Closed Friends in Low Places (Kaie)

The Kelvic thief attempts to swindle a Myrian mercenary.....and live to tell the tale.

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Friends in Low Places (Kaie)

Postby Andar on July 7th, 2015, 8:03 am

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15th of Summer, 515 AV. Afternoon.

Baroque Bay is where the Kelvic thief fished that afternoon. His bait, avarice. His ploy, prey on human stupidity. Fortunately for him that was something readily abundant in the shyke hole of a city that was Sunberth. But while education was not a top priority, a healthy supply of skepticism was. It wasn't easy finding a sucker. The previously duped undoubtedly wise up to the various scams and con jobs lurking about eventually. Thus the docks and seaside bazaar of Baroque Bay were prime turf for these sorts of operations. Foreigners from ports far and wide came to the City of Anarchy to sell their wares and many (unfortunately) to take on the always popular commerce of the flesh. Outsiders weren't as savvy to the tricks of his trade and provided refreshingly oblivious targets for the eager rogue.

Andar peddled a sack of inauthentic items around the market and the docks, in hopes of hooking a fish. Each item in the bag had an outlandish tale to go with it to jack up the item's value. Each item, of course, was as run of the mill as it got. His story embellishments and the occasional creative alteration were all that stood between average junk and preciously rare artifacts. That fact always made Andar chuckle.

Like the wares he fobbed, his identity was a complete fabrication. This afternoon he was Endrani, a half-Svefran sailor-merchant who by his own account, sailed to every corner of the world and as a result had been to many great and unusual places. He, as luck would have it, carried some of the most wondrous treasures collected over the course of his travels. Many of which by sheer chance fell into his possession by some of the most inexplicable of circumstances.

Wearing the Endrani guise consisted of make-up to darken his naturally olive skin tone to a swarthy hue, rendering subtle age lines around the eyes and mouth, wearing his tawny hair out loosely with a few braids decorated with festively-colored beads and of course, garish clothing (inexpensively tailored) to go with a scarf wrapped about his head to complete the fictitious ensemble.

Andar had to change his speech tendencies to incorporate what he perceived to be a slight Svefran accent to the common tongue. Most of the change had more to do with applying gesticulations and facial expressions than any twist in utterance. He also intermixed Fratva occasionally for authenticity's sake. Andar rather enjoyed the disguise since the Svefrans he had met were lively folk, and not so very different from his natural persona, though likely a bit more exaggerated in expression and definitely owning a bit more bravado than was necessary.

The warm Summer day had not been encouraging so far. His legs burned with fatigue from having walked up and down the streets, hawking his wares. His face and arms felt as if they had been equally abused, what with all the arm-waving and myriad expressions involved with being cursed Endrani. Lugging about a sack, didn't help either. The physical toll, however, was the least of his bothers. He had expected to sell more of his ridiculously inflated items.

All he had managed to do was rid himself of one petching knife! A knife he claimed to have been forged in Sultros, thrice blessed by Izurdin and of course, made of isurian steel. Endrani promised on his life that the knives would never break. In truth, they were common eating utensils he had bought from a particularly crafty merchant. It was actually from the man's own lying lips that he had gotten the idea in the first place. The knives were complete fakes of course, engraved with rune like symbols so as to make them appear valuable. They weren't worth more than five silver mizas a piece on a good day. Andar had sold that single knife for nearly three gold mizas.

That was partly why it was so confounding. The day had started off so promising when he had sold that knife to a portly woman in the market who claimed her husband had a cousin from Sultros and how wonderfully pleased he would be upon finding such a surprising gift had been bought in his own backyard. There would be a surprise alright, he had thought. And counted his blessings that when a certain enraged husband found out what she had paid for the inauthentic knife and came bristling over, clever Endrani would be long gone. He'd keep the bastard tucked away cozy for at least a few months before playing him again. As his wise mother so often told him, "It's far better to be cautious than dead."

Hadn't sold a bloody damned thing the rest of the day. He got a few laughs, made a few acquaintances at the docks, got threatened, twice, for being a cheat, had someone complain that his Fratava needed work and had even heard an enchanting tale from a Vantha woman in the Drunken Fish when he had thirsted for respite from Syna's stare and his phony hawking. Now he was back at it again, the shadows ever longer as afternoon's light began to fade toward fast approaching evening.

His light footsteps carried him past the hustle and bustle (even now) that transpired along Cherry Bay. Cherry Bay was one of the foremost piers for trade in Baroque Bay. Sailors busied themselves with rigging and unloading cargo on either side of him. The occasional call or curse mingled with a pleasant sounding shanty a bit more distant. All along the wharf, activity never ceased. He noticed a few inspection buildings close by and it was from these that Sunberthian-born individuals sporting rather official looking coats monitored and what he perceived as a fancy bit of extortion taking place. He needed to get in on that action! But that would be near impossible. For it no doubt was sanctioned by one of the gang bosses. So, without a sigh of regret he swaggered on.

"A strapping mate such as yerself no doubt would require a rare knife from far flung Sultros! Not so much? Then perhaps a bottle o' wine from Mura! From whence the very tears of the Konti can give a man visions to foresee his most profitable future," he said with a wink and closed the gap between he and sailor with a lively skip. He then said all conspiratorially like whilst offering the tired-looking sailor a good view of the exceptional-looking wine bottle, "Some say it's vision water. Others, breast milk from a goddess. Whale-shyke! It's the bloody tears, don't ya forget it!"

