Closed One Problem at a Time (Baelin)

Baelin and Sayana tackle a nuit problem.

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This shining population center is considered the jewel of The Sylira Region. Home of the vast majority of Mizahar's population, Syliras is nestled in a quiet, sprawling valley on the shores of the Suvan Sea. [Lore]

One Problem at a Time (Baelin)

Postby Sayana on August 15th, 2016, 11:51 pm

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Summer 14, 516 AV – Sayana’s Apartment

“Her name is Eleanor.”

Sayana spoke in a quiet tone after inviting the dhani smith to her home. It was evening, at the end of a typical shift at the blacksmith.

“She works at Qayala’s Quill as a copier. Her days are usually spent at the shop but sometimes there is variation in her patterns. However, after sunset her routine is fixed. At least for these last few days I’ve been following her. She’ll go home after work, but once the Syna sets she goes on a long walk through the city. About two bells later she returns home, lights a candle or two and either reads or does her copying work.”

“This is the important part. The nuit is awake and at home alone for several bells in the middle of the night. The other important aspect is that she is in desperate need for a new body. The summer heat has been making it worse, and I doubt all this rain is making it any better.”

Sayana paused a moment as she recalled that the nuit hadn’t actually done her usual evening walk the previous night due to the thunderstorm. She hoped it wouldn’t impact the nuit’s routine significantly and that Eleanor would simply stay at home for longer.

“Lastly, if we are not successful tonight, then we will have to wait until late summer to try again. I have some errands to do outside of the city, and I intend to leave tomorrow. Do you have any questions before I proceed with the plan?”

The Eypharian would pause to give him time to process the information. It was a good amount of background information that although wasn’t explicitly necessary, she figured it would help give him perspective with the plans that lay ahead. The only thing she hoped for was that if he managed to get himself caught or interrogated, that he’d be able to keep this excess knowledge to himself and either lie or play dumb.

When he seemed ready for her to continue, she would detail the plan and his role in it.
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One Problem at a Time (Baelin)

Postby Baelin Holt on August 27th, 2016, 7:30 pm

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Baelin had to admit, he hadn’t been expecting Q to be beautiful. And he certainly hadn’t expected her apartment to be so bright and warm. There were reds and purples and yellows and blues and greens; fabrics draped about that seemed to make the room flourish with life. It was a far cry from Baelin’s own bleak abode. Couches stretched before him, beckoning him to relax and make himself at home.

The half-Dhani did no such thing. In fact, he didn’t dare venture far into Q’s home at all. He felt out of place in this illusion of warmth and comfort. Like a jagged splinter ruining the grip of a hammer or a stain of soot on a customer’s bright dress. Instead, he hovered awkwardly by a beast of a candle that was just about eye-level with him. He was tempted to run a finger over its surface and wonder at the craftsmanship.

But Q did not wait long after welcoming him into her home. She spoke softly; quietly enough that Baelin had to strain to hear her after getting accustomed to the raucous, day-long hammering of the Ironworks.

This was quite possibly the best gamble Baelin had ever taken. Not only had this woman found him a Nuit, she had gotten a name, where it worked, and its daily habits. Baelin had to force himself to breath slow and deep lest he make it clear just how excited Q’s words were making him.

“This is the important part. The nuit is awake and at home alone for several bells in the middle of the night.”

Perfect! he wanted to shout. His fingers twitched and he had to fight to stay still. Every fiber of his being wanted to go now. What more planning could there be? The Nuit would be there soon, ready for the taking. Baelin could practically taste the thrill of success, it felt so close.

But he remained still, a slight, upward tilt of his mouth and his too-steady breathing the only indication that he was ecstatic. The half-Dhani listened as she described more. The Nuit needed another host. And, if they failed, he would have to wait a good while before he could try again.

He would not fail. His fingers curled into a fist, nails nearly biting skin and his forearm noticeably flexing with the ferocity of his resolve. Baelin shook his head once when she asked if he had any questions, bidding her to continue.

The smith listened carefully as she outlaid her plan, committing every word to memory. And by Dira, was it way better than anything he would have ever thought of. Though he supposed that didn’t necessarily say too much. His plans didn’t typically go much beyond ‘hit things with hammer, repeat until successful.’

When she finished, Baelin nodded in agreement. And, Dira be good, he couldn’t keep a small smile off any longer. When was the last time he had been this excited for something? He honestly couldn’t recall. Successfully making a new piece at work was thrilling, but it seemed muted in comparison.

He would need to pick up his uncle’s hammer from his apartment. It was the best weapon he had and, truth be told, he would be more successful wielding the familiar tool than he would with any other kind of weapon. The smith didn’t worry that it wasn’t a traditional weapon. Baelin had no doubt that the stone hammer would split bone as reliably as it does iron.

