Closed Gray Areas (Matthew)

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

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Gray Areas (Matthew)

Postby Nathaniel Ankah on June 12th, 2014, 3:41 pm

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Within the first chime of their little session, Nate had learned that Matthew wasn't experienced, but he wasn't stupid, either. His form was book learned, by the look of if: too stiff and formal for the gutter brawlers and bottle coveys of Sun berth. He had speed, coordination, patience to slide around his bigger, stronger opponent...

Smart way to do it. Wear them down. Look for an opening once they're weary-

Then Nate learned that the harlot didn't lack courage, either.

It was so unexpected that even a twenty-year brawler like Nate was taken by surprise. The harlot threw off his caution like a disguise and rushed him, coming in low at Nate's stomach. Readied and rested, maybe Nate could have slid out of his path, but as it was

-he grunted at the impact of Matthew's tackle, hands dropping from guard to his shoulder blades-

Mind running through options, forcing down his snarling instinct for a few precious ticks to just... think. A couple of moves here would have battered Matthew into a coma; most would hurt like fuckery and leave him tottering; but he last...

Restraint, remember?

Nate bought his elbow down between Matthew's shoulder blades, his down aching muscles screaming in protest as he did. By it was a judicious strike, calculated not to break anything but just send tremors rippling through the man's spine, his shoulders, his arms, his grip-

-buying time for Nate to grab the harlot by the hips and twist himself around hard to the right, sore and sprained back screeching, aiming to throw the hopefully-weakened Matthew off, away and into the fence.

No damage to the face, minimal damage to the back... only problem is his clothes. And he can buy more.

Once Matthew got back up he would find Nate bouncing slightly on the balls of his feet, loosening up and treating the harlot with some new respect in his guard towards him. The bigger man would also pat his stomach, then his legs.

"Wanna take a man down? Go for his legs, not his gut, boy. Get your arms round his legs, crouch and lift-" he demonstrated brief, rushing an invisible coe, crouching with a wince and then keeping back to his feet, taking his enemy with him "-and then slam him back down. You get lucky, might break something when you so. Now... again... Matthew."

It was a small thing, but not all marks of respect need be loud and garish.

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Gray Areas (Matthew)

Postby Matthew on June 12th, 2014, 6:13 pm

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Air was forced from his lungs as he made impact with Nate but took a blow to the back, body shuddering and knees dipping from the force. Pain blossomed between his shoulder blades but it wasn't really all that much pain, the Harlot assuming that Nate had thankfully pulled his blow a bit. Still, it had threw off his balance, knocked the wind out of him... Matthew had no doubt that the big guy would have a move to follow-up and he had no real idea on how he was going to counter it.

Had he just been grabbed?

Matthew blinked as he shot through the air, body immediately reacting and calling upon what little skill he had. Meager practice with flips and rolls allowed him to twist in the air, getting his feet properly under him, the harlot impressively managing to actually land on his feet against the fence. He blinked, surprising himself. Any acrobat with skill could have sprung off the fence and right back into the fray, but Matthew was no acrobat. He was only able to pause in a moment of surprise before tumbling to the ground, landing gracefully on his chest and face. He sputtered as dust kicked up around him, getting his hands under himself and pushing back up to his feet as quickly as he could. He immediately fixed eyes upon Nate, expecting the man to be on top of him, relieved to find that he had been incorrect in his assumption. Nate was bouncing now, loosening his own muscles as he gave Matthew a quick little lesson. The Harlot nodded and crouched again, fist clenched, blue eyes calculating. Nate was wrong in one of his assumptions though. Matthew wasn't planning on taking the big man down, though he did appreciate the lesson.

"Bruised knuckles, bruised and cut face, bruised arms that also seem to have various little cuts. Your ribcage appears to be bruised as well, though thankfully not cracked. The shoulder would have hurt much more if they were cracked." He tilted his head and then glanced up into Nate's eyes, his voice soft and polite. "I understand you got into a fight, visited a doctor, then went out for a drink... was it a busy night at the bar?" The sudden casual conversation would seem quite out of place as Matthew shot forward again, once more low to the ground... but this time his arms were up, guarding either side of him, eyes watching for Nate's hands to come dashing down.

