Royal Blood

Unrelated stories that take place in a setting besides Star Wars...

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nehima
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Royal Blood

Post by nehima » Fri May 21, 2004 10:24 pm

[All OOC should be diverted here]

A small girl stood at the edge of the arena, munching on Kanare nuts as she watched the fight begin. It was the second round of the swordfighting, and most of the fighters weren’t particularly skilled. The fights were themselves little entertainment, but Ree didn’t think she could stand anymore of the musicians’ stupid ballads or, worse yet, the actors’ melodramic romances. After watching a moment of one such act, she’d decided that the play was not truly a tradgedy, but a happy story- the stupid characters died in the end, after all.

Reaching back, she rubbed her neck with one slender hand, feeling the scar there with her fingers as she rubbed out the knots. Theivery was a stressfull occupation sometimes, but the pluses of income, freedom, and personal amusement made it definitely worthwhile. It was also an educational occupation, one that taught not only about subterfuge and lies but also about human nature. You saw the nastiest sides of people and the best sides of people, and what happened when people tried to overlay one side with the other.

And, of course, it brought in the daily coin.

Ree slipped lithely through the crowd, heading rapidly towards the market. The actors were still there, performing on their little stage beside their carriage, as were the musicians. The musicians, thankfully, had struck up a tune more suitable for Ree’s sanity, a spirited song to which many in the square were dancing. The actors, however, were still amidst one of their worst tradgedies. Ree didn’t know who’d written it, but if she did she’d surely stick a few frogs in their bedding and the queen’s men on their path. For now, she chose to take a different mode of revenge.

The actor’s carriage stood on the edge of the square, and taking a few swift, calm checks, Ree swung calmly into it. Inside were a plethora of costumes of different colors, fabrics and styles, as well as odd piles of props. Acting, it seemed, didn’t require much organization.

Striding quickly over to a large chest, Ree searched the drawers with practiced grace, finally finding what she searched for. She emptied a small stocking into the palm of her hand, revealing a small collection of jeweled necklaces, bracelets and rings. Since she’d had to watch only a little of the play, she decided that only a little payment was necessary and drew a small emerald-encrusted ring out of the pile and shifted it into an inner pocket of her shirt before replacing the stocking in its place and carefully exiting the carriage, making sure she’d disturbed nothing more than the ring.

Ree’s body again felt the thrill of theft, the lovely little burst of adrenaline she was exposed to each time she stole, but she was careful to show nothing as she walked back over to the arena.

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RileyKenobi
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Post by RileyKenobi » Mon May 24, 2004 7:17 pm

OOC: Ta-da!

IC: The smells of fresh-baked pastries and sweets filled the air, mixing with the tangy, spiced scents of roasting meats for sale at the Galerian Fairgrounds; children’s laughter rang clear and silvery through the cacophony of noises created by fairgoers and animals alike. Brightly-colored tents lined the makeshift pathways, with people entering and exiting in a constant flow from the temporary structures. Young couples walked about, fingers intertwined, gazing at the homemade jewelry, weaponry and all manner of fancy things Galeria’s fairs boasted of. The paths thick with merry fairgoers made little room for anyone, even for someone with a horse. It was the same year after year. Excitement seemed to be contagious, but it also seemed to make the general population oblivious with it, caring only for themselves and their purchases – even more so than usual.

Kaiez led her gray stallion through the crowd, the large animal’s irritated snorts managing to part the crowd better than her weaving through the menagerie of people. Kaiez found the stables easily enough; it was a huge, brown and green tent with the smell of dirt and manure hanging about it, with horses and horse owners and stable hands going in and out constantly. Kaiez paid the stable keeper with a few silver coins and found a clean, freshly-bedded stall for Maverick. He turned around once and snorted his approval, salt and pepper speckled tail flicking back and forth to catch any stray flies that dared come near his massive flanks. Kaiez rubbed his nose affectionately, her light blue eyes meeting the stallion’s dark, liquid brown ones. He blinked and pushed her in the chest with his nose gently, and she gave him a hearty pat on the neck before bolting the stall and returning to the crowded streets to find her companions.

Every year they had met, at least once, at the national fairs. They all crossed borders to find one another, agreeing to the same conditions each time: a crimson and gold tent with a crossed-swords banner above it. All the members of the dispersed band carried one, varying in size, in case they were the first to arrive at the fair. Kaiez quickly spotted the tent, the crimson banner flapping in the warm breeze. Pushing aside the flap, she ducked under and into the tent, and received a roar of welcome from 10 familiar faces. A dark-skinned giant of a man enveloped her in a bone-snapping bear hug that her body had managed to sustain the last decade and a half. The man was aptly named. Kaiez grinned and hugged the man around his neck.

“Bear!” He chuckled in a deep baritone, and released Kaiez, only for her to be smothered by the other nine people, all trying to get in and hug her at once. Bear had to fish her out of the pile, and she beamed around, shaking hands and hugging all around the group. She took in the faces; the group ranged of all races and colors, all heights and shapes. But all had one thing in common: their great teacher, Thoran. All were esteemed fighters, who reveled in their own element. Each had their weakness, each had their strength. All were comrades.

Kaiez pushed her black and white hair from her face. “It’s so good to see you all,” she said, still smiling. “But where’s Jaxom?”

“Late, as usual,” said Sasha, rolling her brilliantly violet eyes and blowing a strand of cherry-red hair from her forehead.

As if on cue, a tall, dark-haired young man ducked under the tent flap and everyone cheered. Jaxom grinned and caught Kaiez’s eye, and she winked back, hugging him. Once everyone had settled down, Tav and Loran stepped outside to order food and drink, and the dozen former students sat down and talked, exchanging stories of their travels and their recent endeavors. Kaiez sat between Jaxom and Dash, two of her closest friends. Kaiez was one of four females in the group; Sasha was a beautiful young girl of 18 with a right hook that could lay a man twice her size out flat, Maru, 19 and excellent with bow work, like Kaiez, and Hailey, 15 and in the juniors’ competitions with hand-to-hand combat expertise. The four girls were all well-respected by the male members of the group; their respect was well earned through many rough sparring sessions and training days. Kaiez sipped on her drink with a mild expression on her face as the boys tried to outdo each other with their macho-man stories about saving maids and wooing them in taverns the night after. Sasha and Kaiez exchanged the occasional glance before bursting out laughing at the ridiculous nature of their friends’ stories. Finally the conversation was offered to the young women, who were overcome with fits of tear-bringing laughter. Jaxom looked at Hailey expectantly as she rubbed her eyes, still grinning. The teen had brilliant green eyes and white-blonde hair, and a caramel complexion.

“Mostly a sneak,” she said, and received a smattering of laughter from some of the older fighters, remembering their own days. “You know, climbin’ up lattices and such. You’d be surprised how many leave their windows open on summer nights, you know?”

More laughter, and it was Kaiez’s turn. She brushed some crumbs from her hands and tucked her hair back behind her ears. “I do a lot of hunting for bounty, actually. It’s easy to pick off the animals with my longbow,” she said, receiving an appreciative glance from Maru, who was smiling. “But if there’s a hefty price by local law enforcement, I’ll take the murder for hire route. It makes the best coin.”

There was a lot of nodding and the occasional chuckle through the group. Bear nodded. “It’s easy, isn’t it, lass?”

“They’re so stupid it’s almost too easy,” she replied. Wanting to move on from her rather uneventful life, she raised her eyebrows. “Anybody know about the schedule, then? We fighting each other again, Sasha? I’d really rather not,” she said, and Sasha snickered.

“They haven’t handed them out yet, nor posted them. They said early evening, around five o’clock I suppose?” said Tav, crossing his arms. Tav competed in the sword arts, and was exceptionally dangerous with his silver rapier.

“Like to keep us waiting, they do,” said Dash in an irritated voice. Loran grunted in agreement, his dark blue eyes flashing in the slanting light from outside. Kaiez nodded and the conversation began again, the talk becoming more reflective on old times, young times when Thoran was still alive. Kaiez smiled contentedly and listened, glad to be reunited once again and not having to face the worry of competing too soon since arrival.
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WindWaker
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Post by WindWaker » Tue May 25, 2004 2:54 pm

"O lowest of lows, o highest of highs
mine breath screams of a love none forgotten by only the trees themselves.
For fair Venetta, thouest holds the key to mine own heart,
with thy smile bringing happiness with a storm of daze upon me."

"But Mencrutio, my father dost not know you as I
he fears of thou taking me away from him.
Give him a chance, my gentle love
He is a good hearted man, even if he dost not show it."

"But I have given him many a chance, o beautious one
he bats me away as if I an irritating bug on his shoulder.
I must take you with me! Please Venetta!
If thou resist, it would snap my heart like a summer twig in the fall."

"Please good sir, do not make me choose between blood and love
thou fight a battle thou cannot win.
For I love my father dearly, and could never hurt him like this
Just go on with your life, I beg of thee. Enjoy your recklessness, young rougue."

The young man looked crestfallen from the girl's reply, and quickly looked down.

"So that is how thou feel? Then for certain I thought of thou wrong. I shall take mine leave, fair Princess. We shall never meet once more."

With that the boy exited the lavishly decorated room, leaving Venetta breathless.

"O forsaken gods! Why has thou forced me to make mine decision?
I would have chosen to die on a stake rather than to have made my love suffer as he did.
O cruelest of fates I shall make mine final decision and laugh in my grave!
Laugh at thy jokes and evil moves that thou have forced me to commit!
I say good morrow to you spirits, if mine life meanest nothing to thee."

And with that, the sorrow filled girl took the knife from her cubboard and stabbed it deep in her chest, her eyes bulging from pain as she fell lifelessly on the pillows. The life was pulled out so fast, and now she lay there, an expression of loathing on her beautiful face. And once more the boy returned into the room, still so full of anger.

"Venetta? Venetta? Why dost thou lookest so pale in the light?
What treachery is this! A knife! A knife put through her heart just as she put one through mine own.
Have at thee, fate, for with her death, so walks mine own
I cannot live in a world devoid of such beauty, grace, and love.
Forgive my past harsh words, my love. We shall meet once more."

And in a similar fashion, the boy also plunged the long knife deep into his chest, causing him to fall on top of his lover. So ended their romance.

With that, a sudden symphony of applause erupted from the bleachers. The audience obviously loved the play but even moreso the starring actor. A standing ovation was enough to get him to come out and bow some more, his face beaming from ear to ear. "Thank you, thank you everyone. We're here all day!"

When the crowd had dispersed to experience the marvels of the fair, Max finally had some time to rest. "Great show, 'eh Wes?"

The fat manager of the troupe waddled over to the actor and put his hand on the younger man's shoulder. "You do good work, Max. I think you've mastered 'Mencrutio and Venetta' by now. Marvelous. Just marvelous."

Max smiled back and watched as Wes left the carriage. It was fairly big, large enough for the actors to change garments inbetween scenes and also to store props. The prop case was a marvel in itself, holding almost all of the common props such as jewellery, hats and clothing. But the trunk seemed to be calling out to Max, as if it had been disturbed. He laughed at the idea. Most of the props were mundane, though some of the jewellery was valuable. With his thinking enough to make him suspicious, Max quickly shuffled over to the trunk and opened it. From rummaging about inside he finally pulled out the stocking, concealing inside it jewellery.

Pouring out its contents on the floor and making sure nothing rolled away, he carefully checked whether anything was missing. Finally, he deduced that the emerald ring, usually worn by nobels or royalty was missing. Knowing that his fellow actors or staff were not thieves, Max finally came to his conclusion. Someone had come inside their carriage and stolen the ring. And with a thief, Max had no sympathy.

He would have retaliation. He would just have to look for a way to achieve it.
The only difference between good and evil is an opinion.

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Jade Croft
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Post by Jade Croft » Wed May 26, 2004 6:43 am

"It's so sad, so horrible..."

Aidian pulled his attention away from the actors on stage towards the lovely woman sitting at his side. She was weeping softly into a handkercheif as first the heroine, then the hero of the tragedy fell victim to a knife.

"Yes" he agreed, his eyes returning to the actors, now taking thier bows and receiving applause "Tragic to find love and to have it so cruely taken away, is it not?"

Standing now, watching the crowd around them depart to other amusements he turned his full attention back to Shannon, his "date" for the day. "What is worse, fair lady is to see unhappiness on such a beautiful face as yours, wether placed there by life or by acting. We must do something to remedy the situation at once. A fair is not a place for tears.

