Solo Reality Ensues

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While Sylira is by far the most civilized region of Mizahar, countless surprises and encounters await the traveler in its rural wilderness. Called the Wildlands, Syliran's wilderness is comprised of gradual rolling hills in the south that become deep wilderness in the north. Ruins abound throughout the wildlands, and only the well-marked roads are safe.

Reality Ensues

Postby Konrad Venger on January 29th, 2016, 6:54 pm

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19th Bell - 32nd Day of Winter, 515AV - 22 Days West of Sunberth


"Whooooooa-!"

It was a faint echo of a sound from the front of the caravan, but Konrad knew, after twenty days on the road, what that long, sonorous command made. And who it came from. Syna had plunged down into the horizon and vanished, Caiyha swallowing her up until she was born again the next day. Fragments of her still painted the sky, but the darkness was spreading, and that meant that soon the caravan had to make camp.

"Looks like good ground for it."

Konrad squinted at the flat blackness to the right of the road and came to the same conclusion. That alone made one corner of his mouth tug up: that he could look at the ground and see why it was good ground. Thick, solid earth and heath, worn down from past expeditions doing the same thing. Enough that they'd survived to tell about it, perhaps. The skeletons of old camp fires were scattered here and there, white snow clashing with the black ashes.

"Aye. T'does."

Stash could have fallen out of his seat. Konrad, the only name he'd gotten out of the scarred, glowering Sunberth hooligan, wasn't one for conversation. More than once the cart driver had been "prompted" to keep his blather to himself simply by the sight of Konrad turning to burn a hole through him with his stare, blazing under the rim of his ever-present hat.

So for him to respond to an offhand statement, without being questioned first...?

"Hey, wanna help me-"

"Yer on yer own, carter,"
Konrad said as he leaped down, the caravans creaking and groaning along with their animals, drivers herding them all, moving flesh and dead wood, into the camp ground. "Got my own business to attend to."

Stash scowled at the man's back. Well. That was short-lived.

"Eyes? Wheres'a supply cart?"

"Over yonder,"
the tattooed Sunberth rat said as he tied up his cart's oxen for the night, for some absurd reason willing to help his cart driver. Konrad would never understand some of Three Eyes' eccentricities. "Wanna toss for the water or the fire?"

"Hells no,"
Konrad said with a spit to his side, tossing his last words over his shoulder. "Still think yer using a double-headed miza."

"Where's the trust?"


Konrad didn't even dignify that. He had bigger things to worry about, not to mention his kit to reclaim. The covered wagon loaded down with the packs, possessions and rolled-up tents was easily found, the other sellswords already crowding around it. Konrad rifled through until he had his own over one shoulder, Eyes' over his other and their tent in his hands. He looked to the sky critically.

Half a bell, at most, then we'll be in the dark.

He picked a spot not far from the rim of the rough circle the carts and wagons were being arranged in; close enough to a cart of brandy that if any trouble broke out, he could roll under it in a few ticks. He let the packs and the tent fall, rummaged around in his own for something else...

Some strips of cloth, neatly sliced with his kukri, from the pack of the sellsword who became wolf shit a few days before. He wasn't about to use it again; not to mention his rations, his wineskin or his crossbow.

Konrad especially liked his new crossbow, but this was just as useful.

It was all repetition, based on what he'd seen before. See something enough times, a process or series of events, and you can replicate them. You just have to focus, and that's what Konrad did. By the failing light he rooted around and made a circle with stones and rocks, scouring around under the cart for them when he had to. Then he went further afield and gathered up twigs, sticks, grass, bark, moss, anything that was dry and flammable, and dumping half in the circle and half on the outside.

Tinder, kindling and fuel, he reminded himself, rubbing through the pile of debris to make sure it was dry enough. Need tinder for a spark, kindling to make the spark a flame, and fuel to... to...

Konrad thought back to what the carter said a few nights before, as he'd carefully slid branches and cut limbs into their infant fire.

... keep the flame going! Fuck. Need fuel.

He looked around and saw a black skeleton just beyond the circle. Scrawny and naked of any protection, laid bare to the world. Konrad didn't know much about nature, but he knew a corpse when he saw it, and the tree was dead as anything he'd seen (or made such). He huffed to himself and got up, drawing his kopis and make a note to sharpen it later.

