the mob’s furiosity - some of whom might have succumbed and died before the sun finished setting that day. And with more than 170 men wounded over the course of the siege itself, over a fourth of his guild had been either killed or injured in conflict during the course of the riots. That deplorable outcome was, in his eyes, completely unacceptable.

If only he’d been there. If only he hadn’t been cut off. If he had commanded them, he surely could have easily routed the attackers before matters grew this grave. The men who had died today wouldn’t have had to sacrifice their lives for his sake, and those who had fallen on the walls might yet have lived to rebuild. No, it was more than just that. If he had ordered no mercy upon the enemy, then more of his own men might have been saved. The mob was little more than a pack of savage animals in his eyes. Surely, they less deserved the lives they still possessed than the good and loyal comrades he had lost today.

“I should have killed them,” The thief murmured, his jaw set as he clenched his teeth, trying in vain to stifle the boiling rage he felt. “I should have killed them all when I had the chance… I should have butchered them like the animals they were!” His gaze grew cold, and his shaking hands balled themselves into fists. “The dogs we spared… They deserve to die for what they’ve done… The scum who fled, and the bastards terrorizing the city… They think I’m evil, huh? Well, everything up until now’s just been fun and games compared to what I can really do…! I’ll show them… Every single one of them… I’ll kill every single damned one of them!” Roaring this vow to the sky, he rounded upon the inside of the walls, clutching his sheathed blade and preparing to rip it forth from its sheath. In this instant, he was sure. He would have his vengeance, even if he had to exact it himself. Even if it meant burning the entire first floor to the ground, with his own hands, he would make those who had slain his comrades pay for their crimes in blood. He would cut them to pieces and laugh as they bled, as they finally understood what it meant to incur the wrath of Seire Valefar, King of Thieves and leader of men.

...And then, in the next instant, his eyes met the concerned gaze of the person standing behind him, and bit by bit, his resolve began to crumble. “...Giselle…” He said quietly, a tinge of regret entering his voice, as though he was ashamed to have been overheard.

“Seire.” Giselle’s mouth was thin, her voice stern. “Don’t you dare talk of despoiling all you’ve achieved for the sake of bloody-minded revenge.” And then, more quietly, more gently, “You’re better than that. At least, I’ve always hoped you were better than that. I’ve worked with you because I tell myself every day that, under all your style and your uncaring persona, there’s someone good. Don’t let me know that I’ve been wrong all these years. Don’t tell me that there’s nothing more to you than a megalomaniac. Please.” She took a breath. “I know you’re upset. We’re all devastated. This is… it’s all terrible. You have no idea how much I just want to give up.” Her voice raised nearly to a shout. “If you follow through on what you just announced, I swear I will wander into the woods and never come back. Damn this Castle, and damn all of you. It just isn’t worth it anymore. Don’t you ever assume that you’re the only one who’s near the breaking point!”

“If that’s how you feel, then why stop?!” Seire retorted. He’d been kind enough to let her finish, but now, he fired back with an angry reply. “This is all so twisted, isn’t it? Those men who died today… Most of them were people I knew from the continent. They served by my side almost from the day I created the Valefar group - from the day I made a name for myself! They fought in the rebellion, they followed me even when their lives were at risk… And now they’ve lost them, because I failed as a commander. How is it right of me to just stand by and do nothing to save the people who follow my orders - no, not just that, to risk them even further! - just so I can pat myself on the back for acting in accordance with my ideals? To save anyone, even if that person’s the enemy… It’s not even possible! You’ll only get yourself and your friends killed, like the people who died on that field today! And the people we saved… Why did we even bother? They were monsters - an uncontrollable pack of beasts, just acting on instinct. If they weren’t evil, they were certainly insane, and aren’t they a danger to other people either way? Why not just kill them and be done with it?! More lives will be saved if they die than if they live. Surely it’s better than just standing by as good people die for the sake of morally bankrupt swine like them!” Seire glared accusingly at the archer, and continued more quietly. “You’re the one who told me that I should use my strength to do the right thing. So, now that evil’s right in front of me, what am I supposed to do, walk away? I can’t, and you know it.”

“Your followers died for your ideals. You would dishonor them if you were to abandon yourself in order to pursue revenge. That’s not why they were here. They believed… we all believe, every one of us who’s on your side… that there is more to you. That mob… they were behaving like animals, yes, but they are not animals. I recognized some of them. They’re ordinary people. I don’t know why they were acting that way, how they’ve been corrupted so, but there is something going on here, and killing them all won’t solve anything. Anger is a product of fear. Don’t give them more reasons to fear us.”

“But then what?! How can I just let them go, after what they’ve done? How can I call myself a leader if my followers die and I just let it happen? If they don’t fear us, then they’ll prey on us. They failed this time, but if we don’t show them the cost of crossing us, then they’ll just try again. If not tomorrow, then next week. If not next week, then maybe next year. It doesn’t matter when. Eventually, they’ll realize that we don’t even strike back when they attack us, and then more people will die! So then what the hell am I supposed to do?! Let more innocent, loyal people die for the sake of my ideals? How is it right to sacrifice other people for your beliefs?! If they’ll only cause the people close to me to die, then I’d rather abandon them entirely!” Seire stopped, taking a deep breath and averting his eyes. He’d spoken a lie, and he knew it. The only reason he was here was because of his beliefs. If he gave them up, he’d have nothing left to live for. Both he and Giselle knew that. And yet… the idea of hiding behind his friends and followers, even if it meant their deaths, so utterly repulsed him that it seemed unfathomable to him.

“If you’d like, I’m sure I can arrange an audience for your complete abandonment of your ideals. I’m sure several of your followers would be eager to see their beloved leader fall so completely from his pedestal.” Giselle took a step, as if to run off and grab more Phantom Thieves Anonymous members to witness Seire’s declarations, or even his actions. She wouldn’t actually go. But then, Seire wouldn’t actually agree. He would never want his followers to see him like this, and they both knew it.

“So that’s it, then…?” The thief gave a mirthless, hollow laugh. “That’s your answer? Act like nothing’s wrong, and just keep going like I have been, even knowing that I’ll only be leading my men to their deaths? How is this right? I was supposed to be a hero… wasn’t I? I thought that if I used my strength for good… that if I had a reason to fight, then I’d have a reason to live, too… but if it’s a choice between living and giving up my purpose, or fighting to protect it even if I lose myself, I just don’t know anymore. Is this really what they’d have wanted? To just give up and move on?” Seire’s words were rapidly losing their previous conviction, revealing his determination for the farce it was. A way to vent his anger, and nothing more. The truth behind this facade was one he hadn’t wanted to admit, but was also one he had no choice but to accept. Put simply, he wanted nothing more than to be able to say that his comrades had died in vain - to absolve himself of guilt as such. If that meant paying back their killers in full, so be it. And yet, in the end, he hadn’t the courage to do it, because he knew all too well why they’d died in the first place. The answer was exactly as Giselle had said. They’d died because they believed what he believed. Why else had they charged out the moment he had ordered them to for the sake of his own return to safety? To throw away that belief would only be to spit on their sacrifice.

“They’d have wanted you to carry on,” said Giselle. “No one said anything about giving up. It’s time to regroup. Time to go to those who are still alive and give them the courage to fight on. We broke the siege. We got you back. Today’s fight was not in vain. We will keep going. Maybe we don’t know what our next step will be, but we know that there will be one. That might not seem like a lot, but today… I think it’s enough.”

“So I’m supposed to improvise, huh?” The thief sighed, giving a wry smile that didn’t entirely mask the guilt and anger still lingering on his face. “Fine. It’s worked before, and it’ll have to work again. If this is the right thing to do… then I’ll trust in the people who died believing in me. Seire Valefar will just have to keep on being what he always has been: a leader, and a warrior who stands up for his ideals, fighting to change the world no matter what the cost.” He seemed to be trying to convince himself rather than Giselle, but nevertheless, it seemed he’d calmed his anger. “You’re right. Of course you’re right,” he said quietly. “I was just being self-serving, going on about vengeance when I don’t even know what I’m doing myself. Sorry I snapped at you.” It was rather uncharacteristic of the man’s usual bluster to apologize at all, let alone under the current circumstances. And yet, it seemed that there was still something on his mind. Yet, oddly enough, he looked to be having trouble speaking up about it. Yet, at last, gathering his words, he continued.

“Giselle… You… you said earlier that you had half a mind to quit, right? That you’d just wander off into some corner of the world and never come back?” His expression was equal parts accusation - almost looking hurt, which was utterly foreign on his usually cocksure and confident face - and concern. “You’re not the sort of person who lies, so… You really meant it, right? Well… you can’t. I won’t let you. Without you, what would this guild be? What would the Valefar group have been? What would I be? Just some run of the mill swordsman with a chip on his shoulder, taking what he likes and living as he pleases. Assuming I’d even have survived at all, that is - and even then, I’d never have made it this far.” Seire seemed to be regaining his conviction as he continued, his voice rising to its customarily forceful, yet somehow endearing tone. “I could never go back to living that way. Not knowing what to do, not caring what happens next… I can’t. I won’t. I need somebody to remind me why I’m alive, to give me something to believe in. If I lost that… if I lost you, I’d be losing my reason to live. So, it doesn’t matter if you quit, or if you run away and try to hide. I’d follow you from the bottom of the underground to the very top of this castle, and chase you clear down to the mainland if I had to. Because you’re mistaken; you’re not the one who’s believed in and followed me. This whole time, I was just following you, and what you believe in. So, don’t ever talk of running away, because just like I can’t fail the people who believed in me, I don’t think you can just leave behind somebody who believes in you.” The thief gave a slight smile. “You’re better than that,” He added, echoing her own words. “At least, that’s what I’ve hoped.”

“Thank you. For your confidence in me.” Giselle couldn’t help but mimic Seire’s expression on her own face. “The next time you get in a mood like that, before you do anything drastic, just think. What would I be without you? Caring… isn’t always easy for me. I’ve run away more times than I’d like to admit. But then there’s you, and your causes and your goals… and you’ve made my ideals into something that is not so easy to walk away from.”

