Completed Wayward Lantern

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A city floating in the center of a lake, Ravok is a place of dark beauty, romance and culture. Behind it all though is the presence of Rhysol, God of Evil and Betrayal. The city is controlled by The Black Sun, a religious organization devoted to Rhysol. [Lore]

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Wayward Lantern

Postby Evarista on April 21st, 2017, 6:14 am

15th of Spring, 517 A.V.

The evening had started like any other, with Evarista holding a glass and staring into the wall in front of her. This particular wall belonged to Café Fleurs. The girl had no idea why she kept returning to this trashy place and its low-tier alcohol; maybe because returning home felt extra good afterwards. Which is what she was about to do, anyway. Looking at the obnoxious greenery around her was starting to make her sick, and pulled too many memories from the murky sediment of her consciousness.

Rising from the chair unsteadily, Evarista shuffled towards the ravosala waiting just next to the café terrace, and pre-emptively tossed a miza at the driver. The man caught the coin deftly, his other hand dutifully catching his inebriated customer by the waist before she was about to slip and tumble head-first into the canal.

“Careful, missy. Water’s deep ‘round here.” Waiting until the notoriously familiar ravenette finally found a semi-comfortable place on the bench in front of him, he leaned on the steering pole. “Home, right?”

The boat was away even before she nodded. The ravosalaman’s expectations of the conversation were as low as always, but staying silent was unthinkable, so he began simply throwing out the latest tidbits, checking to see if the weird kid would react to any of them.

"Ya e'er been ta tha Pits? Aye, right fine mess o' fun, tha' place. I hear tell o' one o' dem Syliran knights be fightin' dese days. Wan' me ta slip ya o'er? Tain't far."

To his surprise, Evarista perked up slightly, squinting at him skeptically. That was a more animated response than usual, so he developed the thought.

“Right dat is. Can’t say how dey got de’r hands on ‘im, but I’d sure love ta see ‘im in de ring. Wonder who dey’ll put ‘im up ‘gainst. Too bad I’ve gotta run dis ‘ere.” He tapped the steering platform below him with his heel affectionately.

“Take me there.” The passenger looked to be gathering her thoughts, sitting up straight and pulling something out of her pocket. Counting the prayer beads helped her avoid falling into a daydream again.

The pilot didn’t have to change course, since the Pit was just across the street from the Nitrozian estate’s premises. The familiar canals slipped by quickly, and soon they were at the entrance to the park. The noise of an agitated crowd could already be heard. The odds for the evening match would be announced soon. Stepping off the ravosala and pausing before the wall of backs that undulated slowly before her. It was amazing to think that this commotion was happening right outside of the mansion every single day, but she has long forgotten the Pit even existed. Her windows facing the other way could be a part of it, but there was something else.

Wanting to get closer to the ring, the girl made a few tactical elbow strikes ahead of her to get between the tightly packed betters and spectators, but was quickly ejected again with a few fresh bruises of her own. Rubbing her sore ribs, she spun her head around to find a way forward.

Last time she was here was many years ago. When she was a kid, sneaking out here and watching poor sods get minced in the ring was very exciting. Weaseling her way to the front never posed a problem back then, but today, it would require more sophisticated tactics.

Shoving the prayer beads back into her pocket, Evarista tugged at the djed tissue of her brain, calling upon the arachnid sense that has already helped her many times. Closing her eyes, she felt countless vibrations pour into her mind, drawing a clearer picture of people’s positions around her than her eyes ever could. She became fully aware of the small yet vital gaps between people, where it would be easiest to get ahead. But that alone wasn’t enough. Evarista’s fingertips became coated with a nearly-invisible forest of jellyfish stingers. Since she was in a hurry, these weren’t nearly as potent as the real thing, but that wasn’t necessary.

Approaching a tall dockworker from behind, the devious aristocrat reached up and tapped his neck. The sharp needles on her fingers stung him like a nettle, dispersing the weak neurotoxin through his system. The man flinched at the unexpected sensation, jerking away from her and clasping his neck in alarm. This moment was enough to allow Evarista to step past him, brushing her fingers against someone’s hand. Another startled jerk, another pitched curse, and she could quickly take another step forward. At this rate, getting to the front was a leisurely dance.

