PM to join [The Library] Broadening Horizons (Tarn)

Kelski discovers the library and spends the day copying books... or at least that was the plan.

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

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[The Library] Broadening Horizons (Tarn)

Postby Kelski on June 28th, 2018, 4:58 am

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Timestamp: 16th of Summer, 518 AV



Kelski hadn’t any clue where Stumble Alley was. In fact, if she had any spare coin to bet and there had been a pool to toss some into, Kelski would have gambled that there was no such thing as a Library in Sunberth, let alone an alley that contained one. Yet, having made herself a complete and utter pest in the Seaside Market asking about books and talking to each and every vendor, someone finally pointed her in the right direction. The dilapidated building wasn’t impressive and she didn’t think to consider that it would hold books, but at the described spot Kelski pushed the door open and walked into a whole new world.

The book collection was amazing.

She spent most of the morning just wandering around touching spines and reading titles, trying to figure out where to start and what she wanted to read. There were things she needed for The Midnight Gem. And those things consisted of books on how to cook, take care of a home, garden, and some handyman type repair. Kelski was going to start with the cooking, since she had virtually no experience, and found the section on foods, food preservation, and cooking and picked out several books that appealed to her predatory nature.

She gathered her chosen books together, took them to a table with a chair, and spread out. Drawing her backpack to her, she removed a blank book, quill, and a small bottle of ink. Then, carefully opening the cookbook, she began to copy some of the basic instructions on cooking, ranging from how to measure ingredients to what measurements were, and then followed by some of the most painfully simple recipes she could find.

Kelski bent over her work, awkward at the copying, because it was the type of activity she was not used to. Her long black hair that faded to white at the tips was gathered up at the nape of her neck and twisted into an awkward knot. Somewhere in the middle of her copying, she’d kicked off her boots and had loosened the collar of her shirt, rolling up her sleeves to get more comfortable. Her world had been reduced to careful replication… word for word… as she crafted a new book from an old one.

It wasn’t distasteful work. Kelski loved the feeling of the quill sliding across the paper in the blank book. She loved that the writing was unique to her and something no one could ever take from her. Someday she’d open this book and know that it existed because she’d brought it into the world one letter at a time from another book someone else had done the same for. Ink had its own smell. Sharp, pungent, and almost alluring to her… the Kelvic just wanted more and more of it. She had to stop several times to sharpen her quill or shift her back muscles that were slowly growing strained.

But she didn’t mind. The long skirt she wore was warm as the sun climbed to the sky. She could measure time by the shadows cast by curtainless windows that illuminated the books, slowly elongating their shapes as Syna migrated across the sky. It was slow work. It was retrospective work. Kelski could slip out of her body, dwell exclusively in her brain, and suddenly everything that was wrong in the world was right in her head.

Her pen scratched across the paper, filling the off-white pages with ink. She kept crafting the books, one by one, unwilling to stop until she heard the sound of someone else in the library. Kelski had assumed she was alone and had felt safe alone. This was anything but lonely….
Last edited by Kelski on July 14th, 2018, 6:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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[The Library] Broadening Horizons (Tarn)

Postby Tarn Alrenson on June 28th, 2018, 5:48 am

The sharp, pungent smells of the city filled Tarn’s nose as he took a deep breath. A faint hint of sea-air was almost entirely obscured by the stench of midden heaps and unwashed bodies. It was home. He hated it, but it was home. Tarn let out the tepid breath with a sigh, gazing out over Stumble Alley. He was familiar with the area, although he had tried to steer clear of it as often as he could as a boy. It would be even more dangerous to him now. This street was controlled by the Daggerhands, and the Sun’s Birth mark on his right hand would mark him for trouble as surely as a Hangman’s crow in his window. Relations between the two gangs were less than amicable at the moment, though they never seemed to be anything else.