Turning away with a slight chuckle, Seire began to stride off down the wall. Calling back over his shoulder, he slouched slightly, sliding his hands into his pockets in a casual manner that suggested nothing was wrong. “I’m glad I could help, then. Anyway… Thanks for the advice!” He said, trying his best to mimic his usual carefree tone. It was perhaps more depressing that he succeeded quite well than it would have been if his voice broke, or if he trailed off into silence out of guilt. “Tell the council to spread the word that we’ll be holding a ceremony in memory of the dead. Gather everyone who can still stand, and assemble them in the courtyard at dawn tomorrow. We’ll send off our fallen heroes with the honor they deserve. It’s the least we can do for them.” With that, he made his way down the wall, and quickly went out of earshot, his coat trailing like a white flag as he walked the battlements, gazing solemnly down at the desolate hill beyond, where the dust and ash yet danced and lingered on the gentle wind. Now and again he would stop to exhort a lone sentinel, or to comfort a grieving watchman over the loss of the dead, and in the eyes of those to whom he spoke, he must surely have seemed larger than life, able to take the deaths of his followers in stride, and yet still sharing their sorrow at the loss. The watchmen found themselves smiling as he left, relieved to know that, no matter how much they’d lost, at least their commander was still willing to stand by their side, to share their joys and sorrows, and to lead them on to a brighter future.

None of them guessed that inside, he felt just the same as them. And so they smiled, and Seire smiled back, because that was all he knew how to do to keep himself from breaking.

……

The five red pinpricks of light darted across the sky, unseen through the clouds of smoke, soot, and ash rising up from the fields of the floor below. Seire gazed down on the almost unrecognizable world below him. If he didn’t know for himself that this war-torn land of flames and battlefields was the very same tranquil, green floor he’d occupied on the previous day, he wouldn’t have believed it, even though he was the one who had caused it to transform so dramatically.

“Let’s see… That looks like the Harathi main army, there. Looks like they’re besieging the Sarsi. I suppose it was pretty obvious who’d get the upper hand, considering their technological advantage over the others,” Shirou noted idly where he stood atop a familiar to Seire’s left, flying along at the same speed as the rest of them as Scarlet carried them over the battlefields below and toward their destination: the tower leading upward to the next floor.

“And meanwhile,” Zess added, seeming rather impressed by the carnage before his eyes. “Seems like the Tamini have already managed to invade that village over there. Didn’t that belong to some tribe called the Modniir? As far as I know, we didn’t involve them… did we?”

“That’s where you’re wrong!” Seire replied cheerfully. “I stole the head of their chieftain's spear. He never even realized I was there, the old oaf. Well, I guess it didn’t help that his security was terrible. I could have probably assassinated him then and there and nobody’d have been any the wiser.”

“That’s all well and good, but it still doesn’t explain why the Tamini are attacking them.”

“They’re known for being cunning political schemers,” Shirou interjected helpfully. “Seire had me plant the spearhead on one of the bodies when I ambushed the Gunnar and Tamini forces in the first place. The Tamini must have assumed that everything was a Modniir conspiracy.”

“Gullible idiots,” Kurt snarked from behind. “Those half-horses couldn’t think up anything on this scale. They’re just playing with primitive political tricks. They don’t have a clue about the real art of manipulation.”

“Pardon my interruption,” Scarlet said quietly. “But we’ve reached the target destination.”

…..

The tower was enormous, its entrance like the gaping maw of some beast - well, minus the fangs, for which Seire was most grateful, as unnecessary spikes would have made it very awkward to enter. Nevertheless, it was very dark, and by the time they were through the front door, he could already barely see what was in front of him. In his experience, such design was meant to mask the presence of some immediate threat in the shadows, and so he motioned for the others to approach with caution, keeping his eyes peeled for any sort of movement that might have signaled a surprise attack. But no such ambush came. Rather, instead, there was a sudden flurry of light, and in an instant, countless torches running around the edge of the colossal circular room ignited one at a time, dozens, if not hundreds, of blue flames springing to life and illuminating the chamber.

And, sure enough, when the lights fell upon the room’s center, there, before the eyes of the newcomers, lay an enormous shape. As first, it seemed like an enormous lion, but then the Thief caught a glimpse of its towering wings, spread wide and reaching upward into the darkness above where somewhere, the ceiling ought to have been. And finally, as it turned towards them, he saw its face.

“Welcome,” said the Sphinx, its voice booming throughout the enormous tower. “I have awaited your arrival. It is my duty to test the worthiness of those who would pass through this gate. Be it through force of arms or through strength of wit, you may pass. But be ye dull of mind and slow of body, then I will kill you and eat you up. Now, which do you choose? A trial of the mind, or a trial of the body?”

“A Sphinx?” Seire groaned. He’d read about these troublesome creatures in the all-purpose grimoire he’d stolen from the library tower. They kept their word, and obeyed their own rules, but were insufferably cunning, and could easily outwit mere mortals. It seemed hopeless to even attempt whatever test the beast might have offered, right from the get go. Sure enough, it seemed the others thought the same way. But at the last moment, something occurred to him.

“Fine,” Kurt sighed, rubbing his temples in irritation. “We choose-”

“Wait,” Seire interrupted. Shirou nodded, understanding immediately what his plan was. “Your trial of the mind… it’s a game of riddles, right?”

“Indeed,” intoned the Sphinx. Seire grinned.

“Then that’s what we’ll choose.”

“And how exactly do you intend to beat a Sphinx in a game of riddles?” Kurt growled in annoyance.

“Simple. Scarlet here is a huge bookworm,” Shirou said, grinning as he patted his spouse proudly on the shoulder. “And her familiars serve to store and replicate data she’s encountered in the past. It’s a form of Eidetic Memory.”

“Your plan still relies on her actually having read whatever riddles this thing comes up with. What if it creates its own questions? What, do you think they have a script or something?”

…..

Seire watched with anticipation as the beast nodded sagely. “Correct,” it said. That was the ninth riddle the magus had answered flawlessly.

Kurt let out a rather frustrated sigh, massaging the bridge of his nose. “So apparently, Sphinxes are remarkably uncreative creatures. Who would have guessed?”

This “test” couldn’t have gone on much further, but Seire couldn’t help but be uneasy. From his reading, he’d been under the impression that Sphinxes had only one riddle that they would ask anyone who came to them until someone finally solved it. Yet, this one seemed to have several. Even though they were all ones, as of yet, that Scarlet had heard, something seemed distinctly wrong about this setup. Despite all evidence to the contrary, thus, he was worried.

“Then I shall ask of you one more question, one that had stood throughout the ages as the pinnacle of all riddles… What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs at dusk?” The Sphinx boomed. The small magus, dwarfed by the enormous creature before her, didn’t even have to check her familiars. She knew the correct answer already.

“A man,” She said quietly.

For a moment silence resounded throughout the chamber. Then, the creature spoke once again.

“That is correct,” It said. “However… I am not able to accept that answer. We shall commence the test of arms. Prepare yourselves.”

For a moment, everything was silent. Then, in perfect unison, both Seire and Kurt’s voices resounded through the tower.

““Oh, what the HELL?!””
"The Apocalypse is basically just a tutorial." - Sicon112.

"Due to the ambiguity of this wording, I am unable to determine whether or not I am the leader of the X-Men!"
"UNIVERSE-BREAKING EPILEPSY RAVE!" - AMimsyBorogove
User avatar
AMimsyBorogove
 
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2012 3:38 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Adell on Sun Dec 01, 2013 1:50 am

(Around the same time as the earthquakes)
The constant sound of hammering was finally silenced as Hector, once again, replaced the snapping boards that consisted of the roof his home. Carefully, the man climbed down from the roof, careful not to place much weight on any of it knowing that it could not support him. Hector considered himself many things, but he nothing among those things was someone smart enough or coordinated enough to be a carpenter. Sure he could cut the trees down no problem but a multitude of improper measurements, due to a complete lack of actual measuring, had led the place being rickety and barely capable of supporting itself.

Every day for the last few months, the man spent the first half of his day usually repairing the damages done to the place over night. It was boring work, but it was keeping his body toned. This allowed him to use the rest of his day for either hunting or training in fighting with only one eye. By now he had grown quite accustomed to moving around with the different type of perception, and was nearly back to his old self in terms of skill. He knew there would still be dangers in the castle, and that he needed to be at his best to meet them. Despite the idea of how dangerous the castle was, it would be a lie to say the man was not a little bit excited at the challenge.

Reaching the dirt the house laid on once again the man slowly walked towards the back of the house, his legs tired from the work. Quietly, he shuffled over to back and knelt down. In front of him, two unmarked graves remained, to which the man seemed to give a bow of his head towards as if in respect for the two who were buried there. It was a ritual the man had started everyday, ever since his last battle. Enemies the two had become to him, but deep down they had still been friends in Hector’s heart.

Finally, the weary returned inside and slumped upon a wooden stool. He let out a long breath of exhaustion and stared upon the work above him. Not bad, he thought, The sun is only visible in some parts of the roof. The man gave a quite chuckle as he allowed himself a moment of respite.

This was interrupted, however, as a beam of light fired into the sky; so bright, it poked through the holes Hector had just commented on. “What the…” The man muttered before the table in front of him began to shake slightly. “Hmm?” He examined it closely before another shake happened, this one longer than the last. And then another, and another. Before he knew it, the whole place was shaking violently as landmasses connected and smashed into one another violently. The man’s poor shack never stood a chance, and fell to pieces just as the cosmic event started.

Hector just remained sitting on his stool, dumbfounded as it appeared the floors from below and above where joining together, forcing themselves into one sort of twisted landmass. When it finally died down the beam of light had become more focused; from where Hector was he could see the silhouette of town the others where in. The same town that was supposed to be three floors below.

The swordsman looked around his home, what was left of it, and grunted in frustration. Sitting up, he removed the rubble around his gear and gathered it up. Another sigh of annoyance, before Ivory swung up and rested on his shoulder, and the man stomped away towards the light. Someone needed to pay for breaking his house. Again.
If you ever need to ask the questions "Am I needed? Should I help them?" The answer is always yes. Always.
User avatar
Adell
Meta-Lovecrafter
 
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:31 pm
Location: New Jersey

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby agoraoptera on Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:29 am

Fresh Air

Immediately after Marcus needs help.

-

Eliziya ran down the streets as if all the mottled hounds of hell were gnashing at her heels. She took random turns, diving into unknown alleys and rushing through unfamiliar streets. Black hair rendered invisible in the night flew behind her as she moved, and the mage counted the barely visible cracks between cobblestones. Anything to fill her mind, just meaningless noise, anything to-

She didn’t tell you! roared the voice. She knew you wanted to be there, but she didn’t tell you!