The half-Dhani said as much to Q. “I need to pick up my hammer,” he murmured, feeling the need to keep his voice as hushed as she had, “It won’t take long, I live clossse.”
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One Problem at a Time (Baelin)

Postby Sayana on September 17th, 2016, 6:45 pm

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Once Sayana had fully outlined the plan, she watched the blacksmith for his response. He accepted it without hesitation, and simply shook his head indicating that he had no further questions. For a moment she was half tempted to influence him with some hypnotized emotions, however, he seemed to be in a state of calm determination. Excited, perhaps, but not nervous. This was his idea from the start and he needed no magical guidance or coaching.

When he requested to return with his hammer, she nodded simply in acknowledgement. “There are some documents I need to write up in the meantime. We won’t leave until at least two bells have passed. Eleanor needs to be at home when we arrive. Let’s make it three bells.”

It was a lot of time, but it was far better to wait patiently rather than not have enough time and be forced to rush. “Prepare yourself as needed, and return here in two bells. Dress formally if you can, or at least wear something clean. Once you get back, I’ll look you over then we’ll walk over together. That should give us ample time.”

The walk wouldn’t take quite that long, but she wanted to be sure she found the correct door which she had marked prior.

While she wouldn’t have minded his company, she got the impression that he was uncomfortable in her apartment. Also, if he was preparing for his first kill it might be good to truly internalize that that’s what he was going to do. If nothing else, he could take a few practice swings in the privacy of his own home before setting out to do the deed. She wasn’t entirely sure of his skill, but he didn’t quite feel like a natural fighter.

When he had left, Sayana pulled out three pieces of parchment as well as a quill and bottle of ink. She paused a moment, thinking what she could write to make it look convincing and then recalled the professional looking forms back in Ahnatep. Yes. They always had blank spots and lines.

With a slow but unpracticed hand, she dipped the quill into the ink and began to write.

Li Mauta
A Situation of Special Consideration

Name ________________________
Age ____
Gender __________
Special Request _______________
_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________


She had managed to get the correct spelling of Li Mauta. However, after four lines to fill out, she had run out of ideas. Despite her care, some of the writing was rather sloppy and the lines weren’t quite straight. She had tried to draw attention away from the straightness of the lines by drawing them with slight ripples.

With the first page done, she set it aside to dry and took out the next sheet.

Agreement to Privacy and Secrecy

I ______________ solemnly agree to the utmost privacy and secrecy of the deceased. This includes absolutely no contact with the family, no mention of the host body’s name, and the agreement to immediately leave the city of Syliras if either of the aforementioned promises are broken.

Signature ________________


The writing was taxing on her, and she inwardly cursed at each glob of ink that was left of the page. As she finished the second sheet, she looked at it critically. Frankly, it looked like a child had written it despite her careful checking of the spellings of all the words. It was sloppy, but oddly enough the blank lines seemed to give it a sense of credibility. In any case, she was glad that it was not meant to live up to any true scrutiny. Hopefully the forgery would convince a glance that was only a couple ticks.

Lastly, she folded the pages into thirds so that the blank one was on top, serving as an envelope. After she unfolded it once more, she painstakingly wrote out her neatest “Li Mauta” on the cover so it would be visible to anyone with a casual glance. However, it still seemed like it was missing something. A seal? A stamp? She had neither at her disposal. What about the emblem of the Windoak?

Carefully, she began drawing a simple shield with a tree on the inside. She had seen the symbol many times on various garments of the knighthood, and she incorporated the curled branches into the design. Afterwards, she almost regretted attempting the tree since it looked like a bunch of curly lines mixed with smudges of ink. But as she held it out and far away from her, it vaguely resembled something like a stamp. It would have to do.

As Sayana let the ink dry, she garbed herself a long black formal dress with black boots. She took the time to do up her make-up and brush out her hair. She added a silver necklace and lastly she draped a cloak over her shoulders to obscure her low and mid arms. While her face may be recognized, she didn’t want to be searched after as an Eypharian. There weren’t many others of her race to blend in with in Syliras. Her dignified look would hopefully put on a different spin as well. It wasn’t the most elaborate of disguises, but she wanted to arrive at Eleanor’s house looking like an official.

When the blacksmith dhani returned, she would look over him and perhaps fix a few things here and there, like get him to tuck in his shirt. Once satisfied, she would lead the way to Eleanor’s house with the forged documents in her hand.
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One Problem at a Time (Baelin)

Postby Baelin Holt on November 19th, 2016, 12:43 am

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Baelin wet his lips while he mulled her words. Two bells to get ready. It would be plenty of time. It had to be. A pulse of insecurity nagged that it wasn’t nearly enough time. That there would never be enough time. That he was a fool parading around as an Eiyon.

