Solo All Alone and the Fire Grows

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

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All Alone and the Fire Grows

Postby Orakan on November 14th, 2016, 3:17 am

72nd of winter 508av ♦ late afternoon


The Tent City was like a living thing, ever moving and shifting, bursting with the down-trodden and desperate. In such a large space, littered with so many bodies and makeshift dwellings, one would think it'd be easy to disappear - to blend in, go unnoticed - but such was not the way.. something a particular young boy knew.

It wouldn't stop him from trying.

Perched just outside the dingy, frayed tarp that was served as his 'home', he watched as his mother wiped a musty, once damp cloth over elbow and down a bony forearm before attending to a gaunt shin before shrugging deeper into the threadbare blanket he had wrapped himself in. He knew the ritual well and it caused his mind, sluggish and foggy from lack of food and water, to jump like a spooked cat to what the evening might have in store for him. The mere thought of it caused a replay of the previous night to come to the forefront of his thoughts and he shut his eyes tight, trying to clamp down on the thought and cease it from manifesting further. His body tensed as the anxiety seized him and he reached a hand back to grip enough blanket to pull over his head. In this man-made darkness, he found respite. But it was short-lived.

"You like seeing your mother get beat. Is that it, Ora?"

A sniff. A shift of shoulders. That bit of blanket he had tugged over his head slid away to pool roughly at his slumped shoulders. He said nothing, hazel eyes fixing on her face as she ran the cloth along the ugly mottling of colour that the old bruise around her left eye had faded to, her movements slow with the intent of making him see what he did to her. He said nothing. Whatever he said would be wrong anyways.

Her voice dripped of contempt, "That must be it." A long pause as she swayed, as if drunk. The silence cut deeper than her words. "You jus' want us to both suffer. Selfish little shyke. Y'know he always beats me worse when he's gotta hide you too."

His eyes dropped and skittered away as he released a shaky breath, hues moving to search the dilapidated piles of tents and shacks, suddenly acutely aware that Nasso could be within earshot. Bile hit the back of his throat and he swallowed it down as best he could.

A noise of disgust followed, coupled with the noise of a pop of a joint as she rose.

"Jus' think how it's gonna be when I'm not here an' it's just you getting it."

The cloth hit him in the shoulder. He gave it a reluctant glance before sweeping his gaze to her back. There was something about the way she spoke that stirred and stoked his fear. It wasn't the words but something unsaid. The ease. As if she was somehow unburdening herself of something. It sent a chill down his spine. Her raspy, wet cough followed her as she drifted away towards the Sanctela.

Knuckling at his nose, he let his attention return to the cloth. The bile returned, hot and burning, as he glared at it and then, in a flash, he shot his hand out just long enough to fling it away before disappearing beneath the blanket once more, arms folding over his bent knees and head burying down into the folds.


73rd of winter 508av ♦ pre-dawn

Hollow and empty, Orakan slowly wandered back towards the Tent City just as the sky was growing its darkest. Syna's light would follow but, for now, he drifted, just another husk haunting the twilight streets, stomach twisting from hunger, steps sloppy from exhaustion... and the pain. It lingered always; the trio his constant companions.

There was nothing to truly go back to yet he still felt the pull to return, the need to stay overruling the ever present desire to run. And so he followed the same path he always did, arms folded tightly across his thin frame, digging and dragging nails into the flesh of his left arm. A nervous habit. The self-inflicted pain a welcomed distraction.

A mangy looking cat leapt from a shady perch and landed in his path, its patchy, flea-bitten coat looking as raw as his insides felt. He stopped and stared at it, the feline's green-gold gaze meeting his own and holding it. In his current state, mind a mangled mush, he found it funny - his mother had worn that same look of disapproval. There was no escaping it.

Warily, the cat eventually moved on and so, too, did the boy. His feet carried him without any thought, mind elsewhere until a familiar voice penetrated his thoughts.

"The petch did you do to her."

His mind crashed hard back into his body as he blinked the scene before him into focus. His mother lying sprawled on his sleeping mat - not too unlike she would most other nights, bottles nearby - and Nasso standing over her. There was nothing unusual about this sight and a crease formed between his dark brows as he glanced up to the man. Although Nasso was not a particularly imposing man, there was something about him that was menacing in its own way and the look the pimp gave him now stirred his need to run. To escape. To avoid the coming onslaught.

"Look at 'er!"