“Shut up!” Zi shrieked, hot tears spilling down her cheeks. “Shut up, shut up, shut up!”

Face it! She didn’t want you there-

“It’s her own marriage, she can do whatever she wants, you damned bastard, shut up, shut up!”

Eliziya’s foot caught against a wedge and she stumbled, tripping painfully. She pulled her legs together in a fetal position, blubbering incoherently as she jammed her fingers in her ears. Yet, the voice continued to scream at her and Eliziya pushed her digits in so hard she felt a lance of burning pain in her ears as something gave way. Like a dam holding back a river, her eardrums burst and sticky blood began oozing out of her ears.

With some effort, the dazed healer pulled out her fingers, no longer able to distinguish the high-pitched ringing in her ears from the voice and simply lay there limply, letting her magic work. The agony overwhelmed all her senses, and by the time the burning died away to lukewarm tepidity, Zi had no idea what time at all it was. Dim stars dotted the night-sky, unmoving and unchanging, casting their baleful gaze on her.

Pushing herself to a sitting position with blood-encrusted hands, she focused and attempted to ease away the throbbing in her skull.

Zianya? Don’t ever do that again.

“No, Papa,” she replied reflexively at the sound of her father’s voice, before realising what it was. “Damn you! Don’t use my father’s voice on me.”

I love you, Zianya, trailed the ephemeral words. My daughter..

“Stop it,” she said, voice as brittle as an icicle. “I swear..”

Swear what? snapped the voice. I do what I do, but I may not do what I want to do and instead do what I do not want to do. If, then, I do what I do not want to do, then it is not me who does what I do not want to do-

“Stop,” moaned Zi helplessly. “You’re giving me another headache.”

In the ensuing silence, Eliziya softly gave thanks for little mercies, then did her best to reflect on the past events with as much rationality as she could muster.

“She didn’t have to leave me out,” Zi hung her head. “What did I do?”

Or rather, what did you not do?

“What do you mean?”

You are rather pathetic, after all. I would not be surprised if I were left out. She might have thought you would ruin it.

“Are you serious? I wouldn’t have cried or anything..” Her shoulders slumped, powerless.

Of course I’m serious! rumbled the voice. Would I lie to you?

Eliziya glared at it witheringly with her mind’s eye. “Yes.”

The voice burst out into raucous laughter. Yes, yes indeed, I lie to thee, and what an incredulous sensation!

“I hate you. My sister would never.. would never-”

She already did, my dear darling.

“It was in the heat of the moment! I know Anji loves me. They made their choice, and must have forgotten about other things.”

Child, you sound as if you’re trying to convince yourself, more than me, the voice murmured soothingly.

Eliziya stared up into the black night, gazing at the stars in an attempt to curb the overwhelming sense of loneliness. Desolation writhed within a stew of disappointment and she felt as if she were drowning in a frozen lake, trapped under a sheet of black ice.

“She would never have left me out intentionally. She knows how much it means to me.”

Face it, the voice curled about her like an inexorable noose. It happened.

“I don’t question that it happened! I’m not stupid. I just.. I’m sure she had her own.. reasons. Passion and.. and everything.”

Biting her knuckle, Eliziya choked back several sobs and squeezed her eyes tightly in an effort to stop the tears. A soft touch played over her hands and she looked up to see the feathery limbs of Numen lightly contacting her as if in commiseration. Against her hurt, Zi smiled to see the golden-eyed Tutelary comfort her, even if it was unthinking. Perhaps given time, Numen could become a friend..

Your emotions.. confuse me, admitted the voice. How do you feel affection for something that is essentially nothing?

“You’ll never understand,” Zi remarked cruelly, holding the ever-changing Tutelary close to her heart.

I will, it declared confidently. I will uncover everything and finally comprehend you.

“Then comprehend this,” Zi said with startling sharpness. “Whatever happens, Anji is my sister, and you will never do anything against her. Never try to turn me against her.”

Then what about Tamar? You have not spoken to your heart-love in days. Your sister spends every waking moment with her’s; well then, what about you?

“It’s your fault, you bastard.”

Language, Zianya!

“You are not my father!” Eliziya shouted, bloodshot eyes glaring crazedly at the walls. “It is because of you that I end up here like this, that I look mad to any damned person for talking to myself, telling imaginary voices to shut up! I’m not blind, I’m not stupid, I’ve seen the way my sister looks at me, I’ve seen the way they all look at me, and it’s all your damned fault! There’s no way I’m going to make Tamar see me like this, I swear by all the saints, I’d rather kill myself first! I love him, but he already saw me pits-burned crazy before and then he, he didn’t turn away but he helped save me and bring me back, there’s no way I’m going to put him through this again!”

In her rage, the little girl grabbed at pebbles and began flinging them down the street, eliciting sharp raps of stone against stone. Sweating and heaving with the exertion of her passion, Zi hurried away to another street, knowing that the commotion would probably wake many.

“I hate you.”

Blame this on the misfortune of your birth, the voice said neutrally. I did nothing to birth you.

“Oh, so now you’re not my father?” laughed Zi bitterly.

I am not your mother, it replied stonily. You knew even less of her than you did your father.

“I hate you,” she repeated slowly, enunciating every single word carefully, twisting each syllable with spiteful venom.

That’s alright. Parents must always love their progeny.

“You are not-!”

Enough, child! You wear me down like grit on rock.”

It unnerved Zi, the way they had spoken the same words, their voices blending together in an eerie harmony. It had completed her sentences before, after all it did know her mind, but never had they spoken in concert. She could not even discern what had prompted her to do so.

Time to go home.”
If you can make it better, don't make it sentient.

agoraoptera wrote: :| Shane just because I'm Asian doesn't mean I get to be Godzilla


Proud co-writer of the Greatest Idea of Our Time: viewtopic.php?f=45&t=1236
User avatar
agoraoptera
 
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:46 am
Location: Singapore

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Blurred_9L on Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:33 pm

Timeline placement: 5 years ago.

The things he had seen.

Heavy footsteps echoed through the barely lit cave, running through narrow corridor after narrow corridor, constantly looking back at the paths they left behind them. The weak flame of a torch shaking in his hand could barely lit the way ahead, and he found himself tripping and almost falling more than once as they tried to flee the tunnels they were in.

Though they were too busy escaping, he could tell both Wendy and Trent signalling him to hurry up, to move faster, to be on his guard. Sadly, he couldn’t do any of those. He was just a guy. A weak guy, as the guards they had met just outside of the cave had told him. “Useless” he muttered, his quickened heartbeat begging his lungs for more air cutting the word into unintelligible whisper. A breeze flew by them, weakening the torch’s flame even more.

“You really think I’d let you trespass and then have you be on your merry way?” The old man’s voice was carried alongside the breeze. Darren closed his eyes for a second, just as he turned around a corner, Wendy following closely behind, a worried look on her face and a dull knife on her hand. Just behind her, an exhausted looking young man followed, his two blades unsheathed. As he looked back again, Darren noticed that for once, he looked even more worried than him.

“Fools!” They could feel the gust of wind just behind them. Were they getting closer? “Fools all of you! To think anybody would actually be dumb enough to barge inside a royal vault. I laugh at you idiocy!”, the voice echoed through the hall, finally putting out the light coming from the torch, leaving the three of them in the dark. Their running footsteps soon stopped, the sound of the discarded torch’s stick hitting the rocky floor following shortly after.

“At least I don’t hold a whole town trapped, deciding their fates and their lives for them!” Trent lashed out, certain that the old man could not hear his words. He stomped on the ground, guided by his anger, but quickly regained his composure. “I think I remember the way from here…” he told them, his voice suddenly sounding a lot more tired than a moment ago. “...let’s keep going, guys, I’ve got your back.” He spoke, trying to catch his breath. His two companions tried to find each other in the dark corridor, their sight blinded by the lack of light. Somehow, they both knew their friend was just trying to reassure them they would be fine. Somehow, they both knew he was just saying that to prevent them from despairing.

In an instant, they were running once again, each few minute, he would tell them to ‘turn right or left’ or to ‘watch out for the stalactites’. With each few steps, a raging wind blew from behind them, their instincts telling them to hurry up, their minds whispering each of them that it wouldn’t be long now.

Finally reaching a bigger chamber, they stopped and scattered throughout the room. Trent stayed hidden behind one of the pillars inside the Chamber of the Crown, Wendy finding her hiding place not far from him, a glint of ice magic suddenly appearing over her hands. As for him, the cowardly ‘child’ he found a small crevice in one of the walls further away from the entrance and nearest to the nearest room.. He cursed himself and he cursed his own cowardice, tightly gripping the hilt of a kitchen knife. The arcane wind blew once more before two guards appeared at the chamber’s entrance. Black and green robes covered most of their bodies and their faces were hidden behind sun masks. The stepped into the room without making a sound, but that of the whisper of the wind and that of a sword being unsheathed.

“High mages…” Trent grunted, both swords held in front of him, one of them rushing towards him and the other one going deeper into the chamber, carrying his sword behind his back. The rogue’s eyes widened in surprise, as he tried to motion himself towards the direction the second guard was moving in. “Shit!” he exclaimed, his eyes darting to the place Wendy waited. He tried to run towards her, but the other mage had already casted a spell, a rush of winding sending him flying across the room.

“Trent!” both Darren and Wendy shouted in unison, inadvertently revealing their positions. Wendy, realizing this, jumped out of the pillar, crystals of ice flying ahead of her towards the enemy swordsman. He cackled, lazily moving his free arm towards his side, flinging the ice shards towards the nearest wall. If he hadn’t been wearing a mask, she would have probably seen him smirk, as he lifted the blade to deliver the killing blow.

”Move!” Darren thought, but his legs wouldn’t move. He just stood there, his back against the wall of the crevice, and his fingers slowly turning purple for holding the knife too tightly. Was that all that he could do? That was what he asked himself as he saw the masked mage lift the sword. ”Move…!” he ordered his limbs again, but he merely managed a step. He closed his eyes as the blade started coming down, the last thing he saw was her holding her arms in front of her, as if that would protect her.