"You had a lot of fresh sweat on you when you came into the house." He had verified the injury, now he would try to take advantage. His charge stopped short, extremely close to Nate but not actually closing the last few inches needed to make it a tackle. He used his forward momentum to twist at the waist, shoulder muscles rippling as he threw a sharp hook with calculated precision. It was one of the only blows he knew, so it certainly didn't have that much power behind it. He was hoping the fact that his words would further throw Nate off and that the bruised ribs would indeed be where his fist was aimed.
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Gray Areas (Matthew)

Postby Nathaniel Ankah on June 13th, 2014, 12:24 am

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Ah. There he is. Just as I was starting to like him...

Whatever goodwill Matthew might have earned in Nate's eyes - separate of course from his respect for his abilities; even enemies could have that - crumbled when the educated harlot rolled out an eerily precise list of his injuries. His voice was as soft and clipped as a teacher read aloud to a student, smooth and knowing and infallible. Nate felt his faint smirk twist into a stony grimace.

Nice enough to leave out the kidneys, though. Pissing fucking blood tomorrow.

No-one likes someone making them feel stupid. Fewer like being called a liar, and Nate wasn't so dense that he couldn't feel the barbs behind Matthew's probing questions. Busy night? Fresh sweat? Those in particular alluded to an accusation, and the roundabout nature of his statements alone was enough to drive Nate into a half-frenzy-

Which was the point, of course.

His mouth opened to spit something halfway-plausible back at the harlot, but by then Matthew was charging again, going lower, for his legs, just like Nate advised. Instantly he turned, facing the harlot sideface, crouching low to minimize any grip the man might get, hands high and ready to-

-not apparently smack into his back again, because Matthew was rearing up, twisting, turning-

-hooking-

Sneaky cunt.

Lightning struck and thunder rolled in Nate's ribcage, rattling all inside around and drawing a pain gasp from his mouth. If only, if it had been, if he hadn't... well, it didn't matter, did it? Because he was weaker, he was tired, he was bruised and he wasn't in the mood to hold back. But he would, even as his legs shook under him-

A spar is a spar. Stop treating him like a child. Clearly he's not.

Nate let two decades of brawling take over. Matthew was clearly not a fool, but he was no brawler. He thought it through, played Nate like... a game of chess. He'd faked him out, manipulated his movements, and struck when he saw an opening. But these things all depended on Nate being a fixed point of observation.

That was going to stop.

With a grunt and a blur of sweat-shining flesh, Nate's left arm slammed down hard on Matt's forearm a broken tick after his fist made landfall on his ribcage, trapping it there. Just the grinding of Matthew's knuckles against his tender skin was painful, but he forced it aside, shifting his weight to his left, twisting inward-

-and bringing his right knee jerking up hard into Matthew's stomach as he straightened back up. He'd let the arm go after the blow connected, but the defensive was long-forgotten. Instead he rasped out his words like he was spitting out nails.

"You'll get your breath back in a tick... one more... now-"

And then he lunged forward, noting with an eye born of painful experience gouged onto his skin the textbook defensive stance. The harlot still thought this was boxing, but just in case he'd learned-

Oh, there really is a doubt?

-Nate led with his foot jerking up, as if to attempt a kick at Matthew's right, drawing his attention and his guard

-only to launch a straight left aimed just under Matthew's sternum. Knocking the wind out of the smooth talker would be just as good as knocking out his words, and Nate wouldn't allow himself to be so plainly baited again.

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Postby Matthew on June 13th, 2014, 11:26 pm

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He was playing a dangerous game and he knew it. He wanted to see though, wanted to test what he had been training these past few weeks. It was easy to see that he simply wasn't there yet. His running training hadn't yet given him the legs required to dash in quickly and powerfully. His bodybuilding training hadn't yet given him the muscle required to make sure his hooking punch was sharp and bit deep. He would have been better off forming his hand into a blade and stabbing it forward. This was a spar though, he was not trying to wound his opponent. No, this was a learning experience. Matthew was quickly learning that he was simply not good enough to take the fight to his opponent like this. He should have tried to stay out of range and fired jabs until Nate was too worn out to defend against the finishing blow. But, he he was. He had reached the inside of Nate's space, and he had managed to get in very low and very deep. His blow had landed, but even though Nate shook, Matthew didn't feel as if his knuckles penetrated far enough.

