Solo Cooks And Crooks

Revenge is a dish best served with shrooms

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The westernmost tip of Kalea, Wind Reach is home to an amazing group of people and their giant eagle mounts. [Lore]

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Cooks And Crooks

Postby Brandon Blackwing on April 7th, 2015, 8:45 pm

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Day 67 of Spring 515AV
Around the 17th bell


Weaving through the horde of people, the bat made his way to the baths, planning to soak his body after a free day spent sweating and battling in the fighting pits. He’d trained, he’d sparred and he’d beaten some of the other’s who’d been there. In Wind Reach there weren’t a lot of people around who could match his skill in unarmed combat. Even among the Endal caste, which supposedly were the toughest people around in the city, he didn’t have that much competition when it came to hand to hand combat. He had to admit though, they were skilled with their weapon -talon sword, was it? However, they weren’t skilled enough; they could use their sword alright, but they did not use it as well as they should and could.

Brandon had seen expert swordsmen in action, every once in a while when the Shinya had to take armed action. Most could handle their weapon of choice better than other people; they fought as if their weapon was just another part of their bodies, an extension of their arms or legs. The Inarta did not. To them anything other than archery was not a natural way of fighting. The bow was part of their culture, part of their being. The sword was not. To them, the bow was a part them, but the sword was just a tool. They didn’t care about the blade, it was just as much a tool as a farmer’s hoe was. They didn’t even try to become one, they just used it. And as such, they were average with their blade –though there were exceptions. Turrin was one, but Turrin didn’t really count as an Inarta. Turrin was a Myrian too, and well, those were known for being war-crazed savages who mastered just about any weapon they could crush their foes with. And for eating their fallen enemies' and comrades’ intestines too of course.

Either way, the Endal did put up a fight when armed, but as soon as Brandon managed to disarm them –and he had quite a few ways to do so- they were toast. They still tried, but trying was simply not enough. Not when facing an opponent who outclassed them in speed, technique and experience. Brandon knew how to fight barehanded, he had fought others who chose to do the same, both novice and competent. To be completely honest; the Inarta were hardly a challenge. They didn’t see just how useful martial arts were, and they underestimated what an unarmed fighter could do. Some were rather good though, but most… hm. Most of the time, the fight was just about finished when he disarmed the other fighter; he crushed them from that point onwards. One move or a barrage, it mattered not. But sometimes, especially when facing off against an Endal that looked like the stereotype the bat had burned in his mind, he toyed with them. He played with them like a cat playing with a mouse, prolonging the inevitable, and ending it only when he got bored. He’d done that today too.

About thirty chimes ago

He was staring at him again, a challenge in his eyes, and an expression that read “I’m better than you” on his face. The beads and feathers adorning his hair and bryda told the bat more than enough about the man’s caste. Endal. Brandon chose to ignore him for now, concentrating on refining the motions of his standard moves. The basics had to be polished up a bit every now and then; repeating the same things over and over again to burn them into memory and muscle memory so he would never forget them. Besides, he wasted too much energy on them. He’d noticed it before, his swings were a little too wide, and his body betrayed just about every action he would take. It was in his movements, and as such, the bat had decided to minimize those motions. Punches thrown from just a couple centimeters away, roundhouse kicks that didn’t start with him bending his knee a little. They had to be invisible, his movements shouldn’t be read, his actions should remain a mystery until he threw them into the opponent’s face.

One way to do it was by minimizing the movements he made. Quick punches that didn’t start with the arm being retracted a little bit. But another way was to add more speed. Brandon was built lithe, built for swiftness. He’d begun speeding up his movements a while ago, but he’d realized soon enough that it wasn’t a good plan to do so randomly. He needed a rhythm to stick to, and he had found it. He’d skipped ropes, he’d continuously thrown punches and kicks every free day he had, and even during his sessions with the Yasi. Even now he was doing so; chopping away with his hands in the position known as “knife hand”. He envisioned a foe, and he chopped at it, attacking from various angles, darting around with the bounce-step. His arms were relaxed right before he struck, then came the swing, which was kept as brief as possible, and when he should have hit his opponent, he stopped himself and withdrew his arms. It took control of his body, and expertise in the art of combat, but Bran had both. And he continued for chimes, switching to other basic techniques like simple punches and kicks, growing tired and sweating profusely. But he didn’t stop, he did not stop even though his lungs started burning and his breathing became ragged. He’d been training for a bell or so now, but it wasn’t enough for the bat, not yet.

So he kept going, until his arms felt as if they were on fire, and his legs seemed to be made out of lead. And then he decided his imaginary foe had been obliterated, and back-flipped away, landing on his hands and using them as support to continue his tumble, touching back down with his feet, panting heavily and wiping the sweat from his brow. “Tired from dancing?” he heard someone sneer. Of course, it was the Endal, laughing with his friends, poking them with his elbow conspiratorially and continuing: “You know, this place is called the Fighting Pits, not the Dancing Pits.” There were nice and honorable Endal in Wind Reach, but this guy did not belong to that minority. “Is it now?” the bat replied flatly, not bothering to taunt him, knowing the Endal would get to the point anyway.

“Maybe I should show you what fighting really looks like;” he stated, a smug look on his face. “I’d love to see that,” Brandon bit back, “give me ten chimes to recover and I’ll dance so hard you’ll be eating dirt out of awe.” The man gave him a glare. “If you can stop me from kicking your butt, you mean?” Brandon gave him the warmest of fake smiles. “Challenge accepted.”

x

credit goes to Euthisa
Last edited by Brandon Blackwing on April 15th, 2015, 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Brandon Blackwing
The master thief Incognito
 
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Cooks And Crooks

Postby Brandon Blackwing on April 9th, 2015, 3:56 pm

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About ten chimes and a cool drink of water later, Brandon was more than ready to take on his challenger; his energy had been replenished, and his muscles –which he had been stretching while resting- were still warm, ready for action. Head high the bat proudly stepped into the arena, soon followed by the Endal, who’d replaced his weapon with a wooden replica meant for sparring. Killing in the Fighting Pits was acceptable, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t frowned upon, and people did not really want to become known as some dangerous wacko who slayed the people they were supposed to protect.