“No!” Trent screamed as he tried to get up, but the unarmed mage sent blast after blast of wind at him, making him unable to keep his balance. He cursed under his breath, as he felt his own muscles give up under the constant beating, just before a whirlwind formed beneath himself, throwing him towards one of the pillars. “...Dammit…”, the words could barely come out.

For the three of them, time seemed to stand still. Wendy lowered her arms for a moment to find herself encased in ice, with a mass of ice spikes all around her. Somehow, the ice stopped the sword just in time, as she could see the guard anxiously trying to recover his sword from the ice.

Darren opened his eyes. Wendy was still alive, yet his muscles still felt tense, and his grip over the knife’s hilt remained the same. The swordsman a few meters away from him struggled to recover his weapon from the icy thorns around Wendy. ”Will you move already?, he complained to himself inside his thoughts, finding it hard to step outside of the crevice.

”That should be enough.” the old man’s voice from before came back, echoing through the chambers walls even more strongly than before. A man of quite advanced age appeared from the hall that lead to what they had thought to be the treasure room. Despite his white hair and the wrinkles on his face, he stood straight, emanating an intimidating aura. He held a book on his hand, and looked at both, the mages and the rogues with the same stern look.

Trent tried to stand up, but another rush of winding pushed him against the nearby wall. “You came back.” the old man said as he approached him whilst opening the book. His hand moved quickly through the pages as if looking for something, yet his gaze didn’t leave the spot where the younger man was.

“I never left.” Trent spat back, still trying to regain his strength to fight. “I’m not one to simply let the unfortunate be brainwashed into their given roles.”

The older man frowned, closing the book on his right hand suddenly, the chamber lighted up in an instant with a flash of light coming from it. “I still remember your audience. Insolent, arrogant, pretentious. A true failure, if I say so myself.”

“Aren’t you confident?” Trent smirked, amused. “I could swear the person in front of me fits that description more than I do.”

The old man lifted his hand. As he did so, a hurricane began forming around his finger. ”That’s no way to talk to your king, pest” The voice resounded with deafening force over the chamber. The high mages fell to their knees, covering their ears. The ice protecting Wendy shattered around her, and she too had to protect her ears from the words that filled the room.

The sound made Darren stumble outside of the crevice, finally letting go of the knife to avoid losing his sense of hearing. He felt as if his heart had descended to the rocky floor of the cavern. Was there any chance of getting away now that the king had appeared?

With a movement of his hand, all people inside the chamber were thrown around the room. The king didn’t even care about his own mages sakes. One after the other, they fell to the floor or crashed against the walls. As Darren tried to stay conscious he noticed that Wendy had ended up a long distance away from him, her back leaning against the wall nearest to the entrance. She didn’t seem to be moving. Closer to him, Trent was standing up, his body rocking wildly, as if he had trouble balancing himself.

Are you okay? Darren wanted to say, but he felt the words get stuck on his throat. He was shaking, but he knew he had to do something… or else… The thought arrived at his mind, but he shook it off promptly, before it seeped into his mind and prevented him from doing something. Not even a meter away from him, one of Trent’s swords laid on the floor. Was that his only chance?

“You’ve grown weak. I’m disappointed in you.” The king said as he approached the weakened man who was barely able to stand, his expression showing the minimum concern for his own allies. “Back then, despite all your flaws, you would have made a perfect spy for the kingdom. If only you hadn’t been so stupid and rejected the life I would have given you.”

“Sh… Shut up, old man!” Trent retorted back, leaning his body weight against his remaining sword. “I’m… I’m not out yet.” he said as he readied himself to attack, even though he knew he wouldn’t last even a single strike. He searched the room for his two companions, but his eyes were too tired to even see but a few meters away.

“You still want to fight?” the king asked as he raised his hand once more. A rush of wind started to form, but just as quickly as it appeared, it was gone. The king let out a cry of pain as he felt a sword go through his abdomen. “Who…!” he shouted as he turned back to find a cloaked child, trying to hold the sword that went through his body with all his strength. A sword that, as he could tell, was too heavy for the child.

“Ah…” the king whispered as if realizing something. “The son of the two merchants. How could I forget? Darren Alabaster, right?” he calmly said, his voice remained fluent, despite the blade that cut through his stomach. Blood began dripping from the wound, but the king didn’t flinch at all.

“A...Are you even human?” Darren exclaimed terrified, yet he found himself unable to let go of the sword.

“A coward, huh? Attacking me from behind. Despicable! If you were at the Assembly, there would only be a single judgement for the likes of you…”

“I said… shut up!” Trent shouted before the king could finish his sentence, stabbing the king again with the remaining sword before falling unconscious to the floor, his energy finally running out.

”I’m sorry” he whispered just before his eyes closed. The king began laughing madly. The blood poured out from both wounds, staining his robes.

“You useless pests!” he shouted as he motioned his hand in front of him, a wave of force pushing Darren back, hitting against the opposite wall. Falling to the floor, he too, lost consciousness. The king laughed again before snapping his fingers. The whole room went dark again…

--- --- --- --- ---

Back to the present: Two days before the earthquakes

“Finally found you.” The armor-clad man whispered as he reached the stone platform floating over the sea. There was no sound besides that of the crashing waves and his own boots hitting the floor as he approached the unconscious body of a troublesome rogue sleeping besides a sword stuck on the stone floor.

“You really are annoying, you know?” Nestor said to the sleeping rogue, getting a snore as a response. “Come on, I am not carrying you back to your guild.”

Nestor sighed, resigning himself. As he crouched to pick up the annoying man known as Darren, he looked at the sword stuck on the floor. Somehow, it was oddly familiar. He dismissed the thought when he saw the other man move around in his sleep. ‘What was he dreaming of?’ he wondered as he picked the body from the floor and started walking back the way he had come.

“Let’s go, then. As annoying as you might be, it’s still my duty to take care of all of my subordinates…” he sighed again.

“...Being this lawful borders on idiocy.” he commented to himself, stepping onto the podium that would send them back to the city.
Why should we do the right thing?
-Well... because it's the right thing to do, there's no other good reason.

Am I a bad guy trying to be good, or a good guy trying to convince himself that he's not the bad guy?
User avatar
Blurred_9L
 
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:05 pm
Location: Guadalajara, Jalisco, MX

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:09 pm

Lori finished the outermost circle, stepping back to admire her design. Mumbling and nodding to herself, she made a few quick hand seals, hands trembling as the circle glowed mutely. “Okay then, Shard. You can come out now.”

She stepped back a few paces, eyes glancing warily around the deserted forest, but always looping back to the circle, which pulsed and flowed inside itself. After half an hour of no response, Lori growled at the sky, making a few more signs and pushing more power into the already unstable circle. “You have got to be kidding me, Shardreach. You crow-biter. Show up already!”

After an hour and a half of waiting, the Lorekeeper broke the circle. “Right, I’m done with this.”

Shard laughed, sitting on top of one of the rocks behind her. “And here I thought you would go so far to get what you wanted, Lorekeeper.”

“What, you expect me to wait at your leisure, Shardreach? I think we both know that you’re a rather small fish in a very big pond.” Lori turned to face him, face impassive.

“And still, you are so infinitely smaller that you think of yourself with such magnificence,” he teased, clearly amused. “You are the one who wants something here; if I indulge myself to humour you or not is purely my own choice. So yes, I’d have you wait at my leisure.” He gave a small pause and a knowing smirk. “And you would have waited, because your curiosity is far stronger than your sense of self-preservation.”

“You won’t kill me.” Lori said, self-confidently. “Therefore my curiosity is both necessary and justified.”

“Justified within the parameters of your meagre existence? Perhaps. It is still little concern of mine. You haven’t made your offer yet, though I’m certain you want answers… What do you offer me in exchange for knowledge? Just how far would go to learn, Lorekeeper?”

“I have extensive knowledge of your resistance’s defenses and strengths, as well as profiles on the more active members of the sundry guilds that stand in opposition to you.” Lori said, jerking her head back to indicate her pack. “A willing trade, my information for yours.”

“Devious,” Shard replied. “That you would so easily betray your friends and allies… It certainly seems poetic, but I’m afraid that is not a deal favourable to me… You see, you seek information, and thus, you lack information. I have no need for flawed reports and matters I just so happen to already know. Or do you think it’s an accident that I know what you want and how long you’d wait to get it?”

Lori smiled without amusement, “In that case, you have your price already in mind. My efforts mean little.”

“Indeed, I know what I ask for to give what you want… But you mislead yourself in thinking that your efforts mean nothing.” Shard jumped down from the rock to stand in front of the lorekeeper. “So long as it amuses me, I’ll be willing to humour you… And I wonder how long will it take for you to realize what I ask from you.”

Lori glanced him up and down, remarking sweetly, “I’m sorry, honey. You aren’t my type.”

Shard slid back upward, returning to the top of the rock, laughing for longer than any person would have the air to accomplish. “Remarkable conclusion, but that’s also wrong. My interests in your kind do not lie on that path.”

“Is that even a thing for your species?” Lori asked, smirk widening.

“Oh, but to know that I am not human is not new to you, not if you’ve gone so far as you already have. This offers you no new answers, though you’re certainly welcome to keep trying. Maybe even cling to that sliver of hope that I’ll be unaware of how much I teach you.” He matched her smirk. “The game itself is fairly amusing.”

“My blood then,” Lori said, blinking slowly. “Answers for my blood, sealed and done. Now, will you answer my questions?”

“While you certainly overestimate the value of your blood, yes.” Shard sat upright, face serious and focused. “Ask what you will. But for your blood alone, given to me by your choice, I’ll give you three, and only three, answers.”

“My blood is worth five, and you know it,” Lori bargained, eyes narrowed.

“Yet I am the one who holds the cards… How much do you want the knowledge, Lorelei?”

“Thrice sworn and done…” Lori thought for a moment, and asked, “What are the weaknesses of the one who commands you, Genus Loci?”

Shard grimaced, eyes briefly wider before setting into impartiality again. “That was… Unexpected. But the first answer is that the one above me is of human nature.”

“How will you battle us in the days to come?” Lori pressed further, slipping closer to the being.

“As I already have while you were unaware of my presence,” he replied. “That is your second answer.”

“Wonderful to know that you have the ability to count.”

“Indeed, as you assume, I do, in fact, have the ability to count. Was that, dare I ask, your third question?” Shard gave a predatory smile.