Ain't what it was intended for, he thought as he started hacking lengths from the skinny, bony arms. But you use what ya got.

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Reality Ensues

Postby Konrad Venger on January 31st, 2016, 6:55 am

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"Well... someone was busy."

Konrad looked up from his poking to see two full buckets slosh to the ground. Three Eyes huffed and warmed his sore hands by the fire. His fire.

"Learning on the road, huh?"

"Aye."
Konrad leaned over and grabbed the metal grate that every couple of sellswords was given, a simple, four-three pig iron grill that fit over the fire. "Two buckets'll be enough?"

"Should be, we don't take too long, an' keep the fire goin'."


Konrad permitted himself a smug smile, nodding at the little pile of firewood next to it, and the merrily dancing campfire next to it. "It will."

A few chimes later, Three Eyes had their water source set up for the night. Konrad watched him like a hawk the whole time, though it wasn't too hard to figure out. Pretty clever, actually. It was basically an over-sized metal kettle, capable of holding a full bucket of water, only the spout was long, much longer, curving down to large jug next to the fire.

Konrad hadn't understood at first. Wasn't his area of expertise, this wilderness stuff. But he'd watched. He'd seen the water boil in the kettle and the steam travel up the spout... and come out the metal pipe as dripping, steaming water.

Only this water wasn't from the sea.

"We move on from Zeltiva, there'll be ponds an' rivers and such we can use," Fangor had told him one night, "But 'til then, easier to stick on the road by the sea and just use the water from there. Gotta make it fit fer drinkin' first, though. No faster way t'get the shits than chuggin' seawater..."

Konrad tended to his fire as Three Eyes hovered about, checking the buckets, the kettle, making sure the steady pour of steaming, purified water was smacking into the other jug without losing anything. He'd slogged two of those heavy, sloshing bastards up from the beach, over the road and into the campsite. Damned if he was going down for more.

"Rations?"

"Inna' tent."


Of course, Three Eyes' partner didn't move. He'd put up the tent, he'd made the fire. He'd taken care of heat and shelter, so Eyes could handle food and water. As far as Konrad was concerned, that was fair... and since it was Konrad, Three Eyes thought it smarter not to argue and just accept it.

Plus, he had to admit, the prick caught on quick.

Konrad let Eyes go about his work and their meal and did what occupied most of his nights: he watched. Fire after fire was lit now, orange smears and glows that all seems to congeal together and illuminate the circle of wagons, their dark shapes hemming in everything.

He watched the sellswords sit around and throw back their skins and bottles. Saw their teeth gleam and glitter in the firelight, making a note of a few with flashes of gold and silver. One never knew when a comrade might fall in battle, and he was sure he had a pair of pliers somewhere in his pack.

The carters were a different breed. More... humble, he guessed the word was. Less swagger, less noise. More still by their fires, like they were conserving energy for another long, dull day ahead. They still passed around food and drink, though, and the aromas were wafting everywhere, mingling with-

The unmistakable smell of ox, horse and donkey shit. The animals were tied to their carts, feed bags over the horse's heads, the oxen with a ppile of oats under their broad, square heads. Tails swished and fluttered in the darkness, often invisible save for the whap-whap against stinking backsides.

Konrad could hear the slaves, too. A constant low muttering from the covered, wheeled cages that served as their transport. Dozens of mouths, all communing and praying and plotting and gossiping, it seemed. On some rare nights he even heard the ghost of a laugh from one of them. A child, probably. Young enough to not quite understand what was happening.

He frowned. Something... some pattern had reared its head again. He swung his eyes back to the carters and ran them over their shapes. The outlines of their beards and their hair; their shape and the little tics and motions that gave them some spark of the unique apart from their fellows. He squinted. He stared.

One was missing.

Again.

"'ere, Kon?" Three Eyes was turning over a nice, juicy slab of salted wolf meat when Konrad jerked to his feet and started walking, not so much as a by-your-leave coming his way. "Food's nearly done, y'ain't got watch 'til-"

"Checkin' somethin' out. Stay here."