He clasped his hands together and rubbed the scythe on his palm. Dira had to have marked him for a reason. Two bells would be enough.

Dressing well was the first hurdle for the apprentice armorer; namely because he was currently wearing his only outfit and it evidently wasn’t up to Q’s standards. He would need to get it laundered, and quickly.

Baelin met the stranger’s eyes and gave a firm nod. Without another word, he turned on his heel and left her home. His steps long and brisk, he made it out of the Maiden District like a man on a mission. The Sylirans he passed in the lane barely registered for the half-Dhani; all he heard was the sound of the Watchtower ticking away his limited time and all he saw was the fastest route around the obstacles in his way.

A group was chatting amicably in front of the double doors that’d take him down to the Soothing Waters. Normally, Baelin would stall and awkwardly try to squeeze his way behind one of them, perhaps knocking one out of the way in the process. But today there was a determination in his step and, for the first time in a long time, Baelin had no issues with announcing his need to pass with a firm, “Excussse me.” One of the strangers stepped back mechanically, paying him little heed, and Baelin felt a smile tug on the corner of his mouth. There was a slight bounce in his step as he went down the stone steps.

Baelin made eye contact with the receptionist while still on the stairwell. The man behind the desk flashed him a smile and the half-Dhani dug in his pocket for mizas. “I require a bath, towel, ssoap, and laundering for three garmentsss.”

The man behind the desk pulled out a towel and a bar of soap as he announced, “That’ll be two silver and nine copper.” He was saying something else, but Baelin had already deposited the mizas and was hurrying off the men’s locker rooms. His clothes came off in a bare tick, the launderer blinked in surprise when Baelin nearly threw them at him, and he dropped himself in the communal pool with an impolite splash.

In what had to have been his fastest bath yet, Baelin scrubbed every inch of his skin raw and didn’t finish washing his hair until he was certain every bit of the Ironworks was out of it. When he pushed himself out of the water, Baelin felt cleaner than he had in years. Though, truth be told, he was pretty certain the feeling wasn’t just from the bath.

There was a slight delay in waiting for his clothes – they were still far from dry – but Baelin shrugged off the complaints of the launderer and pulled his wet clothes on, ignoring the discomfort. He could finish drying them in the privacy of his apartment.

The half-Dhani booked it back to the Maiden District, taking a different path through the corridors once inside. He grabbed a torch just outside his home before shoving his door open. In contrast to Q’s vibrant apartment, Baelin’s was devoid of color. The weathered wood of his sparse furniture was the closest thing his room had to character.

Baelin stripped once again and draped the damp clothes over his chair. He adjusted the wood in his hearth until he was satisfied it would hold a fire well, then slipped the torch under the small stack.

As chimes went by, the fire grew in size. Baelin scooted the chair closer to the heat and straightened his clothes to better expose them. There was nothing he could do about the small holes that poked through here and there in the garments – not with so little time left. But at least they were clean. If he threw his shoulders back and tried not to glare, he should be more or less presentable.

The slow crackle of the wood and its radiating warmth began to seep into the half-Dhani’s consciousness, unwinding the knot of move-move-move that had been driving him. Baelin sank down on his cot and lost himself in the flames.

Should he say a prayer for the life he was going to take? Baelin was tempted to scoff at the idea. They’ve been dead for a long time now, he thought to himself, It’s hardly murder if they’re already dead.

And yet…

There was no denying the tremors that shook his hands.

Baelin clasped them together to still their shaking and pinched his eyes shut. If nothing else, it couldn’t hurt. “Dira,” he murmured softly into the relative quiet of his room, “Give me sstrength.” A log collapsed in his hearth, punctuating his plea with a loud crack. Baelin wasn’t sure to take that as a good sign or a bad one.

He thought of the Nuit; that misguided soul who wouldn’t rejoin the cycle of their own accord. Staring into the flames, he added, “May itss ssoul make it ssafe to Lhex.”

There was still some time left before he needed to rejoin Q. Baelin hefted himself to his feet and strode over to his uncle’s hammer, its grip feeling both familiar and oddly not. Though, to be fair, it had only ever served as a smithing tool before. Not a weapon.

The armorer tried to remember what his uncle’s laugh had sounded like, but the memory was faded. Baelin blinked furiously and, more to himself than anything, he breathed, “Now and alwaysss, I will sserve the cycle.” Fingers wrapped more tightly around the handle, his knuckles going bone white, and he took a furious swing in the air.

