Open One Lost Soul

A confused ghost wanders into an unfamiliar part of the city.

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One Lost Soul

Postby Everett Larahan on March 1st, 2015, 5:21 pm

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2 SPRING 515 AV

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The sky was beautiful that morning, mottled gray with silver veins that shone on the surface of the river. Hazy sunlight shone off the tumbling rooftops, glinted in the dirty, melting snow. Mornings were always beautiful, even here. Damned cold, though, he thought, and tucked his face into the scarf around his neck. It felt numb. The cold filled him up and shivered on his skin, billowed out in cloudy breaths. He tried to remember the last time he'd felt warm, really warm. It was probably before... before... the thought floated away from him. He spent a few minutes frowning at the paving-stones, mind moving in hazy circles. It's been a while, he finally decided, and pulled the scarf closer around his face. Thaw can't come soon enough.

A memory crept into his mind, seeping borrowed warmth. The wind had been howling outside, the weather raging, and he sat as close as he could get to the little fire. She was standing in the kitchen, talking, and she said something and he couldn't remember what it was but it was the best thing, the funniest thing he'd ever heard, and they both laughed and the room was filled with warmth...

He blinked hazy eyes at the sky and squinted. The sun was higher now, winking behind a sheaf of heavy clouds. Had he spent so long thinking? He felt the eyes of a few passersby linger on him and shifted uncomfortably. Sunberth was no place to stand around daydreaming, not if you wanted to keep a firm grasp on your coin... or your life, for that matter. Something rung a little odd about that thought, but he cast it aside. How could he have let himself lose track of time like that? He had something he had to do. And at the thought of what he had to do he felt the fogginess slither a little further from his mind, felt the cold prickle on his skin with renewed purpose.

A boy was watching him from the bridge, one of the city's seemingly endless supply of urchins. He drifted closer. “Hello,” he said to the boy, and tried a smile. The boy continued to stare. He was a sorry looking sort, bony frame spattered with mud and gods knew what else, eyes unnaturally large in his gaunt, solemn face. Everett felt a pang of sympathy. He was used to it, of course, but there was something about seeing a child in such a state that always worried at him, especially since...

But that was the whole point of the matter, wasn't it? “You seen a boy around, by any chance? 'Bout your age, yay tall, brown hair?” His hand reached instinctively for his coinpurse to offer the boy an incentive, but his numb fingers found nothing. Had he forgotten it at home again? Careless... He grimaced at his own failing and turned the movement into a vague gesture. “Calls himself Jamie.”

The scrawny boy shook his head, dark eyes still focused eerily on Everett's own. He laughed nervously and looked away. “That's, uh... that's a no, I guess. Keep your eyes peeled, hey?” He fought off the sleepy haze in his mind and rubbed his hands together for warmth. Where could he ask? There was always the Commons. There were bound to be plenty of folk there—enough, at least, to offer some sort of lead. He let his mind wander as he went. Unfamiliar faces passed by. Once he spied a little girl playing with a cat, probably a Kelvic, and smiled. It reminded him of that one time... when...

He blinked. The sun shone down from a noonday sky and its gray light streaked through the alley, marking the filthy street with pale spots. His brow furrowed. How did I get here...? He squinted through his glasses at the buildings around him, but they looked only vaguely familiar. From somewhere not too distant he heard the bustle of a crowd, but the alley itself was silent. He drifted onto a larger road and turned at random. The houses loomed close around the street, leaving only a faint sliver of sky to shine through. That storefront looked familiar, but shouldn't it be next to a brothel? And this gambler's den, he was sure, had been a pawn shop before. As the streets wound on the houses seemed to lean closer, the light grow dimmer, and meandering along them Everett came to the disconcerting and slightly terrifying conclusion that he was utterly lost.
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One Lost Soul

Postby Shakune on March 2nd, 2015, 5:28 pm


Each step was agony.