Three Eyes had another question, more than one, all lined up, but Konrad gave no more clues and swaddled in his black coat as he was, in a moment was swallowed up by the looming shadows of the carts, vanished saved for fading footsteps.

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Reality Ensues

Postby Konrad Venger on January 31st, 2016, 10:22 am

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He knew what they would do to him if he was discovered. The fact that he could only narrow it down to "something brutal, prolonged and fatal" was what scared him most. He knew Fangor of old: the man had become endlessly creative in three decades marshaling slavers, sellswords, killers and outcasts together and keeping them in line. That stunt days before, with that Sunberth grotesque and his crossbow? He knew that was Fangor's idea. That was for a runaway. For a traitor, it would be far worse.

Walum knew all this. He knew the risks. But, like all foolish and greedy men, he'd deemed the reward worth them.

"This is all we have," the woman whispered to him, arm still fleshy and smooth extending from the cage towards him. "We have given you one. The rest when the cage opens."

"Gimme them now. All of 'em. Then I know y-"

"That will not happen,"
a younger, rasher voice hissed, then lowered a tick later. Words carried. Even whispers. Especially from slaves among slavers. "We don't trust you, as you would not trust us in our place. You have the first. A good price it will fetch. When the door opens, you will have the rest. All that we have. All to free us."

Walum studied the glimmering eyes beyond the bars of the wheeled cage. Desperation and animal distrust shone in them. He understood it. They were slaves; the world was a harsh and hostile place for them, nothing more. But unlike most slaves, they still had something real to bargain with.

He dared to peek into his palm. It was still there. The shard of a star, fallen to the earth, it seemed, and claimed by his hand. Shining even in the faint Lethlight and secondhand fires on the other side of the wagon. He ran his thumb over the jewel and felt the smooth hardness of it. He'd seen the like before, but never in all his travels and endeavors amassed the mizas to but one.

Now there was one, right there, in his grasp. Sell it and it would be food for a season, for his wife and daughter... or, more probably, wine and song and whores for even more.

Three more were promised. All those good times and security, quadrupled in his future. A year, maybe more, and all for the taking, if he just...

"We'll have t'wait," he whispered, disappearing the treasure into his pocket. "'til the late hours, when only the sentries're up. I'll... I'll take care of the one nearest to ya. No-one'll know."

Walum sighed as loud as he dared and scowled at the heap of naked, shadowy lumps beyond the two pairs of eyes that regarded him. They were listening. Of course they were. Another day, maybe less, and they'd turn on the three of them. Raise the alarm, tell Fangor, tell anyone, say anything to get their freedom. Well, there was a way out of that, too. And it would happen anyway.

"Y'know as soon as that cage opens, the rest of 'em... of you, yes, I see you listening... will come out, too. Two slaves slippin' away with a guard dead? Possible. But a whole cage emptied, a dozen of ya running? That'll attract-"

"We'll take our chances,"
the older woman said, with finality. None in the cage argued. It was the best chance any of them could hope for. "Just get the door open and... remove the guard."

Remove. Take care of. Clean and vague words for what Walum knew was nothing but murder. Then again, was it really murder, when the "victim" was a sellsword who'd slit a babe's throat for a handful of gold? He didn't know any of these hard-faced, cold-eyed men, and didn't want to. They were all the same: animals, jackals who'd eat each other and anyone around them for enough coin.

Walum grew up in Sunberth. He'd been carrying something sharp and deadly since he could hold one; his parents practically insisted. He knew how to use it. He knew because he'd had to. He swallowed and clenched his toes in his boots, like he did when he was coming to a difficult decision.

Four gems. A double fist of gold-rimmed mizas, and all you need to do is kill a man. He nodded to himself. No hesitation in his thoughts not. Just a simple acceptance. That's what he needed to do, along with open the door, so do it he would.

"Be ready. I'll be back later."

"Thank you."


From the younger woman. Daughter or maybe sister, he assumed. Walum didn't bother to nod, even to acknowledge them. He just checked his left and right and started walking again. He needed to try and stay awake for... gods, at least seven more hours. Not an easy thing, when you'd been carting all day. But the reward was worth it.

