Hustling 101

Roland and Jomi knew what they were getting into and they did it anyway.

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Considered one of the most mysterious cities in Mizahar, Alvadas is called The City of Illusions. It is the home of Ionu and the notorious Inverted. This city sits on one of the main crossroads through The Region of Kalea.

Hustling 101

Postby Jomi on November 21st, 2017, 5:29 am

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45th of Winter, 517

The red moon was full and bright in the Underground, casting an macabre shadow over the mass of bodies pressed together around the makeshift boxing ring. Fleshy thumps could be heard between the jeers of the audience as a spray of blood and spittle covered the spectators. None of whom took notice of the transparent mist that floated above the spectacle.

Jomi had stumbled on the fight ring during his nightly Underground haunting. An man with rather unusual face tattoos and sporting a hide crossed with scars and calluses wailed on another man who struggled to keep himself upright. At first the ghost had intended to pass by; fights like these were easy to find amidst the rejects of society and had no benefit to a bodiless soul. But as the ringmaster call out the bets a glimmer of interest sparked in the spirit. That gold was just what he needed to gain some independence from his master. An escape plan, should he need one.

“Do we have another challenger for our own Sidestep Briggs?” A tall, sickly pale man wearing a shoddy bright pink tailcoat jumped atop a rickety crate, waving an equally rickety cane. A hush fell over the crowed as the latest victim was dragged out of the ring and deposited unceremoniously against an adjacent wall.

“Come now ladies and gents surely there be a brave soul amongst ya. The odds are now 9 over 1, anyone feelin’ lucky tonight?” The announcer jeered as he shook a handful of gold, obviously pleased with how his night was going. Briggs for his part stood in the ring, stoic and seemingly unconcerned with his hawker or the audience.

A shiver of glee ran up the unmaterialized ghost’s form. No one had been able to beat the shear power the 6’4 beast of a man could throw. One hit toppled his opponents and then it was just a matter of keeping them down long enough until their bodies broke. But if there were a invisible force to slow him down and redirect those blows…

The ghost rose higher above the crowed, scanning for any potential fighter he could 'convince' to enter the ring.

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Hustling 101

Postby Roland Eir on November 23rd, 2017, 6:18 am

Roland's toes perched on the top edge of a thick door frame. With a push, he hoisted himself up to stand. A few curious Alvads cast glances his way as he climbed above the evening crowd. Most of them were heading home for the night, eager to return to their loving spouses and warm houses. Roland had no one, which was just as well with him, and he preferred activity to stillness. Going home meant pouring over his book, a thought that filled him with frustration.

All season the age-yellowed pages had refused to give up any new secrets. His struggle with the ancient language made learning anything difficult, but over the years he'd dedicated countless sleepless nights to studying. The result was a grasp of magic he'd never dreamed of before, but it seemed his learning had come to an end. The book would yield no more answers, not unless he could figure out more of the language. Tired of rereading the same old notes time and time again, he'd left the book under his bed and taken to the street.

Which brought him here, his right arm stretching skyward. Calloused fingers wrapped around a low windowsill. With that for support, he lifted first one leg and then another. Rinse and repeat. In this way he clambered up the two-story building. Alvadas had a varied architecture, but the inhabitants favored whimsical shapes and stonework that lent itself to easy climbing. Within a few bells he had hooked his arms over the tiled roof. The clay shingles were rough enough to provide friction, and with a grunt of exertion he rolled the rest of his body up over the lip of the rooftop.

Crawling up the slanted roof, he finally came to a halt. Flipping onto his back he found a comfortable position to sit and enjoy the view. The sun was setting beyond the city, setting the sky aglow in shades of orange and red. This wasn't the first time Roland had come to a high point and watched the city. He'd hoped to see the city shifting visibly, the streets moving or transporting around at Ionu's command. There was no such revelation. But it was calming, coming up above the bustle of the city and the chaos of the illusions.

Roland leaned forward and peeked over the edge with a grin. Heights hadn't bothered him since he was a young boy. Dozens of feet below the crowd continued their evening commute with no regard for the man on the rooftop. But just as he was watching others, he had no idea that he was being watched himself. His eyes missed the translucent haze that hovered almost level with him in the air.


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Hustling 101

Postby Jomi on November 24th, 2017, 5:38 am

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"You lost, Stray?"