With a couple meters between the two fighters, the fight began, and Brandon shuffled slowly towards his opponent, his body having assumed a fighting stance that could be described as defensive. His hips were low, his knees were bent, the form prioritizing balance and stability over speed and mobility. Arms and hands were brought in front of his torso defensively, ready to lash out and deflect or block incoming strikes. Though this was a fight the bat could win easily for sure, it was always best to test your opponent first if you had the time and opportunity. Sometimes it was better to rush in and end it before it had even begun, but only if one was pressed and time was limited. This fight however, could be dragged out as long as both fighters wanted to, and as such the thief didn’t rush things.

He approached cautiously, one foot at a time, perfectly balanced and as focused as he could be. Although his eyes were open, the bat was attempting to calm his mind, controlling his breathing and thinking of the man in front of him only. Breathe in calm and focus, breathe out tension and worries. Yes, he was concentrating, he wanted to take in every detail, every action. In a real fight there was no room for mistakes. They were close to each other now, the bat staying just out of the wooden sword’s reach, stepping back every time the other stepped forward. After a while, the endal just pretended to step in, only to stop halfway and grin as the bat shied away. However, a feint was nothing to be wary about, and after the first three times, Brandon stayed where he was, waiting for an attack that he knew was sure to come.

Although it were taunts, they did have a purpose; the Endal seemed to be baiting him, pretending to step in multiple times as if to make the bat used to it and then he’d probably strike, hoping to catch the bat off guard. A good tactic, but a little to basic when facing a person calm and focused, it wasn’t like Brandon knew they were feints; he didn’t. But, he thought he knew the gist of the opponent’s strategy, and played along. He was baiting him, waiting for him to strike. The bat knew he was faster, so he would wait until the leg did something more than just being raised a little, slowly circling around the endal. Every time the leg was raised, the bat was given a shot of adrenaline, his body reacting to what supposedly was the attack it had been waiting for, ready to step back or dodge. It was a mental attack of sorts, and some might not been able to handle it, but Brandon was a thrill seeker; this was not that scary at all. Yet, to stay sharp and focused, he continued calming his mind, continued breathing using the special way he’d been taught.

And then it came, a charge from the endal; he stepped forward for real this time, swinging his wooden blade horizontally, planning to slam the thing into the bat’s ribcage. Brandon was calm; he’d seen the start of the swing, he knew how it would end. He arched his body backwards as far as he could manage, arms stopping his head from colliding with the floor and leading him into a roll that brought him back to his feet, a renewed distance between him and his foe. The latter seemed fed up with waiting for an attack and charged again, blade swinging down from above. Brandon changed his stance a little, still defensive, but now allowing mobility as well, a stance more meant for dodging and evading than blocking. It felt more natural to Brandon; if you couldn’t get hit, you couldn’t get beat. He stepped aside and turned his shoulders parallel to the arch of the blade, decreasing the area that could be hit, allowing for more effective dodges. The man’s face was rather close… Brandon slammed his elbow into the man’s nose, then swiftly stepped back a couple times, once again adding some distance.

The nose was a really fragile part of the face, and most people flinched when it was struck, and so did the endal. He withdrew his body a little, a hand racing towards the hit area while his other wildly swung the wooden talon sword around, not bothering to actually look what he was trying to hit. Still backing away, the bat easily jumped over the sweeping sword. Adept at using his weapon or not, the endal was slow, way too slow. Tough maybe, but not fast enough to catch Brandon; though it should be said that from that point things started to get heated.

No-one liked being hit in sensitive places, and if you couldn’t return the favor, most people would get agitated. So too did the endal, placing both hands back around the hilt of his blade, scowling. Clearly pissed off, the man unleashed a flurry of attacks, faster and more coordinated than before. Brandon evaded them all, but to be completely honest, he actually had a hard time, especially so when the endal increased the speed of his attacks even more. Could he dodge all of the attacks? Probably, yes, wooden or not, a sword was still slower than a limb, but that didn’t mean that Brandon wouldn’t wear himself out before long. The attacks were too diverse, some aimed for his legs, others for his torso; it was that former that gave him trouble.

Brandon hadn’t been moving around a lot, staying in one spot until he had to dodge, which wasn’t his usual approach. As a result, the strikes aimed for his legs were annoying, and far more harder to deal with than the ones to his torso. Brandon frowned and decided to save his stamina a bit for should he have to go all out. Until that time though, he would deflect and block any strikes sent to his chest and head, and evade those coming to his legs.

x

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Brandon Blackwing
The master thief Incognito
 
Posts: 1305
Words: 1496963
Joined roleplay: September 8th, 2013, 3:24 pm
Location: Lhavit
Race: Kelvic
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Cooks And Crooks

Postby Brandon Blackwing on April 15th, 2015, 6:48 pm

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Thrusts were easily deflected, a hand pushing against the flat of the wooden blade for just a moment, changing its trajectory so it missed the bat. Everything else was somewhat different though, but the long handle of the blade made up for that. Whenever a slash came his way, the bat would step forward a little, stopping the arch with his hands -grabbing the hilt of the blade- and kick the Inarta in the chest. It didn't take all that long before the bat got a little fed up with this though, and started bouncing up and down slightly, getting into his rhythm and assumed a more offensive pose.

With the bounce-step at his disposal, Brandon moved around swiftly and fluidly, not staying in one spot for very long, making himself a difficult target to hit. In and out of the endal's range his feet carried him, taunting him, provoking him to try and land a hit. Of course, those efforts were in vain, as Brandon was simply too swift and too fast; footwork had always been his forte when it came to fighting. Not fearing the man in front of him at all, the bat confidently danced around him, having decided he'd show him just how useful his 'dancing' was. He baited the man, he taunted him, looking for openings and planning to exhaust him, deplete his stamina and finish him off.

Both came hand in hand, it seemed, as the endal's swings gradually became even wider and wider, the control he had over his weapon diminishing the longer the fight dragged on. Brandon was focused, a light film of sweat on his brow and chest, his breath no longer as calm as it had been before, but still controlled nonetheless. And there it was, his golden opportunity, a swing as wide as the gap between the two fighters' skill. Maneuvering, the bat went for the kill, swiftly drawing closer, leaving only a couple centimeters between their bodies. There he planted his feet, swung his arm while twisting his hips and chest, pulling with one leg and pushing with the other. His fist was relaxed as it sped towards the unguarded midsection, clenching right before it slammed into the stomach.