The sailor mopped at his sweat-beaded face and licked his lips. Andar could tell the man was so thirsty he'd probably of paid for his own piss, let a lone the fancy bottle he proffered. This one was ripe for the plucking. He just needed a few nudges in the right direction. The sailor reached for the bottle then, with Endrani placing it just out of the man's reach.

"Give it over. I need a taste of it afore I can judge its worth," said the sailor.

"This nectar from the gods ain't free, sailor boy. But I can see you would like to be the only man in this city to have ever tasted the Konti vintage. For anyone else I would say twenty gold mizas without blinking. But I like ya. For you...I cannot bloody believe I am doing this....... Fer you, the low price of fourteen gold mizas! Ye'll find no better offer!" declared Endrani theatrically, presenting the bottle once more for his thirsty inspection.

"Fourteen?! You're crazy fella,"said the sailor, though his expression belied his words.

Any tick now he would cave. Endrani gave a long sigh and stroked his beard thoughtfully for far too long. "It really is a sin for me ta do this. But since I like you lad, I'll tell you what. A cup of this glorious stuff for four gold mizas. Take it before I change me mind! Like I said, this is a sin fer me to part even a drop o' this wine from the rest."

Out came a shot glass he had brought along just for this possibility and before the man decided to disagree, he uncorked the bottle and filled the glass to the brim.

Chimes later Endrani sauntered and whistled along, four gold mizas the richer and only at the cost of a very small glass of fine wine. Perhaps the day could be salvaged still! He had only to find a few more fools to con before the veil of night.


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Friends in Low Places (Kaie)

Postby Kaie on July 10th, 2015, 5:01 am

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"Are you going to stare at that thing all bloody day, Myrian?"

Balanced between two cautious index fingers, the cleaver's brow gleamed with the sweat of Syna's shine upon its pristine metal surface. A pair of striking amber eyes fixated on the reflection of themselves that had been presented along the blade's expanse. Fingers wobbled gently, shifting to reveal the reflection of a mirthful half-grin upon a savage's face instead.

"If it pleases me," was the sunkissed woman's absent reply to the unruly tongue of her newest sailor companion. Her innately sharp gaze shifted from the weapon in her hands to the bearded captain where he stood proudly atop his ship's deck.
"Hardly known ya a season, and I wouldn't say yer an easy lass to please."
The foreigner's brow furrowed in consideration at his words before her focus was torn back to the curiously ordinary cleaver. The captain shook his head. "Unless yer common butcher's knife whispers secrets to ya in the night, I'd say yer wastin' yer time." Something strange appeared within her ever-attentive gaze.

Perhaps it does...and louder than you think, her mind replied in its wise silence. The supporting fingers dropped simultaneously, leaving the hand closest to the weapon's handle to make the quick recovery before it clattered upon the sea-rotted planks of the deck.
"It's whispers are still louder than anything I heard out of your whore last night while you pleasured her." Her gaze never strayed from the cleaver, and only the occasional twitch of the corners of her lips gave away the amused smirk she held back. The captain's sea-cracked lips parted and then quickly pursed. Dry, calloused hands readjusted his coat before he cleared his throat. "Well I reckon she's just as hard to please as yer self." Red flushed his cheeks, and as if he realized his retort was more of an admittance of defeat and his poor abilities between the sheets, he straightened up and gave a proud tug at his wiry black beard. "While ya sit there makin' love to yer cleaver with yer eyes, I'll be mapping our voyage for later in the season in my quarters." And with that the captain turned on his squeaky black boots and made a masculine storm below deck.

"I got your message loud and clear when Fate led me to the man who carried your weapon, Zedra, but the captain has a point. The trail's going cold on me. I wouldn't mind it so much if you let your cleaver somehow point me in the right direction," Kaie reasoned in her mother tongue to none but the spirit of the fallen Scattered Bones clanswoman herself. Sitting upon the ship's thick side railing, the foreigner carefully placed the weapon down beside her. A hand wandered to its center point and slowly gave the blade a spin. Around and around it went, handle, knife, handle, knife, until it finally gave a pause in the direction of the open ocean opposite the docks of Cherry Bay. The Myrian gave a sigh before repeating the action. It spun for some time until it settled upon the direction of the woman herself. Not like I was really going to take orders from a petching knife any time soon anyways, she griped out of sheer loss, planting a tawny hand upon her forehead in thought. But where do I go from here? Who is there left to ask? How can I discover what I need to know without being, well, discovered? The cleaver's point was lifted and stabbed into the weakened wood of the railing.

Her search expanded outward from herself. Beyond the docked ship laid the perilous city she had called home for several seasons prior until it nearly swallowed her whole. The swirl of scavenging thieves and seagulls among the laborious trudge of working sailors that characterized the Docks of Baroque Bay, merely scratched the surface of the wider realm of anarchy beyond. A growl rumbled in her throat. It would be easier to search for a needle in the Sea of Grass than to hunt down the leading conspirator against the Scars seasons ago. Especially when I don't even know who the petch they are when everyone's so damned quick to point fingers in all the wrong directions. The cleaver found purchase upon the wooden railing a few more times before she retired from the position. Standing comfortably within her bladed boots, the Myrian put away the knife and made her way for the plank that led down to Cherry Bay and out to Sunberth. After all, no tigress caught its prey within the safety of its lair.