The force of his words were so great that they caused the boy to sway. Every fibre of his being told him to flee yet his feet remained rooted in place. Fear gripped him and he froze, eyes dropping to fix on his mother's still form yet, at the same time, unseeing. He blinked frantically, repeatedly, until, at last, minor details came to light. The colour of her skin - or definitive lack-there-of, the lack of movement, lack of breath. He blinked once more.

Was she -

"She's petchin' dead ya moron." As if for effect, he dug the toe of his boot into her side, rolling her slowly stiffening body onto its back. "What'd ya bloody do to her??"

Reality came in waves, rolling in and then out as his brain struggled to process this, the rain of spittle carried on Nasso's words briefly bringing him back to the here and now.

What had he done? What hadn't he?

A hand was on him, grabbing at the arm he had previously been worrying away at and, suddenly, his feet became unstuck. Flailing, twisting, turning and ducking, the boy struggled to evade Nasso's grasp. The cloak he had worn twisted around his frame, momentarily choking him before he pushed the tangled material up and over his head.

Freedom.

He spun out of the man's tenuous grip, leaving Nasso with nothing with a handful of that cloak he had been in, and, without second thought, he was off, running hard back towards the belly of the city.


wc 1158
“The means to every crime is ours,
and we employ them all,
we multiply the horror a hundredfold.”

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☉ absence ☉I'll be away in NZ from 28/5 - 9/6. Apologies for any inconvenience
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Orakan
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All Alone and the Fire Grows

Postby Orakan on February 19th, 2019, 4:46 am

His legs had kept pumping, feet chewing up the dirt and shyke-strewn streets as he ran and ran and ran, chest heaving, lungs burning. Exhaustion reared its ugly head but he ignored it, driven by what he had just seen, driven by words that had been spoken - and those left unspoken, driven by an unrealistic belief that by doing so he might outrun everything bad in his life. Outrun the pain. Outrun the image of his mother, limp and pale. Outrun the hot tears that stung his eyes.

He pushed beyond this exhaustion, unthinking, mad with pain and grief and utter fatigue. He ran no where in particular, just continued on until he reached the Mudway and could go no further. There he stopped and collapsed, legs stinging, lungs burning, mind swimming, mouth falling open and he rasped and heaved.

What now?

He hadn't a clue.

________________________


He woke with a start when something small and hard hit him in the ribs and shot upright into a seated position before struggling to his feet. His legs felt like lead and protested against the movement but the sight of the group of youths nearby forced him to grit his teeth and ignore it. His years in Sunberth had taught him that mobs were a dangerous thing and he wasn't about to underestimate this group that stood before him, members chuckling and exchanging hushed words amongst themselves as a myriad of eyes pinned him in place. Deliriously, he managed to dig the heel of a hand into his left eye, desperate the rid the grit and crust that coated it.

Thankfully the mob moved on, having contented itself with waking him, and he moved too, spurred on by hunger. He noticed the day was in full swing, the nearby Seaside Markets bustling with activity. Tilting his head back, he checked the position of the sun and saw Syna's light was high in the sky. He figured it was sometime after midday - not the busiest time for the Markets but busy enough. Maybe he could use the crowd to his advantage and pinch something to quiet his tummy rumblings.

Still dazed and sore, mind empty from the emotional, physical and mental exhaustion that ravaged him, he did his best to assess the scene before him: a variety of stalls were set up in a semblance of rows. Some had what appeared to be guards standing by, the boy picking them out by their bulk - or girth - and the way they wore their variety weapons in plain sight as a message to those who might dare try and pull anything.

His attention ventured further, closer towards the Mudway. The stalls thinned and diminished in quality here, the threat of the river and its tides resulting in the more affluent and savvy merchants to set up further inland, leaving the desperate to perilous fringe. That would be where he'd make his attempt.

He limped along the edge of the Mudway until he was within the thick of the market, eyes roving the stalls here. Spotted fruit, old fish. It was the dregs but even the worst was better than nothing at all.

With great difficulty, he managed to lower himself to a crouch, back pressed against one side of a fish stall, and tried to make himself seem inconspicuous and he folded his arms across his chest and settled in. There he waited long enough - he hoped - for the stall's attendant to lose interest in him before making his move. And move he did - stiffly and awkwardly, hand reaching around the top to try and nab a smaller silver fish - just as a cat leapt up to go for the same target. The sight of the feline drew the attendants attention just in time to see the boy's grubby hand and a fierce holler sent both hand and cat scurrying away.