It was withdrawn immediately, only to aim a blow at the exact same spot once more. The hand that held the blade was intercepted, the pitiful attempt to slam it into the back of the thief's head foiled. A knife hand formed, delivering a couple sharp chops near the wrist, numbing the arm and loosening the grip of the endal's fingers. The wooden talon sword clattered onto the floor, as Brandon slammed his elbow into the man's face, his other hand letting go of the wrist it had grabbed. Then he spun around on his heel, a roundhouse kick striking the jaw of his foe.

Much to the endal's credit, he didn't fall; Brandon had to admit, they were tough. Not that it mattered; even the toughest rock could be broken if one hammered on it long enough. If the man had admitted defeat, the bat might have stopped then and there, ending the 'spar', but the endal did not give up. There was something burning behind his eyes, pride most likely, and as such the man kept fighting. There was no technique involved in the endal's punches, no elegance in his kicks. Brandon dodged the uncontrolled attacks with little difficulty, putting some extra effort in making his moves look more like dancing than combat. He attacked the man when he tried to get his blade, he dodged with a grin when he threw punches at his face. The battle was already over, the bat had already won, but still the both of them kept going, extending the battle until the thief grew bored -and a little tired. In the end, Brandon walked away with a satisfied grin and an endal lying in the dust.

Around the seventeenth bell

The horde of people traversing the warrens of Wind Reach were little problem to Brandon and his mercury-like way of moving through crowds. He slipped through gaps between bodies, he passed by people having a chat, making his way to the baths. Almost had he reached his destination, when his ears picked up the sound of a voice. It wasn't just any voice, it was one the bat recognized; he'd heard that one before, but where? “Hey, you son of a dek whore!” Brandon shrugged and just kept walking, it probably wasn't aimed at him anyway. “HEY! I'm talking to you, piece of shyke!” Whoever that guy was calling out to seemed to be in trouble, Brandon glanced over his shoulder quickly to try and find who was being addressed, and stared right in the beat-up face of his sparring partner. “Yes, you with your deformed face!” There was a shallow grin playing around the man's lips, and Brandon sighed, stopping in place, letting the endal catch up. “Are you deaf or stupid? I called three times before you reacted.” No amusement in that voice, only a cold and slightly content edge.

“I'm terribly sorry, endal,” Brandon spoke with an obviously mock-respectful tone, “I was under the assumption the only piece of shyke son of a dek whore with a deformed face strolling through these hallways was you.” It was said with sincere sounding intonation and a straight face, but there was no mistaken it for anything less than an insult. “With all due respect of course,” Brandon added with a cool smile and gleaming orbs. The endal's face turned in a scowl and his nose and ears practically blew out steam; whether the insult to the man's parentage had hit home or just the fact that Brandon had the audacity to defy him in the open, something had pissed him off big time. “Oh you'll regret that! I'll make you regret having said that!” the Inarta chirped in tones as low and threatening as his Nari would allow.

x

credit goes to Euthisa
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Fighting Style and Techniques

Credit for this awesome sig goes to Estrellir Konrath
User avatar
Brandon Blackwing
The master thief Incognito
 
Posts: 1305
Words: 1496963
Joined roleplay: September 8th, 2013, 3:24 pm
Location: Lhavit
Race: Kelvic
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Plotnotes
Medals: 5
Featured Character (1) Overlored (1)
One Thousand Posts! (1) One Million Words! (1)
2013 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

Cooks And Crooks

Postby Brandon Blackwing on April 18th, 2015, 2:48 pm

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Brandon had too little experience with the language of the redheaded folk to actually be able to understand even the most simple of phrases, so it wasn't a surprise that he did not know what the man had just said. However, the tone of voice used -even if it was hard to make an accurate guess due to the high pitch and quick pace of the language- did make the bat have a bad feeling about it. Maybe I shouldn't have said that... the thief thought, a little bit worried. There was no telling what the endal would do; disrespect was frowned upon in this city, especially towards the higher castes.

The fact that Brandon was an outsider wouldn't shield him from their wrath either, if anything, it would just make things worse. Hopefully, the endal would not throw him into a pool of lava, but that was entirely up to the endal. Brandon kicked himself mentally; what had he been thinking? This was not how blending in worked, this was the complete opposite. This was just getting in trouble and making himself less than popular with the highest caste. But Brandon couldn't help it, he wasn't one to just bow his head to anyone and everyone who believed they deserved that respect.

Whether one was worthy of their respect was up to the person beholding the other. Brandon believed wholly in that vision, and in his eyes there were very few endal worthy of praise and respect. Turrin was one of those. Turrin was a nice guy too, honorable. Not the scum that made up the majority of the endal caste. Perhaps Brandon just liked him because the man was only half Inarta. Either way, the bat just couldn't bring himself to treat the highest caste with the respect they were expecting, if he didn't pay attention, his tongue slipped and made venomous remarks. Snark wasn't really appreciated here, sadly enough.

Of course, there was a solution for that; avoid the endal at all costs, but there were times that didn't work out, when they came looking for him, like had happened just a mere moment ago. In the pits Brandon was allowed to beat them up, to taunt them and to try to anger them with words -all was allowed there, but here? In the warrens? Nope, he wasn't even entitled to defending himself, he wasn't allowed to do anything the endal didn't want him to do, and that was a problem. Brandon disliked pain, and because he'd sparred lots of times, his body usually acted before he could think. As the endal's fist headed for his face, the bat's body moved, torso bending to the side, bringing the targeted area out of range, and launching a counterattack simultaneously.

A fist of his own traveled towards the endal's chin with lightning fast speeds. Brandon felt a surge of adrenaline rushing through his veins, and a wave of sweaty heat shivering down his body as he realized what he was doing. Assaulting an endal was a crime. Crimes were dealt with swiftly, usually ending up with the criminal being removed from the city, or losing a limb. Neither were very attractive, the latter even less than the former. The bat put all his efforts in stopping himself, his muscles stopped co-operating, intent on pulling the fist back instead of propelling it forward. Whether it was dumb luck or a feat that showed Bran's complete control over his limbs, the thief managed to freeze in place, stopping his arm before it could touch the endal. A sigh of relief and the arm was lowered, even though the look of contempt from the man only made the bat want to punch him even more.