The cut in Shakune's leg had been cleaned and stitched twice now, but the courier was beginning to think that the doctor she had employed was simply a psychopath who enjoyed seeing her wince and cry. He claimed that his services would ensure Shakune remain free from infection, but the needle he'd used to sew up the nasty gash on her leg had not seemed all that clean. In fact, she had the hazy memory of seeing him picking it up off his urine-stained floor before using it to seal her wound. But Shakune couldn't be certain; she had been borderline hallucinogenic by the time she had sought medical treatment.

She continued her sorry way towards the marketplace, her usual hangout in the daytime. It had been four days since she had last visited the place, and in that time the season had changed and the coldest of the weather had broken. But the courier had spent the turn of the New Year rolling around in her bed, sweating and panting in absolute pain. The physical pain of her injury was one thing, but to know that she missed out on all those free drinks... Shakuned shook her head mournfully at the very thought.

The market, it turned out, was a hellish place for a severely injured woman. People pushed and shoved - this was nothing new - but with her weakened leg Shakune found herself stumbling agonizingly into strangers, who in turn elbowed her away from them. Despite her need for more food, which was the sole reason the half-breed had decided to brave the world outside her pitiful home, she had to leave. Shakune exited the alleyway as quickly as possible -- careful to not trip over the boxes and half-rotten vegetables that littered the cobbles.

But despite her caution, Shakune could not stop the young lad to her left from running straight into her. His tiny hands grappled at her calf as he tried to stop himself from falling down, fingernails embedding themselves right into the gash that ran up the length of her muscle. Without thinking, the half-breed jerked and pushed the child away. He landed on the cobbles with a wet thud and began to wail loudly, but Shakune was too busy trying to stop herself from breaking into tears to truly care.

Fortunately, she escaped the market square just as the boy's mother appeared by his side, threatening to twist the neck of whoever had pushed over her precious child.

Gasping for air, Shakune limped deeper into the alleyway, half-dragging her injured leg behind her. She wanted to cry, to wail and shout for help, but pride and dignity stopped her. Her eyes were wet with tears, and for once Shakune was thankful for their blackness; it concealed at least some of her desperation.

oocHope you don't mind me jumping in :)
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One Lost Soul

Postby Everett Larahan on March 3rd, 2015, 12:14 am

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OOCNot at all! Looking forward to it. :)

Everett stared at the rickety structure in front of him, frowning. Dead end. Had he taken the wrong turning again? The sound of the crowd was closer now, louder, underscored by the distant rush of the melting river. He needed to find it. Why did he need to find the crowd? He wrinkled his nose and thought, mind sluggish with the cold. Crowd... crowd... people... the Commons! The thought snapped into place, and he grinned at how neatly it all fit together. Yes, that was it, he was looking for the Commons. The Commons was where the crowd was, and the crowd was full of people... His destination reaffirmed, Everett retraced his steps. Back through the narrow alley, past the kennel, take a left. He hesitated at the juncture. Was it a left? He could distinctly remember having taken a left on this road before, but now the way was blocked by a cluster of ramshackle houses. Left... no, right, it was definitely a right. A curious stone post loomed in the center of the street, the remnants from some old building. Of course! Here was the post, and over there was the brewery, which meant that a left here...

The end of the alley bloomed out into an open patch of sky, arced over the crowded marketplace. His shoulders slumped in relief. Finally. He was here, he had made it, and now he could do what he had to do. He almost smiled as the familiar chill prickled his skin. Everything would be right again.

A woman further up the alley caught his eye, and he drifted closer. “Hello, there! Can you tell me if you've seen...” he stopped dead.

Her eyes were all wrong, for one thing, black and deep, deep, like icy water. Just the sight of them sent him back a few steps, cold fluttering in his chest. Is that normal? Are they supposed to be like that? A faint memory trickled to mind, a skinny slave girl with dark eyes... he shoved it away. No time for that. Because a second glance showed him the leg dragging behind her, the traces of pain on her face, and the flutter of uneasiness transformed into concern.