But still, he was evolving. At some point Matthew had realized that throwing himself head-first into a learning experience helped him absorb the information much easier. He could feel the puzzle pieces clicking together in his mind.

Nate's arm blurred down and Matthew realized that he had dedicated too much to the blow. He had stepped into the punch and Nate had taken it without falling. His sharp mind went on full alert and blue eyes darted up, mental processes all kicking into a frenzy. He made eye contact right as the knee hammered into his stomach, eyes widening and breath exploding out in a loud gasp of air.

Diaphragm spasm? No, blow too low. Not quite. Check condition. Nothing broken, nothing cracked, some things bruised. Knees shaking due to blow, will have trouble standing. Attack incoming. Movement possible? Negative. Block possible? Only option. Air will return in three chimes.

Matthew's attention was successfully diverted, but he instead leaned his shoulder toward the oncoming foot, planning on lowering a more solid part of his body into the blow.

Two chimes.

The foot never came, a flicker of motion catching Matthew's eye. He had been faked out.

One chime.

A ring of dark blue shimmered around his eye, the Harlot painfully aware of every single passing moment. Time was so very detailed to him. He managed to gulp in a breath at the very last moment and was then hammered with a very accurate blow.

Diaphragm spasm. Blow too close to the solar plexus. Difficult to breath. Level of danger? None. Condition will clear in a chime. Don't fall prey to the instinctive anxiety. Survive without the air, do not panic. Buy time. Defend.

He was getting the petch beat out of him and he was quite aware of it. Medical knowledge was the only thing that allowed him to stare at Nate with oddly calm eyes, even as he gasped for air and quaked on shaky legs. He really only had one trick left. He had planned about four steps ahead and no more than that. Both of his fists lashed out and then opened, flinging two tightly-clenched handfuls of dirt and dust right at Nate's face. He had grabbed them at the very first charge, when he had went low and his hands had scraped the ground.

Hopefully that would distract Nate enough, if the lack of real response from Matthew hadn't thrown him off already. The Harlot would be in and low once more, but he knew he wouldn't be able to throw a good blow with his body shivering and in pain. So, Matthew would do something that perhaps only Matthew could do. His hands would dart forward and undo Nate's belt faster than any woman or Nate himself had. With the belt loosened, Matthew would then simply give the trousers a firm yank down. When it came to undressing someone, Matthew knew for a fact he was superior.
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Gray Areas (Matthew)

Postby Nathaniel Ankah on June 14th, 2014, 12:06 am

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Game little shit, I'll give him that.

If Nate was expecting panic or cracking courage in Matthew's eyes, he was to be sorely disappointed. As close as he looked as the harlot reeled back from his punch, all he saw in those sea blue eyes was cold, steady calm. He could see the pain well enough, but it was in his body. The way his chest creaked minutely, his breath stopped it's shallow, steady rhythm and became more frantic. But did Matthew fall apart? Did the pretty boy from the fancy end curl up and die?

No, he did not. Nate gave a quick flash of his teeth that could have been a grin.

Which died a moment later as a cloud of choking, gritty fog was hurled into his face. No time to turn or slide away, Nate's open mouth and eyes got the brunt of it, nostrils following suit as he tried to snort away the shock. Out of instinct he swung wildly with his right, not caring in his blindness if he hit or not-

-but his target was no longer there, and-

-he felt fingers at his-

"Pfftfuck?!"

Stinging debris be damned, he was going to open his fucking eyes... and then wished he hadn't. The sight of Matthew pulling your kecks down was one that many women would have gladly risked damnation for, but Nate was far from impressed-

"Ruros' fuckin' balls-"

Both of his crashed down at the side of Matthew's head, smacking hard into the crouching harlot's temples. That'd scramble his brains, and once he fell back Nate would be able to kick-

Nope, apparently not.

Feet entwined and betrayed by his own clothing, Nate felt his weary form collapse backward onto the cobbles. Both men stared at each other for a surprised moment, on their backs, breathing harder, one man partially disrobed... and Nate started, laughing, chuckling-

Gods, if anyone-

The back door opened with the kind of sadistic sloth that told him the gods were toying with him.