Now what? How could he minimize the damage done? Grovel and beg? Make an act of apologizing and sincerely regretting his actions? No, a thief had his pride. Brandon wouldn't apologize. There was no Zhol present who could act as the voice of reason and make him believe he had to swallow his pride. No, Brandon would just stand proud and take whatever it was that would be coming his way. As long as it wasn't an ax to sever one of his body parts; then he'd run like the wind and flee this damned mountain. He'd rather be deemed a coward but continue his life in one piece than losing a part of his body but be commented for his guts. No thank you very much. “I was originally just going to give you a couple bruises and warn you not to ever ridicule me again in the pits, but I've changed my mind. I'll give you a thorough beating to teach you not to mess around with us endal, you outsider filth.”

A beating. That was acceptable. He could take a beating. Brandon had been beaten up before, this wasn't a problem. It was obvious the bat wasn't allowed to resist, and he wasn't planning to, he'd just take it. Proudly. While staring the endal in the eye, defying him still. To show him that his spirit couldn't be broken, or something like that. The first punch came his way, headed for his head. It would hit his cheek, and probably hurt like hell, but it was the perfect opportunity to test something. Just as the fist would collide with his face, the bat turned his head in the direction the punch was going. The impact was killed, the blow hurt a lot less than it would have otherwise, and Brandon was pleased with himself. The timing was important, too early or too late and you'd be hit all the same, taking the full force of the impact. However, with his eyes following the movements of the endal's body, it wasn't too hard to predict when the punch would make contact.

Looking confused, the endal stared at his fists for a moment, then at Brandon, and then he started hitting the thief in the stomach. Brandon tensed his abs, blocking the blows, but after a while it didn't help anymore against the relentless barrage of punches. One fist managed to make him bend over in pain, and then the bat was helpless, and before he knew what was going on, he was on the floor, and a foot kicked him over and over again. He protected his face, and just endured, keeping himself from grunting in pain by focusing his mind on other things. He thought of pleasant things, such as breaking into the endal's home and destroying everything, effectively locking himself up in his own mind, only taking notice of what was going on from afar. The pain was dulled, the voices were a muted blur, and the visual stimuli didn't reach through his closed eyelids. It should serve to make himself less interesting, boring to beat up, but it didn't work. The endla just continued, and as a result, Brandon stayed in his shell, sealed off from the world. When the man finally walked away with a satisfied smirk, Brandon's face was swollen and his whole body was one giant heap of pain and bruises. His mental walls and wards dissolved, and the pain flared up, letting him feel what he had missed when he was ignoring it all.

x

credit goes to Euthisa
Image
Fighting Style and Techniques

Credit for this awesome sig goes to Estrellir Konrath
User avatar
Brandon Blackwing
The master thief Incognito
 
Posts: 1305
Words: 1496963
Joined roleplay: September 8th, 2013, 3:24 pm
Location: Lhavit
Race: Kelvic
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Plotnotes
Medals: 5
Featured Character (1) Overlored (1)
One Thousand Posts! (1) One Million Words! (1)
2013 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

Cooks And Crooks

Postby Brandon Blackwing on April 20th, 2015, 3:13 pm

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Day 68 of Spring 514AV

Getting out of bed was not a pleasant experience, in fact, waking up was not a pleasant experience. Even though sleep had veiled his bruises with a mantle of gentleness, dulling the pain, just moving brought it back. Rolling over hurt his ribs, sitting up hurt his ribs and back. Using his arms sent a stab of pain through them, and standing wasn't all that better. Brandon cursed, slamming his fist into the mattress angrily. “Godsdamn petching endal and stupid Wind Reach rules!” he muttered giving his battered body a quick look-over, counting the blueish bruises and losing interest when he reached twenty. “Assaulting an endal is a crime,” he spoke with a high pitched, annoying, nagging tone. “It's called self defense, you petching morons!” came the roaring reply to his own words, pent-up frustration with the mountain city having reached a peak.

“In what kind of stupid petching city is self-defense a petching crime?! What- I can't even- How could this even be a thing?! How? This is bullshyke! This is absolute nonsense!” He threw his arms skywards in frustration, regretting it immediately. “I don't get it. I don't get it. What kind of idiot came up with the concept of this system?” His head was shaken in disbelief, he'd known Wind Reach was messed up, but he hadn't really realized it fully up until now. As per usual, it took facing the consequences before the bat ever started thinking seriously about the situation. “Just like last time. 'You know what? I'm going to kidnap the Councillor! Yeah, that will solve my problems.' No! No it didn't! It only made things worse! If I'd just thought about the mess I was in, I'd have just killed Kriegsfelt and Bam! No more problems. I'd still be in Lhavit. But nooooo I just had to ignore it, believing I'd come up with something eventually.”

Anger manifested and the urge to let it out washed over him; he'd have to throw with some stuff, break some vases or so. Throw with empty bottles and heavy breakable goods. Or just punch things. The latter was the only option he had right now, and Brandon threw a fist as hard as he could at the wooden closet in his room. Bad decision. The impact hurt, yes, but that alone he'd been able to endure. However, his arm was sore from the previous day, and the impact made all bruises simultaneously unleash an onslaught of hurt through the limb. “Gods petching damn iiiiiiiit!” he roared, stomping the wood responsible for this new pain over and over again, until it was reduced to a dull throbbing. The physical pain was dwarfed by the stabbing realization that it had taken him way too long to realize the repercussions his actions could bring him; though having managed to avoid a those consequences for so long while clearly not being able to think straight was a remarkable feat. Brandon had no idea how he'd been able to manage.

Once his frustrations had been vented for the most part, and the bat had donned some clothes, he found himself staring at the list posted with all the non-static jobs, looking for his own name. He found it easily, and read the location and nature of his new assignment. The kitchens; meet with chef Davoid at the seventh bell, thirtieth chime. That wasn't that far away anymore, and Brandon hurried there as fast as his limping gait could take him, which was another source of frustration. Needless to say, when Brandon arrived in the grand hall where the food was served to the hungry Inarta, he wasn't in his best mood.