"I should like to watch the fights" Shannon replied, her eyes still wet with tears from the play, but the knowledge of pleasures to come making them shine through their glistening. "But first, kind sir, I beg you to feed me even a morsal of food."

Laughing, Aidian bowed gracefully, his long black ponytail falling forward over his shoulder. As he straightened he offered her his arm then began to escort her through the crowds.

"Jacque does not like this sort of thing" Shannon began to pratter as they walked. Her husband was a noble gentleman and attending a fair was not his sport of choice. He preferred to hunt, or gamble...gentleman's pasttimes. His wifes needs were the bottom of his list. Hers had been an arranged marriage, she was an ends to a means, nothing more. Aidian looked at the woman, almost in pity. She was an easy mark. She was gullible and desperate...two traits he loved in a woman.

But she was beautiful, and she was rich. She would satisfy Aidians needs as he satisfied hers...a trade so to speak. He did not feel the least bit guilty in what he was doing. Nor did he stop to think about any of his past acquantances, or any broken hearts he might have caused.

"Jacque is a blind man. One who does not cherish the posession he holds. But his lack of sight is my blessing. For it allows me the privledge of being in your presence. I will accept what bones you throw my way, Shannon, just for the knowledge that whatever time I spend in your presence is time closer to heaven."

"You are smooth, Aidian." Shannon patted his hand in reprimand. "Don't think I am not aware of how you share your affections with many women. I'm not about to fall into any tricks of yours, nor think I am overly special to you." She pouted, flitting her eyelashes. "I know what you want, I am 35 this spring. Use your charm as you would, we shall see how far it gets you this evening." She laughed as she finished her sentance. She knew how far it would get him, just as he did. She felt desire for the young man walking next to her. A desire she did not feel for her husband. She also knew of Aidian's reputation. A young lord, heir to an old title, but one with empty coffiers. She supposed someday he would have to marry for money, but for now he simply lived life as the rest of the young titled gentleman, those that lived off the graciousness of others of title and wealth to keep them in style.

"I would not attempt to stoop so low as to fool you Shannon." Aidian stopped, facing the young woman, then pulled her to him and whispered in her ear. "But, have no doubt that I do desire you, that is not made up." He pulled away slightly to see the blush on the womans cheeks as she realized how attracted Aidian really was to her. At a loss for speech, turning slightly, she smiled.

"Food first, then the fights. Then we shall see about the rest of the evening." she whispered, already knowing how the evening would end, but enjoying the sport just as much as her escort.
" They say that the best weapon is the one you never have to fire. I respectfully disagree. I prefer the weapon you only have to fire once.." --Tony Stark

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RileyKenobi
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Post by RileyKenobi » Fri May 28, 2004 8:25 pm

OOC: Have fun, kids.

IC: The two boys who delivered the rest of the group’s food also brought with them the fighting schedule, and received an extra gold coin each before being shooed out of the tent, both grinning from ear to ear. Kaiez leaned over Jaxom’s shoulder as he read the schedule aloud.

“Ears open, mates,” he called, and his bronze-tinted eyes flashing eagerly. “First round, Four thirty: Bear Cylco of Delanor and Athor Saib of Winol.” There was a round of cheering, and Bear grinned.

“Second round, Four forty-five: Sasha Tavell of Galeria and Joshua Keeves of Mater.”

More cheering. Sasha blew lightly on her nails in a feminine mocking gesture. She and Kaiez smirked at each other.

“Third round, Five o’clock: Kaiez Andromeda of Delanor and Nikalus Dax of Galeria.”

“What is with all these foreigners? Are we going to fight each other or what?” said Jaxom, looking up from the parchment.

“Well, you see…” said Tav, snatching the parchment from Jaxom’s hands deftly and scanning it, “They’ve paired us all apart from one another. We’ll have to fight each other in the later rounds as we get closer to the winner.”

“Cocky, aren’t you?” said Hailey, raising a blonde eyebrow.

“Scared, are you?” he replied daringly. Hailey stuck out her tongue.

“You go in like that, mate, you’ll be pulp for sure,” said Dash, flicking a lock of brown hair from his forehead.

Tav rolled his eyes, and Hailey pushed past Maru and tackled him to the ground, sitting on top of him, her arms crossed.

“Not so cocky now, are you?”

Tav chuckled.

“Stop with the purple, you two,” said Bear gruffly, and plucked Hailey off.

---

Kaiez stood on the arena level of the stands, arms folded as she leaned on the barrier that separated the main stands from the arena. She watched the second round of fighting after Bear’s triumph in the first round. He had been paired with a man nearly as large as he, bronze-skinned and adorned with so many metal ringlets he made clinking sounds when he moved. Both men were too large for agility moves, so they knocked spears and eventually broke each other’s weapon, resorting to hand-to-hand. It was settled then. One heavy knock from Bear’s gigantic fist, and Athor was laid out flat in the dust.

Sasha’s cherry-red hair flashed in the sunlight, tied back in a tail that flourished like a crimson flower each time she moved, brandishing her spear with lethal accuracy, ripping random parts of her opponent’s clothing as she fought circles around the unfortunate Materian. The crowd was behind Sasha, as she was a native Galerian, and fought under their colors. Her opponent, Joshua Keeves, was becoming more and more infuriated by the minute, and finally swung his spear towards Sasha with anger and impatience. Sasha stumbled slightly, caught off guard by the swiftness of the strike, and Kaiez grimaced as dark, shiny blood winked in the sunlight, dripping from her arm where the spear had struck. Sasha’s moves became more deft and focused immediately after her injury, and Joshua soon stumbled himself, sporting a large gash in his leg from Sasha’s spear. Kaiez joined the uproar of cheering as Joshua received a hefty uppercut from the young woman, tripping backwards, reeling from the blow. In a last-resort type move, Joshua threw the spear, it’s point grazing past Sasha’s shoulder. The crowd shrieked, infuriated. Kaiez pounded the wood she was leaning on. Sasha moved in for the finish, jumping and spinning, snapping a kick into Joshua’s face with every ounce of rotational force she could muster, landing with her back to her opponent, crouched. She turned immediately on the dirt surface, her violet eyes flashing in the sunlight. Joshua collapsed in the dust, out cold, bleeding from the nose and ears. The crowd screamed with delight as Sasha raised her arm in victory, still holding her spear.

Kaiez smiled and moved back into the preparation room, her light armor and spear laid out on one of the benches. She stripped off her long-sleeve, wearing only her short-sleeve tunic and flared hunting pants, her tough brown boots on her feet, buckled firmly in place. Kaiez fastened the straps on her light armor and slid on her colored armband, emblazoned with the colors of Delanor which she was fighting under. Sasha walked in and embraced Kaiez in a one-armed hug, hand clasped with her friend’s.

“He’s a Galerian, you know,” she said mildly, drawing back and stripping off her own light armor onto the bench.

“Yeah,” said Kaiez, hefting her spear and pushing her hair behind her ears.

“So be careful. Crowd won’t like you right from the off,” Sasha warned, and she gave Kaiez a light punch to her shoulder. “And kick his ass, will you? Nik thinks he’s better than us girls.”

Kaiez turned her head sharply to look at Sasha directly. “You know him?”

“I’ve had the misfortune,” she said sarcastically, nodding. “Just beat him.”

“Sure.” Kaiez flashed a quirky grin at Sasha and walked out of the dark, cool room into the warm, sunlit arena, waiting to be announced into the public view.

“And now the third round of light weapons competition this evening, we have for you our own Nikalus Dax of Galeria!”

The crowd roared as a tall, muscled young man of 20 stepped into the inner arena, waving shortly and shooting a few arrogant, cocky glances at a few young women close by before the announcer continued.

“Competing for Delanor this round is young Kaiez Andromeda!”

Obviously there was a large amount of Delanorians or Delanorian supporters in the crowd, because audible cheering followed the announcement, and as Kaiez raised her spear in acknowledgement. The two fighters eyed each other, Nikalus with an obvious air of disdain and amusement, and Kaiez with a respectful level of curiosity. The silvery tone of the starting horn rang in the arena, and the two fighters began circling each other slowly. Nikalus made the first move, and Kaiez was unpleasantly surprised by his speed. His agility was the perfect match for her own skills. Their spears met with loud whacks of wood on wood, and Kaiez nimbly transferred her weight from foot to foot, backing up as Nikalus appeared to push her further and further towards the arena wall. As they reached the wall, however, Kaiez sidestepped and smacked Nikalus smartly across the back of the legs with her spear, dancing backwards as he whirled, indignant and furious already. Kaiez smiled disarmingly at her angry opponent.

Jaxom joined Dash, Tav and Sasha in the arena level stands. “How’s she doing?”

“She’s playing with him, Jax,” said Tav, laughing. “She’s bloody toying with him.”

“That’s our Romi,” said Jaxom in a satisfied and proud tone.

“She’ll get down to business in a moment, you’ll see,” said Dash, and Sasha nodded, a small smile playing about her lips.

Nikalus was getting smarter as he battled in brief scraps with Kaiez, realizing after a few more clashes that she was letting him make the mistakes, and only exploiting his anger and eagerness for victory with a quick win. Kaiez walked around Nikalus like a wolf circling its prey, and then struck with lighting ferocity, her spear swinging in a brown blur and slamming into Nikalus’ hip with a wet-sounding slap before drawing the point in a swift motion across Nik’s light armor, making a large scratch in the silvery material. Nikalus swung and slapped her ankle with the wood, and Kaiez’s eyes begin to smart with the pain, jumping backwards to avoid a sweep by the spear.

All right. Enough playing.

Kaiez darted, feigning right, left, right and striking with her spear like a pike, jabbing forward and parrying like a sword. Nik easily blocked the moves, but was finding it harder to keep up with her direction changes, which were rapid and misleading. Kaiez changed direction for a fourth time and landed a hefty blow with her spear into his side, coupling with it a smart jab to the neck with two fingers before jumping back. The spears met again, locking, and Nik drew Kaiez closer to him before she could break away. Retaliation first in her mind, Kaiez slammed her head into his, leaving both of them with tearing eyes and throbbing foreheads. The spears were dropped and forgotten. Kaiez blinked the tears from her burning eyes, Kaiez struck while Nik was still recovering, landing a double-punch in his stomach that sent him tumbling backwards. Kaiez rolled and remained on one knee, watching him intently. He got up quick enough. Both competitors were now smudged with dirt, dark with the sweat on their skin. A streak of reddish-brown dirt ran across Kaiez’s cheek where she had skimmed the ground earlier, and the dirt ran slightly with the beads of sweat running down her face. Head still pumping blood loud in her ears, Kaiez twisted her body to avoid the roundhouse Nik aimed at her lowered head, supporting herself with her arms as she twisted backwards and landed again on her feet, skimming the ground as she dodged Nik’s attacks with agile flexibility. The crowd’s cheering softened and became a loud jumble of both yells and conversations as this new technique was displayed by the Delanorian competitor.

“Stop dancing like a bloody monkey and fight, girl!” Nikalus snarled, beginning to get tired of this cat and mouse game.

“Fine!”

Kaiez jumped up and landed square on both feet directly in front of Nikalus, swung with her right arm, and connected a powerhouse right hook directly to his jaw. Nikalus stumbled backwards, facing sideways, mouth open and drooling a mix of blood and saliva. Kaiez dropped and swept his legs out from under him, immediately positioning herself on top of him, one forearm across his throat, the other elbow digging into his sternum, with her legs positioned with the tibias pressing painfully against Nik’s, making it near impossible for him to get up. The horn sounded again, signaling a win, and Kaiez rolled off of Nikalus, standing and raising her retrieved spear to the crowd, half of which was cat calling, and half of which was cheering like mad. Kaiez walked out of the arena, feeling satisfied with her own performance, and impressed with the Galerian’s. Perhaps they would talk after the fights had ended. Perhaps.
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nehima
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Post by nehima » Sat May 29, 2004 5:02 pm

Laughter overtook Ree as she watched the girl beat Nik soundly. She was still giggling as she entered the medical tent, and peals of laughter escaped her when she saw him being bandaged up by the nurse.

“Something amuse you, Koh?” he asked gruffly, glaring daggers at her. Ree calmed slightly, but then burst out laughing again when she saw his expression.