Oh fuck oh no oh please-

"Lads, I don't know-"

I'll sacrifice Jorka, I'll cut off a hand, anything-

"-if you're ready to..."

Kayleah Ankah could have been bronzed and stood at the gates of Zeltiva; she was that still in her surprise. Her saucer-wide eyes flicked from Matthew... then to her somewhat-son... with his pants around his ankles...

"... eat?"

Say something! Explain yourself!

"... we were sparring!"

Brilliant.

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Postby Matthew on June 17th, 2014, 8:47 pm

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Matthew simply did not understand the somewhat vicious smile that Nate shot his way. He knew that many found thrill in a fight, but he was not one of those people. Why would he find thrill from pain? Fighting was a method of self-defense, of survival, at least to him.

It didn't matter. He didn't really have time to consider it. The Harlot ducked low, thankfully avoiding the wild haymaker that probably would have put him into a rather deep sleep. He hadn't even seen it coming. His senses were dulled, likely because of the lack of air and the fact that he had pain shooting through a variety of interesting places in his body. He almost awkwardly fumbled with the pants that he was trying to pull down, but he was much too trained for that. They were unbuckled and undone in a blur, only for Nate to force open his eyes and stare down at Matthew with a wide-eyed look of... something complex. Matthew wasn't exactly sure what it was, for the umpteenth time. He probably shouldn't be wasting mental processing power even acknowledging that he didn't understand the looks that Nate was shooting at him.

A mixture of dark spots and bright stars exploded in Matthew's vision as he got hit with another blow, too focus on his task to even really see what had hit him. All he knew was that his senses had been scrambled. His ears were ringing and his balance was thrown off. He hadn't been hit in such a way that his brain was tossed around, thankfully. That would have knocked him out. However, the blow had staggered him and made the world spin. He tried to step backwards, tried to put some amount of distance between him and his opponent, knowing that staying close was suicide. He had only survived up until now due to a somewhat clever mixture of tricks and distractions. Now that he was out of those, it would be easy for Nate to make short work of him.

His vision cleared at about the same time that he crumpled, his step backwards combined with his off-balance brain causing him to stumble back onto his rear. It was with some relief that he noticed Nate had done the same, his downed trousers working in the intended manner and tripping him up. Then the big man was laughing.

Matthew blinked a few times, utterly failing to see the humor in the situation. Were they done?

Kayleah made her presence known with a few soft words and then a wide-eyed stare. Matthew grunted, leaning back on his palms, letting himself rest in the dirt, gasping out a broken reply. "He seemed stressed, so I thought it would be best if I found a way to help relax him."

The old woman had just about been ready to yell at Nate when Matthew's words caused her to pause, then cover her mouth to hide the wide smile that broke out across her wrinkled face. She shot Nate a look that told him he would definitely be hearing about this in more ways than one, then motioned for the two of them to follow her in and get some food. If she would have opened her lips to speak then the giggles definitely would have come out. Sparring, eh?

Matthew rested for a brief tick and then slowly moved to his feet once he had regained his sense of balance. He was able to fully gasp in air now, and quickly did so while waiting for Nate to get up as well. He would have normally offered to help, but with his weak legs and the size of the man, he suspected he would be the one to end up on the ground if he tried to pull Nate up. Once the man was indeed to his feet, Matthew was as polite as ever, if not quiet. He held open the door for Nate and then followed him in, quietly finding some water to wash himself off with, going outside for a brief tick to dust himself off, then offering to help get out bowls and eating utensils. He transformed into quite the effective little waiter, apparently a man of many skills.
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Gray Areas (Matthew)

Postby Nathaniel Ankah on June 17th, 2014, 9:24 pm

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Oh, they would have words about this. They would be choice and probing; understanding and without judgement; furious denials and desperate pleading. Gods, Nate could already hear the back and forth.

"Nate, you know I'm not going to be upset-"

"Kay, please, for the love of earth and water-"

"All I'm saying is-"

"Nothing that needs to be said. To me. Ever. Under any circumstances."

"Well, you could certainly do worse, he looks like a very well-"

"LALALALALALALALALA!"


Ah, yes, that would be his final retort, accompanied by the always-convincing fingers stuck into his ears. Wit: thy name was Nathaniel.