Tarn hoped the spear he carried at his side would be enough to ward off most of the city’s predatory folk. He still didn’t quite trust his fellow gang members enough to leave it in the barracks. It was practically the only connection left to his old life. The weight of a sword on his hip was another small comfort, although he was considerably more experienced with the spear. His grandfather had let him play with the weapon as a kid, and even taught him a simple kata to familiarize himself with it.

Thoughts of his late grandfather sparked pangs of grief in Tarn’s chest. He fought them down. There would be time for tears later. Tarn’s eyes darted around the alley. Several suspicious, shady-looking people stood out, but people of that sort were everywhere in Sunberth. The constant threat of a knife in the ribs was practically a part of the city’s charm.

Tarn strode down the dusty cobbled street until he came upon a building that matched the description he had been given. A library, a storehouse for books, information, and stories. More stories than one of the graybeards by the docks could tell you in twenty years, or so he had been told.

With one last cautious glance around the street, Tarn slipped through the door and into the building. Inside, pale woman was scratching at a blank tome with a quill as another book sat open beside her. Tarn approached the woman, leaning over to catch a glimpse of the book she was reading, looking for illustrations.

“Good book?” he asked, somewhat uncomfortably. He had little experience talking to people other than his fellow gang-members recently, and they were a much rougher lot than this woman looked to be. Even rougher in their speech than the sailors he’d talked to in his time at the shipyard. In fact, Tarn had not had a casual, friendly conversation since his father and grandfather…
Stop it! Tarn thought to himself. He would weep for the dead later, the living had to occupy his attentions today.
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[The Library] Broadening Horizons (Tarn)

Postby Kelski on June 30th, 2018, 4:02 am

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Eyes that were so pale they looked silver lifted to meet his gaze. Kelski studied the man carefully, trying to judge his age. Humans were always hard for her to decide. He had no gray in his hair so he was not old. He was not nearly as scarred or his features nearly as rugged as some of the more mature males roaming the city, so perhaps he was not yet one of those. The Kelvic tilted her head, studied him more closely and noted if he had any weapons on him. She would have reacted equally casually, starting a conversation with him if it weren’t for the fact that the man didn’t seem comfortable talking with her.

“It is a book on cooking. I will not know if it is good until I try to follow its instructions. They are confusing to me though. There are units of measures I don’t understand. Cups? Teaspoons? Tablespoons? I am copying them all down carefully, but it does not explain what these things are. Who writes a book and yet does not explain such things?” She asked carefully, not sure what his situation was. Was he uncomfortable in the library? Did he see her strangeness and recognize her as Kelvic? Maybe he had a problem with Kelvics. “I am going to have to find another book that will explain what these things are and copy it before I can use this book I am currently copying.” She said somewhat frustrated.

Kelski shifted in her seat, crossed her legs, and leaned back setting her quill down. She studied Tarn carefully, looking for any sign of gang affiliation on the tall man’s body. She would note his clothing, and if he had any weapons. Humans were dangerous to her and in many ways. They had done nothing to earn her trust. Tarn seemed to have a sword, a thing that looked almost like a shortened spear, and was standing in the casual way of someone who knew how to use the weapons at least a little.

That made Kelski nervous.

But what was worse was the brand she saw on the back of his hand. Sun’s Birth. The Kelvic could have swore. She’d been slowly growing used to dealing with the Daggerhands since they’d been frequently her shop as of late. But she’d stayed far from the Sun’s Birth. There were too many bad memories and deaths, especially that last night when Darvin had tried to have the captured rival gang members kill her. She still wasn’t sure what gang that had been, but it haunted her memory since he’d almost managed to succeed.

“What about.. you? Have you found any good books in here?” She asked carefully, her wide silver eyes cautious. So far the man wasn’t doing anything threatening though, so Kelski wasn’t going to react in kind. She was simply going to watch him and make sure he was actually being friendly and not standing there for some other nefarious reason.