“Nothing, my dear sir Nik. Hopefully this hasn’t hurt your reputation with the ladies?” she asked when she could speak again.

“Like you’d care, Koh. You’ve always been more interested in money and amusement than girls,” Nik snapped.

“Quite true. That one was damn good, though… I wouldn’t be ashamed to lose to her.”

“You wouldn’t lose. You’d cheat.”

“I’m hurt, Nik,” she said, feigning insult. “But I would.”

“Thief’s honor, that.”
“We do have honor, you know. We’re just smarter about it than normal folk.”

Now it was Nik’s turn to start laughing, to the annoyance of his healer. Seeing the woman’s expression, Ree laughed again.

“I’d best be going before she sticks me with a curse. ‘Bye, Nik,” she said, and waved as she exited the tent.

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WindWaker
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Post by WindWaker » Sat May 29, 2004 7:46 pm

Max rubbed his eyes with his hands drearily as he exited yet another jewellery shop. The owner had either not seen the ring, or was lying. Max had no way to prove either of the choices. All of the shops he had been in had said the same, which made Max have to go give up on his hunt for now. Besides, the next play the troupe was performing was about to begin, and Max was yet again starring in it. He barely had enough time to get back to the stage and get dressed before he had to go on.

The play starts in a lush mountain landscape, with tall grasses and trees. A lone cloaked figure walks on the path with a cane. A gang of bandits armed with swords and spears slowly make their way in the bushes, and suddenly spring forth and surround the unfortunate person.

"Ah ha! It is I, Homer the Bandit, and I must ask for your excuisite possessions, traveller!" The leader shouted. He was without question the leader, for he was the most muscled of the bunch. For with muscles, always comes leadership.

"And why would I do that?" The traveller croaked back in a whiny voice, not defining whether they be male or female. Some of the bandits cringed back at the response from the person. Noone had ever questioned the leader, because of his said muscles.

"Why would you...why would you...Ha ha! But it is I! Homer the Bandit!"

"You already said that."

One of the bandits, who was obviously new, started chuckling at the reply. One look from Homer the Bandit was all it took for him to shut up.

"I wonder why I must repeat myself, beggar, for we have pointy swords and spears, while all you have is your cane. Which, might I remind you, is very, very dull."

"Dull meaning intellectually weak or not having a sharp edge?"

The leader had to think for a moment before coming up with his answer. "The latter, beggar."

"What's a ladder-begger?"

Homer the Bandit yelled in rage from the response and drew his very large sword. "That's it, sir, give us your possessions!"

"I have no possessions."

Homer squinted in the sunlight, looking the figure up and down. "You confuse me. You have both cane and cloak."

"They're not mine. I still have three payments on them."

The leader's face became very red. "I don't care. Give them to me, now!"

"It would not be in my place to give you these things, for they are not in my possession. Therefore, the only way you could generate these items of exuberance through my gratitude, would be to communicate through the responsive lines of the local institution's support and produce a report stating my surrendering of said products. Until then, my gentlemen, you cannot touch me. Understand?"

The bandits stared at the figure for many minutes. After sometime, one bandit near the front started to nod his head. He was quickly slapped by another.

Homer the Bandit spoke first. "Uh, care to put it into Lamen's terms?"

The figure shrugged. "You must go on a quest to the farthest reaches of the world to a great city and attain a magical form. Then, I must surrender my possessions to you and admit defeat. But until then, you may not touch me."

"Is there any way to get your stuff without touching you?" One of the bandits asked curiously.

"No."

"Well then, we're off! Lets go bandits!" Homer yelled, and a triumphant cry was made. They started their tremendous path down the path one way, while the figure hobbelled the other way, with a large smile on their face.
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Post by nehima » Sun May 30, 2004 3:56 pm

Ree wandered the marketplace aimlessly, looking through the spectrum of brightly colored tents, varied goods and even more varied sellers. There was the old, old mage who'd been travelling about fairs since far before Ree was born. And over there, the indian man and his wife, dark skinned and more than a little wise themselves. The shop to her left held a fearful-looking jewler, while the one to her right held a man currently receiving a harsh verbal beating from his wife. Ree ambled over, prentending to look at their wares- a mediocre collection of woodworking- as she listened to the argument.

"Ye never make any money, but ye expect me ta be able ta put food on the table every nigh'?" the woman yelled.

"Well, if ya weren't such a gossip-monger, ya'd be able to!" the man retorted.

Marriage, thought Ree. What a divine prospect.

"Gossip-monger! You're tha one tha can't go a nigh without a visit ta the inn for your ale!"

"Woman, I wouldn't haveta visit tha alehouse if not for ya drivin' me mad all the time!"

"I work all day to keep the tent, and feed ya, and clean after ya, and ya sa I drive ya mad!" the woman cried indignantly.

"Bitch!"

"Jackass!"

"You know, perhaps if you two spent less time arguing and more doing woodwork and helping customers, you'd make a bit more money," volunteered Ree. The couple's heads turned, and they both locked Ree with identical venomous glares. She smiled innocently and ran, the two of them bolting out of their stall after her.

Ree had been trained to lose a pursuer, and had used her training many, many times. As she rounded a corner in the line of tents, she ducked between two of them and walked calmly out into a crowded thouroughfare. She walked down the street a bit until she reached the square once more and saw, with happiness, that the players had taken up a comedic banter, something she found far more to her liking, and decided to watch for a bit.

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Post by corsos » Mon May 31, 2004 9:06 am

“She summons you to her solar.” Majordomo Grasso commanded from the open doorway. “Immediately, woman.”

Of course immediately… the mistress is not to be kept waiting.

Winter looked up from her needlework, a new shawl for the mistress, and nodded. “Of course, right away Sir.” She watched Thenolin close the door before putting the shawl aside and rising to her feet. Compared to many others in the castle, her duty was not an unpleasant one but it was a daunting one. Nothing was more important to the Mistress than her own appearance. The image she held of herself in her mind, had to match what she saw in the mirror on a daily basis. That responsibility was partially in the hands of Winter, who had to make sure her hair was as soft and shining as it was years earlier.

However, it was not enough to simply primp the Mistress, she herself had to be made correctly as well. No one of modest beauty with a less than regal appearance could care for the Mistress. How could someone that was not beautiful herself be charged with such an important task? But at the same time, no one could dare challenge the mistress as the most beautiful being within her castle. A careful balance had to be struck, as to not cause offense to her. More than a few had incurred her disfavor when they arrived too beautiful, or not nearly enough.

Winter walked softly to the closet, which constituted an entire wall of her castle room. In this, the Sorceress was not ungenerous. The Royal seamstress gave her servants the finest garments and gowns at orders of the Mistress. It was this wall of fabric that Winter now stood before, choosing her gown for the days proceedings. She removed a simple powder blue gown and placed it over her chair. She reached behind her and untied the string holding her sleeping gown in place. It slid off, and fell to the floor. She could feel the silken cloth fall against the scars on her lower back … the strange numb feeling, as though something was touching her back through a layer of clothing. Only this was an extra layer of dead flesh.

Winter found herself gazing at her own reflection in the mirror, remembering why she was here. She shook her head and took the gown in her hands, and slid it on, fastening it in place. It fit snugly around her small waist and traveled all the way up to her neck, pressed against her small breasts and narrow chest. The powder blue matched perfectly the color of her eyes. She stepped forward and removed a brush from the stand in front of her, and pushed it through her shining silver hair straightening it over each shoulder and on her back. She was told her hair looked almost like liquid ice, covered with a dusting of snow, and the envy of many. Few in Winol were born with those blue eyes and silver hair, it was considered lucky by most, and even holy by some. For that, she was named for the season of her country, and made a perfect gift to the Sorceress. Winter would leave her hair hanging long and straight, plain but well kept. The same, her face would go without makeup. That was the Mistress’ preference. The balance.

Winter wasted no more time, walking from her room and up the winding stone stairway towards the Mistress’ solar. Their, the sun bathed everything in the afternoon, as it would now. As she preferred, Winter beat the Mistress there. Winter could wait, the Sorceress, however, could not. The raised chair hovered above the plants spread throughout the room, the one always used when the Mistress required her hair redone. As she always did, the Sorceress entered the room alone, in a beautiful burgundy gown and a trail of the best fabric Galeria could ever produce and sell.

She said no words of greeting or even acknowledged Winter’s presence. It was normal. She took a seat, and faced the bright blue skies and the shining yellow sun. Her thick flowing black hair was as pristine as always, but surely there was some minor imperfection the mistress had detected that she required fixed. “Mistress.” Winter curtsied.

The Sorceress made no response, and only tilted her head towards Winter and nodded. And so Winter began. More often than not, these sessions would be filled with the Mistress speaking about whatever she wished, random speech about whatever suited her on that day. It seemed this solar and environment provided something even her best advisors could not reproduce. It made her comfortable, and allowed her to speak of things she would say to few others. Winter had no other explanation, as the Mistress was well known to say absolutely nothing to anyone when it came to private matters of herself, or leadership. It appeared this day would be no different. Her voice, like it always did, flowed like a hypnotic song. Winter often wondered how much of the Sorceress was authentic, and what was altered by her own power.

“The monarchs all had children before they died, did you know that? They were annoying little things, wouldn’t listen to me. Whenever I tried to say anything to them, they ran. It actually amused me, after a while. These were the all-powerful rulers, the people the gods had chosen to reign, and they were scared. They weren’t special in any way, none more brilliant than those mongrels of dogs the guards own, none braver than a deer. But somehow, they still sometimes managed to annoy me, playing heir little games and running off.”

“Children will be children mistress.” Winter gave one of her obligatory answers, as she worked on the hair, setting it as the Sorceress always preferred.

“They were naughty and stupid, and scared out of their minds. Once, when their crying became too much to bear, I grabbed them one by one. First I took the little Galerian brat, the oldest of the lot and the loudest, too. The spell I used on his hand was the same as the one I branded animals with, though I suppose in my anger I made it even more painful. Anger does cause brilliance sometimes. Then I went through them, oldest to youngest. The little Delanorian brat bit me, so when I did hers I put it on the back of her neck. She cried so loud, it was wholly amusing. I decided to do the next boy on the neck too, just because of that lovely result. What a little worm he was. It was hilarious at the time, the thought of that little worm-king. The last girl, the littlest, was the stupidest of all. She stuck her arm out to me, as if she were offering it bravely to just get it over with. But of course she wasn’t, being all of two at the time. I did do hers on the wrist though, it seemed only just for my extra amusement.”

“Of course Mistress, it is your right.” Winter again answered with reflex, but the words had a far greater impact than that… something on this day had made the Sorceress look into the past. And those were words Winter never thought she would hear…

The Sorceress only smiled, and looked into the sky and sun, sitting over her land, and her country… everyone and everything belonged to her. Winter, meanwhile, set her hair.

ooc If I hear one, ONE, queer eye for the straight guy joke... it's your ass! :mrgreen:
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Post by RileyKenobi » Mon May 31, 2004 8:25 pm

OOC: You're telling us not to...and expect us to listen? Mwaha.

IC: Kaiez stripped off her armor and laid it next to Sasha’s bronze-colored breastplate before stripping off her sweat-soaked and filthy tunic, crumpling it up into a ball and shoving it beneath her armor, making a mental note to find someplace to wash the shirt before the fair was over, and hopefully before her next fight. She meandered over to the medic tent to have her arm, face and ankle tended to, and upon pushing open the white tent flap, glanced up to find her opponent being worked on, his face bleeding slightly, among other things. He kept her gaze, surveying her as she walked into the tent and was immediately set upon by one of the medics. The young nurse tutted at the rising bruise high on Kaiez’s ribcage, and began to prod gently with a wet cloth on and around the area, all the while making tsking noises and muttering to herself about the dangers of organized fighting.

“You have excellent form,” Nikalus said, looking over at Kaiez as her arm was bandaged. “I’ve never seen anyone move so fast.”

“You should fight Dash then,” Kaiez chuckled. “But thanks. You were pretty agile yourself. You’re strong too. But you need to let your opponent swing and miss. You used too much of your energy trying to beat me back. That, and you got angry. And you let it get the best of you. That’s why I won.”

Kaiez expected a sharp response, or even for Nik to be taken aback by her bluntness, but instead, he nodded, adopting a thoughtful expression.