The swing was wide and sloppy – something he might expect from himself if he had tried it with a sword, not the familiar hammer. Baelin forced himself to take a deep, shuddering breath and took another swing, this time trying to imagine a large piece of hot steel in front of him. It felt strange to use the heavy forging swing with a regular hammer instead of a sledge hammer. Typically, he’d only use the smithing hammer to ‘tap’ on the steel. This large swing with a wind-up would never be used with a regular hammer; that was a surefire way to ruin your steel. But Baelin had the strong suspicion that ‘tapping’ the Nuit’s head wasn’t the best way to go about things.

And so he tried again, willing himself to get used to the odd swing. His left hand came up to grab air as he swung down again, as if there was a long handle for him to grasp. Baelin let it, not wanting to waste time correcting the useless impulse. The armorer focused on his right hand and the hammer in its grip as he took another large swing down.

Without his left hand braced against the torque he made, the hammerhead twisted slightly in his grasp. Baelin tried again, turning his wrist with the swing. The hammerhead came down straighter. And again. Nearly perfectly in line. Again. There it was. Again. Still straight.

Baelin continued to swing the hammer, bringing it up just above his shoulder and swinging it down in a controlled arc, keeping the hammerhead straight. And now faster. Faster. The hammerhead turned a bit off, so he corrected and then faster.

The apprentice armorer continued to practice a swing that would confuse any other smith while his clothes dried and chimes went by.

And then it was time.

The half-Dhani sucked in a long breath and held it, trying to slow his racing heart. He thought of a bird circling lazily overhead, black stone warm on his back, thin smoke swirling behind the bird to suggest that it was not quite whole. Slowly, he pulled on his now warmed clothes and slipped his uncle’s hammer in at the waist.

He walked with measured strides to Q’s home, knuckles rapping loudly on her door. She looked him over clinically and adjusted a few things, fingers slipping around his waist to tuck his shirt in. Baelin breathed a sigh of relief when she seemed satisfied, not at all knowing what he would have done if his outfit was insufficient.

And then she was walking out to the corridors, papers in hand, and Baelin couldn’t help but wet his lips in anticipation.
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One Problem at a Time (Baelin)

Postby Sayana on June 26th, 2017, 12:40 am

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He was... acceptable. The Eypharian looked at him with scrutiny, but if that was all he had, then it would have to make do. Fortunately she didn’t intend for him to talk. Or at least only minimally if at all. Sayana opened the door and gestured for the dhani to exit first as she locked the door behind her. Then with a calm yet purposeful stride, she led the way through the corridors of the Stormhold Castle.

Her heels clicked against the stone floors as she walked. At times it felt like a maze within the cramped hallways but she had lived in Syliras for more than a year and had grown accustomed to the winding interior paths. Twice she made a wrong turn and had to double back a little, but she acted with smooth grace as if it was all within her plan.

When they finally reached the door in question, Sayana approached it slowly and did a double check for the nick she had made in the door frame. Yes, this was it. She adjusted her black cloak about her shoulders to better hide her low and mid arms and made a gesture for the dhani to stand to one side and slightly behind her. With a nod, she rapped on the door three times, still clutching the papers in her left high hand down at her side.

There were several moments of silence and for a tick Sayana was afraid she had knocked on the wrong door, or had gotten her times mixed up. She was about to reach over to knock again, when the door slowly opened. In the doorway, slightly tucked in behind was a female nuit with long brunette hair and an exceedingly pale face. Her stance was cautious, clearly not expecting the visit. As such, Sayana immediately spoke up to introduce them both.

“Good evening. Are you, by chance, Madam Eleanor?”

There was a hesitant nod.

“Pardon me, Madam. My name is Katelyn, and this is my associate.” She gestured to the dhani but didn’t wait long enough to require a name from him. “We have come to discuss a delicate matter with you.”

Again there was some skepticism from the nuit. “At this hour?”

“Ahem, Madam Eleanor. Like I said, your situation is quite… delicate, and urgent nonetheless. We are here as representatives from Li Mauta.”

It was only when the name of the mortuary was spoken did the nuit finally stir. A mix of surprise and excitement filled her eyes but more obviously was the relief that flooded her pastel face.

“May we come in?”

“Yes, yes. Of course.” Eleanor practically gushed and opened the door wide.

There was a faint flicker of relief on Sayana’s face too, before she composed herself and entered the apartment in a calm stately manner. She gestured the dhani to follow her in, but there was a momentary halting or ‘stay’ sort of gesture as if she didn’t want him to act immediately.

“Now you see, Eleanor. Due to the urgency of your situation, there are additional considerations to be made. This is why we are here instead of Benoit. Upon learning of your request, I made some inquiries at the Soothing Waters. It just so happens that they have a terminally ill patient there who is not expected to last more than a couple days.”

There was a moment as hope lit up the nuit’s face, but then Sayana continued in a rather serious tone.