Long before she stormed into the budding crowds of hauled cargo and weary travelers, the woman's hood was thrown up over her head to conceal just how very foreign she was. A neutral stroll was taken. However, never was she so foolish as to keep her right hand from wavering oh-so-closely toward her gladius hilt. Ahead she could hear the call of some sort of merchant, assuring the authenticity of his rare wares. A common cry indeed, from con-artists and truth-tellers alike. The city's masses thrived within their own hypocrisy: skeptics who believed any rumor the Establishment's crier might shout but reluctant when it came to business. It was enough to have anyone with a bit of an educational background or a semblance of common sense scratching their head. Yet as she drew closer, the Myrian couldn't hide her fierce, shadowed grin.

He was the poster-child for the swaggering, seaworthy men of his class. Dusky skin attested to the wear of the sun, and braid decor peaking from beneath a scarf the undeniably Svefra character before her. Gods, was he lively, too. A Svefra merchant who acts like he knows his audience. Maybe he was here two seasons ago, selling his wares before the mob sent him scrambling like the rest when they chased us. The Myrian paced as inconspicuously as she could in deliberation, slow steps bringing her here and then there, feigning interest in the various stalls that popped up while the springy fellow dealt with his latest quarry. Just when she swore her patience had run dry, a cup of some unidentifiable liquid was poured into a glass, and a transaction was made. No sooner had the seafaring traveler made off with his newest collection of Mizas did the savage casually approach him. She gave him a whistle. A small sack of coin was procured before his very eyes and jingled within a firm grip.


"Hey, you, merchant. What have you left I might give a shyke about?"
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Friends in Low Places (Kaie)

Postby Andar on July 12th, 2015, 7:45 am

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His spirits already buoyed by the latest swindle, the sight of a cloaked woman practically begging his clever tongue to fleece her clean made not grinning like a lunatic unusually difficult. So he grinned anyway. Though he did show some restraint by not ogling her coin-sack with open avarice thick in exotic amber eyes. As usual, Andar was quick to recover from his initial surprise and good fortune, surveying the woman before him as a grocer might a sack of oats. Every last detail counted for something in the world of thievery. Spotting something so simple as a tattoo, a style of hat or clothing or even a scar could prove handy in conversation and may even coax more coin out of the victim if used in the proper context. Just as imperative, there were often visible clues that might offer the rogue indication of trouble - like now.

He already spotted a few telltale signs presently that should of had him scraping the docks in humble forgiveness before scurrying away, glad for the gains he'd gotten already. One, it was an easy thing to evaluate the woman was highly dangerous. Her movements all but screamed she was a predator among prey. Two, her toned figure could not be adequately hidden by simple methods of concealment. She was physically fit so that meant her trade of choice likely had something to do with beating the shyke out of rogues like himself. And three, the fact that she hid her features at all was the very worst tip-off of all. Sure, some folks liked to remain anonymous for very logical reasons and not all of them were worthy of anything resembling fear, but this lady had just the right combination of don't petch with me. Despite the list of valid reasons for him not to pursue the mark, he decided to anyway.

Andar ignored the survival code itself. Call it foolish cocky-pride, or chalk it up to his gambling nature where mizas were concerned, for whatever reason, he didn't follow the rules. He sneered in the face of every instinct that told him quite forcibly, "Get the petch out of there!" Andar stayed and said, "Well lassie, that all depends on if ya fancy the very best sort o' shyke one can find in these here parts!"

He swaggered over to her, offered her a grin full of white teeth that was perhaps a bit too Jackalish in nature before dropping his bag and delving in with a, "Allow me ta look inside me vault of treasures..." His search was halted for just a tick when he raised back up and presented her with one of Endrani's charming smiles. "By the wave, my name is Endrani. My father was a Svefran pirate. My mother, a Sunberthian whore. I was the compromise." he said with a hearty laugh straight from the gut, which he had adopted from watching the Svefra. "And who might be this beautiful creature that stands before me? Ya are from here, no?" he inquired, giving her an appraising gaze before sinking back down to root around in his bag once more.

"A rare item for a rare woman....Aha! Here we are," he announced, turning back to her, a long furry animal closely resembling a weasel navigated the length of Endrani's arm before leaning out and sniffing the air and the Myrian curiously. "Oh not ya! Bella! Forgive me, lady. This one is not for sale. She be just a capricious little monster. But still, hold 'er a moment whilst I show ya this," he said, transferring the ferret over to the Myrian's keeping.

It wouldn't have been the first time Andar relied on cute little animals to distract his marks just long enough for him to pick a pocket or three. Still, that possibility was out of the question for the current mark. She would more than likely be savvy to such tricks. No, today Bella was to simply entertain and amuse whilst he worked his magic. A few ticks later the Svefran trader carefully brought out a box for her inspection. Upon removing the lid, a gold chain headband sparkled into view. Turquoise stones shimmered in Syna's light, one at each juncture where four arcs of gold met. They all connected to a large wreath of gold, presumably made to encircle the head.

Endrani handled it delicately, even reverently, removing it from the box to show it to the Myrian where it lay draped over the palms of his hands. "This little darling here and I met in faraway Lhavit. Sold ta me by a friend who swore on his mother's life that it had fallen into his possession by a miracle of the gods and that it was worn by the Star Lady, Zintila, herself," he said with a religious gesture to strengthen his claim.