“I’ll keep that in mind, Andromeda,” he said, calling her by her surname, as was traditional for opponents. She nodded back and slid off the table she had been perched on for the numbweed to be put on her ankle before being bound.

“Mayhap I’ll see you on the field again, Dax. Take care,” she said with a short wave, and ducked out of the tent.

Jaxom was waiting outside the tent, snapping his fingers out of impatient habit. He beamed and hugged Kaiez gently when she emerged from the medic tent.

“Nice job, Romi. Excellent form out there,” he said, putting a brown arm around her shoulders as they walked down the slim path behind the arena. Dulled cheers were heard from the crowd watching the current fight.

“Funny, that’s what Nik said,” Kaiez smirked.

“See? It shows,” Jaxom said proudly.

Kaiez pushed back some of her white hair from her face, tucking back with the rest of her inky black mane behind her ears. A small crowd was gathered in front of a temporary stage, cheering occasionally and laughing at the antics being performed on stage. Jaxom and Kaiez wandered over to the back of the crowd to watch. Kaiez looked about and gave a whistle as soon as she saw one of the many runner boys through the crowded streets. He came scampering over.

“Yes’m?”

“Bowl of warm water and a towel. Extra silver if you get back quick, lad. Go on!” she said, pressing a small silver coin into his hands. He dashed off, whizzing through the crowd and reappeared within two minutes, managing not to spill the water and keep the towel dry and clean. Kaiez gave him two more silver coins; the child bit them to make sure, and then ran off to find more speedy work. Kaiez washed her arms, torso and shoulders clean of the dirt and grit from the arena, cleaning her face and hair last. She lay the cloudy bowl of water and browned towel on a bench nearby and resumed watching the play, leaning on the wooden fence, touching shoulders with Jaxom as the actors continued their skit.
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Post by corsos » Fri Jun 04, 2004 7:25 pm

All she heard as she ran were the sounds of her bare feet clapping on the stone floor over and over again, like water on the ground during a heavy rain storm. He pale skin and silver hair was tucked underneath the hood of the oversized black cloak she had only used for traveling outside the castle one... the time she was delivered here near five years ago from Winol. And what a gift she was, one of the few remaining of her kind delivered to the Sorceress for favors not promised. She hoped they got their rewards... for her purpose here was not for them, despite what they believed.

After she heard the words from the Sorceress it took every part of her will power to resist to finish her work to her mistress' liking. Emotions of every kind rumbled through her, finally getting what it was she needed to know so that she could finally leave. Her purpose here was layered... and one was solely for herself. When she returned to her humble room she was finally able to inact what she had prepared for in such secrecy for almost ten years.

She first moved her sowing table over, and then silently removed the wooden plank below it, revealing a long thin box. Inside she removed the traditional weapon of her people, elegant yet as hard as anything. She placed the daimond made scimitar onto her bed, and wrapped her bedsheet around it. She removed the ivory colored whip from the box and wrapped it tightly around the sheet. She left her gown on, but pulled donned her cloak over it... simply to make her less visible as she moved through the darkened halls.

But the sun was still up, and Winter had to wait if she had any chance of escaping the castle. She had stayed and served the Sorceress for a decade, but those hours she spent at her knitting seemed longer than those ten years put together. When the darkness came she left her room, something that was forbidden, but also something she hadn’t done in a decade. There was no fear for her loyalty… and all of the Sorceress’ magical traps would be ineffective against anyone of her kind. But her guards would be about… and she would have to evade them. And the mere fact she had to stop on her way… would make this all the more difficult.

Ooc I wanted to do more with this – but I actually had a fair amount of work to do today so I couldn’t get as far as I wanted – ill continue with the next post.
Last edited by corsos on Mon Jun 07, 2004 7:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Jade Croft » Sat Jun 05, 2004 8:44 am

What a waste of time Aidian found himself thinking less then thirty minutes later.

Not that the fighting was not entertaining. Not in the least. He enjoyed watching the opponents and found himself watching with intent as a fiery red-haired beauty faced down her challenger. He did not recall their names, had no interest in them to be honest, but he appreciated what the fight was doing to the mood of his evenings conquest. Shifting his gaze from the spear weilding woman as she cut slices into the clothing of her opponent he watched the emotions play across Shannon's face. Excitement was rampant, but underneath it, something else, her eyes were alive.

He tilted his head slightly as he watched the light play across the green iris's....yes alive, with a pleasure he had not seen in them before, not even when they were watching the play. The fights excited her..odd...very odd. Women of Shannon's world were coddled, sheltered, most would swoon at
the sight of blood, he had half expected to be carrying her away from the scene by now, but still she stood, cheering on the woman as, finally, her opponent fell unconscious to the ground. As the ring was cleared yet another round began, this time a local favorite from Galarian and a woman from Delanor. Nothing special he thought as the fight began, shifting his attention back again to the ring.

Then again, maybe he was mistaken....Whereas the woman before had been blatent in her intent...one of distruction, with a zest born of absolute concentration, her mind set on a purpose and a need to complete the task quickly, this woman seemed much more intent of playing with her opponent, leading him left, then right, taking every opportunity to jab at him when he was not quick enough, like now....Aidian found his attention completely off of Shannon as the woman appeared to be backing towards the wall into a very bad position....move he found himself almost mentally cheering her on and leaned forward as she quickly sidestepped the man then turned and smacked him across the back of his legs....She was good, she liked the game...not his kind of game he thought, but a game none the less. Then he stopped..really stopped as the woman turned and....smiled. He could not see her face clearly from the distance, but she smiled and she was beautiful....a beauty not borrowed from looks, but from happiness and enjoyment.

When had he been that happy? He pulled his gaze from the woman and turned back to look at Shannon. She was as intent on the game as he
was. So intent that she was not watching him.

"You are enjoying the fights....no?" he whispered softly in her ear, in an attempt to bring her attention back to him, and away from the games. For some reason he felt a surge of Jealously towards the woman on the field. She had taken Shannon's attention from himself and placed it on herself. This irked him.

"Yes" Shannon said, breathlessly. "Very much." she did not remove her eyes from the field as the game ended...the woman the victor. "I wish I could live like that..I wish I could be her."

"Her" he asked, disbelief replacing all other emotion "Why. I mean she's...nothing. She lives a life of what is little more then abject poverty, fights like a man. She probably spends her evening drinking and jumping from bed to bed of half the men she fought today. She is a far cry from a beautiful woman like you. One who is refined as a priceless gem, and one who deserves to be cherished."

"No...she's free" Shannon spoke softly, her eyes glistening with tears now. "A freedom I shall never have. Not even for a moment"

He followed as his companion turned and began to make her way out of the crowd.

"She is not free Shannon" he spoke as they moved through the crowd back towards the plays. "Not anymore free than you or I...less probably. You have freedoms to go places that her kind are never allowed to go. She is limited by her status in life, yours allows you privledges which many would envy."

Why was he saying this? What was wrong with this woman. Something about the fights had placed her in a mood. One he could not discern.

One he did not have to he found out mere minutes later as they were joined by none other then the ladies husband.

"Shannon, my love" Jacque stepped forward, a look of something close to concern on his face. "I was informed of your intent to attend the fair this evening. If you had but asked I would have escorted you."

"You are always too busy Jacque, and I did not wish to impose on you." Shannon spoke softly, her gaze going between the two men. "Besides Aidian kindly offered to escort me and I thought that since you two were friends that It would be okay."

Aidian felt Jacque's gaze fall to him "Friends?" then move back to Shannon "Yes. Aidian is my friend, and I owe him thanks for taking care of you this evening. However it is getting late and you should be to home."

"Yes" Shannon nodded, turning to smile at Aidian, yet this time it was so...childlike. "I must really call it an evening. I thank you for your attention this evening, kind sir. I know I kept you away from all of the young ladies this evening. It was kind of you to show me your favor."

Nodding, watching yet another change in the woman Aidian remained silent as she disappeared into the crowd.

"How much?"

"Pardon" he turned his attention to Jacque, who stood watching him.

"How much to leave my wife alone? It seemed a simple enough question, and please spare me the speech Aidian about only being a gentleman. I've seen your type before. You have a title, but no money. While the title admits you to society, your lack of money keeps you from really appreciating the lifestyle to which you were born. Most men don't care whom their wives spend their time with. Most of their marriages were arranged from before they were born. Their only concern is the production of an heir, and after that is accomplished." he shrugged, then stepped forward till Aidian found himself face to face with the man. "But make no mistake...I do care about who my wife spends time with, and I will not have her hurt by the likes of you."

Aidian did not back down from the man's stare, he met it squarely, his face set as he looked into the other's eyes. There was also something there that he had not seen before.....

"You love her."

"Yes" Jacque stated simply. "Shannon was not an arranged marriage...at least not mine. She was to marry my cousin, Orive, but we met when we were young and fell in love. We faced the wrath of both of our families when we ran away and married, and risked all to be together. My father, for the better part of a year, did not acknowlede me." As he spoke, Jacque turned and began to pace. "But I loved her...love her still. You see Aidian. You are young. You have had none of the disappointments in life that make you stronger...or weaker. You have yet to face a loss which tears that which you love from your grasp. Tears it away when all you can do is look at it and attempt to touch it, yet knowing what you touch is merely an empty shell. My wife, Aidian, has not been well for several years...not since the loss of our son in a house fire. She attempts to live, but..." he shrugged "I have tried to reach her. I have paid for the best doctors. We have tried to have more children, but" again he shrugged, this time closing his eyes. "To you it's a game. To Shannon...it's a way out of a dream which she thinks she is having but refuses to wake up from." Inhaleing deeply Jacque opened his eyes again, the torment of the past years on his face. "Someday you might know how it feels to lose one's child and one's wife in a single night. You might understand the pain of knowing you will never have another child, because the woman you want so desperatly to have one with is not whole anymore....I pray to god that you never do though. It's an understanding that I would not wish on anyone." he paused again, then asked..."How much?"

"Nothing" Aidian spoke softly. He understood too much at the moment and it was not a feeling he liked. This was not a game right now. Not one where he could go home this evening and raise a glass of wine to a job well done. This man had changed the rules. He had made it personal, and he had force Aidian to face himself....A feeling Aidian did not like in the least. At this moment Aidian did not like himself much. That was hard, real hard, and all he wanted to do was be left alone. "Your wife will remain only a dear friend to me, Jacque. I will take it no further and I..." he did not continue. He just stopped and stood.

"I understand" Jacque said softly, and held out his hand in friendship.

He held out his hand. This man knew what Aidian had been about and still offered a hand. Feeling worse then he had moments ago, Aidian took his hand and shook it, nodded, then turned and made his way back through the crowd.

Now what? God....he felt an anger he had never felt. He felt like he was a little worm in an apple, A fresh red apple with fresh white, sweet meat inside it....except where he, the worm walked. There the meat was brown...tarnished by his touch.

He needed a vacation, he thought. That's what he needed. A vacation. He had money enough, probably more then he would ever use. But he still played the game...Why? Because he needed the game to survive...to feel alive.

Her face

He saw the face of the woman from the fights before him again, the pure pleasure on it...He secretly ammended his thoughts about her being unlucky. She was perhaps more lucky than most others here this evening.

Grabbing an ale from a nereby cart Aidian tipped it back quickly and felt it's burning sting.

It was time to get his mind off this evenings debaucle. Time to put it somewhere.. somewhere where he would not have to think about it anymore.

Grabbing another ale, he rubbed the back of his neck with his free hand, feeling again the scar there. For some reason it always tended to bother him when he was upset....That was a situation which would be remedied shortly though, he thought as he found himself yet again in front of the actors stages. Maybe there was something here which might take his attention off of himself and tonights farce.
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Post by WindWaker » Sat Jun 05, 2004 5:16 pm

The play opened once more, this time near the gates of a luxurious palace.

"Esmerelda! Esmerelda! My heart beckons you to bring your delightful face to your house's gates!"

"Go away!" A voice called from the castle.

"No! I will stand here until the cows come home, if I have to!"

A small moo was then heard from the palace, followed by some very girlish giggling.

"Oh Esmerelda, why do you block my advancements?"

"Would you like that list in alphabetical form or in level of distaste?" This was then followed by more giggling.

"Can't you at least come to the gates? Please?"

A very loud sigh was heard, followed by the creaking open of a door somewhere. The princess showed herself finally, walking down the path to the foreboding gates. "Yes, Ludwig?"