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They laugh at me because I am different.
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Kelski
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[The Library] Broadening Horizons (Tarn)

Postby Tarn Alrenson on June 30th, 2018, 6:23 am

A faint chuckle tore itself from Tarn’s lips.
“I’m not sure what it was about this town that led you to believe that many of us from here can read, but you can rest assured that no, I haven’t found any good books in here.” Tarn studied the woman. She moved with a rare grace that put him on edge, like a fish caught in a heron’s shadow, or a hare that sensed it was the object of a wolf’s gaze. And those eyes, piercing, cutting, calculating. They made him feel as if he were a tray of meats laid before her at a butcher’s shop. It was an uncomfortable feeling for a child of the Sunberth streets. If somebody saw everything about you, they saw your weaknesses. If somebody saw your weaknesses, you ended up robbed, or beaten.

Or dead.

Tarn subconsciously took a half step backward, shifting under her eyes.
“And those measurements, they’re like… they just… are.” Tarn gestured with his hands, trying to emulate the relative sizes of the measurements, letting his spear rest in the crook of his elbow. “I’m not sure if they’re going to be in a book. Well, I don’t know, I’ve never read one, but you’d probably be better off finding some measuring stuff. You know, spoons and the like.” Again, Tarn gestured vaguely with his hands. He had never bothered learning the art of cooking. About all he knew to do with food was to eat it right away or to put it over a fire until it tasted a little better, and maybe to add some water if it was too dry. Beyond that, he was lost.

“Wait,” he said, finally catching something she had said before, “if that book is right there, why are you copying it? Are you going to sell it?” Tarn had seen a couple of merchants try to sell books in the market before. He didn’t think many of them were very successful. Most people in Sunberth had more pressing concerns than reading, not the least of which was staying alive. Tarn absentmindedly rubbed the mark on his hand. He still wasn’t completely used to it. He remembered all too well the anxiety he had felt as a child, or even up until a little over a month ago when he had been around marked members of gangs. This woman hadn’t immediately run away, which was good. Most people he tried to initiate contact with outside the Sun’s Birth hurriedly extracted themselves from the situation. That was if they bothered to make excuses at all before rushing off. He would need to grow accustomed to that.

In any case, this woman showed no signs of fleeing the vicinity, which was good. In Tarn’s limited experience, Marshalls of the Dragoons weren’t too kind to their underlings telling them, “I saw the person you told me to find, but they ran away before I could do what you asked.” Of all the things he wanted to do in the Dragoons, getting on the bad side of a Marshall was last on the list.

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[The Library] Broadening Horizons (Tarn)

Postby Kelski on June 30th, 2018, 10:15 pm

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Kelski was growing more and more uncomfortable by the moment. She had sharp eyes and acute powers of observation, which told her something was off here. Why would a man that couldn’t read be in a library? That didn’t make sense to her and she outright asked him. “Why would you be here if you don’t read?” She asked carefully, trying to make sure a friendly smile flitted across her face. He brand on his hand haunted her and she knew it meant no good. Sun Birth. There were good men in the gang, but the vast majority of them were corrupt and looking for power, not to improve life in Sunberth.

Kelski reached out and capped her ink carefully, drawing attention perhaps to the long inhuman shape of her nails that looked more like talons than actual groomed nails. She curled her toes and wished she hadn’t kicked off her boots suddenly. If she had to run, she’d have to leave her boots behind and she loved her boots.

The man took a step back.

Kelski couldn’t figure out why. She watched him even more closely as suddenly he tried to explain. He was making hand gestures that took her a moment to realize where estimations of the measurements as if he were visualizing them in his mind. Measuring stuff? They made that for cooking? “You mean they make that kind of stuff for cooking? Instruments to measure …..” She broke off feeling stupid suddenly. Of course they did. Why would they have measurements in the cookbook if they had no device to measure them by? Embarrased, the Kelvic Eagle reached up and brushed back a lock of her hair, tucking it behind her ear. She gave him another piercing gaze then glanced down at the book.