“However, it is not common protocol to use bodies of Sylirans, and it will be absolutely necessary for you to agree that you will never come into contact with the family of the deceased. Have you a quill and ink to sign the appropriate paperwork for such an agreement?”

“You mean right now? Yes yes, of course.” Eleanor replied with surprise at first, and then great enthusiasm. She made her way quickly to one of the large tables in the apartment and cleared some space where she had obviously been working.

Sayana almost pitied how naïve she was but was certain it was largely due to her pressing situation. If the dhani began to make a move, she would gesture for him to hold off just a moment longer. It was almost time, but she wanted him to have the clearest strike before their cover was revealed. While the nuit sat down at the table, Sayana looked around and then produced the forms she had prepared.

“Alright, there are two to fill out. There is the form for this special request and then a solemn agreement to the privacy and secrecy from the family in question.” Sayana spoke and handed the seated nuit the papers one at a time.

At this point Sayana then beckoned the dhani with her other high hand and sharply pointed towards the nuit. For the love of all gods, she hoped the dhani wouldn’t baulk now, and she hoped his aim was strong and true.

OOCTada, after a long pause from us both, we are back on the road to... riddance of nuit
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One Problem at a Time (Baelin)

Postby Baelin Holt on July 2nd, 2017, 7:59 pm

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His heart thundered in his ears, drowning out the sound of their footsteps echoing down the corridors. Sweat slicked his back and wet his palms, coming off him as if he was hovering right over a forge. And his hands wouldn’t stop their damn shaking. It felt as though his body was rebelling on him. Threatening to undermine him and his duty.

Well petch that. Baelin twisted his hands into fists and squeezed so hard that his nails bit into flesh. Focusing on those little pinprick of pain, he worked to center himself. Steady your breathing, you fool. He wouldn’t be able to do anything if he let his breathing get away from him. That was one of the most basic things about any exercise, and if this little excursion didn’t qualify for the best his body had to offer than he didn’t know what did.

Baelin followed Q blindly, never once stopping to focus on where she was leading him. His concentration was entirely wrapped up on the demanding task of keeping his breaths even and his hands still. Why the petch was he so wound up? It’s not like he was gearing up for murder; the thing was already dead. This was just a glorified pest cleanup job he was on. Where was that excitement he had earlier? Why was it all just blasted nerves now? Digging his fingers even harder into his palm, he drew up the image of a bird soaring overhead. Its wings outstretched as a gust pushed it further up. His heart slowed, its thunder in his ears muted slightly.

Q stopped, drawing Baelin from his concentration. Baelin obeyed her gesture without question and moved over to the side. He drew himself to his full height and tried to look presentable. There was a long moment where he wasn’t quite sure what to do with his hands, but he finally settled on clasping them behind his back right as the door opened.

He’d been so caught up in his own anxiety that he had failed to notice the slight flavor on his tongue. But as soon as the door cracked open and a woman revealed herself, a blast of something rancid struck him. Baelin grit his jaw to the point of pain, fighting to keep himself from gagging. He was supposed to be playing dumb and mute here. He was not going to petch up Q’s plan just because of some foul flavor on his tongue.

If he had his doubts before, however, they were gone now. The last time he had tasted this kind of rot had been with one of the vermin. He’d been a fool then, thinking that he could talk it into reason. A mistake he didn’t intend to repeat. Words were exchanged between Q and the thing, with it seeming to relax with each passing comment from Q. If Baelin could think of it as anything other than an animated corpse, he might be bothered by how genuine and honest its reactions seemed. But it was just an animated corpse. And any impression of humanity he got from it was just that: only an impression.

The thing moved aside to permit their entry. Baelin’s gaze flicked to Q’s hands, tracking her gestures. Enter and stay. Wordlessly, he obeyed. She spoke more to the thing, weaving a web that wrapped around and coiled tight. If Baelin was a smarter man, he might be trying to figure out how she was so adept at it. Try to learn so that he might be able to reproduce her efforts on his own. But the art of lying had never been a skill of his, and most of what she was doing went over his head.

When the nuit sat down and accepted Q’s papers, he saw her hand twitch in what he could only interpret as a now gesture. He didn’t need to be told twice. Baelin yanked his uncle’s hammer from his waistband and surged forward.

Arm back. Throw the elbow down. Twist the wrist. Swing fast. Only this time, instead of having to stop his swing, a resounding crack accompanied its halt. The thing reeled, throwing its hands out to catch itself on the table. The papers slipped and scattered while a white fluid leaked through its hair. Baelin didn’t wait for it to collect itself. He pulled his arm back and swung down again. A sound escaped the thing – something between a gasp and a moan. It slumped forward, head lolling onto its shoulder before it tumbled out of the chair.