Leave it be, Everett, a part of him grumbled. There's enough cripples and sad-eyes in town to break your heart over. He ignored it. “You alright, lady?” He craned his neck forward and squinted, trying to see her more clearly. “You don't look so good.” He fiddled with the end of his scarf and grimaced. Petching idiot, he thought. Probably just a con. Still, he couldn't quite bring himself to ignore the woman, black eyes or no.
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One Lost Soul

Postby Shakune on March 5th, 2015, 8:32 pm


The concerning voice was met with wariness from the half-breed. In this city, a worried passer-by was more likely to mug you, kick you whilst you're down, rather than be genuinely worried. She did not want to become one of those sad stories; the crippled courier who had her head kicked in.

She threw the male a glance to gage who well equipped he was, how huge. Maybe she could talk her way out of the threat?

But what Shakune saw left her quite speechless. He was indeed male, as his voice had implied. But there was something -- odd. The air around this man, in fact the very edges of his body, seemed blurry, as if he were evaporating in the meek winter sun. Shakune blinked, wondering whether the tears in her eyes were playing trickery on her mind. But no: he really did look like that.

A shiver running down her spine stimulated Shakune into finally responding to his question. "I'm fine." She said, the words slow and almost slurred, like those of a drunk. Again she blinked once, twice. She glanced away from this man and back again, up to the sky and then to his face. Although she couldn't quite work it out, Shakune was sure that she wasn't hallucinating. "Are... you alright?" She tried to make the question sound as casual as possible, but nevertheless Shakune's voice betrayed her confusion.

That's right, Shakune, a bitter voice whispered in the back of her mind. It sounded a lot like her mother's ever critical tone: insult the poor bloke, when he's clearly got bigger problems than you. Ever the victim.
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One Lost Soul

Postby Everett Larahan on March 5th, 2015, 11:52 pm

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The woman's wariness was clear, both in her stance and in her voice, and Everett slumped into himself and tried a shaky grin. He'd never thought he cut a particularly imposing figure—an unremarkable five and a half feet of bones and angles, all stuck together and jutting out every which way. Like a bird, or a particularly confused lizard. No, Everett wasn't accustomed to making people nervous at all. In fact, the fact that she was nervous started to make him nervous, and he shrunk into himself a bit more. Was there something on his face? Had he forgotten to shave? He cast back in his memories. Did I shave today? No, that was yesterday... or was it? He hid behind the cloth of his scarf and peered out at her. She was looking at him very oddly, he realized, at him and away, there and back here again. Did she have a concussion? It was entirely possible that she had a concussion. If she did, then it would explain why she sounded so strange, why she was looking at him as if he'd just dropped out of the sky and asked for a ferry back to Ukalas.

It took him a moment to realize she'd asked him a question, and his brows knit together. “I'm, uh... I'm fine,” he said, perplexed. He resolved to take a quick glance at himself in the next puddle he saw. It didn't feel like he had a beard, but his face was mostly numb from the cold anyway. Once he'd forgotten to shave for almost a week copying out a history. You look like you busted out of a madhouse, Jamie'd said, and behind his solemn eyes he saw a little light of mischief. Don't go out now, they'll cart you off and sell you to the doctor for his fun. It was a terrible thing to say, he thought, and he said so, but the boy just smiled—just like his mother, just like her—and said you should go and shave, because it's your job to get groceries tonight and that thought made a little click, somewhere deep in his head, somewhere between the now and then. He remembered. “Ah!” He looked at the woman with renewed interest. “Actually, I wanted your help, if it's no trouble. Nothin'... nothin' shady, mind, just a question, is all. You seen a boy around? Maybe this tall—” he leveled a hand in illustration. “Seven years old, real serious face. Jamie's his name. My son,” he added, in case she'd got the wrong idea. His gaze drifted back to her eerie eyes, her wounded leg, and he jerked his eyes away. If she said she was fine, he wouldn't pry. Not prying had gotten him a long way so far, and he intended to keep going along the same tracks.
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One Lost Soul

Postby Shakune on March 7th, 2015, 7:21 pm


Strangely, the male seemed just as concerned by Shakune's presence as she was by his. Another wary glance was thrown his way before the courier attempted to investigate the status of her wound. A thin trickle of blood ran down to her anklebone; she wiped it off brusquely and then returned her attention to her new companion. So, he had lost his son. Shakune brushed off the misfortunate accident; there were hundreds of children in Sunberth, some of whom were lost and others who had nobody to miss them. If the kid had any inch of sense about him, he should be able to survive long enough to either be found, or to find his own way home.