“I'm looking for chef Davoid,” the bat grunted at the nearest dek worker wandering around with a stack of clean dishes. The woman pointed in the direction of the main kitchen, once she'd placed her load on one of the many tables. Then, she made some strange gestures with her hands, probably imitating a hat of sorts and some sort of staff or scepter. Brandon gave her a sharp nod and strode into the kitchen, greeted by a waft of hot air. Finding the chef was not really that hard, the cook's hat gave her away, as did the spoon she held in a hand as if it were a scepter. As soon as she noticed the bat slipping past the workers and cooks, the approached him, pointing with her spoon-scepter and scrutinizing him sternly. “What are you doing in here?” she spoke in quick, impatient tones -Common, probably having guessed Brandon didn't speak Nari. “We're busy here. No you can't have food yet, as a chiet you have to wait until the appointed times, now be off. You're in the way.” Her words were underlined by one of the other chefs rushing past with a huge pot filled with steaming water, as if he'd waited for his cue to pace by hurriedly with the exact right timing.

“Eh, chef?” Brandon spoke annoyed, causing the woman chef to turn back around to face him. “What? You're still here?” Her tone was probably just as annoyed as his own, obviously she had a strong dislike of people other than her trusted personnel being present in her kitchen “I'm actually supposed to work here for a couple days,” he clarified with a bit of impatience. Upon hearing that line, the female chef frowned and tapped her chin with a couple fingers, her other hand -with the spoon- resting on her hip. “What did you say your name was again?”
“Brandon Blackwing.” The chef's face displayed a scene of recognition. “Ah, yes! The outsider with the strange name! Not as strange as Davoid. “I totally forgot, things are hectic in the mornings you know. ”

She started walking, beckoning him to follow while she zigzagged through the furnaces and people occupying them, as well as the islands filled with tools. “So what happened? Did you fall down some stairs?” Her tone was jocular, but she didn't turn around when she spoke. “No, I sparred.” came the bat's flat reply. “Ah. And you lost. That makes sense.”

“Not quite. My opponent was a sore loser and came for revenge when I was wandering the city and wasn't allowed to fight back.” Because of your stupid rules. His eyes flared, and his teeth gritted, and this time the chef did glance over her shoulder. “Ah,” was the only thing she said, the disbelief written all over her face. They spent the next few steps walking in silence, until the duo stopped at one of the the islands where cooks were working. “Tromis, this outsider will be assisting you today. Show him the ropes.” Chef Davoid said to a cook chopping up some vegetables. The man nodded, then both turned to Brandon. “This is Tromis, one of my chefs,” Davoid spoke, “you'll be helping him the next couple of days. He will teach you what you need to know, and guide you through the day.” And with that, she was off, leaving the bat with the other cook, who idly spun the knife in his hand.

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Cooks And Crooks

Postby Brandon Blackwing on May 1st, 2015, 6:43 pm

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For a couple ticks, both men studied each other, eyes settling on the other’s goatee simultaneously. Both grinned, and one of their hands reached up to stroke it a couple times, as if it were some sort of secret code. “You’ve got good taste,” Tromis spoke then, crossing his arms and nodding approvingly, “I see you understand that the goatee is the most stylish among the types of facial hair!” The bat gave a tiny shrug. “Only if it goes well with the face,”Brandon replied, “and if it’s well maintained.” Tromis nodded at this, unfolding his arms and smiling widely. “Seems like we’ll get along just fine then!” Brandon returned it by flashing his own teeth.

“Right!” the chef then said, getting rather businesslike, “We’re in charge of the soup today. Nothing too hard, especially so since I’m here to guide you through it.” A grin, and the cook spun his large knife around in his hand again, as if to stress what he just said. Brandon quite liked the confident but jovial attitude of the fellow. In Wind Reach, there were a lot of endal around, people who oozed confidence, but most of all, arrogance. Maybe at first they had been just confident, but as time had passed, that confidence had been replaced by its darker counterpart. Tromis had none of that; he seemed to be an accomplished cook, but he did not condescend the bat for being a newbie. Instead his attitude was welcoming and friendly.

With a couple swift motions, the cook placed a wooden plank and a sharp knife in front of Brandon, a bunch of carrots followed suit. “Right! We’re making mushroom soup today,” the man stated with a wide smile. Then he frowned, dug in his bryda for a tick and handed the bat a strap, telling him to bind his hair together. “We don’t want any hairs in our meals, now do we?” the man explained, his smile not disappearing. Brandon noticed the cook was watching something without turning his head, as if to hide the fact he was doing so. A frown crinkled Brandon’s forehead, moving his eyes in the same direction as Tromis’s just in time to see Chef Davoid passing by, patrolling as it were.

Once she’d moved to the next cooking island, the male chef leaned a little closer and whispered in conspiratorial tones: “Let me give you some advice from one stylish man to another; do not ever mess up a meal. No hairs may be found in whatever you are preparing. You do not burn meat or vegetables. You don’t spill too much salt in the sauce. She won’t always notice, but the endals who eat it do. And they are not afraid to come tell us the food was disgusting. Or that there was a hair in the stew. Or soup. Then, once Davoid finds out…” his voice trailed off implying bad things. The sweat on his forehead did too, but it probably was a result of being in a hot place such as this. “But all warnings aside, let’s get to creating the most delicious soup this city has ever tasted!”

That turned Brandon’s attention to the heap of orange vegetables in front of him quickly, and Tromis started instructing. “So first we need to chop some of the harder vegetables, because those take the longest to cook. Remember that, it’s important for you timing with other dishes as well, like stew. Then, we’ll chop the softer ones while the hard ones are cooking. Simple. So, first we’ll need carrots,” he pointed at the pile in front of Brandon, “mushrooms and onions. You take care of the carrots. Just peel them and chop them in slices about half as thick as your finger. Oh, don’t forget to remove the outer parts. You can put the carrots in this bowl here. I’ll do the onions and the mushrooms.”