A dark man with a cruel grin began to materialize, hovering directly in front of the acrobat. The pearly mist that Jomi had spread thin to avoid being seen condensed together rapidly. Starting at his head the soulmist shaped itself into Jomi's preferred shape, a younger, lithe version of himself he remembered from his youth.

The loose tendrils the inexperienced ghost couldn’t control danced erratically. Alvadas smiled on him tonight, and brought him exactly what he needed. As such Jomi could hardly contain his joy.

"People tend to walk up the streets not the buildings. But I suppose this might just be your awkward attempts to relate to the city. I'm sure Ionu appreciates your efforts."

Jomi drifted closer, until his spectral boot were toe to toe with the scruffy foreigner.

"But never mind that, I need you to enter a fight for me. So either you follow me to the Underground willingly so I can explain." Jomi paused, his scythe like grin widened "Or I throw you off this roof and drag your broken body there anyway."

It was a bluff.

Jomi knew he was not powerful enough to override the humans survival instincts during possession. But he also knew that Roland wouldn't know that. And spending a full year with Madeira, the professional bullshyker, had given him confidence in his own abilities.

Not to mention that now that Roland had had a season to grow accustomed to the city and it's madness, possessing him would be much more difficult.

"So if you enjoy having full use of your limbs then you will crawl down this wall and walk up the this ally here." Jomi gave a wide sweeping gesture to the street they sat above. His grin replaced with a furrowed brow as he struggled to remember how he'd seen the living enter the lower city.

"At the end theres a gap between this building here," He pointed to the building across from them without turning away from Roland. "And the wall, If you squeeze through that you'll see stairs leading down and you will take them."

Elated at his luck, and drunk on his own pretend power, Jomi couldn't resist one more cruel barb.

"It's tight, but I'm sure a rat like you could fit."


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Hustling 101

Postby Roland Eir on November 27th, 2017, 10:35 am

A chill filled the air as the spectral form took shape. Roland shivered and drew back, though his fear turned into a derisive sneer as the spirit showed himself. "You," he spat, pulling himself up off the shingles. His body stiffened as Jomi drew near, but he refused to pull away. He responded to the ghost's taunts with silence. If the dead man had a point, he'd get to it.

"But never mind that, I need you to enter a fight for me. So either you follow me to the Underground willingly so I can explain... or I throw you off this roof and drag your broken body there anyway." Roland's eyes widened in shock. His composure lost, he took a couple shaky steps back up the roof. What the shyke was he saying? A fight? Roland was not a warrior. One look at the lanky foreigner could tell you that.

"Are you crazy?" he demanded, shifting awkwardly on the slope of the roof. The wind tugged at his jacket and blew his hair into his eyes. A fall from this height wouldn't kill him, but it would sure hurt. Jomi was right, he could be crippled. The spirit's ethereal grin told him he would do it, too. And he'd enjoy it. Damn it. "Fine. Let's just get down there and you can tell me what you're talking about."

Giving the crazy ghost a wide berth, Roland swept his legs over the edge and started down. His mind reeled with what was expected of him. Fight? And what was the Underground? The man had lived in the city more than forty days and hadn't heard anything about an Underground to the city. Jomi hung in the air above him, and Roland let loose a slurry of curses under his breath. He hated this feeling of being at someone's mercy. Madeira had done the same thing to him. Now her pet had found him and was doing the same.

"So what is this?" Roland asked, lowering his feet back to the windowsill he'd used to climb up. "Did your master send you here to annoy me?" He wouldn't put it past her. With his fingers hooked onto the window frame he walked his feet down to the door of the building. It was a simple matter to lower himself down from there, and drop the final couple of feet.

He reoriented himself to the ground level and found the alley Jomi had pointed out. Sure enough, there was the gap right where he'd said. It was dark beyond, though he could just make out stairs leading down. Roland's curiosity piqued. It didn't look like a basement or cellar, the way he'd expected. Though the gap itself was tight, the stairs looked almost as wide as a city street. "What is this place?" he asked, more to the air than to the ghost that followed him.

He looked back at Jomi, hesitating. Now that they were on the ground the ghost couldn't throw him off a ledge. But that didn't mean he couldn't hurt him. He remembered the last possession and shuddered involuntarily. No, he wouldn't go through that again if he could help it. Abandoning caution, he stepped up and pushed through the gap. The stone was cold to the touch, and scraped against his skin, but he squeezed through without much issue. It was just big enough for him. Almost perfectly so.

The mouth of the tunnel opened up like a massive storm drain in front of him. Dank, cool air rushed out of it like the breath of a great beast. Roland licked his lips, rolled his shoulders, and took that first step into the Underground.