Andar pat Bella on the head, peered one way and then the other discreetly before coming in close to whisper secretively to the Myrian. "I do believe me old friend was a dirty rotten thief though and sold it on the cheap due to the merchandise being extremely hot, if ya take my meaning. Probably dead now. But what concern of ours is that, aye? This beautiful headband is probably priceless and deserves a pretty owner such as yourself. What do ya say? Care to try it on? I would wager every miza I had that every sailor around will soon forget their work when they see how dazzling it looks on ya!" he promised, though he still had little idea what the woman looked like beneath the hood. Flattery usually got you everywhere, after all. Endrani gingerly offered up an exchange, headband for ferret. He was also hoping she would offer up her likeness, and thereby give him a better understanding of who she was.....

Gold Headband :
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Friends in Low Places (Kaie)

Postby Kaie on July 15th, 2015, 2:06 am

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Ah, yes. That's it. Take the bait, Fish, her mind cooed as she neared the Svefra merchant's cart. A twist of her wrist had the coins within the pouch rattling like mad, but before her brash gesture could turn more heads than the one in particular it intended, the pouch disappeared back to its hidden place on her person. Amber eyes wandered to find his. For a tick her forehead scrunched beneath the hood of her cloak. Skepticism clouded her head like a constrictor tightening around a throat. Teeth were flashed toward the man in the form of a winning smile.

"Pleasure to meet you and your fine vault of treasures, Endrani, the woman returned with a tone smooth as silk and brutalized only by the thickness of her accent. Looks like it's your turn, Myrian. What'll it be? The jungle-born cleared her throat. "Myra..." Her thoughts practically flipped on their heads. Myra?! Really? Like the bitch from the Blooded Fangs clan you duked it out with back in Taloba? Gods, just go with it now. You can't very well be Kaie anymore in this city anyways. "...And no, I'm not from here at all." Perhaps, at the very least, she was beginning to discover just why it was so important Fallon, Zandelia, Markus, and Pulren went by different aliases a couple seasons ago. Around every corner and in every alleyway lurked a hunter waiting to finish the mob's bloody work, surely. There was no reason to broadcast her presence anymore than necessary. A new name was a start.

While Endrani rifled through his bag of rare, mysterious treasures, the Myrian went about making casual glances about the Docks. Only the curious half-Svefra man's outburst drew back the attention of the paranoid savage. Kaie blinked dumbly at the little furry creature as it scampered down the merchant's arm toward her. Like a squirrel...but longer. The coloring is different, too. Without a qualm, Kaie took in the barbarian world's version of a bush baby in her hands. The weaselly little thing squirmed within her hands, sniffing and wandering up toward her arms. It was a clever tactic, she had to admit, using the adorable little distraction against a client. Cuddling the cute little rodent must've made plenty sour minds turn soft and malleable within the merchant's hands. However, part of her couldn't help but wonder if the wrong pair of starving hands would take off with Bella, recognizing her as something worthy of being put on a spit over a warm fire. Mostly, though, she was just waiting to see what mysterious object Endrani would present her with next. And when he did, it was tough for the woman not to openly scoff.

The petch is that?

Her analytical gaze scanned the the contents of the box with careful precision. For some time she lingered over the gold chain headband, staring into the shine of the metal and the shimmer of the turquoise stones that brought the piece prestige. The way Endrani handled it made it seem as if it were the most delicate object of value in his possession. She pondered over his story, lips twisting beneath their veil in indecisiveness. Lhavit was as foreign to her as the mythical island of Mura, and what she knew of its wonders was nothing more than the wild tales of alleged world travelers that wandered into the Rearing Stallion. It was only after the ferret was circling back up his arm that her hands wavered up as if to mimic Endrani's delicacy with the headband. He might've caught the flash of teeth right before it all happened.

Without warning, the left hand shot back in an open-handed guard, while the right hand exploded forward in a tight-fist, hook punch aimed at the man's left temple. Regardless of whether or not she made contact, the woman bounced a healthy step back on the balls of her feet with a ferocious snarl.
"You've misjudged me rather terribly, merchant" The rapid-fire nature of her movements caused the hood over the woman's head to slide back some, potentially revealing the tawny hue of her sunkissed skin when she approached him beneath the bright light of Syna's rays. "Even if that ridiculous headband is real, do you take me for the type of woman to adorn myself with such a thing?" Kaie gestured down to her traditional attire with a grand flourish, taking the time to flip away the bottom of her cloak to more obviously display her ancestral gladius upon her hip. "In a city like this it would be asking for death. It would make me a target." Was it even worth mentioning her utter refusal to wear an object that belonged to any Star Lady, a divine figure or woman of power that her people did not recognize?

"And you're awfully Svefra in nature for a man without blue eyes. Wouldn't the son of a whore be spending more time in the brothel than out at sea with pirates who wouldn't recognize him as fully one of their own?" Kaie cocked her head at the man, surprising even herself that drinking so often with the Svefras at the dock taverns indeed had its perks. After all, she'd found that they were nearly as proud as her own people. A discrepancy to discredit one's purity certainly wouldn't go unnoticed, would it? Never losing her somewhat defensive stance, only time would tell if her potentially unfounded accusation would indeed break down the will of Endrani's character. That's of course assuming her strike didn't do it first.
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Friends in Low Places (Kaie)

Postby Andar on July 17th, 2015, 2:32 pm

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It all happened so very quickly. The shouts, whistles, the sounds of cargo being lowered by winch, the call of a sea bird, the cute little sounds Bella made as she scampered up his arm like a gang plank that led from Myrian to Sunberthian, all of it came in a rush that time could not contain. Andar did indeed catch the savage ivory grin, just in time. Of course, although he had foolishly dismissed his instincts to leave this one alone, he hadn't divorced himself from all reason. He was playing the part of Endrani, but also watching her closely, like a man attempting to handle a snake, cautiously and ever watchful because you never truly knew when it would strike. Become lax for even a heartbeat and it could all be over. The game would be up, the farce over and done with.