“That makes sense. Thank you. I hadn’t… thought of it that far. I don’t have any experience in cooking so that’s why I wanted to learn.” She added, wondering if the whole venture was stupid and if she should just continue buying food at Inns and at the vendors in the market. She started to tell him why she was trying to learn…. about trying to take care of the people under her roof, but then she paused. He was a stranger with Sun Birth affiliations. It was dangerous talking to him.

“Did the Warmarshal’s son send you?” She asked abruptly, watching his reaction, scared suddenly that Jaren’s father had changed his mind about Jaren’s punishment. Master Li had bought her freedom fair and square, but that meant nothing when Master Li was halfway across the world and not here to see things done properly. They could always pocket his money and leave it at that. Kelski wanted to think though, on some off chance it was true, that the Warmashal was a fair man and an honorable man despite the men he lead and the corruption in his ranks.

Tarn’s question confused her a moment before she looked around. “No, no… I’m not copying it to sell it. I’m copying it so I will have the contents of the book at my disposal anytime. I won’t read whats here and remember it correctly… especially these recipes for meals. How to make certain things. I cannot buy these books. They belong to the owner of this library. But I can copy them or pay her to copy them. I like the task myself since I can read my writing and like doing something different sometimes besides my everyday work. It is comforting, writing… gives my mind something to do when its being busy and not letting me relax.” She said thoughtfully, offering him a sheepish smile.

Kelski had friends among the Sun Births. Not all of them were bad. Neras was a good man, even though she had slowly watched him grow harder the more he interacted with Darvin. Maybe Tarn was the same sort. Kelski wasn’t sure, but she was certain that a five chime conversation wouldn’t tell her much.

“I’m Kelski.” She said abruptly.

She was certain she hadn’t seen Tarn around The Barracks where she’d lived for two seasons. But then again, sometimes the gang members all looked alike to her. Was Tarn one of the ones that had hurt her? She didn’t like being a slave but hadn’t had a choice in the matter. Being free and retaining that freedom was one of the most important things in her life. Under the table she gripped a dagger at her hip, sliding its catch free so she could pull it in a moment’s notice.

“You know, it isn’t hard to learn to read.” She said quietly, her eyes never leaving his. “It gives you a very important advantage. These books contain all sorts of knowledges you might not have access to otherwise. You can learn about other places to live, other ways to live, and about history or the weather. There’s also books on how to learn other languages. If you can think of something you might want to learn, I suspect there’s a book here about that.” She said thoughtfully, judging his reaction and wondering if he was just interested in the library or if there was something more too it.

Word Count: 873
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They laugh at me because I am different.
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Kelski
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[The Library] Broadening Horizons (Tarn)

Postby Tarn Alrenson on July 1st, 2018, 5:05 am

At the woman’s sudden question Tarn’s eyes darted nervously around the room, avoiding her gaze. He couldn’t afford to be exposed already! “Be covert” the Marshall had told him, as if Jaren had ever been covert in his life. The entitled brat probably didn’t know the slightest thing about subterfuge. Tarn didn’t either, but at least he didn’t walk around proclaiming his name and title to every other barmaid and whore in the city. The other men whispered that Jaren had been put in charge of the Barracks to keep him from causing too much trouble—out of the man’s earshot of course—but that protection sure wasn’t aimed at common soldiers. The Marshall hadn’t even pretended this mission had any bearing on the Sun’s Birth’s goals. It was a foolish quest based on the man’s own vanity. Tarn tried to avoid the question, starting to say, “um” before she thankfully started talking about cooking again.