When the clearing of the ring finally became apparent to her vibration sense, Evarista opened her eyes and blinked gingerly, readjusting to relying on her vision again. She was right in front of the ring railing. Leaning on it, she looked around in search of anything that would confirm or deny the rumor that brought her here: the prospect of a Syliran knight fighting tonight.
Last edited by Evarista on July 2nd, 2017, 2:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Evarista
Whose eyes are those eyes?
 
Posts: 201
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Wayward Lantern

Postby Evarista on April 23rd, 2017, 10:38 am

The fast and chaotic swirl faces around her told Evarista little of what she wanted to know. She avoided crowds like the plague when sober, but being here after a drink wasn't so bad, mostly because her senses were so dulled that she perceived the crowd more as a blurry mass than as a gathering of individuals. The dim lighting helped, and the invasive smell of sweat and stale beer that surrounded her wasn't as bothersome as it could have been. The people here weren't just toothless dockworkers, though, as a number of well-groomed haircuts visible around her suggested... including an uncannily familiar one. Was that one of her brothers? ...yes, it was. Best to keep the distance.

Giving up on finding any traces of the rumored knight on her own, she tapped the man next to her on the shoulder. When he turned around, she recognized him as one of the local Noble District ravosalamen. It was a little novel to her to see a ravosalaman away from his ravosala, but she pushed those thoughts away and asked what she was really interested in: whether there would be a Syliran knight in the ring tonight. Due to the noise around them, she had to repeat herself twice, raising her voice each time, before the query got across.

The off-duty pilot rubbed his chin for a moment, giving her a curious smirk, and then replied. Apparently, he's also heard the rumor of a knight being about, but out of the fighters scheduled to enter the ring today, there was nobody remotely like one. Perhaps the pit foreman would know more. As he said the last part, he nodded towards the raised wooden platform nearby, from which a number of tall figures were surveying the crowd. At the front of the platform was a large and still-empty announcement board, presumably meant for information on every upcoming fight.

Managing a smile and a nod as thanks, Evarista parted with the ravosalaman and squeezed her way to the platform. While there were plenty of burly personages walking around up there, looking busy in preparation of the evening bout announcement, one stood out clearly. Towering above all the others was a heavily scarred and tattooed figure, casually leaning against the back of the announcement board with his arms crossed, and sweeping his overbearing gaze across his bustling underlings. He was clearly the boss here.

Having made her way to the rickety staircase leading up to the platform, Evarista was faced by a bouncer, standing in the way and staring down at her dispassionately. Getting him to move would probably be futile, so the girl decided to walk around the back of the platform. Since the platform itself was blocking the view of the ring from this angle, there were no people here at all; a blind spot in the otherwise tightly packed park. Using the newfound space, the girl measured her prospects of climbing the platform. The platform was supported by sets of diagonal wooden ribs, which looked fairly easy to scale.

Coating her hands with a discrete layer of chitin to avoid splinters, the sneaky aristocrat grabbed hold of the first solid-looking rib and began pulling herself up. Finding that the smooth chitin kept sliding down the diagonal surface, she coated it with a set of tiny teeth to get a better hold. The customizable climbing equipment really was indispensable here, she thought, smirking to herself. It didn't take long before she was steadily ascending, grabbing the difficult spots with her toothy hands and leaving the easy spots for her shoes. The platform was around three meters tall, so once the pace has been established, getting to the top was a matter of moments.

Carefully sticking out the top of her head above the platform surface, Evarista surveyed the area cautiously, looking for her subject of interest. Ah, there he was. And he was... staring straight at her.

Flinching under the retired champion's fierce gaze, the girl almost lost her grip on the platform, but on the other hand, perhaps this actually made things easier. Somehow regaining eye contact, she stuck out one of her arms and waved him over. Truly enough, he leaned away from the announcement board and strode towards her. She wasn't sure if he was responding to her beckon or if he was about to cave her skull in. The foreman stopped at the edge of the platform, pausing briefly and looking down at her with raised eyebrows. Since she was viewing him from below floor level, he seemed to be really ten meters tall, and was also in a good position to kick her off the platform with a simple sweep of his foot. Since he hasn't done that yet, she assumed he had given her the benefit of the doubt.

Seizing the opportunity, Evarista went straight down to business.

"Eh, I was curious about the Syliran knight I've heard you, uhh... had around here. Care to tell me more?" As usual, her even-toned drone was doing an excellent job at concealing the fact that her heart was down in her heels.