Baelin stepped forward and stood over the sprawled body. It certainly looked like it was good and dead now, but still… He nudged its side with the toe of his boot. Besides a small pulse of whatever that white shyke was, it seemed to show no other sign of its unlife. Yet Baelin was no expert here. He looked up from the thing to Q. His eyes searched hers, looking for any hint of uncertainty. If she was concerned, he could and would continue. He’d swing for a bell if that’s what it took, raining hammer blows down over and over until its head was nothing more than a pancake. Saying that aloud, however, would probably just prove him to be an idiot. So he held his tongue.
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One Problem at a Time (Baelin)

Postby Sayana on July 2nd, 2017, 11:23 pm

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“Eleanor? Dearie, is that you? I heard a crash.” A high elderly voice called out.

Sayana froze at the sound, and for a moment her mind went completely blank. This had not been in her plans.

Thinking fast, she first pressed a finger to her lips so that her dhani acquaintance wouldn’t make any further noise. Then she whipped through a dozen scenarios in her head trying to find one that was the least incriminating. It wasn’t just the short term that she had to account for, but if she ended up showing her face, or the dhani’s face, it would be twice as hard to avoid appearing as suspects to the knighthood.

“Eleanor??” There was now a knocking on their very door as the incessant woman, most likely a concerned neighbor, continued to find out what was the matter.

With no more ticks to think, Sayana went with her best option. She gave a loud coughing sound then rose her voice up much higher to match the late-Eleanor and plugged her nose with her fingers to create a nasally sound.

“So.. so sorry to disturb you. My, my books. I was carrying them and they fell. You know me. This time of year I’m not very well. I-- ahem, should make some tea. G-go back to sleep. I’m sorry to have waken you.”

Even though she doubted that she could truly replicate the nuit’s voice, she hoped that the attempt at sounding stuffed up with a cold would help mask her poor impression.

There was a long pause from the other side of the door. “Are you sure you don’t want to join me for tea? I could make up a nice pot of honey and camomile?”

Petching hell lady. Just go away.

“You know I would, any other day.” Sayana continued, still trying to maintain the sickly voice. “But I’m in no state for company and pale as a ghost.”

The Eypharian couldn’t help but look over to the still form of the nuit on the ground. Even if everything else was a lie, Eleanor certainly looked ghostly pale.

At last the woman seemed to relent. “I’ll be next door if you need me. Just give me a shout. And get some rest, dear.”

That was close. Too close. Sayana let out a long yet silent sigh as she heard footsteps move away from the door. When the Eypharian turned to look at the fallen nuit once more, there was a moment as bile rose in her throat. It was dead. She was dead. The sticky white fluid still oozed from the very pale corpse. In other instances where Sayana had killed, it had been in the heat of the moment or against something despicable and dangerous. This, however, was cold and calculated. Even if she hadn’t been the one to swing the blow.

“Get her somewhat tidied up and position her near the fireplace,” Sayana spoke in a low voice. “Put her head nearest to the fire. And don’t get that white stuff everywhere. Use a cloth if you need to so it doesn’t get on your clothes.”

She assumed the nuit was dead. Dead for real. And if Eleanor wasn’t, well she was definitely unconscious and soon to be dead.

Meanwhile, Sayana quickly rummaged through the cupboards and shelves of the nuit. There was not much in the way of dining utensils and plates, but of course, nuit don’t need to eat. However, thank her lucky stars, she did manage to find a cup and a tea pot. It was quaint but she set them both out on the table. She then quickly tidied up the papers that were in disarray and grabbed the ichor and ink stained form of secrecy she had forged earlier in the night. Folding it up, she was about to put it in a pocket, when she instead tossed it into the fireplace.

So long as the dhani had dragged the nuit’s body close to the fire place, Sayana would find a suitable chair and carefully tipped it over to lay on its side right next to the nuit. She positioned it in such a way that it might look like the nuit had accidentally tumbled from it. Then the Eypharian made short work of building up several pieces of wood for a fire and hanging a kettle on one of the hooks.

“Are you ready?” Sayana asked looking up at the dhani as she crouched by the fire place with a candle in her hand. “Once the fire gets going, Miss Eleanor is going to have an untimely accident involving some serious burns to her face. We will leave discretely, close the door, and walk away from the scene. That does not mean run, that does not mean jog. And if stopped then we were returning from a late night dinner party.”
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One Problem at a Time (Baelin)

Postby Baelin Holt on July 9th, 2017, 3:37 am

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“Eleanor? Dearie, is that you? I heard a crash.”

Baelin snapped his attention to the door before glancing back to Q, who seemed frozen on the spot. He was willing to forfeit his life for this endeavor, but he didn’t imagine his benefactor wanted any part of such a trade. He could claim that he had used Q as a hostage? While he didn’t necessarily know how that would make sense in the context of a brained nuit, it had to be better for her than the truth.