Her smile was disconcerting. It had been some time since he had seen a smile without an ulterior motive, or a foul-mouthed comment close behind it. Especially one directed at him. That only made Tarn all the more flustered when she mentioned the Warmarshall’s son. He nearly dropped his spear, seizing it before it could fall far from his grasp.
“No! No, I’m here for…” his eyes found a familiar form. “Ships! I was a shipwright’s apprentice.” Tarn reached to the shelf and picked up the book he had seen. Emblazoned on the cover in impressive scrollwork was a ship with two lovers kissing near the bow. The dimensions were all wrong. The masts were too short, and the passionate couple was depicted much too big in comparison to the hull for a ship of that kind. Whoever wrote this book must have never seen a ship before! And these were supposed to teach people? “I like learning from the diagrams.” Tarn leafed through the tome as she talked about her cookbook, and sure enough there were several more pictures of ships, though each one was at least as erroneous as the first. Tarn set down what he didn’t know was a large collection of rather sappy ocean-based poetry just in time to catch the woman’s name.

“It is a pleasure to meet you, Kelski,” he said. “My name is Tarn.”

As she spoke about the library and learning, Tarn stilled. What did he want to learn? He wanted peace in Sunberth, but Tarn doubted there would be many books about that, as to his knowledge it had never happened before. He wanted to learn the art of combat, but what could a book teach him that his masters in the Proving Grounds could not? He wanted the Sun’s Birth to have leaders that cared—

Wait.

Maybe there would be a book about that.

“Are there books about people? Leaders, good ones. Leaders that didn’t bring their people nothing but death and ruin. You know, not like the ones we have here.” Even if there was a book here about people like that, even if those people really existed, how would it be useful? What was he going to do? Run up to his superiors with a book, point at a page and tell them to be just like some long-dead person from a far of land?

The idea was as foolish as any he’d ever had, and that was a high bar to clear.

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[The Library] Broadening Horizons (Tarn)

Postby Kelski on July 1st, 2018, 10:50 pm

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Kelski was used to watching people. She had a keen sense of observation and knew her question hit home. She noticed the hesitation, the nervously darting gaze, and sighed in resolution. Kelski didn’t want anymore blood on her hands but she certainly wasn’t going to let one of Jaren or Darvin’s goons walk free if they decided to harass her. She watched his eyes drop to his spear as he almost dropped it. Was he really that green?

Tarn talked on, but she was distracted. Shipwrights’ apprentice? She didn’t know what that was, but it sounded more like Baroque Bay territory than Sun Birth’s situation. Carefully she closed the book she’d been copying from, leaned over and blew on the one that she’d been writing in, and beneath the table captured her boot with one foot then the other, sliding them back inside and stomping them in place. She wasn’t quiet about it, but Kelski wasn’t being obvious that she was perhaps getting ready to fight if one was needed.

He was so nice too. That’s what actually hurt the most. He was a human, true, and he probably forced himself on women and tortured children just as openly as the rest of them, but here he really truly seemed nice. Gods. She continued to be baffled as he plucked a book that had a ship on its cover off the shelf but its title read ‘Passionate Poetry At Sea’. What? Kelski watched the man awkwardly try to deal with that book.

What in the world? She wanted to hiss her displeasure. He was ruffling non-existent feathers and causing her skin to crawl in discomfort. She remained silent though, amusement starting to infiltrate annoyance as he grew more and more awkward, almost in a sense of desperation.

He asked her about Leaders and she glanced around, not knowing what to tell him. Humans had no good leaders. They were all corrupt completely through and through. They would never know peace, contentment, or a satisfaction in a populace well lead because they had too much darkness in their hearts. A smile flickered across her face at the thought of herself, a nightstalker, judging an entire race for darkness they possessed. Kelski sighed and shook her head.

She leaned back in her chair, gathered her hair up in a tail behind the crown of her head, and twisted it in upon itself until it captured itself and held. She studied him once more with her silver eyes, and finally signed a gain.

“They sent you. You aren’t doing a very good job of covering it up. What did they want you to do? Find me? Bring me back? Just tell them what I was doing? I’ll save you some work if you tell me what they wanted to know and why you think they wanted to know it.” She said smoothly, without any anger or accusation in her voice.