The awkward pause that followed was mercifully short, as the foreman reached down with one hand, grabbed Evarista by the back of her collar, and pulled her up on the platform in one motion. The moment of weightlessness made her spinningly dizzy, and the alcohol in her system didn't help, so she had to lean on something to keep herself on her feet. The only thing nearby was the foreman, so she leaned her hand on him while her vestibular system regained a sense of up and down. He was as good as a wall in that regard.

"So... is there a southern knight fighting here any time soon?" Finally finding the ability to stand on her own, she straightened her blouse and looked up at him casually, continuing the conversation as if nothing strange had happened.

Putting his hands on his hips, the foreman gave an amused snicker; that's what she assumed his staccato-growl was supposed to represent.

"You've got guts. I like that, so I'll indulge you."

Beckoning her along, he took her to a rickety table with a few parchments scattered over it. The parchments were covered with sloppy, hand-drawn graphs that didn't tell her anything, so she found herself sneaking another peek at the foreman instead. Up close, he was vaguely familiar, so she's probably seen him when she came here as a child, but she couldn't recall his name. The park staff bustling around them turned their heads at her in bewilderment, having no idea where she came from, but since she was in the foreman's company, they didn't dare to say anything.

After a quick glance at the charts, the scarred champion waved his hand dismissively.

"Not today."

Evarista felt mix of hope and disappointment. On the one hand, she might have come here in vain, but on the other hand, it was now proven that there really was a knight held in captivity here. Walking away empty-handed after that heart-stopping climbing experience would be a real shame, though...

Before he could say anything else, she interjected, in a moment of glibness she could never achieve in sober condition.

"Why not? How about a change of schedule?"

Another amused growl showed that she was still riding the wave of approval.

"You're right. Why not?" He waved over one of his underlings, a nondescript thin-haired man with a dry face. "Let's twist things around. Pull the Myrian and put in the Syliran."

The staffer nodded quickly and went away to execute the order, giving Evarista a blank glance.

Excited that things were going her way, the girl decided to escalate the tension. While she wasn't a gambler for gambling's sake, making a bet would make the fight a bit more engaging.

"This will be interesting. I'm betting on the knight. Here!" Shoving her hand into her pocket, Evarista pulled out everything in there. To her surprise, she found only nine mizas. It looked like her round at the café was heavier than usual. It was embarrassing for someone of her standing to bet so little money, but apparently the foreman didn't mind, giving her a wry smirk and raking the coins off of her palm. His fingers were so coarse that it felt like they could leave abrasions.

"Five for the bet, four for the trouble. Hahaha! Have fun, now." Not letting his good mood get in the way of his business sense, the foreman pocketed some of the coins and left the rest on the table.

Sensing that her welcome was beginning to wear off, Evarista rapidly evacuated the platform, using stairs this time, and squeezed her way to the ring again. And just in time, too - the fight was about to begin.
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Evarista
Whose eyes are those eyes?
 
Posts: 201
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Joined roleplay: August 1st, 2016, 11:28 am
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Wayward Lantern

Postby Evarista on July 2nd, 2017, 1:40 pm

Two figures stepped out on the ring, each from their own side. The crowd around the ring immediately exploded into a cacophony of screaming, hooting and stomping as if everyone was trying to make each other deaf on purpose. The figures, somewhat poorly visible due to the dust being kicked up and sweeping across the arena, lifted their weapons towards each other. One of them must have been the knight, but Evarista couldn't tell who. The explosive noise around her quickly gave her a crushing headache. She attempted to counteract this by morphing her ears shut, but it made surprisingly little difference, merely creating an illusion of submerging the invasive soundscape underwater.

Maybe standing at the epicentre of everything wasn't a good idea. She didn't mind this environment when she came here as a child, but now that she had grown accustomed to the silence of her room, it wasn't bearable. The fighters crossed their blades for the first time, steel flashing in the dancing firelight cast by the surrounding torches. The shouting and hooting increased even more as everyone cheered for whomever they betted on. Evarista, however, was no longer as enthusiastic about this. The arena started swimming before her eyes, and she found it hard to care what happened on it. Thoughts of going home and curling up under the sheets quickly pushed out the fleeting curiosity about any rumors.

Leaning away from the railing and narrowly evading a mug of beer carelessly swung just past her head, she turned around and began squeezing her way out of the crowd. The sea of shouting and grimacing faces before her made her shudder and close her eyes, hugging herself protectively while relying on her vibrosense to navigate between the turbulent bodies. She was shoved off-course several times and hit by stray beverage splatters as the arena battle intensified and the agitation around her rose in tandem.