"O fair princess, thy face lifts me higher than the birds in the...the...sky, and it's...uh...blue...and stuff...?"

"Can the funny talk, Lud. What do you want?"

A crestfallen look appeared on the young man's face. "I want you to love me, Esmerelda! Pllleeeeeeaasssseeee?"

"No."

"C'mon, you loved Prince Timothy when he said please!"

"True, but Tim was taller than you."

"Oh. Well, I could go and get some platform shoes or something..."

"No. Good night, Ludwig."

Suddenly, out of a large, totally insuspicious bush to the side of the gates jumped out Homer the Bandit and his band of merry trouble-makers.

"Ah ha! Avast ye clogs! Have we hit the 'great city' that crazy man was talking about, yet?"

"I don't think so, O Mighty Leader. The traveller said we should go to the far side of the world. We've been walking for twenty minutes..." one bandit piped up.

"Hmph, well, who really knows how large the world is, hm? What say you wench?"

"Excuse me?" Esmerelda replied snobbishly from behind the gate.

"What? Isn't that the term for a woman in these parts?"

"It's a rather boorish expression, sir. I'd rather you call me something more 'lady-like'."

"Alright, Something More Lady-like. I don't know why you'd want me to call you that, but I'm all for it. Love to experiment. You know, on weekends, I brew new drinks and name them. It's rather fascinating." Smiles of agreement appeared on all the bandits' faces.

"ARGH! ALL YOU MEN ARE INSANE!" Esmerelda screamed, scaring everyone.

"Madam," Homer the Bandit continued, "I must inform you that me and my men are perfectly sane. We have the doctor's note to prove it."

"I'm not!" a voice yelled from the back of the large group.

"Ok, everyone except him." Homer said, shrugging his shoulders.

"Why can't someone just come and get rid of all these guys. I would surely shower them with my love," Esmerelda whispered to herself.

Ludwig stood thinking for a few minutes, before the idea finally dawned on him. "If I get rid of these guys...then Esmerelda will SHOWER ME WITH HER LOVE!"

"What's with the freaky kid?" One of the bandits whispered to his friend.

"I have no clue..."

Ludwig quickly took off his black gloves and walked over to the large group of men. "Hello everyone. My name is Ludwig, and I will be slapping you today."

"Hi Ludwig!" echoed from the group as the young man walked across the men, slapping each and everyone across the face. He sighed with pleasure when he was finished with his lengthy task.

In 5 seconds flat he was tied up to a tree and screaming for his mommy.[/i]
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Post by RileyKenobi » Sun Jun 06, 2004 5:09 pm

When Ludwig took his gloves off, a small dark spot that looked more like a smudge of dirt than anything else caught Kaiez’s eye. She focused on the spot, and as he moved about, she noticed it was a scar. A sun-shaped scar. Kaiez stared, dumbfounded. She stiffened beneath Jaxom’s arm, causing him to glance at her curiously.

“What?”

“Look at his hand, his right hand!” Kaiez said. The people in front of her turned around and shushed her, but she growled back and they turned around quickly. Jaxom narrowed his eyes on the scar.

“Okay…so he has a scar,” said Jaxom. “And you’re flustered about this, why?”

“He has the scar! My scar! The same one that’s on my wrist, Jax,” she explained, turning her hand over to expose the sun scar placed on the inside of her wrist. Jaxom examined her wrist curiously.

“You don’t know him, do you?” he asked, glancing up at the actor.

“Not that I know of. But how many people have the same scar and don’t know each other?” said Kaiez, looking at the actor again. “I mean, I never knew how I got it…maybe he knows.”

“Ask him after the play’s over, Romi,” said Jaxom. “This Ludwig guy’s amusing…”
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Post by corsos » Mon Jun 07, 2004 8:53 am

ooc now this im satisfied with

The nobles had sent her, yet she was here doing someone else’s work. But her final task here was for herself. The Sorceress’ library was one of the largest and most complete in the land. She had collected books of her likings from the monarchies while they were still in power, but after they fell she had virtually combined all their collections into one. The library was three levels, and Winter had only seen it once. Generally it was not guarded but the Mistress’ men did make regular rounds to the library, even into the night. The Sorceress took no chances, especially with items she considered of value to her. And she took special pride in her vast collection of historical material.

Winter padded through the halls, with what appeared to be a wrap of laundry in her arms. But inside the black cloak and white bed sheet were the weapons of her people, something she could never be seen with. The tip of the handle of her diamond scimitar poked out of the roll, in case Winter needed it. For more delicate matters, a dagger was strapped to her thigh just above the split underneath her gown. She had memorized the layout of this portion of the castle from studying her hand made maps tracing the halls the few times she went through them. One of the virtues of her training during her time with the nobles was that of memorization. The guard rotations remained what Winter recorded, and she slipped through the halls unmolested until she reached the library.

There she found something she knew wasn’t right. The door to the library lay open, a dim light shining from its interior. The Sorceress had strict rules, and these doors were to be closed and locked at all times to prevent false entrance by anyone who didn’t belong. Only her majordomo held the keys to the more secure areas of the castle and anyone wanting access had to go through Grasso to get it. Winter slid her small lock pick tools back inside her gown and shifted her weight to the balls of her feet, creeping forward towards the door. Who would be inside at this hour… the scariest answer was certainly the Sorceress herself. Only slightly less so was Grasso. But it didn’t matter, this was something she had to do.

Winter slowly cranked her neck and bent it around the opening and found the library dark, spare a dim light at one desk in the center of the library. There sat a man Winter had never seen before. He wasn’t old, perhaps in his later thirties, less than a decade older than Winter. He was a foreigner of some kind, his clothes exotic and skin color strange. However, more disturbing was the man who hovered over him, one of Solaen’s elite guards, one of the Sworn. His giant two handed great sword hung from his back, over his navy blue cloak that bore Solaen’s sigil, a script letter S, inscribed over an imprint of the continent’s outline. They were trained warriors, trained killers. If she was spotted she was as good as dead.

Her body straightened, bringing her head back outside the room, leaning against the hall’s wall. She took a few deep breaths settling her breathing. Winter silently unwrapped her cloak and draped it over her. She proceeded to attach her scimitar and whip to her belt. Her illusion was now gone. If she was seen, she was dead. She closed her eyes and whispered a prayer to her God, before swinging her leg around the door and then whipping her body along with it. Winter sprung sideways, landing silently behind a large bookcase. She stayed their for moments, listening for the sounds of footfalls or anything else that might indicate she was seen or heard. But there was only the sounds of breathing, the sizzle of the oil lamp and pages being turned by the Sorceress’ visitor.

The darkness was something Winter and her people were used to, living so far north in Winol where the caves were their solitude and the darkness was their home. Her people had spectacular night vision and it would serve her well here as she padded silently through the line of shelves, searching for her title. There were so many volumes… and what if her title was on the top shelf and she would need the ladder… it would be too loud. She needed fortune to be on her side.

And so it was. After five minutes of searching she found a cluster of books unique to Winol, detailing some of their ancient history, and more of their darker present. It contained the secrets of that royal family that few knew, and many were kept ignorant of. Here she would have the truth and her answers. She cradled the book in her left arm, and slid it into the fold in her cloak. It would be safe there, from the elements outside and what she would have to go through to complete her escape. Winter prayed the cloak would protect it like they had promised.

She slid back between the shelves and towards the door, making her way back outside room and sprinting down the hall. Her lot was cast, and now speed was paramount, not stealth. Winter ran to the western stairs, the least used stairs and sprinted down towards the lower level, and the castle’s kitchen. When she reached the lower level and reached the kitchen her breath was almost gone. Her years of work as only a dresser had taken its toll.

Winter checked her things and burst through the kitchen door. If all were normal, only the night cook, Benerin would be there. Unfortunately as with the library, here not everything was normal. Benerin was there, but he was serving a lone soldier who looked like he had just arrived at the castle. His armor and shield lay on the floor, and his blade on the table before him. When Winter barged in, both turned towards her and stood, the soldier with his sword already in hand, pulling his blade from his sheath. In a flash, as though she had trained only yesterday, Winter’s whip was in hand and snapping on the soldier’s sword hand. His blade clanked to the floor and before he could move to pick it up, he was staggering backwards, Winter’s thrown dagger sticking from just below his sternum.

Benerin watched with shock as the soldier grasped at the dagger, trying to pull it out as his strength failed him. He then looked up to Winter, who’s face was still hidden by the hood of her cloak. The cook was a good man, like many forced into service by the Sorceress. And now he probably thought he was dead… and it looked like he was about to yell for help. She couldn’t let that happen. Winter sprang forward and stepped right up to him, face to face, and she could see the recognition in his eyes. He calmed as he recognized someone he considered a friend. Winter spared a smile for him and he reciprocated realizing he would live through this night.

It did not last. Shock and pain replaced it as Winter’s scimitar slid into his stomach and through his back. His eyes remained on hers, looking into her frosty glare, her light blue eyes the color of cold and death. Her gloved hand clasped onto his mouth, keeping him quiet. She leaned forward near his ear, taking him into an embrace and whispered. “No one can know I was here… it’s for a greater cause.”

She held him there for a few more moments and as she slacked, Winter gently laid him onto the ground. She wiped the blood from her blade after she removed it, and then plucked her dagger out from the dead soldier’s chest. She slid both into her belt. She took both bodies and dragged one at a time back towards the castle’s storage closet. There she would be spared at least some time. After they were secured to her satisfaction, Winter returned to the kitchen and bent down to the floor opening the small metal clasp and then the wooden hatch. Waste disposal. A shallow river flowed below… one Winter now waded through towards freedom.
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Post by nehima » Mon Jun 07, 2004 5:32 pm

Ree's wry grin at the play's sardonic tone twitched slightly when Ludwig took off his glove. She brought the expression back once more, but the shock was still there. Under his glove the man had a scar, and Ree had been able to recognize the shape immediately. It was the same as the scar on her neck, which she bit down a reflex to rub.

The thieves who'd raised her had seen the symbol before, but never on a human. Simply on cattle. It was the symbol of Solaen, and they'd almost thrown her out when they discovered it. When the mage said she was not just unenchanted, but quite inimical to magic, then they'd finally had some acceptance. But barely. It was just too unusual, unheard of.

And here was someone else with it. This Ree simply had to look into, if only to see if the man knew a little more about why it was there.

Ree was distracted the remainder of the play, though she took pains to hide it. It would be easier to speak with an actor when one had at least acted like an interested, involved audience member, and Ree knew well that actors often saw far more than their audience thought.

Well, thought Ree, maybe they are interesting enough to deserve that trinket... but they still don't know theives. They'll be looking for the guilty conscience. Raw beginners. If I didn't kow how to act as well as- better than- they do, I wouldn't have survived.

Skirting through the crowd, Ree waited until most of the well-wishers and drama fans had gone, and then headed towards the carriage. It would not do to look too interested, nor to speak with anyone else near. She'd have to wait a bit longer.

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Post by Jade Croft » Tue Jun 08, 2004 5:47 pm

The first ale had given Aidian not much calm, the second had merely scratched the surface of the self hatred that he found himself in.

By the time he started on his third ale...somewhere between where he had left Shannon and her husband and the actors stages, he had begun to attempt to make excuses for the evening. To find ways to defend his actions.

"Hey Aidian" he felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to see another man...a young boy rather, smiling at him.

"Christopher" he responded, but offering no further food for discussion.

"Lional said you would be about the place this evening. Got bored of the fair lady?"

"Let's just say the "lady" and I parted ways early." Aidian responded, his comment terse.

"Good, Good" Christopher responded. "Then you can come and join us this evening. A few of us have opened up the cards...put forth a few shillings. Lional has procurred us a few wenches for entertainment..."

Aidian heard Christopher, even as he continued to walk. Christopher was the perfect example of class and weatlh in society. Those who never had to work a day in their lives, and who were expected to gamble, drink and "sow" their oats before marriage....before, during and after marriage...he ammended. Boys like Christopher had not concept of the real world. They had never spent so much as a night, nor as little as five minutes even, trying to survive on the streets....no. Christopher and his lot lived from moment to moment, depending on daddy to keep them in funding and women and drink. They were pathetic, he decided.....

He was pathetic....