As it was, however, Nate just groaned and buried his face in his hands when Kay scurried back inside, probably thinking she needed to leave the boys to their "private time". By the time he shuffled back to his feet, only just remembering to pull his pants up, Matthew was already at the door, holding it open and at one side like the host of some fashionable diner.

The big man looked him up and down - taking longer for the second, given the height difference - and his green eyes held naught but cold appraisal of his abilities.

Combat abilities. That was all.

"Got the makings of a fighter in you, mayhap," he said, voice a little more grudging that was perhaps fair, but he wasn't about to lie, "You know how to use what you know, what you have and what your opponent lack. Once you get some more time in the thick of it, learn to just react, instead of think it through... aye... definite potential."

A chaste - urgh! totally the wrong word! - clap on the shoulder was all else Matthew got from Nate, and then the two of them went back inside. As Matthew washed himself off, Kayleah's surrogate son busied himself with the rest of the cooking. Then as the harlot placed the silver (well, polished brass, but Kay was still proud of it) and wooden plates, Nate covered them with what food they had.

Steaming stew in a big, round bowl. A dozen thick, crusty rolls that rustled like grass when you squeezed them, something that Kay always said meant they were fresh. A bottle of modest wine and three glasses. Butter, salt, pepper, even a little container of olive oil.

Kayleah wasn't what you would call pretentious, but when she had "rarified company", she liked to pull out the stops.

"Gods, woman, c'mon?!" Nate finally moaned, seated opposite Matthew and rolling his eyes. "We're ready to eat, the table's ready and if you potter about anymore in there you'll do yourself a mischief!"

"Just making sure, lad."

Nate seemed about to add something more but thought better of it, pursing his lips instead. Arguing with Kay when she was in Hosting Frame was never a good idea: she'd rather had mangled arms, too, that leave her guests wanting. So instead he huffed and reach to butter a roll-

"Ow! Fuck, woman-"

"Language, first of all!" Kay shot back indignantly, still wielding her dreaded wooden spoon and moving damn fast for a woman on crutches. "Secondly, guests get first pick, as you well know, boy! My apologies, Matthew..." He seated herself with some effort and it was clear Nate had to restrain himself from helping her. "... please?"

The Ankhs - such as they were - waited until Matthew had his fill of potato soup, rolls and drink before Nate did the same. It was an old routine they shared: first he'd look to her and she'd nod pointedly at his empty plate. He's scowl and a jut of his chin would demand she, weaker and older and the cook, would get the lion(ess') share.

A Sahova-grade narrowing of her eyes would convince him that he, in fact, was entitled to eat first, and with a surly roll of his broad shoulders, Matthew did just that.

Once they were all happily munching and slurping away, conversation didn't come easily, but it was far from impossible. Nate, unusually, was the first to start it... if only to ensure it lurched nowhere near the subject of pants, ankles and misunderstandings.

"So..." He said, that classic foundation of a conversation amid strangers that fixed their attention without actually giving much away. He bit into a roll and made a point of swallowing before continuing. Fucking harlot: he seemed to make you want to up your manners, too. "... where you from, Matt? Don't hear much of The Berth in yer voice..."

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Postby Matthew on June 19th, 2014, 8:07 pm

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"Thank you. Hopefully I will never have to put such skills to use." Matthew's response was clinical and polite, a small bow of his head expressing his thanks. He wasn't opposed to violence, not at all. He was just more keen on making sure that any particular issue was solved before violence became a required solution. He did not appreciate putting his body on the line. It was almost always one of the worst options, in his mind. Perhaps that was just the result of years spent taking quite good care of what he considered to be his money-maker. He was a product, and a damaged product was not worth near as much as one that was in mint condition. The Harlot didn't even blink back at Nate whenever he noticed the man studying him, instead standing completely still and letting him do what he had to do. Matthew analyzed people in much of the same way. Would it not be rude to allow others to do the same?

Nate's words did make Matthew think, though. Would he ever be able to move and react based on instinct and training? His mind moved quickly, he was aware of that, but would it be counter-productive to try and get his body to the point where it could keep up with his blurred thoughts?