Although the Kelvic thief had not been caught off guard, he was awestruck by the speed of the woman and the ferocity. She assumed a fighter's pose, one hand flashing forward swiftly and accurately toward Endrani's swarthy head. There was scarcely anytime to curse, hardly any time to do anything but rely entirely upon instincts. Quite ironically, he used the most readily defense he had.....that which was in his hands. As her fist flew at him, he raised the headband to snare and halt the tremendous blow. The gold chains snagged as they caught her knuckles, but appeared largely ineffective as a makeshift net for her punch came on anyway! Endrani heard a jingle and then a twang as the fake gold chain broke apart, a turquoise stone smacked him in the face at the precise time the Myrian's fist grazed his cheek and eyebrow.

Myra hadn't landed her punch cleanly, but the impact and his jerky reaction to evade the blow saw him staggering backward, fighting to keep his balance whilst Bella surveyed things from atop his tawny mane. For just a tick, something more animal than human swirled in amber eyes, his lips peeled back in a feral snarl. However, just as swiftly, it was gone, he regained his wits at about the same time he found proper footing. His ire dissipated to leave only despair written across a dusky visage.

"Look what you've done lass! Me precious headband be ruined!" Endrani cried, holding up only remnants of what remained of the jewelry. Another stone broke loose at that moment and toppled onto the planks where bits of gold chain glittered on the wood. Andar's first instinct was to throw the headband at Myra and make a run for it. But after scant consideration, he tossed that idea away as foolish and self-incriminating. His accusing tone and eyes were mirrored in the woman's words. She was accusing him of being a fraud. So she had seen through his deception, or at least suspected something inauthentic about him. Still, perhaps a sliver of hope remained that he could pull this off. Myra had suspicions, but she didn't know for certain, he was almost positive of that. The question was still in the air.... How to play the cards he had left up his sleeve?

The half-Svefran pressed a hand to his chest as if extremely hurt by her accusations."Ya question me wares and me heritage? Ye insult Endrani to the marrow, ya do lady," he said. Andar still hadn't forgotten what was revealed to him with her aggressive actions. A sun-kissed countenance of foreign decent had superimposed itself in his mind's eye. It appeared his insincere shower of compliments earlier hadn't been far off the mark. In fact, he thought they fell quite short of describing the alluring, yet exotic savage-like beauty he had glimpsed. It dawned on him then that she might be one of the amazonian women he had heard tale of in the Pig's Foot. Warlike lasses from Taloba that weren't known for gentle temperaments or forgiving hearts. Andar pocketed away that information for later use.

He was sure her hiding her face had something to do with where she was from. Perhaps Myra had killed important people in another city and was an outlaw hiding away in Sunberth. Or maybe she was on a secret mission for her fellow barbarians and they needed information that could only be found in the City of Anarchy. There were quite a few plausible notions scurrying around in his head, but hard to be sure of any of it without more to go on...

Endrani's eye had trouble focusing on the steel at her hip when so many other tantalizing sights were offered up to admiration by the flourish and swirl of cloak. Still, he got the message clear enough, discarding what was left of the headband into his bag before raising his hands, palms out, in a placating fashion. "Now now lass. No need for that. We understand each other, no? Aye, I see that now. Ye be no woman to desire such trinkets. You're fierce, like a jungle cat," he said and prowled close to her not unlike a sleek panther. Andar slipped an unruly strand of hair from his face that had escaped his scarf in the commotion, peering at her with an unmistakably roguish gleam in his eyes.

"We are not so very different, you and I. This place does not accept us for who we are. We are outsiders. As you so cruelly reminded me, I did not belong with my kind. They would not accept me. Always the bastard. The half-blood," he said with a hand over his face and a dramatic sigh. Then he shrugged and chuckled jovially as if it were all an amusing joke. "But we are what we are eh?" he said with a pointed wink. "Why do you hide tigress? Why hide such beauty from the world?" he said, his words becoming fainter and softer, his breath warm and inviting, his proximity so very close....

Andar had no clue where he was going with the current suicidal ploy. It was all founded on a hunch, a whim to fish out more information from the Myrian. She had a very important reason to remain unseen. If he could unlock that mystery perhaps then he could bargain with more than just goods. He might just be able to provide other services of distinct value.

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Friends in Low Places (Kaie)

Postby Kaie on July 18th, 2015, 3:21 am

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Despite the definitive, threatening nature of her previous actions, it was hard for her not to voice surprise in that the merchant used something he'd deemed so very precious in value ticks ago as a sort of defense. The headband's destruction did nothing to ease the uncertainty in the woman's head. She'd never owned any kind of gold chain to know whether or not one's breaking disproved its authenticity. For Endrani's sake, however, she hoped it was indeed a fake. His poor choice in reaction had only been instinctual, and it was purely bad luck that he had his merchandise in his hands to receive the punishment. That smidge of sympathy did not override the utter satisfaction she felt upon making contact with his face, however.