NO....come on Aidian. Don't let the man get to you...It was just one woman and one situation. Take a look around you. The rest of them...they are just as they seem...pawns to be used and taken advantage of. They willingly give their money away to people like you. They live for the excitement that you offer them...

He needed more ale this evening, he thought, pushing the thoughts from his head and clapped his arm around Christophers shoulders....No sense letting the evening go to total waste.

"It sounds like an excellent idea friend. Tis just what I need this evening. A few rounds of ale, a willing woman, and a few hours to strip you of all your pocket change."

"Me" Christopher gaffed. "Wait till your coffiers are empty old chap...we will see who's talking then"

"Ahhh, we shall see..."

"ARGH! ALL YOU MEN ARE INSANE!"

His attention shifted as he heard the high pitched scream from the stage area. Of all the statements he had heard this evening, this one seemed to grab him by the ear and pull him towards the stage. Turning, breaking away from Christopher he began to make his way towards the actors on stage, in the middle of what...that he was not sure of.

"Aidian...what" Christopher began, but trailed off as his friend held up a palm for silence. Comming to stand beside Aidian, Christoper watched the play, a bored expression on his face. He watched for a few minutes as the play progressed, then placed his hand on Aidian's arm and began to tug at it.

"Come on chap" he pulled "Let's not keep the ladies waiting."

"Hello everyone. My name is Ludwig, and I will be slapping you today."

He smiled, his mind already turning to the evenings entertainment, when a mark on the man's hand caught his attention. Stopping, his attention once again fully on the stage, he felt a cold chill run down his spine.

"Aidian..."

"You go on ahead Christopher" Aidian spoke softly, his eyes not leaving the mark on the mans hand "I'll catch up with you at the usual place in an hour."

"Aidian..." Christoper began, then gave up as Aidian had already turned from him and began to make his way closer to the stage. He watched for a minute more then shrugged and turned making his way back through the crowd.

Aidian, his mind clearer then it had been the past half hour, did not notice his friends absence. He knew that mark...he had one just like it on his neck. How many times had his hair dresser remarked on it. Now why would someone else have such a mark?, It was not unusual to have a birthmark, but the mark on his neck was not such, nor was the one on the mans hand. No, these marks had been placed there with some sort of brand. Someone had placed them there and Aidian felt a sudden sureness that somehow the man on stage was bound to himself somehow.

Somehow...

As he stood at the bottom of the stage and continued to watch, Aidian remained quiet, despite the merryment around him. His concentration on Ludwig. He would wait till the end of the play....

then he would find some answers...
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Post by corsos » Wed Jun 09, 2004 7:41 am

The stream was deeper than Winter had hoped, probably due to the rain two nights ago. She could feel her bare feet wading through the waste from the kitchen and dining hall; bones, scraps all matters of floating refuse settled around her legs below the knee. It was disgusting, but another price she needed to pay. Far ahead still, she could see the dim shine of the moonlight hitting the water as it left the castle’s shadow. It meant freedom. Even with the sounds of the sloshing water caused by her long strides, she listened above for the whistles and stampeding of armed men that always came with an emergency in Solaen’s domain.

If the castle was alerted to what had happened before she escaped… and she was tracked by a group of Solaen’s Sworn, she was as good as dead. Even if only one found her… she was not sure her skills were sharp enough to withstand such an assault. Those men and women had the best training from the greatest masters Solaen’s influence could obtain. And apart from that… they were somehow different, something to do with Solaen’s magic. They were truly frightening, the Sorceress’ Sworn swords.

The moonlight Winter could see ahead beckoned her forward, promising a freedom to her destination. Her people had done this to the greatest detail. For the last ten years, on the first of every year she had been slipped a scroll with a list of time intervals… revealing the list of location in which they would meet if she obtained the information she and they so craved. Now, it was the Galerian Fair that she traveled towards, there she would meet her contact. From there she would make a decision, whether to return to the nobility at all in Winol… or to simply abandon them to their fate. Solaen’s punishment would be harsh.

She continued to wade through the water, and soon the moonlight was shining on her and the soggy road to Galeria was before her. She struggled to lift herself out of the stream and again onto solid ground. Once there reached inside her cloak and removed the book she had pilfered. It was in perfect condition, the cloak had done exactly as promised. These people were as efficient as they claimed… and they would bring her justice.

As Winter placed the book back into her cloak, she heard the sounds she was dreading. The shrill whistles of Solaen’s guards echoed out of the castle. Winter ran, she ran for her life. At the rear of the castle, it would take the Queen’s men, even the Sworn, a longer time to track her after getting around the castle. She would need all her training to survive this. She ran, she ran towards Galeria.
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Post by WindWaker » Fri Jun 11, 2004 6:10 pm

The play ended in a bang, with large fireworks exploding off of the stage. It actually posed quite a danger to the audience, but they didn't know that. Max bowed with his fellow actors as he faced the clapping.

Once everything was done, it was very late at night, or early in the morning. Max didn't know which, or didn't care. The performers retreated quickly back into carriage, where they changed back into their regular attire and scattered off to their places of sleeping around the fair.

Max stayed behind however, cleaning up some of the thrown-around props and costumes. Once he was finished he picked up his bag and went to leave the carriage, satisfied with his day's work.
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Post by nehima » Sat Jun 12, 2004 4:07 pm

The man left the carriage alone, long after the other performers had left. When he stepped down the steps, Ree collected herself and strode nonchalantly over to him. As he slowly began walking, Ree caught up to him and whispered in his ear.

"Lovely little design on your hand. Where'd you get it?"

At this, the man stopped dead in his tracks.

"What did you say?" he asked, his voice very quiet. It was an interesting, captivating voice- Ree thought she rather liked it.

"That pretty little sun- where, may I ask, did it come from?"

"It's a tatoo. I got it in a fair, a while ago," he replied, looking slightly uncomfortable.

"Now how much did this tatoo cost?"

"15 silvers," he replied, starting to turn slowly back around. He stopped when Ree started laughing, and asked, more than a little annoyed, "What?"

Recovering her countenance, Ree replied simply, "That is no tatoo, it's a scar. And you thus didn't get it at a fair or pay silvers for it, and you are a horrid, horrid liar."

The man flushed slightly in anger. "Well, since you're so very, very brilliant, explain to me why it's there, since I don't happen to know."

"I wouldn't have asked if I'd known," Ree replied pertly.

"Yes, you would have. Just to tell me that I'm wrong."

Ree looked thoughtful for a second, cocking her head a little. "Well, well... bad liar, but a good judge of character. Perhaps it comes from play so many?"

"I wouldn't know. Good day to you, sir."

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Post by RileyKenobi » Sun Jun 13, 2004 3:04 pm

Kaiez observed the conversation curiously, looking between the quirky young boy and the actor and noting the man's reaction to her question about his scar. Also noted was the fact that this boy was asking the same question that Kaiez herself would have asked. As the boy bid the man good day and began to leave, Kaiez felt her feet lurch forward.

"Wait!"

The boy turned quickly on her heels and stared curiously at Kaiez. The man gave her an equally strange look. The girl said nothing, however. Kaiez spoke to her first.

"You asked my question for me," said Kaiez slowly. "Why?"

"Why is it any of your business?" the boy retorted.

Kaiez stuck out her left arm, wrist side up, for both the young man and boy to see. The boy's jaw dropped slightly, and the young man's eyebrows went up in surprise.

"It's my bloody business because of this," Kaiez replied more firmly to the boy. "And if it is a scar, as you say, then I'd say it's more than a coincidence." As she said this she turned to the man and cocked her head slightly.

"You don't remember where you got it?" she said, brow furrowed.

"Not a thing." The man shook his head.

Kaiez made a small, contemplative sound, and turned back to the boy suddenly.

"Why did you ask?" she asked quickly. Her tone was suspicious and her eyes were narrowed.
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Post by nehima » Sun Jun 13, 2004 3:40 pm

"It's not exactly something you see every day," Ree replied evasively.

"One might guess it's something you've seen before," the actor cut in, now engrossed in the conversation. It seemed all parties involved had an extreme curiosity about the scars.

"Brilliant deduction, Monsieur Detective. I suggest you sign up for Her Majesty's service soon; you have at least slightly more cognitive ability than most."

Both of her listeners were now bristling with anger, which amused Ree. She decided it would probably be better to watch these two from afar and see what happened, see what link there could be between warrior and actor- and, indeed, thief- before she ever admitted that she indeed was connected in the same manner they were. On a whim, she stood up on tiptoe and kissed them both on the cheeks.

"Luck to you both," she said, grinning evilly as she took off for the rest of the fair.

Unluckily, she hadn't taken the girl's speed into consideration. A foot came out and tripped her, forcing her to roll out on the ground and spring back up. A viselike grip took her hand and tried to force it behind her back, but Ree twisted out of the lock.

"I thought you warriors were trained to fight fair," she said, dusting herself off. The other girl, however, was looking intently into her eyes.

"You don't have a scar on your hand," she said, having seen it when she'd locked Ree's arm.

"Another with a talent for observation," remarked Ree coyly.

"So how do you know so much of these?" asked the man, joining them again.

It was, at this point, probably fairly advantageous to join this little group, Ree decided. So she could give up a bit of secrecy for the moment. She turned her back and pulled down her collar, revealing her own sun-shaped mark.

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Post by Jade Croft » Sun Jun 13, 2004 4:48 pm

Aidian watched the scene with interest.

He had followed the actor as he left the stage area, intent on finding out some answers. Instead he found himself watching yet another play, this one real as the man was accosted by first one, then another young woman. As they progressed he listened and watched as two revealed scars on their hands, the third, a young woman showed something on the back of her neck. It did not take a genius to figure out what.

"Bravo" Aidian clapped loud enough to pull the attention of the small group.

"I must say, I thought all of the action back on the stages. It appears the best action takes place behind the scenes....a play rehearsal perhaps?"
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Post by nehima » Sun Jun 13, 2004 5:18 pm

"One might get the impression that he wishes to join our little brawl," drawled Ree.

"What have you seen?" the other girl asked the man suspiciously.

"No more than any of you," he replied. "Those are interesting marks, though... do any of you happen to know where they come from?"

"Rather unoriginal, aren't you?" remarked Ree. "I believe that's the one thing everyone's asked..."

"Joy," remarked the actor dryly. "I think we've found another one."

"Where's your scar?" asked the girl, cutting to the chase.

"Whomever said I had one?" the man replied, showing off his unmarked hands. The warrior girl, more than a little annoyed, began to bandy words with the large man.

Ree, working on a hunch, slipped back behind the man. He was near a head taller than her, she noticed with slight annoyance, but she wasn't going to let that stop her. Not now. She'd given her secret, and she was going to allow no one else a privacy she now lacked.

By the time the man felt a hand on his collar, it was too late. Ree dragged on the collar, choking the man slightly until she saw what she was looking for.

"'Whomever said I had one'", she muttered, slightly annoyed. "Both of you boys are lousy, stinking liars..."

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Post by WindWaker » Sun Jun 13, 2004 5:48 pm

Max sighed as yet another member was added to the ever-growing ensemble. He checked his watch from the corner of his eye. He was already late for the actors' party he was to be heading for, so he decided to try and start things going.

"Excuse me if I'm a tad impatient here, fellows and lady, but is this show-and-tell going to be going somewhere or are we just going to ogle each other's previous injuries all night?"
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Post by corsos » Sun Jun 13, 2004 6:29 pm

OOC Hell I’ll get one up anyway – while I watch the Finals here - the pistons better win this damned game

It was only an hour of running when the rain started… and soon her bare feet splashed through cold puddles of water. She had memorized this land and even in the darkest moonless night she knew where her feet were taking her. Every now and then the sounds of horses stormed on either side of her, outriders looking for her. Likely each unit lead by on of the Sorceress’ Sworn blades. If they found her she was as good as dead and she knew it. Winter also knew if she was able to travel through the entire evening without getting detected and hide at dawn she would be able to escape to Galeria and her freedom.

She continued through the rain, her own splashes mixing with the sounds of the falling rain and the occasional sounds of galloping horses and shouting men. But soon, there were more sounds of that. Winter could hear combat from up ahead. The sound of steel on steel, but more notably of screams of pain and the crashing of bodies of both man and horse were unmistakable. There was no time to spare, to double back, or change direction. She tucked herself even further under her cloak and hood, and dropped her hands to her waist preparing for the possibility of combat.