Orakan cursed his luck. Cursed the damn cat. His eyes shot towards it - the same mangy thing he had seen earlier in the day, and, paying little heed to the attendant - or his sore muscles - he sprang to his feet and went after it.

wc 701
“The means to every crime is ours,
and we employ them all,
we multiply the horror a hundredfold.”

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☉ absence ☉I'll be away in NZ from 28/5 - 9/6. Apologies for any inconvenience
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Orakan
Lost Boy
 
Posts: 175
Words: 99149
Joined roleplay: July 7th, 2015, 1:52 am
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All Alone and the Fire Grows

Postby Orakan on February 19th, 2019, 5:21 am

"Petching mongrel" he shouted as he ran, the cat easily outmanoeuvring him, darting down an ally only to disappear behind a pile of discarded rotten wood and pallets. He wanted to groan. Wanted to cry. Wanted to scream. His mind swam, teetering between numbness and a deluge of emotions. His hunger, his pain heaved, seizing him and he wanted nothing more than to die. To curl up somewhere and never wake up. He wanted to laugh.

That fish had been his - if not for the bloody cat!

Defeated and delirious, he turned and was about to head back towards the Mudway when a voice called out to him.

"You tryna catch that cat?"

The voice was small, as if unsure whether it wanted to approach. Orakan turned and spotted its owner - an equally small youth. He judged the boy was of age - or close enough - with him and lifted his head in acknowledgement.

He wasn't sure what to say. He felt ridiculous. Could cats be caught??

With that, he shrugged, defeated, "Dunno. Pretty sure it got away.."

His eyes returned to where the cat had disappeared to but he could sense the other boy as he approached, footfalls equally small and soft. One used to sneaking.

"You could trap it." Again, his words were wary.

Brows perking, Orakan glanced over his shoulder to the other youth, eyeing him critically now that he was close enough to really be seen. It suddenly struck him - he had been a member of the motley mob that had woken him earlier. This realisation instantly put him on guard, sore muscles tensing further, ready to react if - and when - necessary.

The boy seemed to notice this, his eyes skittering away to wander the ally before them. Then as if a peace offering, he ventured further, "I could help you trap it."

Orakan eyed him long and hard before finally giving in, a mix of curiosity and desperation pushing him to take up the offer. "Didn't know cats fell for traps.. but.. sure... if you think it'll work."

He didn't realise it was vengeance that actually fuelled his decision.

The other boy shrugged, "Depends on the cat." He didn't sound convincing but continued on, never-the-less, "I usually trap Brats but.. I'm pretty sure it can work on cats too."

Another sniff. Orakan knuckled away at his nose before shrugging, expressing his halfhearted committal. His attention returned to where the cat had disappeared, studying the collection of refuse critically before something hit him. Pausing as he mulled it over, mind not fully comprehending most of what he was experiencing, he added, as an afterthought, "Brats?"

The boy next to him didn't miss a beat, supplying quickly, "Sunberth Rats," before taking a caution and careful step forward. He, too, was studying the challenge before them. He continued on, as if thinking aloud, "First we'll need bait..."

Orakan eyed him curiously, noticing the intensity in which he studied the alley before them and then nodded. He wasn't sure how'd he be able to help in this regard considering his recent failed attempt. "So.. food or somethin?"

The boy turned his attention briefly to him and gave the smallest of nods. "Probably best for a cat.. the smellier the better. There might be some dead fish along the Mudway we can use."

That made sense.

Orakan didn't even say anything, only turned and began to trek back down towards the river, unsure if he'd be able to scavenge anything of value but he'd at least give it a try.
“The means to every crime is ours,
and we employ them all,
we multiply the horror a hundredfold.”

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☉ absence ☉I'll be away in NZ from 28/5 - 9/6. Apologies for any inconvenience
User avatar
Orakan
Lost Boy
 
Posts: 175
Words: 99149
Joined roleplay: July 7th, 2015, 1:52 am
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All Alone and the Fire Grows

Postby Orakan on February 19th, 2019, 7:46 am

He wasn't sure how long he was gone for or how far he had travelled along this particular branch of the Mudway. Everything seemed to slough away as he wandered - eyes fixed on the muddy, silty bank, mind slowly quieting. The war within his body had also seemed to reach a stalemate, everything growing numb as he searched, unfocused, for something that could work as bait. Eventually, he disturbed a group of squabbling gulls, barely even noticing them until he was quite literally upon them, sending them airborne as they squawked and cried in protest of his existence. It was there he found the potential bait - a half picked apart fish carcass that the gulls had been fighting over - and picked it up, having to use both hands to keep it from completely falling apart on him.