But Q silenced him with a finger to her lips. Not daring to move a muscle lest he disobey, Baelin was left to wonder what other tricks she had up her sleeve. With a cough and a plugged nose, she proceeded to weave more lies. They were like tangible things with this woman. Reaching out like lures before hooking into her victim. It was damn impressive and Baelin could only wish that he had even an iota of her skill. Shyke, he couldn’t remember the last time he had been able to talk himself out of a jam. No, scratch that. He couldn’t ever remember talking himself out of a situation.

Say one more word and I’ll rip out that snake tongue. Baelin blinked rapidly and shook his head to clear it. Why the petch was he remembering his father now? He had managed nearly a season without thinking of the man even once, why now of all times? He shoved that memory back into the dark recess of his mind where it belonged and focused instead on watching Q. She succeeded in shooing the stranger away and Baelin couldn’t help a quiet huff of amusement. A master liar, indeed.

Crisis averted, Q directed him to get things cleaned up and position the body at the hearth. With a nod, Baelin crouched down and gripped under her armpits before carefully pulling the body back. And now that the nuit was gone, it was indeed a her again. Just some poor girl whose body was defiled in the worst of ways. Baelin could only pray that his own eventual death would be messy and his corpse unusable.

Once she was near the hearth, he sat back on his heels and tried to figure the best way to arrange her. For the first time since the start of this endeavor, he actually felt like they were doing something wrong. This girl’s body should have a proper burial, with a gravestone and everything. Leaving her here like this wasn’t right. Baelin brushed back a lock of her hair, careful to avoid the white fluid still leaking from her head. He hoped whoever found the body did right by her. It may be an unrealistic dream, but he could still hope. Not for the first time, Baelin had to wonder what he was doing in a city that couldn’t be bothered with graveyards.

Baelin looked about and spotted a rag. Retrieving it, he crouched down next to the girl’s body and gently wiped the fluid out of her hair. He worked diligently, pulling up sections of hair and running the cloth down strands to soak up every last bit. Even more than just trying to clean up a crime scene, he wanted her to be free of whatever this gunk was. He wished they could spend longer here. Long enough to get every last drop of whatever this shyke was out of her. He wished he could truly finish the job and get this girl’s body completely free of whatever the nuit had done to her.

But this was Q’s operation, not his. He wouldn’t dare endanger her with his own selfish urges; not beyond what she had already agreed to. So, once he finished cleaning what he could, he rose and surveyed the apartment. Spotting a few places where the liquid had dripped, he went back and meticulously cleaned up each and every drop he could find.

By the time he had finished, Q had set up what could be a plausible accident and was arranging wood for the fire. When he joined her, she looked up and asked, “Are you ready?” He watched the small flame dance on the candle as she laid out more details. He nodded his assent, feeling more relaxed than he had in years. Now that he was thinking about it, his hands weren’t shaking any more, were they? When had they stopped? Whatever the case, he didn’t imagine nerves would be an issue on the way out.

However… Baelin looked to the body between them. It still felt incomplete. Like he hadn’t done everything he set out to do. Closing his eyes briefly, he considered what else he could possibly do with the time he had. He could only think of one thing...it wouldn’t be enough, but it would have to do. Speaking quietly to the corpse, he murmured, “May your body resst well now.” Baelin rubbed his thumb against his palm, tracing the black mark he knew rested there, “And may Dira guide the one who sstole it.”

With lack of anything better, that would have to be enough. Turning back to Q, he said earnestly, “I owe you a debt.” And he meant it. No quantity of mizas could cover this favor. Q had granted him something today. It may be small, but at least one nuit had been returned to the cycle.

Not knowing what else to say, he gestured for her to continue. Shyke, he almost wished that the dinner party bit wasn’t a lie. Baelin felt a celebratory ale was in order. Perhaps, after Q returned to her bright apartment and her life that was likely filled with the lies she wove, he could find a drink and celebrate on his own. It would be a good end to a good day.

The day’s not over yet, he reminded himself, You’re getting ahead of yourself. Sitting back on his heels, he kept his elation in check and watched Q work.
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Baelin Holt
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One Problem at a Time (Baelin)

Postby Sayana on July 13th, 2017, 3:43 am

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Sayana glanced over a couple times as the dhani cleaned the dead nuit. He was meticulous in the work. All she wanted was the white blood to not be spattered everywhere in the apartment. Yet it seemed to calm him as if it were some meditative task. But when he spoke his prayer, that’s when his commitment was truly shown. He cared deeply for the body, even though the nuit itself had been something vile and hated by him.