Shrouded in black she stormed through the rain, ever forward, and the sounds of combat stopped. It didn’t matter, she kept going, so fast in fact, she didn’t see the dead horse in her path until after she tripped over it. She splashed down into the mud, making her already wet cloak absolutely soaked, and caked in mud. Winter scrambled to one knee, her scimitar already half way out of its scabbard. But everyone was dead. Thanks to her dark vision she counted three dead horses and three dead riders, all of them regular cavalry in the Sorceress’ castle garrison. Two of the men dead by crossbow bolts, and the third man and the three horses by very deep gashes. She looked from the corpses, and around her, as lightning flashed through the sky.

Ahead, atop a small hill a dark silhouette looking towards her hung before the briefly lit sky. On horseback, the man must have been 15 feet in the high. He was a giant, but only slightly larger than the long handed halberd that he held towards the ground, its axe blade abnormally large. But even in the brief flash of light she recognized something that at the same time scared, and confused her. The man’s mail and the shape and adornment on his cape could not be mistaken for anything other than one of the Sorceress’ Sworn. That scared her. What confused her, was that the man reared his horse, and could be heard galloping away.

Winter didn’t question this inexplicable assistance, or her good fortune. She ran, she ran east towards Galeria.

When the sun came up she was still running. The rain had stopped an hour before and even the red and orange rays of the early sun were welcomed by Winter to dry her soaked clothing. No doubt the Sorceress was still sending out ranging parties but this far away from the castle there was simply too much room to cover and unless they were simply fortunate they wouldn’t find her. She still had miles of plains and high grass in front of her before she reached the small towns on Galeria’s borders. She wouldn’t alone until then, and she hoped her luck would hold. And that the man was waiting for her there.
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Post by RileyKenobi » Tue Jun 15, 2004 4:04 pm

OOC: Joint post by Riley and Nehima

IC: Ree watched as the man began to walk away, and pitched her voice so he could hear her clearly, but it would be near impossible to hear from any farther.

"You don't know what that is, do you, you ignorant little artist?" she said, watching his response carefully.

"Firstly, I wouldn't call me little, or at least not relative to yourself," the man said, quietly.

"Well, I can at least say it for brains if not for brawn."

"What does that symbol mean?" he asked, anger lighting his eyes slightly.

"What symbol?" asked Ree, examining her fingernails disinterestedly.

"Solaen," Kaiez replied, beating the young boy to the answer.

"Anything she owns, anything she claims, is marked with this," she continued, exposing her wrist again. "I've seen it on cattle, and banners."

Ree simply nodded simply, looking first at the actor, and then at the newcomer.

"So do you brilliant people have an explanation for why we've been branded like cattle?" asked the newcomer.

"Yes, O cunning and brilliant ones," added the actor, looking straight into Ree's eyes. He was obviously still annoyed about the remark earlier.

"Though I'm pleased to hear you call me by a proper and fitting title," Ree retorted, "I know no better than you why. However, I'm willing to go a certain length to learn."

"You're not helping matters. Though I don't suppose you're used to courtesy, are you?" Kaiez eyed the boy, her annoyance fading as her curiosity pushed it aside.

"No, brilliant lady, I'm not treated with courtesy often, and I'm afraid that it's had a detrimental affect on my personal vocabulary."

Ree managed to say all this while keeping her face perfectly blank, save for a slightly innocent widening of the eyes.

"Why, don't we speak beautifully," said the first man, laughing.

"Obviously." Kaiez observed the two others beside her. The newest had long, tied-back black hair, was tall and had a tan complexion. He had a rather proud look about him, and Kaiez raised her eyebrows slightly before glancing over to the actor. He had curly brown hair and strangely colored eyes. Kaiez glanced back at the boy. Certainly a motley group.

"Should we take this somewhere else? Or would you all like to discuss this as we are? Personally I like a little privacy when it comes to strange marks on my skin and things in my past," said Kaiez casually. "But that's just me."
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Post by WindWaker » Tue Jun 15, 2004 4:46 pm

Max sighed quietly to himself. It was like he was in his own comedy, yet the starring role was split evenly between the four different characters. The exchange of wits was humourous, but quickly grew stale.

"My troupe and I were invited to a party put on by the local actors at a nearby inn. Since I will be heading there anyway, we might as well move our meeting to there."

"Oh boy, a whole gathering of nimwits like you? Sounds fun." The boy's voice carried to Max, dripping with sarcasm.

"Charming. We could aquire our own private room, and once we've accomplished whatever it is we're trying to do, we can go our seperate ways. I think that's fair, is it not?" The actor replied.

"And with going to the inn, you have the shortest distance to go for the seperating. Yes, very fair." A feminine voice called back.

"Well, I haven't heard any other ideas. Have you?"

Finally, the group agreed and made their way to the inn, aptly named The Four Corners. The building was bustling with rowdy behaviour by the actors, with drunken songs and dancing.

"We'd like a private room please. Emphasis on the private."

"Oi, you're a lucky bunch. I just got one left in the whole shack. Here's the key. It's the last room on the left."

"Thanks." Max said, grabbing the copper key. The group quickly made their way into the room. It was adorned with enough chairs and a large table. It was modest, but served its purpose.
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Post by nehima » Fri Jun 18, 2004 4:46 pm

Ree leaned back in her chair so that it tilted on two legs and waited quietly as everyone else got comfortable.

"So now that we've discovered that we're not alone in our oddity, does anyone have any ideas of what to do about it?" asked the woman, looking at them all.

"We could go questing, find a dragon, kill it, and return to Antigon as heroes," suggested Ree, jiggling her chair back and forth.

"And that would serve our purpose how?" asked Aidian, looking at her oddly.

"Don't do that with your chair, you'll break the thing or fall," said the woman, looking slightly annoyed at Ree's childish behavior.

"It wouldn't serve out purpose, but it would be better than just sitting here talking," said Ree, ignoring the woman.

"If we are going to sit here talking," cut in the actor, "Can we at least introduce ourselves?"

"You first," said Ree.

"Maxil Terrese," he said, bowing slightly.

"Kaiez Andromeda," said the woman.

"Aidian Blacknall," the other man said quietly.

"Koh," said Ree simply. Her first name was simply too much of a giveaway, even as a nickname.

"Don't you have two names, little boy?" asked Aidian, one eyebrow raised.

"I doubt I'm much younger than you. I'm just small for my age."

"Ha. How old are you, anyway?"

"Seventeen."

"Liar. You look a bit more like thirteen to me."

"Judge as you will," she said, leaning back even farther.

"Now, have any of you had close dealings with Solaen?" asked Kaiez.

"No," replied Max, Ree, and Aidian simultaneously.

"I've rarely even dealt with the government," said Max simply. "The guards are as mean to me and my folk as they are to anyone else, but nothing special."

"The guards are obnoxious, but stupid. It's more the one leading them that people get worried about," said Ree thoughtfully.

"So what interaction have you had with them?" interrogated Kaiez.

"They've examined some of my wares, and attempted to steal them," said Ree calmly. She neglected to mention the fact that that was the least of her dealing with Solaen's law keepers, and that they generally were attempting to recover things she'd stolen in the first place.

Kaiez looked at Ree suspiciously. "What wares do you sell?" she asked quietly.

"I'm but a middleman, selling what comes about," Ree replied coolly.

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Post by corsos » Sun Jun 20, 2004 7:20 pm

It was the third day after the rain had stopped, and the sun arrived along with a soft cool breeze that ran across the plains seemingly pushing Winter towards Galeria. It had rained long enough to cover Winter’s tracks, making it near impossible for her to be traced by her pursuers from the Sorceress’ castle. She was glad for it no matter how uncomfortable it made her journey. The glorious Galerian Spring days that followed more than made up for it, drying her cloak and boots and allowing her a truly peaceful night sleep. With their trade, Galerian roads were famously safe and she trusted to sleep beside them after she entered deep into the country’s territory.

She yearned to read the words in the book she carried but she dared not stop in daylight and waste time. She only had four days to reach the Fair, otherwise her contact would be at another location. That she could not risk. As she traveled deeper into the country the farmhouses and cabins in the nearby fields became more and more frequent. Civilization was getting closer and closer and with it her contact. Finally she came across an inn but with the Sorceress’ eyes everywhere it was too dangerous to stay there. This far from any major city she would not be able to be protected by the Brethren. Winter longed for a hot bath and a soft bed but not now, not yet.

So she moved on, and finally, after three more days she reached the festival. Winter felt very conspicuous walking through the market and the crowded steet, in her soiled cloak and dirty face. She kept the cloak’s hood over her face, hiding her unique silvery blue hair. Perhaps she was being paranoid, but there would be no chances taken until after she made contact with Leonardo and the Brethren and her fate was clear.

She moved as quickly as possible through the busy streets, people passing on her left and right. Small companies were putting on various performances on staggered street corners, a small arena had been constructed for gladiatorial games, and small field had been cleared outside of town for archery, running, horse races and other athletic feats. Winter rolled her eyes, in the least the Galerians knew how to put on a proper spectacle. Quite a wise use of nation funds.

Winter was not wandering aimlessly. She had a destination, an inn called the Four Corners. There she would wait, and pray this man would come and meet her like it was promised. She paid for her room, and registered under the name Fate, as directed and went upstairs. It was then that she finally began to consider what she never dared think of. Trapped in the Sorceress’ castle she had always thought of this time like a certainty. It was the only hope she had in a place where every moment she lives was a lie. But now, with the time of consequence upon her doubt crept like a shadow through her mind. Would the Brethren come to her… or had they given up? Would she have to return to the nobles that sent her and fulfill their wishes even if they were not hers? She prayed it was not the case.

Even with the apprehension, the comforts of a warm room and hot food made her feel at ease. Her mission was complete, and now the onus was elsewhere. But a near decade of relying only on herself… her confidence, even with the Brethren who managed to reach her within the Sorceress’ castle was now wavering. Further, the event during her escape still troubled her. Why would one of the Queen’s Sworn Blades, dedicated mind, flesh and soul turn against her men and aide Winter’s escape. The only possible explanation was that those riders were set to help her and he ended their lives. But she could sense that he saw him when the lightning flashed upon the hill… for that she had no answers.

Winter tried her best to put those events far from her mind, as she shed her travel garb and readied for a hot bath that was being filled at the end of the hall by the Four Corner's staff. She yearned for nothing more than that. She placed the tome from the Sorceress’ library under her soft mattress before wrapping a towel around herself and making her way down to the bathhouse. She arrived there, and after closing the door behind her Winter let the towel slide from her body. She stepped carefully over the water and slowly dipped herself into the steaming water letting her silver hair seep into the cauldron.

The hot water soothed her skin and bone, as she settled in, and closed her eyes. She closed her eyes, and took a deep sigh. She rested and enjoyed the comfort. Time became insignificant, as she wallowed in the water’s warmth, until she felt the steel on her throat.

“Move not or the bath will flow with blood…” Winter froze, and opened her eyes.
Last edited by corsos on Tue Jul 06, 2004 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by RileyKenobi » Wed Jun 23, 2004 8:27 pm

"Comes about by what manner, I wonder," Kaiez murmured, stroking her chin slightly before switching her gaze.

"So where does this put us?"

Max shrugged, and Aidian furrowed his eyebrows slightly. Koh continued to tempt inevitable fate by tipping his chair backwards on two legs. Kaiez sat down on a stool about a foot away from her and sighed, running her fingers through her black and white hair, flicking the beaded tassels away from her fingers.

"Well, here's a better question, I suppose," said Kaiez, looking up. "Where's the best place to ask about this? Or is it even asked about, for that matter?"

Kaiez looked at Koh, who had remained silent. She narrowed her pale blue eyes. "Middleman my ass. You're a bloody thief, it's written all over you. A clever one, I'll give you that, though." Kaiez quirked an eyebrow at the young man.
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Post by nehima » Wed Jun 23, 2004 9:02 pm

Her face the pinnacle of innocence, Ree pulled up her sleeves and looked at her arms and hands, then at her clothing.

"Well, I seem to be having a hard time finding where "thief" is written. Perhaps it's in invisible ink?" she said dryly, though she was slightly alarmed that the woman had been able to judge her true occupation so quickly. Though she hadn't exactly been trying all that hard for a "merchant" look, either.

Max and Aidian watched Ree with alarm, trying to judge who was lying. Kaiez just looked disgustedly down at her, and returned to her seat.