The stench was god awful.

He returned to the alley where he had left his temporary accomplice, finding him crouched and working on what appeared to be a box. Orakan studied it, sizing it up, and furrowed his brows. "Is that gonna be big enough?"

The other boy paused and glanced between the box and Orakan before shrugging and returning to his fiddlings, "We'll see." He added after a tick, "I'm not use to catching them alive.. so I'm improvising."

Orakan puzzled over it, further studying the contraption, and set the fish carcass aside on the lid of a busted barrel. He then settled into a crouch near his new companion - ignoring the taught feeling in his legs - and motioned towards it, "What is it?"

The other boy tinkered further before brushing a few loose splinters off the top, "Just a a makeshift box.. I usually use a big rock.. or anything somewhat flat and heavy." He set the box aside and twisted, reaching around to pick up a collection of what looked to be twigs and sticks. From the pile, he pulled out a piece of cordage and spun it between his index and thumb. "I take it you've never made traps before?"

Orakan scrunched up his nose and shook his head. He wasn't really in the mood to learn. "Nah.. is it ready or is there more that needs doing?" Part of him was beginning to think this was a waste of time and that this kid was messing with him.

The other kid pursed his lips in thought, not seeming bothered by the dismissal. "I think so. Not used to doing this in alley ways... so I'm hoping it works. The traps I make usually smash what I'm trapping... so the cat might get aw-"

"I don't care if you smash it." His words were cold. Blunt.

The other youth paused again, absorbing this new bit of information. Another shrug. "Well. If the box doesn't work then we can try the smash technique."

He seemed too content, liked he'd be happy to spend the next few days trying to get this cat. Orakan was slowly getting less and less comfortable in his new accomplice's company - just as the other boy seemed to grow ever more comfortable in his - and he moved to put some space between them as a result. He made his mind up right then and there that he'd give up on catching this bloody cat if the trap didn't work the first time. He'd rather just tear its hiding place up. Yell and scream and terrorise it that way.

The other youth had begun assembling the trap, carefully setting up a series of the different shaped sticks that somehow fell into place with one another in grooves Orakan hadn't noticed before. The cordage seemed to link one of the sturdier looking sticks with a small strip of wood. He watched, more interested in how fussy the assembly seemed to be than out of genuine interest in learning about the trap, the other boy gingerly manoeuvring the box into place, the lip propping against that same, sturdy stick that had the cordage. There was some more fiddling before Orakan yawned and glanced away, eyes drifting back up to the sky to check its placement in the sky.

"Now... I'm gonna try and suspend the bait so it has to really work to get it... and really be in the box. Otherwise it will just snatch it and not set off the trap."

Orakan's head bobbed back down, hazel eyes returning to his new companion and the very intricate sounding trap he had constructed. It was then he realised that was his cue to get involved and he pushed himself up to his feet. He gathered the fish carcass and stepped over to the other youth, offering it. The other boy motioned towards where he wanted it held - inside the box - and Orakan did his best to crouch and hold it in place.

After a bit of effort and a few failed attempts, the body was finally secured to the inside of the trap and the smaller boy proclaimed their task done. Now it was time to wait.

"The cat probably won't go after it until it's dark."

Orakan figured. He glanced over his shoulder to give the area around them a quick, furtive look. There was still the chance Nasso would look for him and try and use him. He'd need a place to hide out.

With great reluctance, Orakan finally addressed the other boy. "Do you live around here?"
“The means to every crime is ours,
and we employ them all,
we multiply the horror a hundredfold.”

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☉ absence ☉I'll be away in NZ from 28/5 - 9/6. Apologies for any inconvenience
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Orakan
Lost Boy
 
Posts: 175
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Joined roleplay: July 7th, 2015, 1:52 am
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All Alone and the Fire Grows

Postby Orakan on March 9th, 2019, 3:11 am

The boy merely shrugged. Orakan had a feeling he understood what that meant: the boy had no real home. It was not uncommon, but finding somewhere to take shelter and lay low for the night was slowly becoming a priority for Orakan.