She regarded the male momentarily, considering how best to convey this answer without coming across as rude or completely heartless. After all, he had shown some concern to her own health, and so Shakune wanted to return the favour to some extent. He seemed remarkably unintimidating: not overly tall, certainly not built from all muscle like the fighters in the Pit. In fact, if his appearance had been normal, Shakune would have accepted his initial concern in a much more welcoming and appreciative manner. But there was still something... strange about him.

Ghost.

The word flashed in the back of Shakune's mind, but she dismissed the idea before quickly reconsidering it. She had heard stories of such lost souls, and the tales described them much like the man in front of her. Whilst their basic appearance might appear usual, they were apparently not quite... solid. The idea of such a person had seemed impossible to Shakune at the time, but now it seemed like the only logical explanation. She weighed up this possibility further. According to the stories, ghosts had refused to join Dira for various reasons: To avenge their murder, to protect their family, to seek out a missing relative...

Oh.

Suddenly his enquiry about his missing boy made sense, and Shakune felt a stab of guilt for dismissing the hopeless task. Pity, sadness, and a touch of schadenfreude subsequently embraced the courier. How could she deny this man - ghost or no - some sense of compassion or comfort? With a wobbly sigh, Shakune replied, "No, I haven't seen him here. What does he look like? When did you last see him?"
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One Lost Soul

Postby Everett Larahan on March 8th, 2015, 5:09 pm

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He couldn't quite read the expression in her dark eyes, but a little shock ran through him when he realized she was asking him questions, that she wanted to help, and a lopsided grin broke across his face, the sort of grin that isn't quite sure if it would be welcome but decided to invite itself in anyway. He didn't usually get this far. Usually they just looked at him funny or brushed him away. “This again,” they said sometimes, which was funny because he was sure he'd never met them before in his life. “He's long gone,” said the others, and they told him to give up, and how could he do that when it should be obvious to everyone that this was what he had to do? Sometimes they just stared (which was rude, for one) but it wasn't often that someone actually tried to help. If he began to float a few inches above the ground in sheer happiness, he didn't notice.

“W-well! He's got brown hair—long, like, and curly 'round the edges. Light eyes, blue-ish, and a little bit of a nose.” He tapped his own nose to illustrate. “Takes after me, yeah? But—but he's tall for his age, and got his mom's skin, kinda bronzey. Freckles all over.” He had become quite animated, gesturing this way and that in a series of expressive jerks and twitches. But as he considered the answer to her second question, his hands quivered to a halt. He rubbed them together, trying to ward off the sudden chill shivering through his veins.

“The last time I saw him, it was... it was...” He counted back through the days, but somewhere after “three” it turned into a hazy, uncertain fog. “Three days ago? Four? No, longer than that. It was... a little while ago, I think. Can't quite remember. Isn't that funny? Hah!” The fearful tug at the corners of his mouth indicated it was anything but humorous. His hands picked at a loose thread on his shirt, and his gaze drifted over the woman's shoulder, focused on something in the distance. “There was a storm rolling in, a big blizzard, and I was feelin' less than up to it so he went out to the market before we was snowed in. And I waited, 'cept the snows came and he wasn't back yet, so I went out to find him and...” A paroxysm of sickly fear gripped him, and he hugged himself, convulsively. His breath hung in the air. “Freezing out today, isn't it?” he said, voice barely above a whisper. His eyes lighted back on the woman, and he blinked, as if he'd never seen her before.