“Are you a convict or not?” asked Aidian, slightly annoyed.

“I am no convict,” said Ree truthfully, and leaned back some more. She closed her eyes and sat there peacefully, to the severe irritation of all around her.

“For the great god’s sake, convict, don’t fall asleep on us,” ordered Aidian, looking angrily at Ree.

“First, are you incapable of polite speech or are you just stupid?” said Ree, opening an eye lazily. “Second, I am not a convict, as I just said. Third, I am just as awake as you are, so shut your trap unless you have something useful to say,” she finished, closing her eyes again.

“You’re not particularly capable of polite speech either,” said Aidian angrily, rising slightly from his seat.

“I’m not choosing to demonstrate my capabilities. That doesn’t mean I lack them,” Ree said with finality. Not opening her eyes, she added, “And sit down. If your honor was insulted by a little barb like that, you’ve got something coming to you.”

Aidian did not sit down, but he did ask pointedly, “So what do we intend to do?”

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Post by corsos » Tue Jun 29, 2004 5:48 am

"In the hottest summer, a winter day can give comfort." The man spoke, still holding the knife tight to WInter's jugular.

"But on the coldest days, only your brethren can grant you comfort." Winter spoke, still feeling the cold steel on her neck.

"Winter." The knife released her.

"Leonardo." Winter said with elation, springing from the water taking no care of her nakedness. She turned and faced the dark haired man, and wrapped her arms around him smothering her wet body against his cloak. She could feel he was wearing chainmail below his clothing and a blade on his back, but she didnt care. Nor did she care that her soaked silvery wet hair was pressed between her bare breasts and his dry cloak.

She felt the man she had never even met before place his hands on the small of her back. She rested her head against his shoulder for a time, before tilting her head up and finally looking the man she had recieved notes from for almost a decade. His dark wavy hair was cut short a few inches above the shoulder, and the brown hair matched the color of his dark cold eyes.

"Thank you... thank you so much."

Winter raised herself to her toes and kissed him gently on the cheek before releasing him from her arms, again looking into his eyes. She didn't know what came over her, but she stepped forward again and kissed him on the neck and then sliding her tongue towards his mouth and kissing him there.

He took a step back and looked down to her. "You don't want this. I am a Eriyne."

"And I am a Rynasi... no magic works on me..."

She saw his eyes widen, but she did not give him a chance to speak, enveloping his mouth around his. SHe leaped and wrapped her legs around his waist, and soon he carried her away from the baths and back to her room. After she had taken him, they lay side by side in the bed. Still... WInter did not know why she did what she did... but even is she didn't know she wanted it, she really did. And it felt perfect, and this felt even better. ANd she knew that he did as well... as an Eriyne and his innate ability to charm he would never know when someone truly wanted someone. This at least, even if it was only a spark passion, he knew was genuine.

"So you found what we sought?" Leonardo whispered in her ear.

"I did... the heirs are still alive. The Sorceress cast them out as young people with a brand... her brand. They all have the mark. This is how we find them." Winter whispered back. "What should I tell the nobles, it will not be long before they know I have left the Sorceress' castle."

Leonardo answered. "You tell them nothing for now. I will task our people to find them... do we have any idea of where they are?"

She shook her head. "ONly that she cast them out."

"It will take time... a lot of time." He pulled Winter tighter to him.

Winter tilted her head back to him and kissed him again... as he said they had time.
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Post by RileyKenobi » Tue Jul 06, 2004 10:51 am

Kaiez tapped the rim of her stool and glanced sideways at Aidian, her pale blue irises steady on his face as he spoke. Her lips twitched slightly, her eyebrows furling before she sighed quietly and looked at the floor, as if the beaten boards held answers within their faded planks.

"We can't be certain we're the only ones with this kind of mark. It may only mean, that during one time or another, we were under Solaen's immediate jurisdiction. Maybe...maybe part of a slave group or something. I don't remember much about childhood," she said softly. Speculation often turned to the worst possible scenario first, but Kaiez had a hard time believing there was more to these marks on their skin. Curious, to be sure, but important? How could they be?

"So this fuss was for nothing?" Max wasn't the only one irritated.

"She didn't say that," Koh piped up, looking out from under his hat at Max. There was an odd glint in his eyes that Kaiez couldn't ignore, but now wasn't the time to address it, if she ever decided to.

"Then what are you saying?" Aidian stared at her pointedly.

"That it's something to be mindful of. But not something I'm going to bother myself over. I have fights I need to be at. I came here for competition. Not to delve into my past, and I'm sure the rest of you would agree it's best left alone," she replied, and stood up. She spared the group a nod and pushed out the door, exhaling heavily and again running her fingers through her hair.

OOC: Soon would be a good time for Winter to bump into any of them, Corsos. Otherwise I'm taking Kaiez back to the arena. :P
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Post by corsos » Tue Jul 06, 2004 7:09 pm

When Winter woke up, Leonardo was gone. She was not suprised, nor was she upset. It was expected. What wasn't expected was the door to her room to open so soon after she woke up.

Leonardo walked in. "I've found them." He said with a small smile. "You might not beleive it, but they're all together. And they're in the next room over."

Winter sat up on her bed, holding the blankets on her chest. "It seems the fates are transpiring this day."

"It does indeed." Leonardo added. "Shall we?"

Winter nodded, and started to get dressed. "We can't let them leave."

Leonardo nodded. "I'll watch their door while you prepare yourself." He stood, and stepped back out of the room, and closed it behind them.

WInter quickly rose and moved to get dressed. She was suprised when she found the new clothes waiting for her. A light blue gown sat there waiting for her... a beautiful garment, and one WInter could tell was made in Winol. It was a thought, and one she would remember. The Brethren did care for her... more than anyone, even her foster parents, and the nobles who helped train her. A lone Rynasi had found her family.

Winter wrapped her ivory whip around her thigh, and wrapped her scimitar in a cloth. SHe slid the book she had stolen into her pack and put it on her back. She took her wrapped Scimitar in hand and walked into the hallway. As she stepped out, one of the people that were in the room next her to was stepping outside.. and moving towards the stairs, where Leonardo stood. And now stepped in front of her.

"It's not time to go yet." Lenoardo said. "We need to talk, with you and your group."

Winter took two silent steps forward in case things became violent... this one looked like trouble.
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Post by RileyKenobi » Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:02 pm

Kaiez looked up as a man blocked her path. She let the stark white strands of her hair fall into her face as her hands immediately dropped to her waist to linger near her hips, where a shiv was hidden. With one hand she tucked her hair back from her face and considered the man, sizing him up. After a few seconds, Kaiez was sure she didn't want to tangle with this man.

"It's not time to go yet," he said. Kaiez furrowed her brow even more, her pale blue eyes angled now. "We need to talk, with you and your group."

Kaiez cocked her head, and turned slightly to look over her shoulder with one eye. A young woman with silver hair had stepped behind her, a whip on her thigh. She turned back to the man.

"My group? You must be mistaken."

The man shook his head. "I don't believe I am."

"I hope you are," Kaiez murmured, drawing an odd look from the man. She backed towards the door, finding the handle behind her with her hand and pushing downwards, backing into the room, with both the woman and man in her line of sight now.

"Change your mind?" Koh said lightly as she walked in slowly.

"This nice man wants to ask 'us' some questions," said Kaiez, managing a glance at both Aidian and Max before returning her gaze to the strangers. "Seems to think we're together. All of us."
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Post by nehima » Tue Jul 06, 2004 9:02 pm

“I would certainly hope I’m not with them,” said Ree unhelpfully. “It would be so very embarrassing,” she continued, still leaning comfortably in her chair. She shrugged slightly, a natural enough movement except for the fact that she only did it to move two of her knives into better positions where they were more easily reached.

This slight of hand was lost on the remainder of the room, who continued their hostilities as usual. Ree herself didn’t intend on sticking around to be interrogated, and she had a nasty feeling these newcomers might know more than she wanted them to.

When the man and woman looked the four of them up and down, Ree was pleased to see that the conclusion wasn’t the one they’d been looking for. Whether they’d been looking for four of the warrior class, or a particular set, Ree didn’t know, but their distraction allowed her to ready her wrist-sheaths for use and shift her chair back towards the floor.

Whatever had been troubling them they obviously laid aside, and the woman came up slowly to stand beside the man.

“May I ask you to show us your hands?” she asked, her tone indicating that this was less of a request than a demand.

“You may ask, lady, but it doesn’t mean I shall oblige,” she retorted, jiggling her chair back and forth.

The man came up behind her and reached down to grab her hands, be Ree was quick. Snapping a knife out of its sheath, she held it to the man’s wrist, ready to slit it.

“I said I would not oblige,” she continued tartly. “I believe that should have been a clear enough answer. Call off your dog, for everyone’s good. I don’t wish to pay extra to clean blood off the floors.”

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Post by corsos » Wed Jul 07, 2004 4:53 am

ooc damnit I lost an entire post.... this one will be shorter and to the point. And just to note, the whip, along with Winter's thigh are concealed underneath the gown she wears.

IC

Winter locked eyes with Leonardo, and she could tell he would like nothing more than to tear the small boy in two. Unfortunately if their suspicions were correct it would not be possible. With nod from Winter, Leonardo stepped back and stoofd up straight.

"Whether or not you want to show us the mark does not change the fact you have it, and that all of you have it." Lenoardo said.

WInter continued. "The mark all of you bare, is that of the Sorceress Solaen. She marks those things most important to her... and the particular mark the four of you have is unique. All four of you have arrived here the same way, with no parents, having survived by your wits and skills since you were ythe youngest of ages. You were cast out of Solaen's castle as youths, all of you so you could struggle with your lives for her amusement. Unfortunately for her, she underestimated your ability to survive and our ability to find you.. and for fate to bring you together."

"What's this all about?" The girl that Leo had stopped in the hallway asked. "What does this mark mean?"

Winter looked to Leonardo who continued on. "That mark is quite specific. I am not sure how much each of you know of this land's history... but years ago when the Sorceress took custody of the Continent after the deaths of the monarchs there was a small group of young Princes and Princesses that she took under the auspices of training them for future power. Of course, she had no intention to do this. However, in her arrogant and sadisitc nature rather than holding them in the castle she cast them out in the hopes they would sufffer as commoners, though royal in blood. If the records are true, there was one heir from each family... two female, and two male." Leonardo let the implication speak for itself.
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Post by RileyKenobi » Wed Jul 07, 2004 9:11 am

Kaiez swallowed, licking her lips. Then, amazed, she found herself smiling, and then chuckling. She tapped her chin and looked at Koh, whose face had dropped at the gender specifications.

"Knew there was something funny about you," Kaiez muttered, and looked up again at the man, who still had a blade pressed to his wrist. She furrowed her brow and walked past the woman, kicking the door closed with a loud bang and turning on her heel. The silver-haired woman watched her warily as she walked past her again and leaned against the table, near Aidian and Max, who still hadn't said anything.

"Proof would be nice," said Kaiez. "I'm not so stupid to take threatening strangers' words on a whim, and obviously Koh's quick on the uptake."

She narrowed her eyes. "Start with names. Knowing who you are might ease tensions ever so slightly," she said, looking at Koh, who was still staring at the man, holding the blade firmly in place.
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Post by nehima » Wed Jul 07, 2004 7:44 pm

"And one might think you'd have it in your personal interest to release tensions," said Ree, ignoring Kaiez's pointed glare. She might tell them her name, if she felt like it, but not now. Not in front of these bloody gits that had just given her away. If she was lucky, she could save this. If she wasn't, she'd have to disappear again for a while.

When neither of them volunteered an answer, Ree stroked the man's skin lightly with her blade, leaving two paper-thin cuts. They weren't deep enough to kill, as they would swiftly become if those two didn't give her a reply. She cocked an eyebrow and poised her knife for a deeper cut when neither of them said a word.

"Winter," said the woman suddenly, her silence breaking as she watched the man's predicament. He looked at her, surprised at her response, but then sighed and responded himself.

"Leonardo."

"Well, now that we know your names, Miss Season and Monsieur Nardo, please tell me what you know, why you know it, and why I should believe you. I don't care if your argument is convincing to them, personally, but I'm rather worried that if I don't find something to occupy my mind soon, I may fall asleep, and my blade here might accidentally slip. And we all know what a tragedy that would be."

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