As he spoke his words over the dead, Sayana used the moment to reach for a couple of nearby books. They would aid in the next step, and it gave her a secret thrill to set them alight. She laid them out, open, and near the fireplace. When at last the dhani seemed ready, truly ready, she tossed the scrap bit of paper she had used for the fake forms into the fireplace and set the tip of the candle to the kindling.

The fire was slow at first, but as it got going she reached for a larger stick that was alight and pressed it to one of the opened books. Sayana watched with an excited grin as it flared up. She gave the dead body a yank towards the fire and knocked some more of the larger sticks out of the fireplace. As the smell of burnt hair began to permeate the place, she took a few steps back as more of the dead flesh began to burn.

“That should do.” The Eypharian said simply as she placed the stick carefully upon the head injury of the corpse. That was the most important part, to eliminate evidence of foul play.

Sayana did one last scan of the apartment. It was starting to heat up, with the fire blazing more and more outside the fireplace. A fire was typical in the city confines and same with smoke, but as it grew larger and the smell of burning flesh reached the noses of the neighbors, it would no longer be such a casual event. It was time to go.

The Eypharian beckoned with her mid hand and adjusted the cloak around her shoulders. Cracking open the door, she peeked out before stepping foot into the hallway. She would gesture for him to shut it quickly behind him, to keep in the smoke, and proceeded to walk stately away from the scene of the crime.

There was a briskness in her step, one that she could not quite hide, but it was neither a run nor a jog. She led them through the winding corridors, all silent in the quiet of the night. That is, until there was a distant scream.

To her credit, she didn’t flinch nor miss a beat to her step. It was expected. She needed the fire to burn long enough to make a mess of the corpse, but it was certainly not necessary to burn down the entire apartment and those next to it. In fact, it would be more of a concern if that had happened since there would probably be a bigger investigation. One in which any suspect in the vicinity would be under heavy question. Other shouts could be heard in the distance, but they only proved how much ground the two of them had covered since leaving the apartment.

However, as she opened one of the large doors to the outer streets, she nearly ran into two burly knights dressed for patrol. “Pardon me, I…” Sayana started, but one of the knights was already speaking. And his attention was not directed to her, but instead at Baelin.

“You, what’s going on here? We heard shouts and saw someone fleeing the vicinity.”
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One Problem at a Time (Baelin)

Postby Baelin Holt on August 27th, 2017, 9:55 pm

It was becoming uncomfortably hot in the apartment as the fire grew. Coming from a man who spent his days in a smithy, that was saying something. Combine that with the smoke, growing rapidly dense in the small confines, and Baelin was more than ready to go when Q finally motioned for them to leave.

She led them through the hallways quickly, seemingly unfazed when a scream echoed down the stone corridor. A good follower, Baelin kept pace and ignored the alarmed shouts. Or, at least, he attempted to. He made it a few ticks before the urge became overwhelming and he cast a glance over his shoulder. Nothing but the stone hallway stretched behind him, but he could still hear the distress of strangers.

They’ll be fine, he tried to reassure himself.

When Q halted, blocked from exiting into the open-air street by two knights, Baelin had only a fraction of a second to feel relieved. The relief vanished when, instead of rushing towards the shouts like he had assumed the knights would, one of them stared right at Baelin and said, “You, what’s going on here? We heard shouts and saw someone fleeing the vicinity.”

An eye twitched. A defensive prickle ran down his spine. He jaw ached when he gritted his teeth hard enough to hurt. How the hell was Baelin supposed to know? Well, in this rare occurrence, he did actually know. But usually he’d have no idea. Usually he’d just be a random passerby, trying and failing to keep his head down and stay out of the way. Did it look like anything was going on right here? No. No it didn’t. There were distant shouts still echoing down the hallway, for Dira’s sake. These two pricks should be heading there. There was a fire. Baelin wasn’t sure if he’d be able to forgive himself if someone got hurt because of that fire, so these two needed to hurry. Eyes narrowing with an angry grimace, Baelin ground his teeth and hissed, “I don’t know.”

As often was the case, his attitude did little to help anything. The other knight stepped forward and demanded, “What are you doing?” The knight’s gaze flicked down the hallway, where cries continued to originate, then back to Baelin. His expression was hard and more than a touch suspicious.

“A dinner party,” he practically growled, sticking with Q’s story. “Heading home when...” Baelin jerked his thumb to gesture towards the hallway behind him, refusing to break eye contact with the knight.

The knight cocked his head, his suspicion beyond evident now. “And you didn’t go to investigate?”

Before he could think better of it, Baelin brushed his fingertips across Q’s shoulder in a protective gesture. He had no doubt that Q was more than capable of taking care of herself. Shyke, she’d probably do a better job than he could. Still...the instinct was there. He let his hand fall and ground out, “Your job, not mine.”
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