Something rustled behind him as he left the slave wagons and walks past the carts carrying barrels instead. He paused and looked and a shadow became flesh and lunged out at him-

-pinning him against the side of a wagon, hand clamped over his mouth, blade at his throat before he could even squeak-

"Don't talk. Jus' listen."

Bright green eyes like sweaty moss stared out at him from under a broad-brimmed hat. The voice was an animal rasp, gravel crunched underfoot, cold and lifeless. Walum's own eye went round as globes when he recognized them.

Gods, no...

"You were talkin' to the slaves. Don' bother shakin' yer head or lyin', ain't gonna do any good. Heard whispers. Listened to ya. Didn't need to hear the details. Why would a man be talkin' in secret, to slaves, in a slave caravan, hmm? Only one thing springs t'mind: talkin' about setting them free."

Konrad kept up the pressure over the moron's mouth as he tried, somewhat stupidly, to shake his head with a kukri at his throat. He pushed harder until the blade tasted a few drops of blood, stopping him dead.

"Wadid' I say, eh? Don' fuckin' bother. Now... I'mma take my hand away... and yer gonna tell me what they promised you, cuz we both know youse wouldn' be doin' this outta fuckin' charity. You scream, you yell, you do anything but talk, fast and quiet-like, I'll cut out yer tongue and tell Fangor what you did. Then let him decide what to do with ya."

He leaned closer. Let the man see into his eyes and realize the truth staring back at him.

"Not the first night I've seen you away from the fire, mate. Not the first time I've seen ya come back from where the wagons are. Conspirin'... tut-tut-tut... Fangor will not like that. Now... speak."

He let his hand away and the carter could barely keep his voice under control. It seemed to be straining not to shout, or yell, or scream, anything but do what it was doing instead. Which was spill his guts.

"L-Look, they, these women, they-they've got gems, man. They... They promised me t... two more-"

"More? Got some already?"

"Y-Yeah, hidden! L-Look, you keep it quiet an'-an' I'll-"

"Three, that's how much yer gettin'. So when we get to Zeltiva, three is what you'll sell, an' what you get for those three, I get half."
His hand may have moved, but his kukri hadn't. He twitched. Drip-drip. "That sound fair t'you?"

Like he was giving the man a choice. Fangor didn't like wasting sellswords, even when they got drunk and rowdy and fucked around when they should be working, but carters? He could pick them up anywhere. It would take him about three ticks to flay the bastard alive and have him dragging behind some wagon by dawn, and they both knew it.

"Y... Yeah. D-Deal!"

"Awright. When's this happenin'?"

"T-Tonight. T-Third bell, thereabouts. I... ah... I have to..."

"What? Have to what?"

"Kill the sentry closest t'the wagon,"
the carter spewed out, looking away like he was ashamed. Konrad tried to understand that for a moment and found it beyond him. "I-I do that, then open up the door, then I-I get the stones, an'-"

"Yeah, yeah, I get the idea."


Konrad finally took the kukri away and the carter seemed to sag against the wagon like someone had let all the air out of his lungs, his legs and his head. He felt at his neck and winced, gritting his teeth in lieu of flashing a glare he dared not.

Or did, as it turned out. Konrad knew why: they were partners, now. Equals. Both in deed and in punishment, if discovered. That gave a man a little boldness; he'd seen as such with Three Eyes. Well, he could go on thinking that, and Konrad would go on being... amenable, with him.

"On yeh go," he said, sheathing his blade and stepping away. "I'll have my eyes open tonight, carter. In case you need help with that man you're gonna gut."

The carter winced at the image and Konrad grinned, wide and mocking. Honestly. Some people. Then the man shrunk away, tottered the first few feet, but righted himself by the time he got back to their little constellation of fires. From the shadows Konrad watched him plaster a grin onto his face as he was welcomed back to one of the drivers' fires, pulling his coat up high against the cold, and to hide the blood on his neck.

Konrad kept watching, then started to walk back to their fire. Kept thinking, too. It was a good plan. Simple and self-contained, and he knew from experience how important the second part was. Two participants, not counting the slaves (and, really, who ever did?). The beauty of it was, all Konrad had to do was stay awake, make sure the carter did what he plotted to do, and then collect his half of the bounty once they got to Zeltiva.