Lori grinned back impishly. “Can we meet again, in this life?”

Shard raised an eyebrow. “If you managed to arrange a meeting with me once, you should have your answer already… but I’m sorry, Lorekeeper, you aren’t my type. And now for my payment, dear.”

Lori pulled a dagger and bandages out of her pocket swiftly. Eyes level with Shard’s, still prowling towards her, she pricked her finger, allowing three drops of blood to meet the castle’s floor. With a smirk, she quickly bandaged the injury, and sealed it with a few hasty signs. “Our business is done, Shardreach.” She spat, voice shaking with anger. “You may leave.”

Shard froze in his motions, for a moment, his eyes turned into deep spirals of an ocean born storm. He said nothing, staring at his company and considering his next step.

Lori stared back, never breaking eye contact as she crossed her arms, smirking victoriously. “Twice I say, get out of my sight, Shardreach. Don’t require me to ask again.”

Shard’s furious expression subsided, the stormy eyes returning to their usual human-like nature. “I misread you, Lorelei. That does not happen often, and never twice to the same person. Do not attempt to bargain with me again, for both of our sakes.”

“I’ll keep that in mind, Shardreach. Thrice I say and done, go inform your master of my actions. Let them learn to fear my name.” Lori drew her claymore, slamming the point down into the earth like a silent ward, eyes burning with unknown fury as a translucent blue wall appeared around her, shimmering lightly. Shard disappeared without any further word, lip curled in derision.
User avatar
eli_gone_crazy
 
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2012 4:59 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Lordxana0 on Mon Dec 16, 2013 4:47 am

Comedy whistled as she watched the two people that had come to stop the portal leave. She didn't make any attempt to stop them, why would she? Her job here was done. She calmly skipped through the gate and watched it close behind her, walking into the massive stadium. "Did I do good Lord Cloth?" she asked in a rather innocent voice.

The green cloaked figure appeared from the shadows and smiled, playing with the masked girls hair. "Yes you did dear, now everyone expects to see my forces running around the outside of their city, never guessing that directly under them the true bulk of my forces is still waiting to strike them. Honestly I find it a bit...comical that they would just jump to silly conclusions" the female king shook her head. "Honestly do they take me for the kind of fool who just has their henchmen run around screaming their plans willy nelly like that?"

Comedy giggled a bit and played with her dress. "Does this mean..."

Cloth looked at the girl and nodded. "You have done me good, hold still" Cloth pulled out an axe and rested the sharp blade on top of her head. "Don't sneeze" Cloth swung down the axe and cut Comedy in two with a single movement. "From one I call two, both half masks of the same form, give life."

The two halves shifted and changed, taking their own forms. One of them a young girl wearing a half mask of comedy. The other a young boy wearing a mask of tragedy. They smiled warmly and hugged and applause broke out from the stands, all of which were covered in a thick veil of darkness.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and ghouls!" Cloth stepped up on a small platform. "We have been long since working on our best trick in the world, one that will make everyone gasp in awe and shock. The perfect trick to dance around and play with peoples perceptions, but to do that we need more time, more sorrow, so I ask you now, can you wait?"

The crowd roared in conformation to their masters question.

"Can you hold your excitement for a few moments more while we get together all of our traps and tricks, before we bring misery to a world who begs for it?" Cloth's voice rose as she wiped the crowd into a frenzy. "You my Dark Carnival, those who have granted me the dream that I have desired, your patience will not be in vain!" Cloth bowed as the crowd began to toss roses down on the center of the stadium.

**
Jadas got off his stolen horse and walked into the base, finding himself faced with the waiting faces of both Elisa and Rose, the only two in the castle who knew who he really was, what he really was. "Oh... well shit" he reached for his blade but Elisa quickly shot out her hand and made the handle too hot to safely touch.

"Enough Jadan" Rose glared at him.

"Its Jadas" Elisa corrected as she kept her eyes on him.

"Whatever," Rose snapped quickly. "You are going to let go of Salvantas now, and go back into whatever box he had you in before"

"Oh am I now?" Jadas smirked and reached under his coat. "Exactly which one of you thinks they c-" before Jadas could finish a loud *thunk* hit him in the back of the head, sending him down to the ground.

Standing behind the now fallen form was Elisa, holding a pan in her hands and a smirk on her face. "Turns out if you don't sleep it doesn't matter how good the spells keeping you awake are, you still fall off your game"

Rose nodded and walked over, taking one arm over her shoulder while Elisa took the other. "How long will he be out?"

Elisa shrugged. "I hit him with a pan after he had been awake for near two weeks using spells," she shrugged her shoulders. "Few days?"

Rose sighed deeply and gently brushed Salvantas cheek. "I don't know anyone cruel enough to cast the Mind Trinity spell on someone, and I don't think I have ever met someone who didn't crack under the strain..."

Elisa nodded. "Yeah... he is something else isn't he?"

They sat him in bed and Rose gave him a quick kiss before having to leave to return to duties for her guild, after everything that had happened she was needed more then ever.

Elisa dabbed a cool cloth on his forehead. "Rest up Salvantas, I am guessing whatever made Jadas come back here was big enough that we are going to need you."
Who you going to call? ME!
User avatar
Lordxana0
 
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:36 pm
Location: Long Beach

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:35 pm

Honeymoon
Timelime Placement: when they return from getting Zi home or something

Anji was the first into the apartment, sagging slightly as she mumbled a good night to her sister and disappeared into her room.

Kevin followed her quietly in, pulling her into a long and wordless hug. Sitting her down on the bed, he said, “I’m here if you want to talk, love. Or if you just want to share the silence. Or if you’d prefer to be alone… I can do that, too. Just know I’m here for you, when you’re ready.”

Anji nodded, curling up on the bed and staring sleepily into the flames. She didn’t move for the rest of the night, eventually falling asleep on the warm blanket.

Anji woke to the smell of a hot, sweet bowl of honeyed oatmeal, which Kevin was holding under her nose. “You need to eat, love,” he said gently.

Anji wrinkled her nose, curling up tighter, mumbling something indistinct before hiding her face in the bedspread which now covered her. “Later, Kevin. I’m not very hungry.”

Kevin dipped the spoon in the bowl, carrying it to her mouth. “Grief is important, dearest,” he said seriously. “But so is food. You needn’t detract from the pain in your heart with a pain in your belly.”

When Anji’s eyes met his, they were filled with barely controlled fury and pain. Anji tried to speak, voice catching. Glancing towards the fire, tears filled her eyes as she grabbed the bowl, eating the oatmeal steadily, curled up tightly on the bed.

Kevin said nothing as he brought the empty bowl back to the kitchen, returning to the bedroom with a sheaf of paperwork. He sat in the armchair closest to Anji, turning his head to the papers before him.

“I miss him.” Anji mumbled, curling up tighter. “He wouldn’t have let Zi sit there that long.”

“You found her quickly enough,” Kevin said, trying to ignore the twinge of guilt that came with her words. “Do you want to talk about it?”

“‘bout what?”

Kevin sighed. “What’s on your mind, love?” he asked gently.

“I once knew this guy,” Anji began, “His name was Charlie. Charlie was my friend.” She stared steadily into space, eyes distant. “Charlie taught me everythin’ I needed to know about being a Bear. The only problem was, I’m unlucky by birth. Never bothered Charlie none, he had his own set of rules. He found an old Crow by the name of Jackson to teach me the rights and stories of my kind, and then took care of me in his den when I was small. He was my friend.”

Anji paused, glancing over at Kevin nervously. Kevin set the papers aside and took Anji’s hand, attentive to her story.

“I was definitely Crowborn. I used to always make Rams fall on their heads after I stole their shinies.” She smiled at the memory. “Then I got meself caught. The Rams and their friends, Phoenix… They weren’t happy with a little crow making such a big fuss. But Charlie stopped them. Asshole didn’t let me leave his den for a week.

“Then I lost him.” Tears formed in her eyes, and she croaked, “I just want them here.”

Kevin moved from the chair to the bed, and was embracing Anji tightly by the time she finished. “I don’t quite know if I understand all that,” he admitted. “But I’m sorry. I’m sorry so many friends of yours aren’t here now, and sorry that I never got to meet them.

“I’m here. I know it’s not everything, love. But I’m here for you. Always. I hope that it’s… enough.”

Anji shuddered quietly, and hugged him back. “Love you.”

“I love you, too.” Kevin held her quietly for a few minutes. “What does it mean to be a crow?” he asked, curiously.

“mm? Uhm… Most crows are thieves or beggars.” She grinned shyly, “I’m bad luck.”

“Not for me you aren’t,” Kevin argued, kissing her hair lightly. “Best luck I’ve ever had, meeting you.”

Anji mumbled something soft, before losing herself in a kiss.

Kevin held her securely in his arms, kissing her slowly until they both fell asleep.

-------------

Anji hadn’t moved in what felt like hours, eyes closed as if asleep, ears alert to any noise.

Kevin brought her breakfast, laying it on the bedside table before he lay down beside her again, pulling Anji back into his arms. “I love you.”

“mmm… You didn’t have to make breakfast.” Anji mumbled, snuggling closer.

“But I wanted to,” Kevin laughed. He pushed himself back up to a sitting position, cushioning Anji with an arm as he pulled her up, as well. “After I went to all the trouble, least you can do is eat it.”

Anji’s eyes widened when she saw the food. “Uh, you up to helping me?”

“Always,” Kevin teased, moving the tray so it sat between their laps. He watched her eat quietly for a few minutes before he spoke again, thoughts stirring slowly in his head. “I want to know more,” Kevin said. “About you. Your… traditions. I should know. If you’re willing to share it with me, sweet.”

“What do you want to know?” Anji gnawed on a piece of day-old bread pensively. “Dunno what you know or not.”

“Don’t know much,” he admitted. “I don’t know the significance of being called a Crow, or a Bear. Or what you do with it.”

“There’re twelve clans. We getta guide when we’re kids. Tell us stuff.” Anji shrugged, and grabbed a piece of bacon.

“Is it rude to ask what you learn from your guide?” Kevin asked cautiously.

“Mmm, no. I learn styles of fighting, stories, ways of speaking to Crow and learning how to call him if I need him.” Anji shrugged. “I wouldn’t expect you to encourage it.”