“But you should know, Tarn, that the Sun Birth gang is corrupt through and through. You won’t find any ‘good leaders’ in it like you are looking for. They want what every other gang wants here… power, territory, a place to control. The real people that can make a difference in this city are the individuals working in small groups to make a difference in individual lives. This city needs a lot of help, and a single person can do far more than a gang can do if they work quietly and quickly.” She said gently, picking her backpack up off the floor and sliding her supplies into it, including the book she was working on creating from the one she was copying. She pulled the drawstring tight on the backpack, and made to rise.

“If you don’t start talking and talking honestly with me… I’m leaving.” She said gently, her voice neither upset or excited. Then she quietly waited for Tarn to decide for himself what he was going to do.

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They laugh at me because I am different.
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Kelski
Feral at heart.
 
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Joined roleplay: July 3rd, 2014, 11:08 pm
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[The Library] Broadening Horizons (Tarn)

Postby Tarn Alrenson on July 2nd, 2018, 1:52 am

When he realized Kelski had caught him, Tarn paled, gripping his spear by reflex. He stared at a spot on the floor, and odd knot in the wooden floorboards, gaze falling out of focus. He closed his eyes briefly and sighed.
“I don’t like lying,” he said quietly. He turned his head to look Kelski in the eyes. With a somber note he added, “so, I won’t.”

“You possess the attentions of a particular officer by the name of Jaren, son of the Warmarshall.” Tarn said in a matter of fact tone. “I’m sure you know him, as he claims you used to belong to him. He holds a certain sentiment towards you, and some kind of concern, I think.” Tarn shook his head ruefully.
“Honestly? I don’t think he has completely accepted your ‘removal from his services’ as he puts it.” This whole situation was strange. He was the one with a weapon, he had the authority of the Sun’s Birth behind him—at least in part—so why did he have to do this? Before he had been branded, he didn’t remember gang members making habits of explaining themselves to ‘common’ people. Then again, Tarn did not aim to be just like the gang members he had seen before.

“Jaren heard tell of you in the costal edge of the city, and I believe he took some personal offense at the great distance it was from the Sun’s Refuge. He found the closest Dragoon that he had the authority to command—which was unfortunately me—and began a short inquiry as to your goings-on.” Oh, how he wished he’d taken morning patrol duty that day instead of cleaning up his kit.

“And the Sun’s Birth—” Tarn began before breaking off. The woman had echoed his very thoughts upon learning the depth of the corruption in the organization he had joined. At first, Tarn had believed that perhaps the upper leadership in the gang was simply unaware of problems in the stretches of the city beyond their effective sphere of influence, that they didn’t know the detrimental actions their members took to the health of the city. But he had come to know that almost all of them didn’t care in the slightest. The gangs of the city were millstones, huge and powerful, grinding every poor soul unfortunate enough to get caught between them to dust.
This woman spoke of individuals, groups working under the noses of the gangs to improve life in Sunberth. Wasn’t that what he wanted to be? Wasn’t that why he took on extra patrols, wandering farther from the relative safety of Sun’s Birth controlled streets than the others, into areas where the brand on his hand was more a detriment to his safety than a protection? Wasn’t that why he worked himself to the bone in the Proving Grounds, building himself up so he could make a difference? But what could these small cells do against the forces that schemed against each other, letting the denizens of the city die to sate their selfish desires. Tarn had joined the Dragoons because he had seen the futility in his own actions, he had recognized the depth of the weakness in himself and been angry.
That anger clawed at him still. He wanted revenge on the people that had killed his father and grandfather, but there was no way to tell who that was. Instead, all he could do was be the type of person his grandfather had told him stories about, kind and gracious and honorable. But Tarn couldn’t just turn away from the deaths of his loved ones. If he couldn’t kill the symptoms, he would have to eliminate the disease, and he couldn’t do that alone.

“The gangs of this city are strong, and they’ll roll over anybody that gets in their way, even a little bit. I’ve seen it happen. But the Sun’s Birth, at least they pretend to do it for the right reasons. I can work with that, work within that. I can take what they give me, the protections they can offer, and use it against our mutual enemies. I can follow the ideals of what the Sun’s Birth was meant to be—in the beginning—and maybe, someday, I can make them true.”