All the food looked good. Kayleah and Nate would probably notice the way Matthew was eying the wine, and how he made just the slightest expression of distaste when sneaking a sip of it. He covered it up quickly and politely, only breaking his professional facade for a second, but it was still there. He had never liked alcohol. Otherwise he merely quietly took a seat at the table, hands crossed in his lap and his back straight. He was once again the picture-perfect example of formality and politeness, blue eyes glancing between Nate and Kay as they carried on. He shifted a bit in his seat every now and then, finding that he still had certain aches and pains lingering in his body. He had developed a head-ache too, and there would probably be a knot forming on his skull at some point. All in all, he had been beaten around pretty impressively. At least the majority of his face hadn't been damaged.

Honestly, they were both quite a show. He didn't move an inch but he continued to observe them, fascinated by their unique form of interaction. They seemed to clash a lot, but it was in a way that made them seem almost intimate. Not a romantic sort, just close to each other. Like family, which he supposed made sense, seeing as that was what they appeared to be. He shook a head at the apology Kay offered him, not feeling that it was required, obediently serving himself out a small portion of soup and one of the rolls. At some point he had taken advantage of their distraction and somehow replaced his wine with water, taking a sip from it and then waiting until the rest of the people at the table dished out their own portions before tasting his own. The stare that Kay was giving him was certainly encouraging, to say the least. He was a slow eater, taking small bites and not looking as if particularly enjoyed or disliked the food. He merely ate. He did make a point to study the food as he ate it though, feeling that tasting a product was just as important to cooking as the actual act of cooking was. He made a point to try and identify each of the flavors within the creamy broth that had been created, methodically remembering how he had made the meal and trying to puzzle out how it had transformed into this. Cooking was a science, though there was a bit of art and creativity mixed in. Perhaps that is what separated the masters from the hobbyists.

Nate's attempt at conversation caused Matthew to slip his stare to the side, fixing it upon the big man, tilting his head and readily answering the question without much of a pause at all. "I was born in Zeltiva. I went to school there for medicine. I eventually gave that up and moved to Syliras to be a prostitute. Then I moved here to further advance my chosen craft. There is much more room for learning and evolution here, at least when it comes to my particular profession." He nearly went back to his soup but then paused, realizing that it was ideal for him to attempt at continuing what Nate had started. "Were you born here?"
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Gray Areas (Matthew)

Postby Nathaniel Ankah on June 20th, 2014, 1:35 am

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The atmosphere over the table didn't freeze. There was no scraping of cutlery over dishes nor shocked gasps or stunned glances. Nothing so dramatic. Kay paused in her chewing for a moment and flicked a look at Nate.

But it was not of warning. It was... mild concern, perhaps. Her lad had long since come to terms with where he came from and why he'd come to be there to begin with. And it was far from the first time he'd been asked.

As if he'd just been asked how work was at the docks, Nate shook his head and took a swallow of wine before replying.

"Nah, I was born..." His brow knitted for a tick, eyes glazed, dredging memories dim and blurred by time. "... somewhere to the west, probably. Outside Zeltiva, maybe? Anyway, me and mine got snatched by slavers when I was wee."

He held a hand up just above the table and chuckled like even he could barely believe he was once so small.

"I got away. They didn't."

Fair enough: that caused something of a pause. Kay's eyes closed briefly, issuing another in a long series of fervent prayers. She'd never known Nate's parents, probably never would, but still... she hoped they had fared as well as he had. Living free somewhere, anywhere, and no lost in chains and chattel.

"But I've been here for... what is it now, Kay? Twenty... four years?"

"Something close to that, I think."

Another coughing fit. Nate's demeanor changed in a blink from genial to stiff with concern. He poured her some water and the old girl almost waved him away, trying to laugh in short, struggling bursts through the drink and her own infirmity.

"S'... S'nothing... I'm sorry..."

The big man's jaw twisted for a tick. His eyes twitched and he studied his plate intently, not wanting the harlot to see the pain shining in them. She always apologized. As if she was the one at fault, as if it was some... error, on her part, and she was imposing on them. It was just her way. Ever the hostess and proud Sunberthian, never wishing to be a burden on anyone.

"You sure you're OK?"

"Ahem... fine, lad. Just a little nugget down the wrong tube."

She patted his hand to reassure him. It didn't, but he smiled anyway and patted it back, brawny, callused mitt like an ogre's next to her lined, pale fingers.