A nod and the bat started to work, grabbing the knife and frowning, finding it rather unwieldy, the grip unfamiliar. He placed it back and produced a dagger instead, more comfortable with its weight and length than with the knife. Tromis was cleaning mushrooms with a towel, still giving the bat cooking advice. “When cleaning mushrooms, you don’t want to use water. Those things are like sponges! They soak up lots of it and then when you’re cooking them, they release it all. Not really great when you’re making things you know? The outcome tastes bland and watery.” Bran just nodded, slicing off the green leaves attached to the orange shape, as well as the thin, root-like part. He did this for all carrots, and only then did he start to chop them up, working methodically usually was the fasted way to get things done. When he was just about halfway through his pile of carrots, and Tromis had moved from cleaning and slicing up mushrooms to peeling onions, the cook turned his head his way to check how he was doing, and then back to his own hands. A frown rippled over his forehead and he turned his head again, eyes on the bat’s blade. “Oi. Why are you using a dagger for this?” Brandon blinked slowly. “Why not?” That question seemed to throw the cook off balance. “Because you have a knife right there..?”

“Oh, I prefer to use daggers,” Brandon clarified, putting a slice of carrot in his mouth. “Don’t eat that!” Tromis said in a hurried whisper, looking around franticly. “If Davoid sees you eat the ingredients, both of us are going to get killed!” Brandon raised an eyebrow. “We’ll be denied our food for the day! Davoid hates people getting extra portions if they don’t deserve it, and we don’t deserve it!” he insisted, his tone urgent. The thief nodded he understood, then continued chopping the carrots. “What I meant about your dagger is that I’ve never seen someone cut vegetables with a weapon before.” Brandon just shrugged. “It’s a tool like any other. And any tool can be a weapon if you know how to use it.”

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Cooks And Crooks

Postby Brandon Blackwing on May 2nd, 2015, 4:07 pm

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Tromis seemed to accept it, as long as the blade was clean, which Brandon assured it was. Then, the cook got back to work, chopping onions with surprising speed and finesse. Astounded, the bat stared for a couple ticks, then asked how Tromis managed when he failed to mimic it himself. “Ah, it’s not that hard.It’s just technique. It’s all in the wrist. You mustn’t push too hard with your blade, you need to cut. Watch.” Tromis started cutting another onion fast, then he slowed down enough so Bran could see what exactly the man did. Just like the cook had said, it was all in the wrist, well, most of it was.

Minimalist motions, a rolling movement of the wrist. Slice and drag of the blade, chopping up the vegetable. It was a lot harder than it looked, and Brandon did not really get the hang of it, if anything, he found he was even slower than before. So in the end, Brandon just continued chopping carrots like he had before, finishing a bit later than Tromis, who was already heating a large pot on the heat-plate. Brandon smelled melting butter, hearing it hiss pleasantly. Tromis added the onions, and the smell of them erupted from the pot.

Carrots and the stems of the mushrooms came next, joining the onions, as well as some spices, pepper and salt. With a wooden spoon the cook stirred and mingled the vegetables, then telling Bran to go slice up some leeks. “You need to chop off most of the green, and the roots,” he instructed, showing the bat while he said so. Bran got to work immediately, working methodically just like before. His dagger came up and down in a steady rhythm, a lot slower than Tromis’s, but not really slow. Though that did not mean Tromis did not have to do three quarters of the work.

Another pot was placed on a heat-plate, and another clump of butter was melted, browning slowly, sputtering and hissing. The leeks they’d cut up were thrown in, soothing the butter and releasing a rather great smell. Tromis asked Bran to check on the softness of the carrots, which he did with a wooden spoon, finding they’d softened rather much. Tromis then added a lot of water to the first pot, dousing it and letting it steam. Next he stirred the leeks every so often, until they’d started to brown, then he added the mushroom caps.

Much to Brandon’s curiosity, there were three different kinds of mushrooms; three different colors. There were whitish ones, black-brownish ones and beige caps, all probably a different kind of shroom. Meanwhile, Brandon stirred the first pot, and was tasked with pulling the pot off the heat-plate when the water started to boil. When it did, he replaced the pot with some sort of round metal ring with legs, on which he then placed the pot, reducing the heat. In the meantime, Tromis added some white powder to his pot –probably flour- and mixed it under the leeks and mushroom caps.

Then the cook added some white wine, replying “It’s soup for the endals,” when Bran asked about it. Well, it wasn’t too surprising; the ingredients had seemed a little too fine to be for chiet or dek. Bran then strained the contents of the first pot, pouring it into a sieve and into another pot, the used one being handed to a dek to clean. Tromis used the bouillon they’d made to douse the leeks and shrooms, and handed Bran some more spices to mince. They smelled rather good, one having a stronger scent than the other. One was thyme, and the curly one was parsley, the cook explained. Both were added to the soup.

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Cooks And Crooks

Postby Brandon Blackwing on May 17th, 2015, 11:11 am

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Telling Brandon to continue keeping a watchful eye on the simmering soup, the cook strode off quickly, returning within a couple chimes with some rather large bowls with white liquid. Once close enough, Brandon noticed it kind of smelled like milk, but not quite. A mystery product? “What’s that?” he questioned, nodding towards the bowls. “Ah, this? It’s … eh … cream but I don’t know the word in Common…” Tromis admitted sheepishly, then he shrugged and said Brandon would have to ask someone else about it some other time.

All that was left now was just seasoning with pepper and salt, a process where Brandon was able to show off his extraordinary sense of smell. His claims that there was enough pepper in the soup were at first met with skepticism, but once the cook had tasted it, he agreed with the bat, displaying a surprised expression. “You know, Davoid can do the same thing you can, with her nose I mean. It’s unreal, she just sniffs her dishes and adds some more spices and seasoning, and before you know it she made it perfect! It doesn’t even seem to matter how disgusting it was before she interfered.”