Tarn blinked. Why had he said that? It was true, of course, but he’d never said it before, not outside of the darkest corners of his own mind. Maybe it was just talking to someone, somebody that wasn’t measuring him up as competition, or playing him like a piece on a game board, that opened him up to her. This honesty, it scared him. Tarn knew he was no genius, but he had never fancied himself a fool. Though now he could see he was on a path to destruction. He was fighting human nature, the desire to be selfish, to take comfort for yourself from those you could take it from. He was one man, and barely more than a boy at that, and he thought he could be anything more than a thorn in the foot of Sunberth’s worst? He knew it was foolish, but that anger, that surging tidal wave of fire and ice, always just beneath the surface, it drove him onward, forward, ever forward.

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[The Library] Broadening Horizons (Tarn)

Postby Kelski on July 10th, 2018, 12:55 am

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Kelski listened to Tarn, watching his skin pale and noting his hand gripping the spear. She wasn’t sure if there was going to be trouble or not, but she was ready if there was. She had to be… always ready… because Darvin had promised it wasn’t over for her and she believed him. When Tarn admitted what Kelski figured was the truth, she only nodded.

“Jaren doesn’t like his pretty things taken from him.” She commented absently. “At least he didn’t much care when his father stripped his wealth from his suite and dispersed it to put repairs into the roof over The Barracks. His son is such a poor leader. He had no use of a slave, so his father took a bribe and set me free. Jaren isn’t a good person, Tarn. You should steer clear of him because all he knows how to do is shirk his duty to The Sun’s Birth and gain wealth for his own benefit. In that huge barracks, people were forced to crowd together – and still are unless the Warmarshal has fixed it – in the rooms that still had walls and roofing rather than spread out in all the empty spaces that had falling into disrepair while Jaren lived like a king dining and whoring and filling his body with drugs.” She said softly, almost bitterly, as she shook her head. Had it started already? Kelski had assumed she would have a bit more peace since Jaren perhaps would have been busy for a while trying to regain his wealth.

If Jaren wasn’t such an incredible swordsman, she’d have started making plans to kill him. Only, Kelski suspected there was no way to accomplish that, at least not right now, especially if she didn’t want to be caught again.

Kelski nodded at Tarn’s words. She appreciated his candor. It made things easier and halted the dance of suppositions that had started to occur between them. She leaned back in her chair, relaxed a bit, and gave Tarn a good long look with her molten silver eyes. Kelski watched him think, which was something she found interesting in humans… how they’d lose themselves deeply in thought so often. It wasn’t exactly a Kelvic trait, but she appreciated it when she observed it because she realized that it meant the individual was not necessarily prone to knee-jerk reactions but was instead a deep thinker.

However, his next words Kelski disagreed with utterly. “I don’t agree with that, Tarn. That they are strong, I mean. They are only organized. That’s the only thing they have going for them. They might even have strong leaders, but their followers don’t believe in their cause. Namely because they have no true cause other than to strike before they get struck. It is like sheep that band together because all in a bunch there are more eyes watching for a threat and more of your kind who are weaker than you are that you can push in front of the jaws of wolves in order to escape yourself. If anyone truly wanted to affect change in this town, they’d do so if they stood together with a like minded group of people that all wanted the same thing and had the moral compass to follow what they considered that right true north direction.” She said, gathering up her books and preparing to return them to shelves. She’d copied down enough recipes for the day. Kelski didn’t need any thing else until she found a book on basic cooking, one that dealt with weights and measures and how one accomplished such things.

“You should be careful saying things like that. One person can make changes, but if you do it too fast and too carelessly, they will take you out. All the Sun’s Birth want are followers, Tarn. They want sheep to add to the herd so the herd protects the core and isolates them so they have a buffer from the predators of the world while they lavish time away on drink and drugs and whores.” Kelski said soflty, lowering her voice so it was pitched for Tarn’s ears only.