"Not asking for food or anything, just a place to hide out if you got one." He was tired - no, exhausted -, but he attempted to seem convincing. He knew the odds were not in his favour; the kid had already offered help, asking for more was pushing it.

"Yeah, 'kay..." The boy seemed hesitant, small voice that much smaller as he turned to send a wary look in Orakan's direction. Then, with more confidence, "You tryna hide from someone?"

Orakan noticed the straightening of his spine, of his shoulders. It made him narrow his brow and frown - he hated asking for help. Hated seeming weak. His reply came too delayed to be convincing, "Jus' lookin' for a place to crash while we wait for the petchin' cat."

A couple ticks passed before the boy gave a single nod. He rose to his feet and brushed off his stained and patchy pants before stepping past, pausing at the end of the alley way they had been in to give him a half-hearted wave to beckon him onward.

Orakan followed and the two made their way back towards the Mudway and then turned to follow it towards the Bay. They veered off before they reached the mouth of the river that had long since lost its name and headed south-east, the boy weaving them between buildings and through laneways until he paused above a sewer entrance.

The boy seemed unsure again, visibly wary of proceeding further with his relatively unknown companion in tow. Still, he ventured, obviously the type eager for mateship and camaraderie, "It's down here. A few o' us live down here... keep your head down and don't say 'nothing, alright?"

Orakan nodded and the pair worked together to lift the heavy metal gully hole. He felt himself shake against the strain, body begging for respite and recovery, but he ignore it and the ache in his legs as he helped roll it to one side. The boy went in first, seizing the ladder that would lead him into the depths of the sewer, and disappeared from sight in an instant, nimble as the cat they had been hunting. Orakan was not one for deft or graceful motions and awkwardly got onto the ladder.

"Make sure to slide the grate back into place."

The sound carried up in an eerie way, giving Orakan pause. Clinging with every bit of strength he had to the ladder, his eyes scanned the hole before him, mind wheeling over how he could remain on the gate while still managing to shift the heavy thing closed. He climbed back up the few steps he had descended and then braced himself against the ladder, one arm hooking under and around to try and further secure and anchor himself. Then he reached up with his free hand and did his best to try and budge the grate.

It barely moved.

He grit his teeth and took another step up to try and give himself more leverage, rehooked his off-arm and then tried again. With a grunt, he managed to get it to shift. Another five tries and it finally fell into place.

And he wanted to fall, too.

His body was wrecked and the shakes were finally seizing him fully. He tried again to shut his eyes and shut them out, to turn inward and focus on something else - anything else. Instinctively, he sought out a distraction and gripped the rung he held until his knuckles felt like locking and he mentally latched onto that feeling, that pain, and used it to keep him going.

More twists and turns. Orakan sensed the boy was trying to confuse him, disorient him so he couldn't find this place again. He understood, to a degree, but he certainly had no desire. The sewers were dark and dank and smelled Gods-awful - which was saying a lot considering the stench he dealt with in the Tent City.

The boy attempted some small talk, his words bouncing messily about the crumbling walls that surrounded them. Orakan gave no hint at a reply, still focusing hard on keeping his mind and body distracted. His arms had wrapped around his frame again and he had resumed his worrying of his left forearm, eyes trying to make out the dark, shadowy shapes in his vicinity.

Eventually the pair came upon a high, dry surface where various bedrolls, blankets and bits of clothing lay sprawled and scattered about. What had once been a fire sat a ways back from the sleeping area, embers still glowing within the makeshift pit. Orakan scanned the area and suddenly second-guessed coming down. Judging by the number of sleeping mats, he was greatly outnumbered and he had no clue how to get back to the surface. He had put himself in a precarious and dangerous situation and he knew the boy was his only means of protection. That thought alone grated on him.

Still, he knew he needed to continue their 'relationship', to remain in his good graces if anything were to happen.

"Do ya got a name? Or should I call you Brat Boy?"
“The means to every crime is ours,
and we employ them all,
we multiply the horror a hundredfold.”

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☉ absence ☉I'll be away in NZ from 28/5 - 9/6. Apologies for any inconvenience
User avatar
Orakan
Lost Boy
 
Posts: 175
Words: 99149
Joined roleplay: July 7th, 2015, 1:52 am
Location: Sunberth
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Plotnotes
Medals: 1
Mizahar Grader (1)


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