Then the idiot would have an accident, a common thing for a stranger in a strange town to have, and Konrad would at best keep the lot, and at worst remove the only man who could reveal his deceptions.

"Kon? You've been quiet. Well. More quiet..."

But there was an angle he wasn't seeing. No, not that he wasn't see, more like... it was there, and now he could see it. Konrad stared harder at the flames even as he poked them, sending little bursts of crackling, burning ashes whooshing into the sky along with the flames.

There's another way. Something different.

"Kinda like a different kinda quiet, y'know?"

Stay quiet. Let him do the deed. Two less slaves. When we come to town, he sells the jewels, you get the money, kill him... yeah. A good plan. Solid plan.

He licked his lips and scratched the scruff under his chin. Then why wouldn't this feeling let go? What was it telling him? He tried to eat but just ended up picking at it instead. Not a bad steak, actually. Starting to turn but it had been plenty of days since he'd killed that wolf.

"I mean, yer not the most chatty guy inna' world, anyway, but tonight y'seem like yer tryna' stare a hole right through the fire."

Think of the future.

Konrad blinked. The words echoed in his mind like they weren't his own. Hells, when had he ever done that? But he could see a future now, his own future. Played right and steered straight, around and through events like tonight. He saw another way to play it.

"Eventually, y'gotta think bigger than the fast money."

"Er... what?"


Konrad turned his gaze onto a clueless Three Eyes and smiled. Three Eyes hated when he did that.

"You'll see. Find Fangor. Do it quiet, no worries, no rush. Tell him this..."

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Konrad Venger
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Reality Ensues

Postby Konrad Venger on January 31st, 2016, 11:12 am

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Iures had lost count of all the things she missed from the life she'd lost. The food. The dresses. The warm bed and the pretty things. Her friends and their parties. The ability to say "no" whenever she wanted and not face a lash or a brand. Watching her daughter grow into a woman, preparing for her future, making it ready...

But now, it was the privacy. Ulwen and her, pressed in this rolling, rocking cage, with shit and piss long-smeared into the wood, only an old sail wrapped around it to keep out the cold. The only light was from slashes in the cover that let in Leth and her tiny star-children... and all around her, she could feel the filthy limbs and half-naked bodies of these slaves all around her. Pushing against them both.

She closed her eyes and cursed her husband for the hundredth time, chanting the gods' names like a mantra, offering much and offering for years, to every one. All she asked was that he suffer like he'd made them suffer.

Cards. Dice. Insane, stupid investments that squandered everything we had. And what happened at the end of it? Dying wasn't enough. The debts outlasted him, and so...

She shuddered in the tatters of her house tunic, now barely covering her breasts. Iures would never forget when those thugs had kicked down their door, barking about how the "Daggers would have their due" and ransacking everything of value. They took jewels, and clothes, and paintings, furniture, but still it was not enough.

That's when their eyes had fallen on Iures and her daughter, and they had smiled.

"He lied, mother," Ulwen whispered next to her, nuzzling under her arm like a child, even though she was well past her twentieth winter. It was funny, in a horrible way. She'd always hated being treated like a girl, always wanted to be a lady. But now, in the wilds, in chains, she never left her mother's side. "He won't do it. He'll take the gem and he'll ignore us, you just watch."

"Shhhhh, patience, my love,"
she cooed to her child. Her tone set her apart from the others in the caravan, she'd noticed that much. Most of them were street scum or born as slaves, never knowing different. She'd been a free woman all her life, even had a tutor to teach her proper speaking and writing, reading. Iures fell back on that now; all those years of soothing her child through nightmares and the horrors Sunberth presented. "We have to have hope. We haven't any choice, have we?"

She looked around in the darkness and could see every slave thinking the same thing... and none of them were sleeping, either. Walum had been right about one thing: this was liberation for them all. Even if it was just a dash into a dark, deadly countryside that would kill them by the dawn, it didn't matter. They had to try. If not, they were dead folk walking. Now or fifty years from now, it would be all the same.