Well that was interesting, was Davoid Kelvic by any chance? It was possible, and the woman had had the same kind of scent around her like the bat’s mother… Then again, that was the scent of his mother in animal form; in human form she didn’t smell like bear at all… So, no Kelvic? Then how had she that strong sense of smell? Magic? “Oi, stop spacing out, get back to work!” someone reprimanded, words accompanied with the slap of a metal object. The voice alone was enough for the bat to know it was Davoid herself, which would mean he’d been hit with that spoon of hers. A hand rubbed the back of his head idly for a moment, glad he’d been beaten by the endal everywhere but on his backside. “Yes Chef,” Brandon replied, though he was left wondering what was left to do.

“Tromis, be a little more strict will you? I leave the newbies always in your care because if I leave them with Gordon they ask the Valintar for a different job the very next day!” Both she and Tromis chuckled. Somewhere in the kitchen a cook sneezed.
“Don’t worry Chef, I’ve got everything under control.” Davoid seemed not quite reassured by that but left anyway, while Bran turned towards his mentor-of-the-day with a quizzically raised eyebrow. “Who’s this Gordon?” Tromis’s face displayed a grin.

“He’s the cook that mentored me and a dozen other yasi when we decided we wanted to work in the kitchen. He learned us cook, but eh, he was short-tempered and kind of mean. He was very … inventive with his insults.” Another grin. “Not everyone could handle it, and a lot of yasi quit to go seek another job they wanted to do. That was not the last time he taught people though, Davoid found him to be an excellent mentor in that he was able to get rid of those who weren’t able to cope with stress and … grumpy chefs. And I think she kind of found his insults funny. Everyone did, except the person receiving them.” He chuckled at the memories, stroking his goatee. “Heh, can you remember any? I’m kind of curious now,” Brandon queried while receiving some more vegetables to cut up from the cook. The thief had no idea where they came from and why they needed them, but he wasn’t going to ask.

“Eh, let’s see,” Tromis pondered, thinking for a couple chimes, probably translating the lines to Common, “This was during the second lesson or so, someone messed up – well, that’s a given of course- and Gordon said, ‘Look at that. Overcooked at the bottom, crispy as petch and it looks like my old flip flops!’” Brandon could barely suppress a burst of laughter, turning it into a chuckle instead. “Or how about ‘Pull your head out of your ass!’” The chuckling grew worse. “Or this one! I had arrived late and had offered Gordon a lame excuse. ‘You can petching bullshyke a bullshyker, but you cannot petching bullshyke me!’”
“S-st-ahaha-p!” the bat wheezed, “I’m … dying!”

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Brandon Blackwing
The master thief Incognito
 
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Cooks And Crooks

Postby Brandon Blackwing on May 28th, 2015, 12:17 pm

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It took quite a while, but eventually Brandon managed to snap out of the spiral of hilarity –fortunately for him before Chef Davoid came checking on him- and got back to work, mindlessly chopping whatever vegetables were handed to him by Tromis. Out of curiosity the bat asked what they were going to cook up next, but it turned out to be another pot of soup, this time for the castes lower than endal. The lower castes didn’t get the cream, nor did they get the real high quality products; or so it seemed. Perhaps the more not-so-fresh appearance was just his imagination, though his experience with Wind Reach made him doubt that.

Before lunchtime, the peak moment came when someone burned the meat and was first the victim of a series of cusses of Gordon, and then Chef Davoid herself had a bone to pick with the poor fellow as well. In either case, Brandon was able to hear the legendary swears coming from the legendary –in certain circles, but he was not labeled legendary for his cooking skills- cook himself. The thief was not disappointed. When lunch break was upon them though, that became the pinnacle of the day so far. Half a bell of free time and fresh air was a gift from the gods themselves.

Brandon settled with a quarter of a loaf of bread and decided to go roaming the city instead of consuming his lunch in the hall with the rest. Tromis didn’t stop him, but did tell him to get back to the kitchens in half a bell, for then their break would be over. While half a bell was not a lot of time –not even enough for a decent stroll in fact- Brandon figured it was better than no escape from work at all. If he’d be given the choice to do this kind of shyke all day or go back to steal for his survival, he’d pick stealing any day. Though Tromis’s company was pleasant, it didn’t quite cancel out the tediousness and monotone feel of the work. Nor the heat and the crowd inside. Good thing he was a teacher. Hopefully the Valintar would decide he’d become “accustomed to the city” soon.

And so the bat roamed the city a bit, chewing on the bread and wishing he’d put some butter on it first. Too bad he couldn’t really eat anything else while strolling about. After a while, Brandon came across a couple Inarta sitting in a rather dark corner of the Inner Warrens, one of them behaving funnily; giggling at just about everything, and watching his surroundings with wide eyes as if he was seeing it for the first time in his life. The other was pretty normal, watching his companions with an amused though wary look. Ah, could it be? Seemed like at least one of them had used some of the drugs you could find at the Inclement Weather; Bran had seen a couple of those people before. They resembled drunks, but not quite.

“What’s up with him? What did he take?” the bat asked curiously, walking over to the two. “Funkus” the normal one answered, getting to his feet and tensing up ever so slightly, probably ready to defend his friend. “That’s the mushroom drug, right?” The man nodded. “Do you have some with you?” One of the man’s hands moved slightly in the direction of the pocket of his bryda. “Not for you.” Brandon shrugged, there were other ways to get what he wanted other than asking. He already knew where it was kept, and stealing it would not be a problem at all, not for him.

Truth to be told, during one of his visits to the Inclement, one of the dealers had approached him with the question as to whether he’d like to add an extra dimension to his fun that night. The bat had declined, but as the dealer had tried to persuade him with talk of experiencing something magical, to discover things you would otherwise never discover, to realize things you’d never realize… well, it had been tempting. Very tempting. So tempting in fact that he had almost picked the dealer’s pockets; though that was pretty stupid to do when drunk, and even more so if your target had his guard up. Now though, an opportunity to get his hands on some there was no way he couldn’t give in to his curiosity.

Not even having to feign his interest in the drugged Inarta, Brandon approached, both wanting to see what would happen if he poked the man, and wanting to elicit an intervention from his friend. As the bat had expected, the sober Inarta stepped between him and his friend, giving Brandon a firm push. It wasn’t aggressive, just to keep him away. It mattered little, it was more than enough, now the man was close to him –without Brandon having had to do anything that would have aroused suspicions- and being close to a pickpocket was just asking for them to steal your belongings. Not very surprising, that actually happened, as Brandon simply slipped one hand in the Inarta’s pocket, finding a small bag of what he suspected were the drugs, and retracted it as he was pushed away. By rotating his hand a little, he kept the stolen item out of sight, hidden in his palm until he slipped it into his own pocket.