“The true nobility in the world belong to The Syliran Knights and those that follow the Gods and Goddesses of Light. The types of people who follow through with their morals and stand behind what they believe by their actions day to day. The only thing a gang will get you in this city is dead… or so hardened you forget all about your noble causes in favor of another high or another drink or even the body of a pretty girl or boy to lose your troubles in… whether they are willing or not. I was a slave to the Sun’s Birth for two seasons and all I walked away with was a taste for blood and a lack of compassion over death I witness or cause. I have no idea what prolonged exposure will do beyond loss of all morals…. but I cant imagine it will be anything good. Hearing you speak as you do, I cannot believe you’ve been with them long.” She commented, looking curious.

“If you say you can work with that…. within that… how in the Gods names are you going to do so? Which do you even follow, Tarn? Because none of them I know are the least bit godly.” She added, wrinkling her nose a moment in distaste.
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They laugh at me because I am different.
I laugh at them because they are all the same.
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Kelski
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[The Library] Broadening Horizons (Tarn)

Postby Tarn Alrenson on July 10th, 2018, 6:30 am

A corner of Tarn’s mouth tugged upward as Kelski talked of Jaren. Her assessment seemed spot-on to him. The man was spoiled, entitled, and was exactly the type of man Tarn usually chose to ignore. Tarn had seen him in the Proving Grounds once though—fighting a man for an insult to his pride, with a large sum of money on the line of course—and he was absolutely brilliant with a sword in his hand. A far cry from Tarn’s own meager skill.

As Kelski spoke at further length about the Sun’s Birth, Tarn grew colder, a sensation only heightened by those bright, piercing eyes. Tarn looked to his weapon, his eyes settling on the long razor-sharp spearhead that adorned the top. The conversation was rousing powerful feelings inside of him, causing his blood to pound in his ears like the drums of war. He fought it down.

The Kelvic’s words were true. The Sun’s Birth’s sights were firmly set on power acquisition for their own protection more than anything else. But that didn’t mean she was right. Small groups of people focused on the same moral truths? It was an enticing concept, but Tarn couldn’t see it ending in anything but disaster.

“If you’re all looking in the same direction,” he began, “you’ll be blind to the thief behind you slipping a knife in between your ribs.” Tarn stared deeper into the spearhead, his own blurred reflection staring back at him from the polished steel. His eyes flicked to Kelski, and he raised his right hand, turning it to display the angry red brand on the back of it.

“At least with this,” he said, “that thief will think twice before he makes his move. And that’s just enough time for me to get him first.” He closed the hand into a fist, as if grasping the metaphorical thief in his palm.

“The gods know the Sun’s Birth isn’t perfect, far from it, but I saw a sailor once, he was bleeding to death. The bandages kept getting soaked through. The only thing that stopped the bleeding was when the healer stuck a red-hot spade on the wound and sealed it shut. That burning spade could do an awful lot of damage, but sometimes it’s the only thing that will work.”

As he spoke, Tarn felt his heart hardening, forging itself in the fires of his inner pain into iron, like the head of his spear.

“And the Syliran Knights?” Tarn asked, “What have they done for Sunberth? If they really cared about people here they would come down and help us themselves. But they haven’t, so we’ll have to do it ourselves. The Sun’s Birth can give me the training, resources, and influence I need to actually do something. Otherwise, I’d just be another crazy kid on the street that ends up dead in some alley with nobody to remember his name.”

Tarn closed his eyes, the image of the cold metal of his spear remaining in his mind and reflecting itself in his heart. After a brief moment, less than a second, he opened his eyes again, meeting Kelski’s stare.

“The only temple I know of in the city is broken, and whatever god or goddess reigned there left a long time ago. I respect them, you would have to be a fool to do otherwise, but I serve none. We ignore each other, the gods and I, and unless they feel up to doing something useful, I’m all for letting that understanding be.”
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Tarn Alrenson
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