The stairway arced downward in an oblong curve. It felt like walking down a massive spinal column. With every step the air grew thicker. The illusory smells were still in effect, and the tunnel smelled strongly of rust and tanning leather. Roland covered his nose with his arm, gagging. He wondered if smells affected ghosts, but didn't take his eyes off the steps to see if Jomi was reacting. Just as the light from the tunnel entrance disappeared, he could see a soft red glow illuminating the end.

His mouth fell agape as he stepped out into the Underground proper. It was like a whole other city down here! And in the sky... it was still dusk, but a red moon glowered from the sky casting its sanguine light on the city below. "This isn't..." He almost said it wasn't possible, but this was Alvadas. Possible didn't mean shyke here. The foreigner gathered himself and turned to his lifeless guide. Why did Jomi need him here? He'd said he needed Roland to enter a fight for him. Sounded like a tournament, or some sort of fight ring. Something told him any fights going on in a place like this weren't exactly legal. But legality didn't bother him so much as safety, and down here he felt very unsafe indeed.


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Hustling 101

Postby Jomi on December 5th, 2017, 7:37 am

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Jomi trailed along behind the foreigner as he crossed the threshold to the underground proper.

"Welcome to the Underground, Stray."

Jomi passed through Roland’s body and turned to face him with his arms wide. The Underground’s streets were dark with perpetual night. Street urchins and thieves lurked in the shadows of crumbling buildings, eyeing the newcomer suspiciously. But Jomi gave them no mind, and neither did he pick up on Roland’s discomfort.

While alive Jomi and his bondmate Edith had made the underground their home. The former slaves were always more comfortable living with the dregs of society. And since his death that comfort had been replaced with full blown apathy. He no longer had anything to fear from the Underground and he couldn’t understand those who did anymore.

"It's this way. Try not to look like an easy mark."

Jomi beckoned Roland forward into the darkness and fell into step beside him. Spectral legs swung in an easy, loose gait purely out of habit as the words spilled from his mouth in a torrent.

"There's a fight ring up ahead, and this guy, Briggs, he's the champion. Its a winner-takes-all kind of thing. You pay him for the chance to fight. If you win you get his money, he wins he keep yours.” Jomi never paused for breath. He seemed to be awash with an exited energy that vibrated from his core. “Briggs is big, and a brute. He hits hard and overpowers his opponents. But what if he couldn’t land a hit? What if there were a invisible hand holding down his foot, or guiding his hand over his opponent’s head?”

The ghost drifted closer to the foreigner with a wide conspiritorial grin.

“All you have to do is make a bet and stay out of the way. You hit him and I make sure he doesn’t hit you, and we both walk out of here with our pockets lined with gold.”

As the duo turned a corner the streets opened up to a city square of sorts where dark, narrow alleys intersected. In the centre a modest crowed surrounded the man in the tattered pink coat as he taunted any potential fighters.


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Hustling 101

Postby Roland Eir on December 6th, 2017, 1:05 pm

The lost city beneath Alvadas unfurled itself before Roland like an old friend. An almost familial familiarity struck the man as he took his first steps. The feeling sank its claws into his skin and smothered him like a shroud. He knew this place. This was Sunberth. The architecture was different, and the whimsy of Alvadas was still present, but the stench of oppression was the same. Cripples and invalids huddled together in the corners, knowing better than to beg for money. Unfriendly eyes stalked him from rooftops and alleyways. The only ones confident enough to stride down the street were those strong enough to defend their right to be there. Or the stupid. Roland wondered which category he fell into as he followed Jomi.

"You don't need to tell me how to act," Roland muttered, falling back into the old familiar step. Chest out but shoulders hunched. Quiet but not fearful. Walk like you know where you're going. Which was difficult since he most certainly did not. Without Jomi as a guide he would have been lost as a Syliran in the Sea of Grass. The buildings rose above him: dark, intimidating facades that stretched their fingers into the dark nether that served as a sky. The only light was the red moon and the soft glow of flames dying behind heavily curtained windows.

Roland felt like an animal that had been released only to fall back into a hunter's snare. Jomi rattled out his scheme, and the man following him merely nodded. "It sounds solid," Roland admitted, a little surprised and highly suspicious. What other plots did this spirit have in that devious mind of his? He didn't bother asking if it was legal. He doubted the Speakers came down here often.