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Cooks And Crooks

Postby Brandon Blackwing on May 28th, 2015, 7:27 pm

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“Do not touch him, it’ll turn his trip bad.” Brandon frowned in response, earning him an explanation. “This drug needs you to be positive. Positive is good, yes? Negative is not. Negative will make the trip bad. Positive is good trip. Negative is bad trip. If you do bad things to him during a good trip, it might turn bad.” This time the bat raised an eyebrow. “Just how bad is bad?”
“Terrible. Extreme scary. Scarring for life. ” Yes, that indeed sounded quite bad. Maybe it wasn’t worth a try after all; the consequences seemed a little too much…

“But with preparation, you can see and hear the most amazing things! You need to be calm, at peace. No negative emotions. Positive. No preparation makes for bad trip, usually.” Interesting for sure, but not quite for actually taking it himself. No, he’d refrain from that; Brandon had no wish to traumatize himself for life. Life itself was already hard enough as is, he didn’t need any additional fears on top of that. “Doesn’t sound very fun.” The Inarta shrugged. “It is if you are prepared, and have someone watching over you.”

There wasn’t really much time left for Brandon to chat or continue his inquiries as he needed to bet back to the kitchens and get back to work. If not for the walk back he’d have had a little bit more time; not that it really mattered, he had been informed about the most important things anyway. He wouldn’t use the drug on himself at all; staying positive in Wind Reach was a bit of a challenge at the moment. Not only because of his problems adapting, most of them having sprouted from his reluctance to adapt, but also because of the scar on his back. The flesh wasn’t the only thing that had been scarred, his mind had too.

While the nightmares were gone, that did not mean the bat had not recovered fully from the attack. From time to time his mind reached out to the memories, reviewing them and trying to make sense of it. To formulate reasons why he wouldn’t have anything to fear. It was no use really; he did not have the courage to shift and go for a flight lately. As a result, Brandon felt trapped. It wasn’t that he couldn’t fly, no, his wings were just fine, but the way the owl had appeared out of nowhere, the way it had avoided being detected by the bat’s keep ears… It was frightening. There was nothing he could do against it. He couldn’t counter that. He’d just survived due to pure luck last time. A sigh escaped as he strode back into the kitchens and banned those thoughts from his mind like he always did. No use in dwelling on it, he’d just have to overcome those events. Eventually.

Next period of work was even more boring and dull than the last; doling out the food to the hungry Inarta that came by. The line was long as lunch period had come for everyone this time, and about a quarter of the kitchens personnel were handing Chiet, Avora and Endal their portions of food. Some wanted this, others that; especially the endal were picky and a pain in the butt. Fortunately everything that should be available was available and they had no reason to be annoying, though they did try, nagging about this being too salty or that not having enough seasoning on it. Pesky endals.

Of course, as luck would have it, Brandon was soon confronted with a familiar face, a smug face with a smug grin that made him want to throw a plate in his face. Of course the bat knew better than to try. “Look who we have here; if it isn’t our little dancer!” the man mocked, probably fully aware Brandon couldn’t understand him at all. “Still bruised all over I see. Does it hurt? Does it now? Oooh too bad, you shouldn’t have challenged me.” The three other endal with him laughed.
One then made a frown, and asked: “What happened Massiru, did this guy pick a fight with you in the Pits and you kicked his butt? Haha!”
Massiru’s face grew even more smug and he opened his mouth to speak, but a newly arriving endal woman cut him off. “No, it was the other way around actually.”

The smug expression faded as the three other endal’s mouths fell open and then they started laughing. Massiru was not amused at all, instead he swung a fist to the spoilsport endal angrily. “Petch off, I was going easy on him.”
“No, he was going easy on you,” the woman stated, ducking out of the way easily and cutting the line in the same motion.

“Oh Ivak, and you got back at him by beating him up in the warrens? That’s sooo low I’m not even surprised you did it,” one of Massiru’s friends commented, having a laugh at his friend’s expense. The barter continued for a while, and by the time the Massiru was about to order, his expression was sour and the barter had blossomed into an argument. None of the group of friends looked very happy anymore. “So, what will you have, Endal?” Brandon asked politely, not so happy thoughts occupying his mind. “Give me that mushroom soup, some bread and butter, clipped dek-licker.” Brandon did not have to be able to speak Nari to know the last part was an insult. “Nothing else?”
“No, I’m going to hunt after this, every idiot knows it’s a bad idea to do that on a full stomach.”
“Sure,” he said, hiding his annoyance while turning around to fetch a plate, a bowl, and of course the soup and bread.

While walking over to the pot of soup though, the bat felt the small bag bumping into his leg as he took a step, and a devious idea formed into his head. It was time for revenge. As he placed the bowl near the pot of soup, Brandon fished the tiny bag of drugs out of his pocket and opened it, being slightly surprised at the sight of powder instead of whole mushrooms. He didn’t mind though, pouring all the contents into the bowl, then drowning it in soup and letting it dissolve while he fetched some bread and butter. All of it was placed on the plate and brought to the waiting endal, who took it out of his hands more aggressively than necessary. “Have a nice trip,” Brandon smiled at him, not even having to fake it. It was no friendly smile though.
“Whatever.”

Negative emotions made for terrible effects eh? He’d heard that this drug made you hallucinate and took away your sense of reality. If this truly was the case, this endal would soon experience the most frightening hunt of all time. The bat grinned maliciously, serving the other hungry Inarta with a much better mood than before, and as he saw the endal walk out the hall after having finished his meal in about five chimes, his mood improved even more. The thought alone of what effects the drug would have was enough to keep him thinking positive for the rest of the day.

Oh sweet revenge.

x

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User avatar
Brandon Blackwing
The master thief Incognito
 
Posts: 1305
Words: 1496963
Joined roleplay: September 8th, 2013, 3:24 pm
Location: Lhavit
Race: Kelvic
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Medals: 5
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