“You'll help, will ya?” He laughed, a stuttering, nervous laugh, and ran a hand through his hair. “Uh—scratch that. Didn't mean to push. You're prob'ly busy, and we've hardly met, and... well.” He extended one shaky hand. “E-Everett. Is my name. Everett Larahan.” It was a less-than-solid hand, and would burn cold if she took it, but he grinned over the offering as if it were his most precious possession.
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One Lost Soul

Postby Shakune on March 13th, 2015, 9:39 pm



Shakune listened patiently as the transparent - was he still a man, despite being see through? - describe his lost son. The description matched at least a hundred other children in the city, but the courier felt that this reason alone did not explain why the boy was still missing. He was probably as dead as the man standing in front of Shakune right now. This thought was greeted by a wave of guilt. Shakune swallowed the thoughts away.

Perhaps it was cruel, entertaining these desperate hopes of a dead man. She felt like a cruel child holding a bone just beyond the reach of a dog. But she was not in a position to tell him the truth, and the likelihood was he wouldn't believe her. Why would he? The love this father had for his child could be the thing that tied him to the living world. Fleetingly, Shakune thought of her own mother, distant and cruel. A parents' love knows no bounds, she thought wryly.

This thought was further supported when she saw the fearfulness flash across the male's face. She had seen that expression before, in other parents' whose children had disappeared. "Yes. It's cold." She agreed in a distant voice. Shakune found herself looking at him and through him at the same time. He was panicked, confused. How could she not help this man, with his obvious nervousness? With a rickety sigh, Shakune stood up straight, allowing warm agony to filter down her calf muscle. She would entertain him for the time being, help him find his most-likely dead son. With her injury, Shakune had nothing better to do.

"I'll help." She proffered, giving him an uncertain nod and smile. Then she instinctively reached to shake his hand, not considering the consequences. Though her fingertips did not touch any skin, Shakune's nerves were instantly set on fire, a cold, burning fire. She retracted her hand sharply back, nursing it with her other hand and trying to disguise her pain and fear as something less... extreme. "Shakune," she said shakily. Keen to keep the conversation flowing, to distract them both from the horror of their handshake, Shakune hurriedly added, "I can't walk fast or far, but I'll try and help you find your boy."
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One Lost Soul

Postby Everett Larahan on March 26th, 2015, 3:09 am

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As their hands met, Everett jerked back with a little yelp, skin stinging. The heat blasted up his hand, seethed in his nerves; he felt like he'd suddenly held it right next to a roaring fire. He shook his hand out and cleared his throat, trying to ignore the buzzing warmth that still prickled on his skin. “Shocked ya, I guess,” he mumbled, grimacing at the pain that flashed across the woman's face. “I—sorry. Pleasure to meet ya, Shakune.” He made a mental note to remember the unusual name and surreptitiously flexed his hand. It felt less numb, somehow, tingling and prickling like it had fallen asleep, and he rubbed it against his leg to work out the feeling.

At the sound of her words, a totally different sort of warmth bubbled up in his chest. “You'll help? Really? Even though your leg—oh, thank you!” He could have hugged her just then, but after the stinging heat of the handshake, he decided to settle for beaming at her with all the cheer he could muster. Distantly, his ears registered what seemed to be some sort of commotion in the marketplace, but he ignored it. “You'll be paid back, I swear—always pay my debts! I was thinkin' to circle the market, ask here and there, maybe check the slave pens.” The thought made him sick, but he forced himself to admit the possibility. A few shouts echoed in the distance. “And kids, kids are everywhere, and maybe one of 'em saw... something.” To be honest, he wasn't entirely sure what he was looking for. Sightings of a lost child? Marks of a kidnapping? “He wouldn't've run off,” he muttered, more to soothe himself anything else. “Jamie's a good kid. He—” The sounds of chaos had grown louder, and he broke off with a frown.