"I do this, I get payed, I get out of here." Money was tight enough that the promise of coin was more than enough to get Roland invested. But he'd be lying if he said that was the only reason. As they rounded the corner and the fight ring came into sight a rush of excitement filled Roland. It had been years since he'd felt this: the thrill before a job. A real job, not just picking pockets. The knowledge that if you succeeded you'd come away your pockets heavy with gold, and if you failed you may not come away at all. Am I crazy? Roland wondered as his mouth spread into a grin.

"Come on!" The man in the pink coat cried out, his arms gesticulating wildly. "Briggs is hungry! Hungry for a real challenge! Look at him!" Roland couldn't see past the crowd, but he could hear the meaty smack of a fist hitting skin. "He'll be finished with this sideshow in a tick!" The crowd booed and cheered in equal parts as the fight continued just out of view. Roland gave Jomi one last look before he pressed into the crowd. Fighting for every inch he pushed towards the ring. He shoved his way up to the ropes just in time to see the beast called Sidestep Briggs clap his opponent's head between his massive hands. The challenger roared in pain and staggered back. Briggs raised a booted foot and drove it into the man's chest. He hit the dirt head first and collapsed like a child's doll, blood dribbling from his busted lips. Briggs raised his fists in triumph and the announcer danced around the ring, rousing the crowds fury.

"Gods have mercy, what a petching failure of a round! Ladies and gentlemen, do we have another contender?" His cane stamped the dirt in time with his words. A wiry palm smacked into Brigg's scarred pectorals, eliciting a growl from the brawler. "He's mortal, I assure you! Anyone? Anyone at all? Yes, you sir?" His cane pointed right at Roland's raised hand. "Gods' blood man, you sure? We want a real match, not an execution."

"I'm petching sure!" Roland shouted, doing his best to sound gruff and scary. There wasn't anything he could do about his trembling legs, but he had to hope no one noticed. He wasn't a fighter. His nerves were attacking with a vengeance, tearing away the false confidence of his pre-job thrill. The people behind him had no such qualms, pushing him over the ropes. Nearly falling, he managed to keep his feet as he hit the dirt. The eyes of the crowd dug into him. His experience performing on the streets served him well, and he was able to ignore their vicious stares. Focus on the job.

It's not even really a fight, he told himself. It's just an elaborate con. A dangerous con. Roland was nearly as tall as Briggs, but the veteran fighter had masses of muscle that made Roland's frame look puny in comparison. The brawler glared down at him with cruel black eyes under a torturous mass of tattoos. His skin was dark but crossed with with pale pink scars. "Might want to take off your coat mate. Don't want to ruin it, eh?" The announcer winked, extending his hand expectantly. Roland nodded, tearing his eyes away from his opponent long enough to pull off his jacket and put it in the hawker's hand. "Not interested in your clothes. It's your money against his, or aren't you able to pay?" Right.

Roland threw the coat into the corner of the ring and instead placed the mizas into the mans outstretched palm. The man weighed the sum, his pale tongue licking at his cracked lips. He hummed happily and stepped to the side. "Alrighty then. What's your name kid?"

"Roland."

"That's it?" Roland nodded. "Not much to work with, but whatever. You'll be dead in a tick anyway." He switched to his announcers voice, turning to the crowd. "Ladies and gentleman, get ready for another bloody match! A new challenger, desperate for gold, has stepped into the ring to stake his might against Sidestep Briggs! Say hello and goodbye to a man named Roland!"

Feeling small indeed, Roland squared off with his opponent. This was suddenly feeling like a terrible idea. The announcer pranced over to the corner of the ropes, where a bell hung from the wooden post. He raised the cane above his head. Roland swallowed, wondering if Jomi was even there. Even if he was, would the ghost actually move to help him? Briggs smiled at him from across the ring. The cane struck the bell. Roland put up his fists and stepped forward.
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Hustling 101

Postby Jomi on December 12th, 2017, 6:00 am

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Jomi fell back as Roland approached the ring, he took his time to deconstruct his body and fell to the floor as a opalescent mist. The perpetual night that engulfed the underground worked in his favour, with no bright light to reflect off his mist he was nearly invisible to the press of human bodies that lined the makeshift ring. The dematerialized ghost slid along the floor around legs and skirts of the jeering spectators, slowly working his way behind Briggs as Roland and the Ringmaster had their back-and-forth.