But Iures had her doubts, too. Walum hadn't been a soft touch or an idealist; he'd simply heard her cultured tones one day and got talking to her. Easy for things to go from there. But it was days and days before the subject, the possibility, the mere veiled mention of an escape was planned, and then it was only because she'd revealed the only leverage they'd had left.

She squeezed her fist tighter. Three tiny, cold lumps pressed into her palm. She'd not loosen her hand until she was out that cage, and she had a nail in her other hand in case any of the slaves tried to take them.

Iures swallowed hard and tried to force the memories of digging through her own waste, time after time after time. Meal after she'd taken the gems like tablets, then switched to shoving them... somewhere else, when they couldn't even get the privacy to squat over the side of the cart anymore. It was all she'd been able to snatch from her little box of trinkets before they'd dragged her away, the last shred of the life she'd had.

I went to parties, once, she thought, knowing in a faint, instinctive way that the very tone of her mind was the start of some madness. Some despair that would birth the loss of her sanity. I spoke kindly and was mistress of my house. I loved my husband, I loved my daughter. She would have been a seamstress, and we would... we would have-

"No," she whispered to herself, clutching her daughter tighter, promising herself out loud. "We will again. We will again, by the gods-"

"Shhh! Someone out there!"


Iures shuffled over, chains grinding at her feet, and peered through a tear in the canvas. She could see the sentry, barely outlined by the fires and the stars, a vague shape standing upright with a crossbow over its shoulder.

And closing in on it, moving with painful, amateur sloth, was him.

Walum didn't know how to be stealthy, so he settled for being slow. Every step he took was measured and minute; he squinted hard until his eyes hurt, looking for twigs and branches or dry grass and snow, anything that could make a sound. A couple of times the ground had stirred under him and he'd froze, sure that sellswords would come leaping out of the darkness.

But none did, so he kept moving.

The sentry was getting bigger. Eyes focused outward, he didn't look back. Even worse, Walum could see the telltale up-and-down of an arm taking swigs from something, probably a skin.

Won't help his clarity, Walum told himself, and even his thoughts were a whisper. Or when he fights back. Not that he will.

Walum wasn't banking on his peerless skills as a killer to carry the day, of course. He was a practical man, and knew the best and most efficient time to kill anyone was a) from behind and b) when they weren't expecting it. The sellsword would be looking for bandits, monsters, beasts, even rival slavers and the petching Syliran Knights, but a knife in his back? Way down on his list of dangers.

The carter licked his lips, slowly so they didn't smack, and gripped the short knife tighter. It was a dagger like countless others throughout the world: long enough to pierce organs or slash a throat, nothing ornate or excessive. It would do the job well enough.

Bigger. Bigger. Bigger.

Until he was all of Walum's vision. Until he started to raise the knife and stared at that spot between his shoulder and his neck. He'd seen Red Aldeen stab a man through there when he was a boy; he dropped like a stone, gurgling blood his only sound. Should work this time.

Gods forgive me, he though, but I need-

"Hey?"

He nearly jumped in the air as he turned, someone strolling towards him out of the shadows. His careful, quiet plan evaporated, shattered in an instant and excuses, reasons, lies started jumble and tumble from his tangled tongue. He could explain this; he could lie and babble and act crazy, throw the two bitches under the bus and-

Then Walum saw who was coming, long, curved sword in his hand, same moss green eyes, and a ruined grin so genial, so content, so pleased with himself-

"You... You bastard-!"

One last, mad stab of courage thawed his petrified limbs and he lunged, dwtermined to bury his knife in that traitorous fuck before he died. But the split-faced horror sidestepped easily, bringing his sword up at the same time, swinging in close-

-smashing the hilt around Walum's temple and obliterating his balance, his vision, his senses. The snowy ground rushed up to smack him in the face and he saw the traitor no more. But he still heard him, and prayed to whatever god listened that that tap on the head would kill him.

"Nothin' personal, mate. Just had a better idea, is all..."

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Reality Ensues

Postby Konrad Venger on January 31st, 2016, 11:39 am

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"Well, don't you feel like a dozy fuckin' cunt, eh?"