The seething mass of market-goers shuddered, boiled, spat out a figure in an ungraceful tumble. She was a small mountain of a woman, layered in that particular combination of muscle and sheer bulk that comes from lifting a great many heavy things a great many times. “Suck my pits, the lot of ye!” she half-screamed, half-burbled at the crowd, and a few shouts echoed back at her as she stumbled into the alley. Her bloodshot eyes turned forward, squinting through the shattered sunlight, and a series of tattooed letters marching up one swarthy arm correctly identified the mountain as DAISY.

Daisy was not having a very good day. The rent, as it so happened, was due a full week before she'd expected, and merchants were still waiting for the seas to warm and the storms to ease before they dared shipping in any new loads. After a humiliating hour of swearing to the stars and back she'd come up with the money by tomorrow morning, she'd spent her afternoon dribbling coins through her fingers to fill her cup and generally trying to pretend with all of her might that “tomorrow morning” was an imaginary construct. An uncertain number of cups and an equally uncertain number of coins later, the other fine patrons of her chosen establishment had unanimously decreed that she could do her drunken bellowing without their company, and the crowd outside had determined likewise. Now she found herself slumped in an alley, staring through blurry eyes at a pair of blurry figures: one tall and female, the other neither (though perhaps a bit blurrier), and both unaccompanied by anyone of the general physical description Daisy considered “muscle”.

Even drunk, Daisy considered herself an opportunist.

“Af'ernoon, culls,” she slurred, groping for her knife. Despite the fuzziness that hummed in her limbs and brain, she gripped it firmly, more than used to the weight. “This is yer daily purse 'n pocket inspection. Turn 'em out, an' let's be on our way.”

Further down the alley, a certain blurry, slightly transparent figure may have gone a few shades paler in fear.

OOCAch, sorry I didn't put this up sooner! It kept giving me trouble. New to this still, so please let me know if there's anything I oughta tweak!
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One Lost Soul

Postby Shakune on April 17th, 2015, 8:54 am



The half-breed simply stared, unable to muster enough better judgement to stop herself. So he had felt something similar to burning iciness that had scolded her hand, and he'd seemed just as shocked by it. Her black eyes shifted to her hand, inspecting it for any signs of damage or even frostbite, and yet her fingers were perfectly intact.

I must be drunk, or drugged up on medicine She concluded lamely, though in truth Shakune knew this interaction was as real as any other she had experienced in her lifetime. And yet it defied all rules of common sense that she possessed.

"Don't worry about payin' me back," Shakune responded absently, waving a hand to dismiss his offer, "I'm volunteerin'. I've got nothing else to do." She indicated to her leg for an extension of her explanation. The courier considered where a missing child might turn up. As Everett had suggested, the slave pens were as good a place as any, or perhaps the orphanage. A do-gooder could have found the missing boy and taken him to Ironside, thinking they were serving him well by throwing him into a box of other lost and found things.

Her thought processes were completely frozen when a brutish woman was spat into their alleyway. Immediately the lost boy was pushed to the back of Shakune's mind, and instead fear and paranoia took their hold. The courier was also gripped by memories of what had happened to her at the end of winter, when slavers had almost caught her, and a woman very much like the drunkard staggering towards them now had sliced her leg open. And though this experience felt somewhat meagre compared to what Shakune presumed Everett had gone through - at least she hadn't died - she was nevertheless absolutely terrified.

The thickset woman began her slow descendent down the alleyway, now armed with a knife. She wobbled and staggered as she went, drunk off her mind but still dangerous and unavoidable. With her injury, there was no way Shakune would be able to escape from the alleyway.

Finally, her attention turned back to her partially transparent companion. How would the thug react to him? Would she try her luck to mug a dead man, or even stab one?

She found herself envying his deadness, his lack of life.

The subsequent guilt ate away at Shakune's belly, and she gave him a helpless smile and shifted her weight between her feet. "Do you have... anything on you?" The awkward question was accompanied by a nervous lick of her lips. She couldn't imagine ghosts particularly valued physical things. Could they even touch them?

oocOnce again, sorry about the delay here. Inspiration has just not been striking me recently
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