"Fifty-something years and you're still having trouble eating-"

"Nathaniel?!"

"Alright, alright," he said, hands up in the air in surrender but a smile back on his face, casting a quick wink to their guest, "Never mention the age, I forgot."

"Hmm. Of course you did..."

The mood was colored with that faint, intangible smear of uncertainty that restrained concern often produces... but it passed quickly. Nate gestured to the harlot with the roll he was using to mop up his plate.

"Could a' been a healer, eh? Good racket... can't see why you'd think there'd be more for ya in whoring, smart boy like you. Still... ain't got your brain, I suppose. No, I'll get that-"

"Nate, really-"

But before she could form the objection, Nate was on his feet and stacking plates. She never even got the chance to pull back from her chair, settling instead for casting a disapproving look at her "lad". This time, he didn't shirk, and patted her shoulder.

"You do enough, love. Jorka? Leftovers for ya..."

He ambled off to the kitchen, arms laden with cutlery and pottery enough for half a feast. But when he got in there and put them down, he felt the sharp twinge in his shoulder again; checked over his shoulder before rolling it over and over, making sure Kay wasn't looking, wasn't seeing his gritted teeth or sore body.

Fucking bastard fought like a tiger...

"So do you, ah, make house calls?" He called out from the counter, scraping food off into Jorka's bowl before placing the plates and knives and forks and spoons into the wash tub. "Or do you stick to one place?"

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Nathaniel Ankah
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Gray Areas (Matthew)

Postby Matthew on June 24th, 2014, 12:23 am

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Matthew was so very focused on picking out each and every little individual flavor from his soup that he didn't even notice the little glance that Kay threw towards Nate. If he had, he might have sensed that he had touched upon something that could potentially be a sore point. He did have a lot of social training, but in order to put that training to use he actually had to have both the desire and the intent to perceive socializing like a normal person would. He had neither of those things at the moment. At the moment, there was only the soup. He still listened though, sharp nods and an occassional grunt showing that he was very much still involved in the words that Nate was offering to him. Slavers were such interesting people. He might one day consider the profession himself, though it seemed like the majority of them met a rather violent end. Nate's story was one more piece of evidence that confirmed the idea.

The coughing did cause him to glance up though, stare sharpening for just a brief moment. While Nate was always instinctively ready to react to a threat of violence, Matthew was likewise always ready to intervene when medical assistance was needed. She seemed to get over it quickly enough though. Wine or food down the wrong hole, perhaps. Or a nugget, as the woman put it.

The rest of their conversation was absorbed but not particularly noted as anything special. To the Harlot, it just sounded like casual conversation. His bowl and plate was cleaned and Nate swept it up from in front of him. Matthew shifted in his seat a bit, wincing at a sudden jabbing pain that shot through his side. He discreetly tested the area with his fingertips, once again putting his medical knowledge to use and checking for anything out of the ordinary. Nothing stood out to him, just more aches and pains from a sort of physical activity that he wasn't used to. A slow nod was given at Nate as he made the comment about being a healer. It was true, he very well could have made a good bit of coin as a healer or doctor of sorts. It just had ended up not interesting him.

Crossing one leg over the other, Matthew made eye contact with Kay right as Nate called out. "I usually stick to either Brega's house or Ruby's sanctum, but I would make house calls if someone asked. Why, are you or Kay interested?" It probably would have sounded like an off-color joke if Matthew hadn't used that professional tone of his while not even batting an eye. Kay covered her mouth with one wrinkled hand to muffle the giggles that threatened to spill out, getting control of herself quickly enough to add to the conversation. "I don't think that these old bones could handle it, but Nate is still at an age where he is full of stamina... aren't you, Nate?" Her voice was sly and coy, sparkling eyes turning to Matthew. "How much are you? Do you have a price, then? Or is it by the hour? I don't know how such things work..." Matthew shook his head, completely understanding. Not many people did. "For a house call, usually about 30 gold mizas for around two hours. A more specific price is given once the details have been hashed out."

Kay nodded enthusiastically, lips twitching with contained glee. "Well, I don't think Nate has had much luck with the men or women lately, so perhaps 30 mizas is what it will take..." She chortled and coughed, finally giving the big man some room to defend himself if he wished.
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