Briggs flinched as Jomi’s mist brushed against his ankles. His large beefy head snapped around and scanned the floor for the source of the sudden icy prickling as Roland removed his coat. Jomi froze in place as Briggs scanned the shadows with furrowed brows, but under the shade of the homes that lined the crossroad they were in he couldn’t spot the cloud of stilled mist. Briggs shook his head to rid himself of the lingering sensation as he turned back to square off with Roland.

As he turned away Jomi’s mist seemed to vibrate, the thrill of almost being caught emboldened the ghost as he began to float up towards the front of the veteran fighter. He hovered around the fighters belly and began to gather his mist towards a concentrated point as Briggs stepped towards the skinny foreigner with his fist raised.

With a sudden flurry of motion Briggs let loose a deafening war like battle cry as he swung his left arm towards Roland in a wild hay-maker. Jomi reacted quickly as he blinked to the front of his charging fist. He used the stored energy in his concentrated mist to push against the back of Briggs hand. Using the fighters own momentum to turn his arm inwards and sending his fist sailing over where Roland right shoulder should be.



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Hustling 101

Postby Roland Eir on December 13th, 2017, 5:03 am

Roland missed Brigg's apparent confusion, his own eyes looking for any sign that Jomi was here to help him. If it came down to a straight fight, Roland had no illusions about who would win. His opponent was built for killing with his bare hands. Roland was built for running away. Flux or no Flux, if Briggs got those meaty hands on him, it was over.

And he nearly did: with a wild roar, Sidestep Briggs closed the distance between them in a flash. The audience gasped, and Roland blinked his eyes in shock as the fist passed within inches of his face. Biggs looked just as surprised as he did. A cloud of dust dissipated between them... no, not dust, Roland realized, feeling the chill in the air. Jomi had come through! Before the big man could realize what had happened, Roland kicked him in the fork of his legs.

The crowd roared with laughter and shouts of surprise as Roland turned and run away. Briggs recovered swiftly, his face absolutely red with anger. His mask of tattoos became even more horrific as his face contorted in rage. "Oh shyke," Roland spat as he zipped around the ring, relying on his speed to keep out of Brigg's reach. Wherever he could, he kicked up dirt from the floor of the ring to leave clouds of dust floating in the air. Hopefully they would blind his opponent and the audience to his near-invisible mist that was helping him.

Wherever possible he tried to get a blow off, but fear kept him out of Brigg's reach as often as he possibly could. Fighting down his adrenaline he began to gather djed in his core, ready to send it to his arms or legs to get a Flux-enhanced punch or kick in should the moment present itself. Time ticked by, every breath an eternity with the massive brawler chasing after him. It wouldn't take long for the audience to tire of his antics. Without another big opening, it would be hard for Roland to get a solid hit in.

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Hustling 101

Postby Jomi on December 14th, 2017, 1:07 am

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Jomi took his sweet time to strike again. The hovering mist he had become was silent and stationary but inside his mind was howling with laughter. Watching Roland sprint around the ring like a nervous rabbit while being pursued by a raging bow-legged beast was the type of hilarity the Kelvic lived for.

Once his amusement died down to manageable levels Jomi dropped back to the floor. The two fighters continued to dance around the ring and each other as Jomi pulled his soulmist back to a point. He concentrated hard to solidify the strand of mist as he waited to intercept Briggs on his next pass. As the ham like legs thundered past him Jomi shot out the tendril of mist and hit him in the hollow in the back of his knee. Briggs stumbled as his leg gave out and he dropped to his hands and knees amidst a plume of dust.

But it didn’t take long for the veteran fighter to recover. Raising his arms to protect his face he scanned his surroundings in a panic. He had felt someone hit him, just as he had felt someone push on his fist. Briggs dropped one arm to raise a accusatory finger at Roland, his booming voice rising over the jeers of the crowd.

"Petchers a mag-"

Briggs voice was suddenly cut off, his mouth still open and eyes bulging in his head as Jomi's mist filled his mouth and grabbed hold of his tongue. But not before the Ringmaster, previously beside himself seeing his prized fighter take a hit from a scrawny boy, raised a suspicious eyebrow.


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Hustling 101

Postby Madeira Craven on June 17th, 2018, 5:03 am

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Jomi

Skills
  • Materialization: 3xp
  • Soulmist Projection: 2xp
  • Possesion: 1xp

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  • Lore of the Underground fights
  • Roland: won’t make for easy possession
  • Lore of bluffing
  • Soulmist Projection: rudimentary block

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Roland Eir

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