Eventually she found herself at the arena entrance, leaning against the wall dizzily and rubbing several fresh bruises on her arms. The slimy wet patch in her hair smelled like cheap beer, but that was probably not the only ingredient. This was entertainment for some, but for Evarista, it was suffering. Especially now that her inebriation has worn off and she has once again lost the ability to appreciate human company, let alone company of this sort. Looking down at the ground and repeatedly questioning her decision to come here at all, the young aristocrat shuffled out of the exit. The only fortune was that it was a short walk home.

"Leaving so soon? What about your bet?" A low male voice drifted towards her somewhere from the side.

It took Evarista a short while to realize that he was addressing her. Raising her head, she saw a tall figure with a red skullcap, leaning on a halberd. His lips, framed by a bushy moustache, were touched by a small smile. A city guard. Just as the arena had its own guards to prevent trouble from spilling in, the city guard had people posted outside during the evenings to prevent trouble from spilling out. There didn't seem to be much to do at the moment, though, as Evarista and the guard were the only people at the main entrance. The evening fight was already in progress; those who wanted to come have already come, and those who were already inside had no thoughts of leaving. Evarista was the only exception, evidently.

"I didn't place one." Not being in the mood for conversation, she simply shrugged him off and shuffled on.

"Liar. I saw you up there." The guard nodded towards the wooden platform that housed the arena supervisors. There was a playful note in his voice. Evarista stopped and stared at him blankly, trying to understand why he was acting so familiar. The guard met her foggy eyes and laughed.

"You're a Nitrozian, right? Used to be, I saw you around here all the time. A quick-footed runt, you were... but now you've grown pretty tall, eh!" The guard continued laughing, as if recalling a fond memory.

"Could be..." Evarista's murmur trailed off, making her disinterest obvious. She didn't remember him at all, and didn't care to. "I'm not feeling well, so I'll be heading home. Good evening."

The guard gave a good-natured snort and waved goodbye without further discussion. It seemed that he had stuck up the conversation more out of boredom than out of any genuine concern, which Evarista thought was a good thing. Just as she turned to leave, an explosion of angry voices pierced the air above the arena.

"Looks like the Syliran won, eh? Judging by the atmosphere, I bet he wasn't a popular wager..." The guard rubbed his chin thoughtfully.

"Why not?", Evarista asked sheepishly, revealing her utter ignorance of the industry.

The guard saw an opportunity to continue talking and seized it, putting a leather-gloved hand on his hip and looking out over the crowd.

"He was up against a popular fighter that already had a four-win streak. Why would anyone bet on some shiny Syliran fop instead of that? I guess he's a knight and all, so that could say something about his skills, but it doesn't mean much to the average drunkard in there. They bet on the boys they like more, not on those who fight better. Which is what makes the place go around, I guess."

After a short pause, he turned his head to the girl.

"I'm guessing you bet on the knight, eh?"

"Yes..."

Evarista stared at her shoes, unsure what to do. Leaving behind her justly won money felt stupid, but the prospect of going back inside to collect it repulsed her even more.

"Look, I see you're out of it. Go home and get some rest. I'll collect your coins and drop 'em off at your place when my shift ends. Alright?" The guard patted her hunched shoulder supportively.

"Alright. Thanks. Good night." Nodding to him politely, Evarista turned around for the last time and retreated from the premises with a long gait. She was thankful to the guard for making the decision for her. Coming home and flopping down in bed was indeed the most pressing concern right then, bar none, and it was well worth ten mizas. In fact, she'd pay a hundred to avoid diving into that filthy flesh-sea again.

***

The next morning, the girl was very surprised to actually find a small pouch of coins on her desk. Upon questioning Bryony, it turned out that a city guard had indeed visited the mansion last night and told to deliver her this. What a stupid man, she thought.

Still, he did say it himself - stupid men are the ones who make the system go around.

LedgerPaid 4 GM for the arena roster swap. Received 5 GM in gambling revenue.
User avatar
Evarista
Whose eyes are those eyes?
 
Posts: 201
Words: 295139
Joined roleplay: August 1st, 2016, 11:28 am
Location: Ravok
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Medals: 1
Ravok Seasonal Challenge (1)


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