Fangor grinned like a shaved, sadistic bear as the treacherous wee fuck came around by the fire. It only got wider when Walum's initial confusion was swamped by sheer, terrified realization.

That Fangor and the sellswords were all awake, all gathered around him.

That irons were in the fire.

That the two women were huddled in front of a smirking Konrad, both bruised and bleeding, the mother holding her crying daughter and muttering useless prayers.

That he wasn't dead. That more of all.

"S-Sir, please, just-"

"Hold 'im."


Walum started to cry and shriek like a woman, pleas mixed in with the flood of snot and tears. They echoed around the wagons, all of the slave carts now awakened and made to watch what was to follow. Xav and Klem held Walum down as Fangor took his time and drew the first metal from the fire.

Pincers. Red-hot and thin enough to get in those hard to reach places.

"You betrayed me," he rumbled as he advanced, nodding at Xav, who replaced one hand with a knee on Walum's arm and held his mouth open. "For a couple of slaves. Oh, no, wait... for these."

His hand delved into his pocket and held out the four shining lights that had so entranced Walum. Now he just sobbed and shook his head, couldn't stop doing it, like it would all go away and he'd wake up back home. The older slave woman glared at him, furious even as she was stripped bare and humiliated. Fangor favored her with a smile and a tip of his nonexistent cap.

"Thank yeh kindly," he said, tossing two of the gems over to Konrad. "Good work, Venger. You are fulla' surprises."

Konrad had a hat to tip, at least, and he did, pocketing his reward. The rest of the show was... well, that was the other part of it. Seeing everything come to fruition. Everything come together, just as he'd wanted it to. Walum squirming and sobbing and shitting himself as Fangor got closer was just the start.

"Shoulda' played it straight, Walum," the caravan chief said, Xav using both hands to hold his tongue out as the terrified man screamed without its use. "Shoulda' told us. Coulda' split the stones but nah-nah-nah, youse had to be a clever bastard. Well, if y'can't be trusted to use it... y'don't get to have it-"

Iures tried to look away, but that scarred, chuckling animal behind her jerked her up by the hair and growled at her to take it in. So she did... but at least she could press Ulwen close to her breast, spare her the sight of Walrun losing his tongue like a gelding its pride.

"And that," Fangor continued, switching out the pincers for something else. "Ain't all, Walum. Not that you'll be needing that name anymore. Just this."

The slave band burned like Syna bought to the soil. Walum stared at it and saw his life, his wife, his daughter, all of it, gone, vanished, blown away in-

-another burst of searing agony across his chest, mark of the Brotherhood of Chains savaged onto his skin forever. No more tears came. No more screams. He rolled back his head and begged the stars to help him, to end him. They twinkled back at him and had no response. Not even when they dragged him away and a cage door creaked open for the new meat.

"Our deal stands?"

Fangor turned to face Venger. The man was proving to be a wise investment. He'd had doubts when he'd hired him on, but after running down the slaves, creatively punishing one of them and now this? Now Fangor felt practically fond of the hideous cunt. He'd proved his worth, and his loyalty, and that meant-

"Aye. We get to Kenash, you'll get half of whatever I sell him for. Probably won't be moren' a couple a' hundred, but still-"

"More than I'd have without, yeah?"

"Exactly. Now..."
Fangor crossed his arms and scowled at the two females, the architects of all this nonsense. "What do we do with them?" There was no answer for a few ticks and his gaze flicked up to the sellsword. "I'm askin' you, Venger."

Konrad hadn't thought quite that far ahead. Gain Fangor's loyalty and gratitude, yes. Negotiate a cut of those gems and a cut of Walum, after convincing him that the man was worth more dead than alive, even after being made an example. The carters were awake, just like the sellswords. They had their lesson, and now Fangor and him had an extra stake in this little journey to Kenash. But the women? He'd barely thought of them.

So? Start.

"Well..."

He spoke slowly after a few ticks, looking down and studying them like insects in a jar. One was older, a mother with a lined face. Not pretty anymore, as a maiden would be, but... handsome. The daughter was a peach, though. Not a child anymore, grown to a woman, but with a fine oval face and pretty brown eyes. Smeared with snot and dirt and blood now, of course, but nothing that wouldn't heal. She'd fetch a good price as brothel meat, he had no doubt.