Kevin frowned, rubbing Anji’s shoulder. “Why not? What’s important to you is important to me, love.” His eyes shone for a moment. “I’d love to hear the stories some time.”

“Sure.” Anji set her plate aside and nestled closer. “You feel nice.”

Kevin hugged her against his chest. “Do I join the crow clan by marrying you?”

“No.” Anji played with his arm, tracing a scar absently. “You do lose honor though, and Crow gains some. People would tell you that I stole your heart or some nonsense. Think you’re bird-brained.”

Kevin gave her a soft kiss. “Even an expert thief can’t steal what was given freely. I’m happy to share a brain with the Crow of my wife’s clan.”

Anji was distracted for several minutes.

“Are clans determined by birth? How separate are they?”

Anji pulled away, and blushed slightly. “When you’re born you get taken to this spot in the forest. Really special place. Then you wait. Sooner or later, one of the Twelve’ll pick you.”

Kevin smiled at her. “So you were chosen.”

“...Yeah.” Anji stretched, and collapsed back on the bed.

Kevin played with the marks on her right arm. “If we made our way back to where you grew up,” he asked quietly, “could I go to the forest to find my clan, or is it only for infants?”

“You don’t have to do that, Kevin.” Anji laughed, blushing a deeper red. “You have your own… stuff.” She made a vague motion with her hands, before letting them fall.

Kevin kissed her again, sweetly. “I don’t see any conflict, sweetest. I want to be a part of your life.” He grinned crookedly. “I’d love to be a part of your clan. The proper way.”

“You’d be… Dragon, I think. Or Bear. They’d love you.”

“The only one I need to love me is you. What should I know to be a Dragon or a Bear, love?”

“I dunno.” Anji quieted, and then curled up next to him, closing her eyes.

Kevin wrapped his arms around her warmly, holding his wife close.

-------------

Anji eventually stood, grabbing a book before smiling and leaving the apartment, closing the door quietly behind her.

Kevin poked his head out the door. “Love? Where’re you headed?”

“Just gonna go sit. Read something. No need to worry.” Anji smiled, and shook her book at her husband, baring a hip bereft of any weapons.

“Oh.” Kevin paused for a moment. “I guess you want to be alone?”

Anji shrugged. “Just wanted to get out of the apartment. You can come if you want.”

“I’ll sit with you, if you don’t mind,” Kevin said with a small smile, pulling a book for himself off the shelf. “Not like I have anyone better to hang around with.”

“You should go make friends.” Anji said with a half-smile, leaning against the door. “You should go talk to Marcus, anyway. Make nice.”

“But if I talk to Marcus without you, he’ll eat me,” Kevin whined, as though his complaint were perfectly reasonable.

“He would just gnaw on you, then let you go again.”

“Oh, in that case, I’m game.” Kevin chuckled, and gave his wife a quick kiss. “Don’t worry, love. I’ll find someone to talk to. See you later?”

“Yeah, if you want.” Anji smiled, and began heading for the cathedral.

----

Anji didn’t look up until there was no more light, the moon hanging a dull red in the now empty sky. With a quiet sigh, she closed the book, sliding it into her pack before clambering down to street level. She walked mindlessly for a while, before eventually making her way to her --our-- she snarled inwardly, apartment.

Kevin was perched just inside the front door of their building, near the stairs, reading by the light of the lantern hung outside. He stood, his eyes lighting up, as Anji came inside, and he pulled her into a quick embrace. “Good book?” he asked softly, as they made their way up the stairs.

Anji nodded slowly. “Yeah, bit sad though.”

“Often the best ones are. I hope the ending made it worth it, though.”

“Haven’t finished it, though.” Anji mumbled, unlocking the door with effort. “Lock’s stuck.” she called back as an explanation, her red hair already disappearing into the bedroom.

Kevin gave the doorknob an experimental twist before he followed his wife inside. “You use your picks?” he asked, amused.

“Bit.” Anji settled onto the couch, book already halfway open.

Kevin grinned, and sat on the couch beside her, pulling Anji’s legs absently into his lap so she could stretch out. Anji laughed, and glanced over the book. “You kidnapped my legs, love.”

“Are they complaining?” he teased.

“mmm… No, but my arms feel lonely.” Anji smiled, and turned her attention to the paperback.

“I didn’t want to disturb them. They’re already holding something prettier than me.” Kevin let Anji read, quietly massaging her ankles. Anji laughed, feet twitching away as she reversed position, laying her head in his lap and sighing quietly before returning to her book.

Kevin kissed her forehead and began to play with his wife’s hair as she read, closing his eyes with a peaceful smile. Anji eventually closed the book, laying it on the floor before settling into a half-sleep.

An unmeasurable amount of time had passed before Anji mumbled. “Ever find anyone?”

“Couple people,” Kevin answered. “No one ate me.”

Anji grinned widely, reaching up to lazily muss his hair. “”m happy that you found some friends.”

“Got my best friend right here, though,” he said sleepily, leaning over for a kiss.

“You want to sleep?” Anji offered, sliding out of his lap, twisting her torso in order to kiss him more efficiently.

“If you’re ready for bed,” Kevin said agreeably. “I wouldn’t want to pull you away from your book.”

“You can sleep without me. I’ll go to bed later.”

Kevin rolled his eyes. “I’m perfectly comfortable waiting up for you when I have a beautiful woman in my lap, love.”

“Oh?” Anji began to distract him further, book lying forgotten on the floor. “What… Will… your wife think?”

“I’m sure she’d understand,” Kevin said with a grin, nibbling on her ear. “I’ll just explain that this woman is irresistibly beautiful, and unbelievably attractive. The truth is always the safest defense.”

“Mmm… She might kill you. Some women are pretty jealous like that.”

Kevin sighed melodramatically, threading his fingers through Anji’s soft hair. “And my wife is known for her temper,” he admitted. “It’s a risk I’ll have to take. You, my love, are worth dying for.”

Anji kissed him passionately, before clinging to him, mouth by his ear. “Well we should probably go someplace more private, in case she comes home.”

“mmm, good idea. How about you come with me into her bedroom?”

“The scandal!” Anji appeared shocked, before leaning closer to Kevin, and pushing him back on the couch with a forceful kiss.

Kevin laughed, joining the kiss eagerly. “Here’s good, too,” he mumbled when they paused for breath. Anji began slowly unbuttoning his shirt, hands exploring the skin underneath.
Lead by example. Get lost in a swamp.

AS DICTATED TO INSTANTIATION 17-01-18-01.
User avatar
Qara-Xuan Zenith
 
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:34 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Guyshane on Sat Dec 21, 2013 6:13 pm

The City's edge

Mirae walked her horse out to the edge of the city, a spare tunic tied tightly around her leg. She scanned the walls as she approached them.

Marcus wandered towards the walls on a different street. Let’s see where did Mirae and I agree to meet? Walking closer to the wall he noticed a small woman and a horse he pulled Binky along. “Hey, Mir! Sorry I’m late”

She turned her horse at his voice, grinning as she caught sight of him. “Only just got here, Marcus….” She trailed off as she saw his face. Mirae blinked, then let a small smile creep out. “Did you know you have a crystal eye?”

Marcus rubbed the side of his face subconsciously. “Actually I think it’s diamond,” Then his eye swiveled and focused on her leg. “And what about that? Hmm? What happened to no hospitals?” he said, indicating the injured limb.

Her smile faded. “It doesn’t--it shouldn’t need a hospital,” Mirae said, running a hand over her head. “Just a bit of trouble outside the city. The guard already knows about it.”

Marcus nodded in acquiescence. “Alright, Well why don't we find somewhere to sit, so I can check and make sure it isn’t anything serious?” She dipped her head, and they moved off to a small hill. Mirae slipped off of Chet, stabilizing herself on the horse as she lowered herself to the ground.

“It hasn’t closed yet,” she warned as she sat down.

Marcus smiled at her. “Trust me, I know what I’m doing.” Unwrapping the limb he examined the gashes, probing them gently and ignoring her grunts of pain. “Okay, its not too bad as far as I can tell. I’m gonna apply some salve and rewrap it. Really wish I had a needle to sew it up but we’ll have to make do.” As he treated the wound he paused before asking, “So. No complaints about my crazy Shard plan that I made without thinking? Aren’t you angry or anything?”

Mirae, a little paler, grinned back at him. “It’s no crazier than any other plan you’ve made. And I like being with you, remember? No different than going to another floor.” She leaned forward and kissed him on the temple.

Marcus paused in his ministrations. “You’re wrong, Mir. I was going to go get myself killed fighting some….thing I don’t even understand. I don’t know if I can get him, I’m not even sure I can save anybody. I came up here to get away from the mess I made of my life,” He looked away. “But here I am, new chance, still a mess. Still not good enough.”

A hand rested on his shoulder. “It’s… hard to run away from yourself.” Mirae laughed softly, without mirth. “I… don’t pretend to understand why you want to save everyone, but at least you’re doing something for them. That’s more of a reason than some people have.” Her voice had gotten quieter.

She met his eyes and smiled slightly. “Well, so the universe hates you. Is this anything new?” She squeezed his shoulder. “Why bother letting it worry you?”

Marcus finished wrapping the room. “Its just that….I hate losing people. I have enough nightmares involving the ones I already lost. I don’t want to lose anyone else. But I never even stopped to consider you or anyone else when I do these these things and…” he growled in frustration. “I’m desperately trying to make sense here. Am I succeeding at all?”

The very end of his question was cut off as Mirae impulsively wrapped her arms around him. She stayed there for a few moments. When she finally pulled away, she was paler than she had been while he was treating her wound. “You’re going to lose people. It’s not going to go away.” She dropped her head, then looked back up at him.

“I suppose I’m a little angry now,” Mirae said, cutting off a laugh. She continued harshly. “You could always sneak off in the middle of the night, cut your losses, break off everything before you lose someone else or make it harder for the rest of us when you get killed. And… Damn it, I don’t know if I’m helping anything.”

Marcus just smiled gently and wrapped her in his arms, cradling her to his chest. “Maybe between the two of us we’ll eventually form a single coherent line of thought. But for now, for what its worth I’m sorry Mirae. Considering how much you mean to me, I shouldn’t have been so willing to toss my life away.” he whispered to her.

She flushed, leaning against him. “Thank you,” she murmured, then tilted her head back to look at him, smiling. “We’ll figure this out. So, do you want to go exploring?”