By the time the struck merchant recovered to find his words, the Myrian was already doing her best to read him the same way he might've been trying to read her all along. Her accusations, in her opinion, had been whipped at the man from solid ground. His response to them did not inspire confidence in the woman though. An exclamation about his wounded pride by her words did not make her feel uneasy in her own judgement, but his leveling with her because they were both "outsiders" did. He compared me to a jungle cat. He knows I'm a Myrian. After I hit him, he didn't strike back and he didn't run. That means he's regrouping. If this is some kind of scheme, which I'm almost certain it is, he's merely switching tactics. I need to do the same before his prying screws me, she strategized in the privacy of her own head.

It took some time for the Myrian to lower her hands from their guard. It took almost as long for her eyes to pry away from his bag when she realized no other trinket was about to emerge. Words were his tools of manipulation to wield like weapons against her. He was a convincing fellow, there was no denying that. Each little question felt like a prod at her soul, a tug as the steel curtain that hid the truth and all her vulnerabilities that wished to peek at what laid within. The lowering of his volume and the slow approach of the speaker was inviting, bidding her to lean in just a bit closer. Had Endrani not given her the feeling that he was a deceptive, up-to-no-good character, she might've fallen for the ploy. However, not even Kaie was fool enough to get too close to the man she'd punched mere chimes ago. Eyes narrowed at the man as she deliberated. The cloak hood was tugged back firmly over her head.


"You find you and I so very alike, do you? So alike you feel you're privy to the answers to those questions?" The rhetorical questions was followed by a short pause. Eyes glanced to Bella and then toward the ridiculously dressed man before her. The stones scattered about the deck at his feet caught the rays of Syna above. "Fine. You may know these things, but I must show you. Words will not do." Then, just like that, the Myrian turned on her heels and essentially retraced her steps. After a few steps she turned and gestured for him to follow if he dared. Before long she was trudging along the gangplank of a ship. A hatch that led below deck was thrown open, revealing a set of stairs illuminated by the soft glow of oil lamps lining the walls. With a grand flourish, Kaie motioned for the man to take the first step down into the depths of the ship's abyss. "There is a price for knowledge, Endrani. All you have to do is take the first steps."
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Friends in Low Places (Kaie)

Postby Andar on July 18th, 2015, 11:01 pm

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The way she posed her question made it seem a threat. A personal affront for him to even dare assume he had the privilege to learn those answers. That there was a distinct possibility for pain involved with acquiring such knowledge. Endrani merely smiled and shrugged though. A simple enough noncommittal gesture that cost him little and usually was used to wonderful effect. Intermixed with the words, "I be but a humble merchant. Your secrets are your own," he said, though the smile that lingered over his swarthy features looked anything but humble.

He was confident in his charm, but even he was surprised (and a little suspicious) at how quickly the Myrian agreed to disclose her secrets. It smelled like a trap to him. More so because of how mysterious she was about the whole thing. She offered to show him, explaining that simply telling him would not suffice. He much preferred hearing the words. Words were convenient and although knowing the wrong ones could land you in dire straights in a hurry in a lawless community like Sunberth, there was every opportunity for that someone to become conveniently forgetful at just the right time. Of course, there were well practiced means by which a certain person could miraculously (painfully) regain those lost memories. Nevertheless, that seemed perfectly harmless by comparison to the generally vague and decidedly chancy, "I'll show ya, just follow me...."

Andar seemed to be having one of those devil-may-care attitudes that got inquisitive Kelvics killed days. Something about the foreign woman enticed him and had him committed to rather foolhardy pursuits. Was it perhaps the rare and exotic beauty he had glimpsed? Or quite possibly the fact that the woman exuded danger. That usually wasn't an entirely good reason to be intrigued by someone, quite the opposite really. Be that as it may, she had piqued his interest.

There was the potential for danger, but also the undeniable thrill of getting away with it. It wasn't everyday he got to mingle with a Myrian either. Perhaps she was well connected and by law of association, he would become well connected simply by befriending her. He felt he had made some progress with the whole 'We're outsiders' bit. He had watched her intently and had seen some of the rigidness leave her stance. He deciphered it to mean she felt alienated in her environment. She was no doubt homesick. Sunberth was all that he knew, but he could well imagine how strange it would be to wake up in a place totally foreign to the world you were used to.

It seemed he did indeed dare to follow, for follow he did, with the usual flamboyant mannerisms and swagger of Endrani. A pair of sailors swabbing a deck paused in their work and pointed, grinned knowingly and elbowed one another at their passing. Endrani for his part, smiled all the broader and winked as if it were all so very obvious the intent for the Myrian's escapade. In truth he had absolutely no clue whatsoever what he was to be shown. The suspense was killing him, and he hoped for it not to be of the literal variety! The half-Svefran made a few attempts at conversation along the way, but Myra was terribly aloof. He took to watching her gait instead; leisurely but predatory, feminine yet fierce and purposeful.

Before he knew it, Andar was being led across the gangway of a ship. This was terribly inconvenient, he wanted to mutter. He could only hope she didn't require his expertise on nautical charts or caulking up a leak in the hull of a ship. For though Endrani knew much about such things, he unfortunately, knew next to nothing about such things. A boat was a boat as far as he was concerned. Perhaps one day he would expand upon his understanding ( lack thereof ) of seamanship, but if things went his way, that day was too far in the future to even tickle his consciousness.

Their journey came to an abrupt stop before the open hatch that apparently descended into the bowels of the ship. Lamplight cast shadows across a series of steps that went on into obscurity. Endrani's smile faltered for just a tick. Myra's cryptic words had him of the opinion that some prices were just too steep to consider! "Ya know, I do have a special vintage from the Konti Isles. There is no need ta trouble ourselves over knowledge if it be forbidden, yes?" he said with a laugh that was not altogether as boisterous as it had been.