Brothels. That's it.

"Hold the daughter."

He tossed the little chit to Three Eyes and the man caught her as Konrad dragged the mother over to a dead stump. The moment he bent her over it and his free hand went plunging down low, she bucked, she gnashed, started screaming and cursing him and then begging, pleading-

"Make sure the girl watches," Konrad snarled, loosening his breeches down his legs and kicking her frantic feet nice and wide. "Next time, bitch, your daughter gets this..."

||Common||Thoughts||Pavi||Fratava||Myrian||Other's Speaking||
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Note: As of Fall 517AV, Konrad is known only as "Hansel" in Endrykas
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Konrad Venger
Long is The Way and Hard
 
Posts: 923
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Joined roleplay: November 23rd, 2015, 4:05 pm
Location: Endrykas
Race: Human, Mixed
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Reality Ensues

Postby Konrad Venger on January 31st, 2016, 11:51 am

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They could do no more to her. Dira's embrace would be but a release from this.

It was not just the scarred man. Other sellswords followed. She tried to block it out, think of her husband, then think of nothing at all, transport her mind a thousand leagues away, leave her body behind.

Then she'd hear her daughter sobbing "Mama... Mama", and it chained her to the present. She could not escape, and by the time they were done, not even tears would come anymore.

"Well," Fangor said airily as he took a pull from his pipe, casting a bored eye over the slave so broken she could not even get up from the stump. "That kept the lads happy, I think. Been a while without a poke."

"Gotta admit, that didn't occur to me until I was done,"
Konrad said, feeling quite pleased with himself. He didn't often have sparks of brilliance like that, and it was always nice to know his "target practice" wasn't just a fluke. "Thought the old bitch might need more than just one to get the point across, eh? Didn't want to dirty up the daughter, though. I'm guessing the brothels pay more when they aren't broken in."

"Sets a good example, too,"
Fangor added, pointing with the end of his pipe like a schoolmaster talking to a quick student. He gestured around at the scarecrow figures in the cages, staring in shock and horror or, even better, dead-eyed defeat. "Now every other gash knows what happens when they try that shyke."

"And we get another piece of cargo, replace the one we lost to those fucking wolves."


Fangor chuckled, clapping the sellsword on the shoulder like an old friend, barely even watching Iures dragged back to her cage, feet slack and bouncing along the frozen ground, to join her daughter.

"Y'know, Venger, I think youse have a future in this business."

Konrad took a toke from his own pipe and let the smoke warm his lungs on a cold night. More than the satisfied throb between his legs, he felt his face twist into a grin.

It felt nice to have a future.

Loot+two gems, probably of modest value
+50% of whatever price NPC Walum fetches in Kenash (to be decided in a future RP, I just want it established IC)

||Common||Thoughts||Pavi||Fratava||Myrian||Other's Speaking||
Image
Note: As of Fall 517AV, Konrad is known only as "Hansel" in Endrykas
User avatar
Konrad Venger
Long is The Way and Hard
 
Posts: 923
Words: 1060755
Joined roleplay: November 23rd, 2015, 4:05 pm
Location: Endrykas
Race: Human, Mixed
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Plotnotes
Medals: 4
Featured Thread (1) Overlored (1)
Donor (1) One Million Words! (1)

Reality Ensues

Postby Royal on February 25th, 2016, 4:47 pm

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You have pleased your Queen. Now reap the rewards!

Konrad
Skills
  • Logic +2
  • Wilderness Survival, forest +2
  • Rhetoric +3
  • Leadership +2
  • Foraging +1
  • Observation +1
  • Planning +1
  • Intimidation +2
  • Negotiation +2
  • Weapon: Kopis +1
  • Stealth +1
Lores
  • Wilderness Survival: What makes good campsite.
  • Wilderness Survival: Tinder, kindling and fuel needed for a fire
  • Wilderness Survival: Purifying seawater
Other
  • +2 Gems of modest value


Questions? Comments? Please don't hesitate to PM me!
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Royal
You can call me Queen Bee
 
Posts: 113
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Joined roleplay: September 2nd, 2015, 9:27 am
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