Marcus kissed her on the forehead and shook his head. “Going exploring with an injured leg is a horrible idea Mir. Besides the new eye has a bit better vision than the old one. You are too pale for the amount of blood you should have lost. But you took care me during my recovery,” he paused feeling the ache in his back. “Well, I guess I’m still recovering. The point is, let me look after you for now.”

“I’m sure I’d be able to keep up,” she grumbled, laying her head on his shoulder. “But I don’t know. I guess I’m not used to people wanting me around. You caught me off-guard.” She chuckled.

Pulling her into another kiss and resting his forehead against her’s he whispered. “Now who in their right mind wouldn’t want you around? I hardly know anything about you and I want you around.”

She just laughed and wrapped an arm around his neck. With the other, she traced the outside of his diamond eye. “You are always good enough,” she murmured. “Don’t die?”

“Only if you agree not to either.” he replied, stroking her hair as he did so.

“Deal,” Mirae said. She grinned, staring off into space before flicking her eyes back to his face. “We could ride to the temple. No walking necessary.”

“Go to a collapsing, burned out temple while your leg is hurt?” Marcus shook his head. “Sorry, dear but I have to be cautious sometimes.”

“Oh, all right.” She gave him a quick kiss. “Let’s just stay here for a while, then. Watch the city.”

He smiled. “Well with an offer like that, how could I possibly refuse?”

She shifted so she could look straight up, smiling. After a moment, she said, staring at the clouds above them, “I wonder if that’s the actual sky now.”

“Normally I wouldn’t trust Shard.” Marcus said “But this time the evidence is pretty clear this time, seems like all the floors fell. So yes, thats probably the sky. It looks nice tonight.”

“He gave us a treat, then,” Mirae replied. She pointed out a group of stars coming out from behind a cloud. “I think those are the River Fish.”

Marcus looked at the group. “I think we call that Mros the Whale where I grew up. Well I guess I know you didn’t live anywhere close to where I did before you came to the castle”

“True. I’ve been many places, but I don’t think I’ve heard of Mros before. Maybe I was walking the wrong way,” she said. “What do you call the stars under it?”

Marcus looked at the seven clustered stars. “Oh yea, them. Those are what I call the seven dark stars. They represent my religion’s Hell Lords. Don’t know who thought it was a good idea to have the stars represent them.”

“That’s a fair bit more interesting than seven gulls, even if they are supposed to bring luck,” Mirae said, watching them. “Does each one have a separate Hell, then?”

Marcus nodded. “Yes actually. And then there are seven heavens to balance it out.” he explained. “Apparently the number seven is very big for supernatural beings or something.”

She laughed. “We have something similar, at least. You’re only supposed to look at the Gulls when all of them are visible, not when some of them are covered by clouds. Oh,” she said, wincing. “Like now.”

“Bad luck or something?” he asked nudging her gently.

“So they say,” she said, shrugging. “I haven’t kept track to find out. Do your heavens have their own stars as well?”

“Not exactly. The seven are I think more just an acknowledgement to those beings. The gods get their own constellations.” The big man smiled at her. “Apparently it pays to be in charge.”

“I’m not sure I’d like being one of them. Having to look after everything down here.” She gave an exaggerated shudder.

“Well apparently they don't just look over what we do.” He said. “Take for example Arron the Smith,” he indicated one of the constellations. “According to the stories the castle was his masterpiece until Unv, our trickster got bored and hid it in a places no one could find it.” he looked down at her and shrugged. “Not sure how accurate it is, but hell it isn’t as if I have a better explanation.”

“He didn’t do a good job of hiding it, then.” Mirae smiled at him. “Not exactly hidden now, is it?”

Marcus tightened his hold on her. “Well I’m certainly not complaining.” He thought for a moment. “So what story did you get about the castle’s creation?”

Mirae sighed and looked up at the sky again. “There’s a different one in every city. I’ve heard that it’s the home of a giant, that a fox tore a pillar out of the ground and threw it into the air. I think my favorite is the one where it was built on top of a great tree, then stayed in the sky when the tree was cut down.” She smiled. “I don’t remember which I heard first.”

Marcus shrugged. “Well I suppose its that kind of place isn’t it. I mean we’re up here experiencing it and its still just one mystery after the other. We don’t know what's up with the castle, the beings already in it, the people we work with. If there were any more mysteries I wouldn’t know what I was doing.”

“I think you’ve covered just about everything,” she said, laughing. “Set up any more, and there won’t be any way you can learn them all.”

“Well I’ll focus on them one or two at a time.” he explained. “Although I have this feeling one of them will reveal itself if I give it enough time.”

She smiled, and pointed to another set of stars. “What do you call those?”
I say we nuke it from orbit...its the only way to be sure.
User avatar
Guyshane
 
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:45 pm

Re: Floating Castle RP - Side Stories

Postby Scarab on Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:59 pm

A loud knock, or perhaps a crash masquerading as a knock, sounded at the door and Anji looked up sleepily, before settling back down onto her husband. “Someone’s at the door, love.”

Kevin stirred, about to go back to sleep, then did a double-take. “Love? We’re not… dressed for company.”

“Then they can go ‘way.” Anji curled up tighter, fiery red hair tickling Kevin’s neck.

“Mmmm.” Kevin kissed his wife, momentarily distracted, before something else about their state of undress occurred to him. “Sweet, where’s your sister?”

“I’m home!” called out the person at the door cheerily. It was, quite unmistakably, Eliziya. “Do us a favour and open up, Jie!”

“Uh, do you want me to put you... no? Okay.”

“Oh for the love of Crow.” Anji stood, retreating into the bedroom quickly and tugging on a shirt, several sizes too big. “I’m comin’ Zi. Gods above you have a terrible sense of timing.”

Kevin had just gotten his discarded trousers on, his cheeks scarlet, when Anji pulled open the door. She leaned against the door, eyes narrowed. “Tamar… Why are you holding my--Crows in Flight. Eliziya Bellestine, what the Hells is wrong with you?”

“I’m not a crow in flight,” Zi replied cheekily, reclining in Tamar’s arms, tail curling about his arm possessively. “And I'm still Torvantine. Hi Jie!”

Tamar coughed, visibly trying not to grin. “Hey Anji! I heard you got married, congratulations!”

“Don’t worry, love,” Kevin murmured, sleep still pulling his eyelids down heavily, “I think she just grew a tail.”

“Yes, love. That’s not a good thing.” Anji ruffled his hair, momentarily distracted, before turning her full attention back to the children. “What the hells is going on?” She whirled on Tamar, voice a low growl. “Put. Her. Down.”

Zi’s ears flicked once, then twice and she tilted her head to face Tamar. “Lemme down. Hiiiiiii Jie. I uh.. hope we weren’t interrupting… any… thing?”

“I’m pretty sure we were ,” Tamar muttered. He didn’t say it very loud, but it was still audible.

“What happened to you?” Anji demanded, but Zi wrapped both arms around her sister, ears tickling Anji’s face.

“It was some kinda accident,” Zi said mournfully. “Marcus was there and then, well, something happened and now I’m shorter than ever! Stupid cows,” she added as an afterthought.

“So your first thought was to come surprise me?” Anji mussed her hair playfully, relaxing slightly. “Why didn’t you speak to a healer?”

Zi bristled, drawing herself up to her full height, which wasn’t very much. “I am a healer. Anyway, I’m alright. Just..” Her ears drooped. “Shorter.. But only a bit!”

“I think you’re adorable.” Anji grinned, and turned back to Tamar. “Thanks for bringing her home. Would you like to come in for something to eat?... I think we have food.”

“We have food,” Kevin reassured her, grinning.

Before Tamar could say anything, Zi interrupted, “Of course we’re coming in! Why else did I bring him here? I’m hungry, hungry, very very hungry. Whatcha got, Jie? Oh, hi Kevin!”

“Well, I had a Kevin, but I don’t think you want to eat him.”

Kevin yelped, then rolled his eyes, giving Anji a quick peck on the lips before he threw open the door to the kitchen. “Help yourselves,” he suggested. “You get the run of the kitchen, and we’ll even stay in our room, safely out of your way.”

“What? No, no, nooooo don’t go, I want you two around,” Zi pleaded, eyes shining brightly. “Tell me, Jie, I know you two have had- have had- have had your wedding ceremony already, but have you had your nuptial tea?”

“Uh… Nuptial tea?” Anji looked confused for a moment. “Mei… I’m from Askinov, remember? I don’t think we had tea.

Tamar shook his head. “Um... More than likely not, the Veil definitely never had them. You didn’t drink tea when people got married, I don’t think that was the point.”

“I served you tea when Papa-” Zi stopped herself mid-sentence and smacked her head melodramatically. “How could I forget?” she asked in a suitably rhetorical fashion, before continuing blandly, “Amnesia and blunt trauma, of course. I’ll take that as a no then. Let’s get it done tonight!” Zi grinned and rubbed her hands together in anticipation. “But first, food. Saints, I am hungry!”

Anji turned to look at Kevin and shrugged, grin wide on her face. “Guess we’re havin’ tea. You’ll have to wait.”

About an hour later, when they were all clean, fresh and well-fed, Zi bade the couple sit at the table.

“Usually you’d kneel,” she informed them enthusiastically, “but then it’s not as if we have any elders around here. I’m sure we can improvise, though.”

Busying herself with a tray, she went through an intricate set of motions that seemed exceedingly redundant just for the act of brewing tea. First the hot water over a small pot, then into the pot, then out of the pot through a strainer holding the tea leaves… After she’d poured the tea into two small but tall cups, she gestured towards them.

“Smell it,” Zi said, “but don’t drink it.”

“Uh…” Anji glanced at Kevin warily.

Kevin leaned over and whispered to Anji with a wide grin, “As many marriage ceremonies as we can, love. Only way to be sure.”

As soon as they’d finished sniffing the tea, Zi took both cups and poured away the liquid into another larger pot, then repeated the whole process of tea brewing.

“The second brew’s the best, see,” Zi explained, this time pouring the tea into shorter, but wider cups. “You’re supposed to offer it to an elder, but we kind of don’t have an elder here, so here’s my idea. Hook your arms around each other’s and drink like so,” Zi mimed the action with Anji, grinning all the while.