He wanted to kick himself for his sudden cowardice though. It was that handy-to-have rogue instinct kicking in again to preserve his existence. But still, a very large part of him wanted to know this woman's secrets. Badly enough to risk himself in a situation he could not easily escape? That was the question.
"But of course, if you.....insist. By all means. Ladies first," he said, flashing her a wolfish smile and extending his hand to indicate she ought to go down the steps first. It was only proper....and much safer that way.

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Friends in Low Places (Kaie)

Postby Kaie on July 29th, 2015, 4:04 am

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Down, down long into the abyss, her thoughts mocked the man as her eyes studied what was very clearly hesitation. Brows rose as if in disappointment. She rested her forearm on the edge of the raised hatch. Nothing but the sounds of emptiness arose from within the gloomy depths of what laid below deck. All that disturbed the silence between Myrian and merchant was the swagger of nearby deckhands elsewhere, and the sound the ship made when gentle waves rocked beneath. The mention of a "special vintage" from the legendary Konti Isles had the woman fighting a snort of snark.
"Cautious for a seafarer, aren't you? You were so bold until you looked into the dark of the tiger's lair," Kaie teased with a flash of ivory teeth. There was a slight edge to her tone, as if there was a challenge to be found then despite the outburst of laughter the Svefran had offered ticks ago. A casual, rather bored looking glance was shot over Endrani and back toward the docks.

Several ticks passed between them before a concession was made. The Myrian's predatory smile widened. Her amber stare wandered down into the depths of the abyss-like hatch. Firelight flickered along the walls, causing the shadows within to dance. She looked back toward Endrani with obvious amusement.
"Fair enough. Just close the hatch behind you." Then she was on the move, her lithe form slipping down into the darkness with a leisurely sway. Soon enough the shadows swallowed her whole. All that remained was the woody echo of her continued foot falls fading from earshot. "Hurry up, Svefra, while Syna still lights the sky!"

So long as the curious merchant kept his nerve, there would be nothing too special about his descent. Little more would congratulate his courage than the creak of old stairs and the hungry glow of swinging lamps. The short hall of stairs would open up to a much wider underworld. Crates and barrels lined nearby walls as if they were still awaiting a deckhand's labor. Rays of sunlight rained down from the spaces in the floorboards above, casting a golden glow to aid the strategically placed lamps upon more ship walls.
"This way, merchant," would be the only direction given from the voice of the Myrian, hopefully leading him to turn right and wander in the direction of the back of the ship.

Ahead, he would notice a door slightly ajar. Darkness would consume the small room's innards, but in a tick, there would be a strange click before more lamplight was born. Choosing to adventure inside would allow the man to find the object of his curiosity. On the other side of the stained desk tainted with maps and journals spewed across its surface, Kaie would turn around to face him with a pair of metal cups. A bronze hand would gesture for him to take a seat in the chair directly across from her before she too seated herself.
"Didn't you say something about some fine Konti Isles vintage?"
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Friends in Low Places (Kaie)

Postby Andar on August 3rd, 2015, 11:44 pm

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"I do believe you've confused caution with politeness m'dear. Never have it said, Endrani is not a man to respect a woman's privacy," he said with as much noble bearing as he could muster. Which was to say, very little. The half-Svefran chuckled his denial, peering the Myrian straight in the eyes. "I fear not the tiger's lair. Perhaps I'll have me a cat nap down there later on," he said with a boastful protrusion of chest and nonchalant gaze at his nails.

Inside, Andar bubbled with excitement and curiosity. This was something entirely different from the usual. Inward, he sniggered at Endrani's act of bravado. He absently wondered what the foreign woman made of his swaggering seafarer. Did she perhaps have a soft spot for such individuals? Did she wish to truly test his courage? Make him sweat under threat of blade or the weight of knowledge, or something else? He found the Myrian a particularly hard nut to crack. What little he had learned of her had not been freely given, but logically surmised. She was keeping her cards close to the vest. It was abundantly clear she didn't trust him. Nor should she, he would be rather disappointed if she were that naivete.

The swaying lantern light accentuated her swaying hips, which he attentively followed. Endrani's lean legs traversed the steps without difficulty. Though he did exaggerate his gait to produce an audible counterpoint. No need to show-off abilities one wasn't exactly supposed to lay claim to. The passage widened and brightened and Endrani saw things one might expect in the hold of a ship. Nothing struck him out of the ordinary. Although he did find himself slightly curious as to Myra's relationship with the ship. Was she the captain? Did her supporters finance the whole thing for whatever business they saw fit for her to be doing in Sunberth? "I love what you've done to the place," he said with a casual wave to a stack of crates. "So very....shippy," he said. And he did laugh that time, managing only barely to keep his own natural chortle from the more robust guffaws of Endrani.

The only change in direction brought him to a partially open door. There he was greeted with pitch darkness. Then after a suspenseful breath or three, a light flicked on to reveal a cozy little cabin. Myra awaited him on the other side of a desk littered with maps and journals, matching metal cups in her hands. He clapped his hands happily together, with a echoing, "Very nice indeed." Though whether he meant his surroundings, her, or the fact she wanted to get drunk, was very much up to interpretation. Endrani jingled over to desk and chair, Bella peeking over his shoulder at Myra and all the interesting items sprawled out over the stained wood. He too, glanced down whilst situating himself, attempting to make out any of the text on the journals in particular.

"Ah yes. A vintage of Mura and the captivating Konti seers, whose tears bring the imbiber visions of the future. Normally I would charge an exorbitant amount for such a delicacy," he said, taking the cups from her and producing the fancy bottle from his sack a tick later."But I sense we have an accord, you and I," he said, lifting his amber gaze to look upon her for a lingering moment before lowering his attention to complete the pouring.

Offering Myra one wine-filled metal cup, he took the other for himself and raised it in toast."To you m'dear and the future and making dreams come true," he said, sipping from his cup and watching her closely from above the brim as he set a hand down on her desk, his dexterous fingers swiveling a journal around to steal a glimpse. "So Myra, what is this secret of yours that has you so consumed? What is troubling you m'dear? And is there any way Endrani can help?" he asked in a somewhat softer voice. His attention divided between trying to read the Myrian's expression and trying to read the journal.

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Friends in Low Places (Kaie)

Postby Kaie on August 8th, 2015, 3:56 am

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How she managed to swindle the merchant into venturing down into the unknown of the ship's abyss after her, she hadn't a clue. Yet there he was in all his ridiculous glory. The ferret still perched atop his shoulder only furthered the ludicrous nature of the man's image. At least he had goods with him and the decency to go about graciously filling the cups. His narrative had the Myrian fighting the roll of her eyes. Yes, it must be a very fine, mythical vintage if you're thoughtlessly uncorking and pouring it without a single Miza from my end, she criticized with a blank, indecipherable stare. It would've been a lie, however, if she claimed that the very sound of wine filling her cup didn't immediately lighten her mood. Too bad for Endrani that, regardless of her mood, she had quite an agenda to see through.

"An accord. Of course," the jungle-born reassured with a passive hand gesture that brushed away doubt like it hung tangibly in the air before her. The other sunkissed hand snaked through her wild curls, shoving them back from her face. Then she was taking up the metal cup like her companion and participating in his toast. A crooked grin broke across the previously pressed line of lips. Endrani might've been alarmed at first to notice the savage took no part in the customary drinking of the wine post-toast. For several ticks she waited to ensure the strange wine really did travel down his throat before she took a generous sip of her own. All the while she, too, watched him over the brim, acutely aware of her own condition in case some strange hallucinations really did begin to set in. Pink lips closed and the cup was lowered. Doesn't taste like anything special. Shocker.

"Any way for you to help?" Brows rose and eyes widened something likened to mock innocence. Kaie settled back into her high-backed wooden chair with as much comfort as a queen upon her throne, body language conveying the unarguable comfort in her position. Amber eyes glanced off-handedly into her wine rather casually. "Funny you should ask." Her sights flicked up to lock upon the man's face not a chime before he was clubbed over the head savagely from behind. Kaie let out sigh, toying with the metal cup so that the ordinary wine rotated as if persuaded by an imaginary current. Thick ropes much like the ones seen on the ship's rigging on the top deck were quickly wrapping about the unconscious merchant, simultaneously tying his arms to his sides and back to the chair.

"I was beginning to wonder why I'd signed on with you, Swiftfoot."
"Didn't know what I was gonna do for a good tick, Myrian," the sturdy captain grumbled beneath his thick, wiry beard. He made a firm knot with his first section of rope before cursing something foul and lumbering out of view. When he returned, it was with another set of rope. Promptly, he began to subdue the man's legs, too.
"Well, I'm glad you figured it out."
"Figured ya wouldn't lead anyone on this ship if ya didn't plan on tossing 'em over board sometime later in the night. This your man?"

"No, but I'm running out of time."
"Ohhh, fishin' for a lead are ya?" Kaie huffed with a hint of condensation though her eyes gave a defense tightening. She took another sip from the cup before shaking her head.
"I'm following a hunch. There's a difference."
"In perceived insanity..."

"Mind saying that again a bit louder?"
"Ah, I said he'll be comin' 'round, soon. Keep the blood from stainin' my floors will ya?" And with that the disgruntled, though amused, captain trudged from the captive Endrani and his bewildered ferret companion. The cabin door was shut behind him and back he went to keep a vigilant eye on his vessel.

The Myrian sat for some time in her chair, leisurely sipping on the merchant's wine while she all-too-calmly strategized her future actions. Sometimes she was positioned unbecomingly in the captain's chair, other times she paced the floor with the metal cup in hand. By the time she'd finished the container for the third time, the man would hopefully be stirring to find the bottle of "Muran vintage" largely empty. The metal cup was unceremoniously dropped back onto the desk. The Myrian, no longer boasting any kind of elusive charm, threw back her hood to reveal what laid beneath as she seated herself upon the desk. Replacing the camaraderie that came with toting a share of wine was the threatening presence of an unsheathed kukri. Her right hand squeezed the handle and rested a flat side of the blade across her thighs. Her left hand's index finger curiously traced its edge. Sharp, amber eyes glared upon the man unwaveringly.


"I'm sorry it's come to this, Endrani, but you and I are gonna have a little chat. I'm sure you have many questions, but since you're the one tied to the chair, I'll be the one doing the asking. So...how long have you been conning along the docks?" The kukri gave a tap against the bottle of wine, a brow arching as if reminding him that, as he certainly guessed, she was yet to experience any captivating visions of what loomed ahead. "We can get this over with quickly and very painlessly, so long as you choose to tell me the truth. I don't appreciate deception...as I'm sure you can imagine."

Note to Grader:Obtained permission to assume Andar was successfully knocked unconscious in order to be subdued from Andar's writer.
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