“You’re insane.” Anji remarked to her sister, hand sliding to grasp a tea cup. Zi’s face fell for a moment and her tail froze rigidly, but with some effort, she struggled to ignore the cacophony in her head and pretend as if nothing had happened.

Tamar was just watching this process with slightly confused interest.

Kevin happily intertwined his arms with Anji’s, proffering the teacup to her. Anji carefully tilted the cup towards him, laughing when some spilled onto the table.

“And, uh, that’s that.” Zi smiled, but some twinkling mischief in her eye gave Anji pause.

“Ziya… What did you do?”

“I, ah.. I put in a touch of powdered basil and almond. I thought it’d ah.. I thought you might like the taste.” Her grin grew wider and her tail wagged from side to side.

“...Why basil and almond?”

“Well, it’s nuptial tea, see, and though I’m sure you’ve already, um, consummated your marriage, I figured, well.. anyway, basil and almond are known for their.. choleric properties and.. promoting vigour. It's not the best, I know, I wanted to put other stuff,” Zi said apologetically, “but then I wasn’t sure if they were safe. Some of the things I’ve read about, they say aren’t really helpful in, ah, bed, but actually make you go mad. I don’t want you two mad, it really is terrible. Speaking of which, don’t take any stuff that’s supposed to help you with.. that! Run them by me first, okay?”

“Mad,” Kevin repeated faintly. He leaned forward, dilated pupils still focused on his wife. “You do know, Eliziya,” he said in what he hoped was a neutral, mild tone, “that I have no difficulty finding your sister incredibly attractive on my own, yes?”

“Own, yes, yes, of course. No question about your, um, prowess!” Zi said alarmedly, shrinking back, worried she’d offended him. “I just, um, I just wanted to offer some help. Besides, these things are supposed to make things more.. exciting. No um, no doubt at all about your prowess.”

“Oh good grief,” Tamar muttered, obviously having some trouble believing this whole thing was happening. “Is this the part where we leave?”

Anji laughed, and leaned over to hug her sister, taking care not to bend her new ears. Leaning back, she petted them carefully. “You okay though, right?”

Zi pressed against Anji’s hand like a cat leaning into a caress, and grinned. “Of course I am. I'm as okay as.. as I.." she faltered slightly, ".. as I've ever been. I.. I'm not mad," she added softly, averting her eyes.

“Not inadvertently, in any case,” Kevin added dryly. “I think actions speak louder than words as far as wilful madness.”

“I’m not! Really, I’m not mad!” Zi exclaimed distressedly, tugging on her ears, hot moisture gathering in her eyes. “I’m not mad, I’m not, I’m not, I’m not!”

“My apologies,” Kevin said. “Not mad. Merely terrifying. Speaking of, yes, this is the part where one or the other of us pairs leaves.”

"Well, I think you're beautiful." Anji nuzzled Zi's nose, before quickly ruffling her ears. "You can stay, if you want to. Kev' and I were just going to..." She cut her eyes to him, twinkling merrily. "...be together."

Eliziya shuddered with repressed emotion, plunging against Anji and hugging her tightly. Zi’s chest heaved as she tried to choke back sobs. Slowly, she pulled back, and looked into Anji’s eyes tearfully.

She swallowed. “I.. I’m sorry. I sh-shouldn’t- shouldn’t- shouldn’t interrupt. Have a- have a good n-night, Jie. K- Kevi- Kevin.” Zi stumbled over her own words, eyes avoiding Kevin fearfully.

"Hey, Ziya." Anji pulled her sister into a tight hug. "Thank you for marrying us. I thought it was beautiful."

“Beautiful..” she mumbled unsteadily in an involuntary echo, returning the embrace.

“See?’ Tamar grinned. “I told you they’d like it, there was nothing to worry about. And they like the ears! I told you they’d like the ears, I don’t see how anyone could ever not like the ears… ”

Zi managed a small smile, and stepped away from her sister. “We should.. leave them alone now. Good night Jie.. don’t stay up too late.”

She pulled lightly at Tamar’s hand and led him to her room. Crawling into the bed, she gestured for him to follow. “H-hug me to sleep, T, please.”

Tamar was used to hesitating in just about everything that didn’t involve swordplay, and even for a lot of the time then. He was used to hesitating with pretty much everything, but not this time. He followed straight away and wrapped his arms around her, a fluffy ear inches away from his face.

Slowly, tucked in the warmth of his embrace, Zi’s breathing slowed to the rhythm of sleep, safe and secure. Softly, she mumbled some words, at first unintelligible, but abruptly, her arms tightened around Tamar with some unknowable desperation and her eyes shot open, wide with panic. Tamar must have sensed it, because his own eyes shot open, strange outlines of violet in the dull light coming from... somewhere in the room. “Zi?”

“T? Tamar? Tamar, are you.. You’re still here.. Oh…” Her voice dropped from its piercing shrillness to warm relief. “I thought.. I thought you were gone…” Zi pressed her head against his chest, a tear staining his shirt.

Tamar blinked for a moment in confusion or half asleep, one of the two. “Hey, no. Never,” he whispered. “I swear it, Zi. You don’t ever have to worry about that.”

She nuzzled him drowsily, mumbling in affirmation, “I love you, T,” and fell asleep.

*

Zi was humming to herself as she daubed on the last of the rouge, grinning in the morning sunlight. A light touch of beeswax on her lips, a dash of red powder by her eyes, and there, perfect. Perfect for a date. Even the voice agreed.

She glanced over at Tamar, still asleep, then strode over to him and tugged on his arm. “Wakey wakey, T! Rise and shine!”

Tamar yelped, shooting upright as if there were springs hidden somewhere. “...I’m awake!”

Zi snickered, tail waving about. “Get up, sleepyhead, we’ve got a long day ahead of us.”

“Oh... okay, i-it’s not going to involve shooting things, is it? I don’t think I got the fireballs back yet. Or the ice for that matter...” he still remembered the route to floor seven, and clearly so did Echo.

“What are you talking about?” she asked, pushing him to the bathroom. “Hurry up, okay, I’ve got breakfast and everything ready.”

“...We’re having breakfast?” There was something you didn’t see every day. Of course by the time he’d asked this, he’d been shoved into the bathroom and the door had closed behind him.

Breakfast passed in a blur; as soon as Tamar had come out and sat at the table, Zi brought a tray of fresh spice-breads, grinning from ear to ear, watching him expectantly. And after the breakfast, she’d fastidiously cleared the table and then pulled him out onto the street.

Laughing happily for no other reason than proximity to Tamar, Zi curled both arms around his and they walked on.

“So, what have you been doing recently?”

“Well, what do you want to know?” Tamar chuckled. “The part with the giant sea monster, or the part of the week that’s been a bigger challenge?”

“You fought a sea monster?” Zi’s mouth was a big ‘o’ of awe and amazement. “What happened?”

“Well... maybe fought is too strong a word. It was Darren who did most of the actual fighting. You should meet Darren, he’s nice. He can swim. Which is really important when you’re fighting sea monsters. I mostly just tried to avoid getting hit. And then there was this tower, with a keyhole, except not a keyhole? It was for a weapon, or a magic tool and you had to still a weapon or something in it and... I’m not explaining this very well, am I?” He frowned. ‘Um... what did you do? Apart from, you know...” he patted one of her ears which wiggled happily in response.

“No, but woah… Sounds really interesting. I.. I haven’t had much going on. Yesterday I tried to go help out at the Church, but then they stopped me after awhile and then Anji and K-Kevin had to come and get me and then after that I decided to go find you.”

Tamar blinked, looking suddenly indignant. “Wait, the Church stopped you helping when they needed healers? What the heck for? You can fix anything, you think they’d be grateful for a little extra help.’

“I know, right? But no, they thought I was..” her voice hitched, “mad. But anyway.. How long more til we get to the tailor?”

Tamar hesitated. From the looks of it, Eliziya wanted to just avoid the subject of the Church, even though it made Tamar fume with rage. Did he bring it up, or let her stay silent about it? “It’s... a couple of streets. Sometimes they’ll take payment in kind, if that’s any worry... Wait, why did they say... you’re not mad. There’s nothing mad about you. They think just because you talk to voices they can't see you’re mad?” He hesitated because in actual fact that did sound a little crazy to anybody who wasn’t them, but context was everything, right? “That’s dumb. Hector talks to his SWORD and you don’t see people calling him... w-wait..” he trailed off on the realisation that, again, not a n ideal example.. “W-well, y-you’re not mad anyway. They’re idiots. Just you wait until they need a decent healer, then they’ll see.”

Zi gave him a pained smile and squeezed his arm. “Apparently I was scaring the patients.. Anyway, I’ve been trying some new ways of healing. Aza taught me the basics, but then.. where has Aza been? I haven’t been able to find her for months. Do you know?”

Tamar shook his head. “No... there’s a lot of people I haven’t seen. You’d think she would have been at the church, after the quake... but there are a lot of people who aren’t where they should be right now, what with how messed up everything is. I mean, I’m sure she’s fine, just... busy.” He glanced around at the still mostly deserted streets. You could see signs of the quake here and there, but nothing broken beyond repair. The Loremasters had certainly done a good job with their shielding efforts. He pointed up at the building at the end of the street. “There we are! We should ask for Carla- what?”

Before Tamar could open the door, Zi hesitated and pulled him back. “T…” she said with uncharacteristic nervousness. “I.. I’m a bit.. scared.”

Tamar looked up at the sign, then back down again, smiling. “You don’t need to be, trust me, they’re really nice in here. I bet Carla’s had to do way stranger things.” She didn’t look reassured, so he added. “Besides if anyone says anything awful we can just look at them, like this.” He did his best impression of an angry face. It wasn’t especially convincing.

“What, and then when they’re too busy laughing we make our grand escape? Eh…” Zi tugged at her ears self-consciously. “Alright.. if you say so..”

“I know so. It’ll be fine, I promise.” He pushed open the door himself and stood aside to allow her through. “After you?”

“No!” Zi glared and pushed him in. “You first.”

Tamar had no time to argue before he was being shoved bodily into the Tailors.
They sometimes say, "the place where I am right now was circled on a map for me"... Unfortunately, I kind of suck at orienteering.
User avatar
Scarab
 
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:35 pm
Location: Durham, United Kingdom

PreviousNext

Return to Floating Castle

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron