Solo The Sibling's Footsteps

Kynier follows a hunch pertaining to the Daggerhands.

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

The Sibling's Footsteps

Postby Kynier on June 30th, 2018, 2:32 am

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Timestamp: 38th of Summer 518


It was after the the 20th bell and Syna had already gone to rest. Kynier was sitting at a table in the corner of the Pig’s Foot tavern. The one with the best vantage point of the whole establishment. His presence there had received some ire from other patrons, as he sat at the table by himself and refused to relinquish it. And he had been there for bells. Even Merv was beginning to give him an unwelcoming eye. Kynier managed to avoid getting kicked out by not causing trouble when it approached, and by making several orders. Ale, beer, and wine were never requested. Kynier was on surveillance and needed to keep his wits about him. All he drank was water, but requested several very small meals that he slowly ate.

To help keep his intention disguised, Kynier had visited the storehouses earlier and made a purchase. His new artisan’s kit was open and spread out on the table. Kynier had no real attraction to the brushes and paints it provided. The parchments and charcoal for sketching were what he had really wanted. When he first opened it he thought of what he could, and should, draw. Given his purpose for being there, and the general suspicions he wished to avoid, Kynier decided against trying to sketch any particular person, should it become unwelcome or misinterpreted and unwelcome. Ultimately he chose to try and draw the Temple of the Unknown’s exterior from memory.

It took him a while to picture it in his mind’s eye. Had he wanted to make it of the best quality he would sit outside of the temple. But it was only meant to occupy his mind as well as deceive. Kynier started by scrapping the charcoal close to the parchment’s bottom border. Establishing the ground from whence he would build his image upon. From there he worked on the temple’s outline. The sections he couldn’t really remember he improvised. Kynier was taking his time on the sketch and would look up at the tavern to assess what he saw.

The servers and Merv were all busy with keeping their customer’s happy. Kynier supposed that supper time would never been when someone came to hear what Merv had to say. For now, that wouldn’t bother him. The food was enjoyable, the water fresh though not as cold as he’d prefer, and his menial task was relaxing in its own way. Occasionally his mind would be distracted from both of his tasks. Thoughts of the conversation that he had last at this table would surface. It was a shame that nothing had come to fruition from that meeting. At least, nothing for Kynier. The other two could’ve come to some sort of arrangement and had left him out of it. He didn’t know. He had been late to join and it had ended quickly afterwards.

Kynier shrugged the thoughts aside and took a long drink of water. All that mattered, was that he was doing this alone. No one else was at risk for his objectives. Perhaps it was better that way. Maybe.


“They each had a reason. Somehow they had become discouraged. If words had deterred them, then you’re better off doing this alone.”

Kynier swirled the remaining water around in the glass. There was some truth to that. Yet Kynier had the nagging feeling that there was more than just that.

With a shake of his head, and a bite from his steak, Kynier returned his attention to that tasks at hand. First, he looked around the tavern. The crowd was thinning ever so slightly. Second, he continued his outline of the temple up to the sloping roofs.



Word Count: 614
Last edited by Kynier on June 30th, 2018, 2:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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The Sibling's Footsteps

Postby Kynier on June 30th, 2018, 2:35 am

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As the night continued more people were beginning to leave compared to the number that entered the tavern. Gradually the patrons syphoned out until by the 22nd bell Kynier was one of the only four patrons remaining. His sketch was nearing what he supposed would be a completion. Kynier dragged the charcoal across the surface to give it shades and depth. To others it probably just looked like a decrepit building. His own view on it was skeptical. The Temple was not a place he frequently visited. Though he considered it from his last expedition there. As it was he wasn’t very familiar with the details even as he tried to sketch them in.

He set the piece of charcoal down and rubbed his brow. Fingers digging into the flesh to disrupt the fatigue that rested underneath. The bells that he anticipated to be enlightening still hadn’t arrived. The dilemma was that he couldn’t do this every night. So when he could he had to persevere through whatever his condition maybe in order to observe. The other side was that he was feeling very tired. Systematically he repacked his artisan’s kit with its tools and left the sketch out to review. The server came over and took his empty dishes from the table. When they asked if he wanted anything else Kynier only requested more water.

Now sitting at a clean table he rested his forearms on the edge as his eyes went over the finer details. A hand went into one of the concealed pockets of his dark green vest. He withdrew a small locket of unremarkable design. Opening it up Kynier took out the lock of black hair that faded to white at the tips. Rubbing it between his fingers as his eyes criticized his own work. The lines and angles needed more work. There was hardly any depth perception to be noticed. Overall, he wasn’t a real artist. Regardless, it had been a relaxing use of his time.

The door to the tavern opened and three people came inside. A woman with dark hair dressed in long articles of clothing stepped to the bar. The two men accompanying her wandered off to different locations. Kynier lowered his head and the sketching but kept his eyes on them. The closer man did a small circle around the tavern. Kynier tried to not appear to look at the man as he sized him up. Medium height, thicker build, heavy steps, scars on his forearms and hands, Daggerhand tattoo…

The server brushed past the thug and gave Kynier his water. Before the server turned to leave Kynier pulled out the mizzas due for his service. Taking a drink of water he observed the woman talking to Merv. As he thought about it he was sure he had seen her here a few days ago. If it was her then she was someone that the Daggerhand referred to as Big Sister. Whatever she was saying to, or getting from, Merv must have been important. Kynier placed the locket of hair back in his concealed pocket and folded up the sketching. He couldn’t use the same tactic he had last time. The underlings would notice and seemed to be baring anyone from approach anyway. Another method would be needed.

Kynier placed the folded parchment in a regular pocket and stood up from the table. He noted the thug eyeing him as he walked over to the door. Kynier stepped out onto the night street and made his way thirty paces south to an alley corner. He stepped into the shadows and watched the entrance to the Pig’s Foot. As he did he meditated to calm his mind and growing excitement. Slow deep breathes filled his lungs only to be followed by equally long exhales. He searched for his djed for the sake of making a weave. Pulling it out bit by bit he lifted a foot off the ground and worked on setting the weave on the sole of his boot. Unlike a more experienced Shielder, this weave couldn’t obstruct physical objects. All it would do is nullify the sounds of his footfalls with unnatural silence.

After a time his djed formed a paste in his hand that he used to cover his soles. Kynier tried to make the coatings as even as possible. Last time he had tried this it affected his gait by forming very uneven surfaces. When he finished plastering the djed on his feet he stilled his will so that the magic would settle. Kynier stamped his foot to test his efforts. The dirt around his foot puffed away without a sound. He smiled as he looked up to watch the tavern entrance. Their meeting was thankfully long. Shielding took a fair amount of time, perhaps ten to fifteen chimes just for the soles of his feet.

It was nearly half a bell overall before the three gang members left the tavern. The woman led the way with the other two at her flanks. Kynier stowed away deeper into the darker alley. The three were coming in his direction. Crouching in the dark he watched them walk by, heading towards the Seaside Market. Kynier waited until they had gone twenty paces before coming out of the alley. He followed them, keeping close to the side of the street so that he could duck out of sight if necessary.



Word Count: 900
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The Sibling's Footsteps

Postby Kynier on July 1st, 2018, 11:48 pm

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Wherever it was that they were going, they weren’t in any sort of rush to get there. The dark haired woman was leading the way while the other two seemed to be mere guards. From what Kynier could see he didn’t think she was in real need of them. It was in the way she moved that gave him that inclination. Unlike many that walked the streets under Akajia’s domain, she wasn’t constantly taking in her surroundings to detect danger. That may have been what the other two were for, yet even they never looked behind for followers. Kynier didn’t like the feeling that gave him, so he allowed more distance to grow between him and his prey.

Before they entered the Seaside Market district the woman stopped and veered to the side suddenly. Kynier calmly walked to a building corner and stepped into the alley on the opposite side of her destination. Peering around the corner in a way that exposed as little as possible, he noted she was looking at something through a window. The other two were looking up and down the street. Kynier shied into the alley a little more out of caution. For a chime she just stood there. Kynier couldn’t tell if she was actually saying anything or not. He noticed the lips of one of her escorts moving. Kynier didn’t dare get any closer to them. He would just have to be satisfied with tracking their movements tonight.

The woman turned from the window and continued south down the street. After waiting a few ticks to be sure they weren’t looking Kynier stepped out to trail them. He increased his pace a little to make up some of the lost distance. Whenever they entered a side alley Kynier briskly walked faster but slow enough to keep his breathing quiet. The shield was working well to silent his steps. Glancing around the corner he made certain they weren’t watching before rounding it himself. Their path became very convoluted. Kynier noted that they had increased their pace and were taking several turns in quick succession. Barely would he see which way they would turn when he got to the corner.

Kynier lost track of where they were in the city. Leth had risen high in the sky before the three of them entered a building Kynier didn’t recognize. Looking around the empty road first he approached the building. It was borderline dilapidated in condition. Broken windows and rotten panels of wood framed the cracking stone that made its shape. Kynier crouched low and circled the building slowly, looking for any other entrances to the building. There were a few large holes in the sides that a smaller than average dog could fit through. At each one he knelt down and listened, only to hear silence. After a few chimes at each hole he moved on to the next one. There was only one door into the structure. So Kynier stationed himself at the corner of the building and listened for the door to open. Nearby was enough debris that he could conceal himself with should they walk his way.

As he waited he glanced up and down the street looking for any landmark structures to pinpoint where he was. After a chime he realized he was in Robern’s Reaches. He frowned in doubt. He saw no patrols anywhere of Daggerhand thugs. As he stepped out to get a better look he heard the door click open. Reversing his steps he quickly back peddled to squat down by the debris. Listening hard he heard no voices, only footsteps receding. Cautiously he approached the corner of the building and glimpsed them heading in the opposite direction as him. Kynier waited before following them again. When he stepped out he looked around the street to take in the details. That way he could try to find his way back later, if he were to dare it.



Word Count: 658
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The Sibling's Footsteps

Postby Kynier on July 5th, 2018, 6:46 pm

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Kynier couldn’t quite place it but something felt off, very off. As he followed those three down the street he became more certain that they were in fact in the Robern’s Reaches district of the city. There were too few people walking the night paths. There were no peddlers trying to sell narcotics or whores offering their bodies to any passerby. With a glance to the south west he could just make out the Temple of the Unknown’s silhouette in the night. This was a part of the city he tried to avoid, especially in the later bells. While the gangs had been losing territory they became much more protective of their claim. There should have been several Daggerhand brothers and sisters roaming on patrol. At least that was his understanding. Yet for the last bell there were only the three Kynier had been following.

The said three were now walking with more purpose in their step. Kynier made his strides as long as he could without having to exceed a fast walk. They turned down an alley heading east. Before Kynier got to that alley he finally saw them. A separate trio of armed Daggerhands stepped out onto the road further ahead. Their voices drifted through the silence as they engaged in idle talk. Kynier took the next east heading alley that he approached without first checking if anyone was already down this way. Thankfully there wasn’t. Kynier jogged down to the other end but stopped short. Cautiously he looked out in both directions for any movement. Down his left he saw the dark haired woman and her escort move out of sight down another side path. Kynier was about to go out to follow when he noticed another patrol come into view further down. And they were moving in his direction.

“Shyke,” he whispered. This may have been a grave mistake. He had no way of knowing exactly how deep in their territory he was. Nor which direction led him to safety the quickest. For a moment he peeked with one eye around the corner, measuring the patrol’s speed. After that he ran back down to the other end of the alley to check on the first patrol’s location. Before he got there he saw them crossing the alley’s opening. Kynier stopped and crouched low fearful of being noticed. He’d rather avoid any confrontation at all costs. The three of them continued walking ahead as he held his breath. Before they crossed out of sight one of them stopped and looked down the alley at him. Kynier heard one of them call out, getting the other two’s attention.

Shyke!

As they came in his direction he turned and bolted. Their voices calling after him in the night. With still muted footsteps he ran to the other exit. The other patrol should still be on his left so he would go right. Kynier came out in more of a slide than a stop as he launched himself down the street. A few startled voiced spoke behind him. Kynier breathed in with every other step as he went down the road. He didn’t know the patrol routes and needed to get out of sight. Left, further east, could have another patrol directly in his path. Westward was the better bet. After a few hundred feet Kynier turned right down a western alley. When he was halfway down he checked behind him at his pursuer’s progress. They didn’t round the corner until he was nearly all the way down. At the end he turned left heading south. Kynier ran down and took the second alley on his left to duck into. Hoping to have been out of sight. He slowed his run and noticed a few unusual protrusions from the building next to him when he did. Stone roses were growing out of the mortar. Kynier leapt up to grab one and missed.

There weren’t any low enough for him to naturally reach, so he backed up and made another running jump attempt. This time he managed to get a hold of one. Petals of stone dug into his flesh uncomfortably. Kynier pulled himself up and reached for another, only just barely able to reach it. He could hear shouts of confusion from around the building. Kynier set his feet against the wall and looked up at the roof’s edge. He was sure he could make it with a single desperate attempt. Kicking off with his legs and reaching with a single hand, he went for it. Fingers wrapped around the edge, but once his weight came down on it the stone gave out and his hand slid off with a chunk of rock in his grip. Kynier fell.

His other hand got cut by the stone rose as he tried and failed to maintain his grip. Instinctively he bent his knees slightly to help absorb the landing. His impact with the ground was hard and he couldn’t help but grunt loudly when he hit, rolling onto his back and over his head uncomfortably. Kynier scrambled to get to his feet, but it was a slow process. “I heard something over here!” Shyke! Kynier turned east and started running again.
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The Sibling's Footsteps

Postby Kynier on July 5th, 2018, 6:47 pm

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Behind him was definite danger and ahead of him was very possible danger. Kynier didn’t like the options and took the only choice available. Running east he came out of the alley. The woman he was originally following was nowhere to be seen. Thankfully he hadn’t run into a third patrol yet. But he was out of ideas of what to do, with running as his only thought. Heading north he ran past several buildings. Exclamations from Daggerhand patrols ringing out from behind.

Think, damn it, think! He wouldn’t be able to outrun his pursuers forever. And the commotion they were making would only draw in others to eventually cut off all possible avenues of escape. Kynier turned east again down another road. Ahead the buildings there rose to two stories. Too tall to have a hope to climb out of sight. If he were lucky enough to find more stone roses that is. At the next intersection he turned south when he saw it. There was a wagon in the road stacked with crates. A building nearby had an open window on the second floor. Further ahead there was another patrol walking away from him. Kynier aligned his run with the wagon in a way that put it between him and the Daggerhands.

As he approached he leapt up and climbed the crates. Though his body demanded air he tried hard to breath quiet. Also he made an effort to control his movements when climbing the crates. Though his footsteps were quiet he couldn’t stop the wood from making noise. Kynier would set a hand down on the corners when bracing his weight where it should have the least amount of give before hoping up with his feet on the other corner. When he stood at the top he just looked at the window, took a step on the crate, and jumped for it.

Kynier stretched out both arms as he went through the air. For the briefest instant he thought he was going to fall short but managed to grasp the sill with his hands. The collision against the building nearly made him lose his grip. Next time he should brace with a leg to avoid that. With some difficulty he managed to haul himself up and through the window. When he was halfway inside he heard one of the patrolmen shout, “Up there! In the window!”

“Khur-va,” he grumbled as he got inside. Kynier wouldn’t assume that they couldn’t get in. He was about to take his bearings of the place when he saw a fist coming for his face. It struck him across the chin and he stumbled into the corner. Without thinking he drew his short sword in a cutting arch. Though he was aiming for the chest his attack went high. The Daggerhand was stepping with another punch already in mid swing before he took note of the blade. But it was too late. The man’s momentum drove the blade into his neck, cutting a gouge across the front and side. Kynier turned his head and closed his eyes just as the blood sprayed out in a mist. The brother’s eyes widened and his hands tried to choke down the gushing blood. After just a few ticks of gurgling he fell to the floor in a heap. Kynier flicked the blood off his blade and looked out the window. He couldn’t see anyone down on the street anymore.

He braced a foot on the window sill and set his hands on either side in preparation. Pushing as hard as he could off the window frame Kynier leapt back out onto the street. With knees bent towards his chest in preparation he took his momentum forward in a roll when he landed. He rolled over his shoulders and down his back a couple of times before he came to a stop. His equilibrium was off from all that sudden motion. He stood, feeling dizzy as he looked around for an instant. The world was shifting in his eyes while his body worked to regain its equilibrium. Without waiting for it he traversed south as quickly as he could without tripping over himself. Kynier ducked into the third alley on his left and took cover behind a pile of stone rubble.

He was out of breath, had shaking hands from adrenaline, and still within hostile territory. Kynier took a chime to recuperate. Staying for much longer wouldn’t be a good idea. He had probably lost them for now, but they now knew to look for him. Kynier moved east down the alley before stopping to check for a clear coast. The street was clear in both directions for now. His eyes scanned the buildings on the other side. Most were a single story, except for one. Kynier wouldn’t have given it a second thought had a light not been lit on the upper floor. He could see the light was moving around the inside from how the shadows moved. From where he was he saw a few figures move inside. One of them being the dark haired woman.

“There you are,” Kynier whispered.
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The Sibling's Footsteps

Postby Kynier on July 16th, 2018, 4:47 pm

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Kynier tried to walk calmly across the road, as though he wasn’t an intruder that the Daggerhand would probably kill on sight. The street remained empty as he set his course for the narrow gap between the second storied building and the closer adjacent one. It was fairly compact between the structures, not much wider than shoulder width. And though it didn’t affect his vision Kynier could tell it was very dark. Several shadows moved around as his presence drew near. Kynier knelt down and leaned against the wall.

“Is there a way to the roof?” he asked in the night language. Their responses were quiet but overlapped making it all incomprehensible. As their chatter continued he looked up at the walls he was concealed between. There were a vine of stone roses part way up the taller structure but it well beyond reach from his position. As he examined it more he was sure it was on level with the lip of the lower roof. That’s my way in. But how can I get there? The idea of exiting the small haven was less than ideal. It seemed inevitable. There was no debris, rubble, or random assortments that could provide him with the necessary boost. Then he had an idea.

Kynier set his back against the shorter structure and stretched his arms out low to either side. Nervously he raised a foot as set the sole against the other building. Kynier pushed with his whole foot as hard as he could before slowly raising his other foot off the ground. Stone pressed against his back and shoulders uncomfortably as he braced himself between the two buildings. Raising the hanging foot up he rested it higher on the wall than its counterpart. Kynier pressed with both legs as well as his hands as he tried to shimmy his torso up without releasing a lot of pressure. The vest and shirt dragged against the stone briefly before the collar started digging into his neck. When he thought he settled Kynier released the other foot’s pressure.

There wasn’t enough stability to support the free weight. Kynier’s bracing foot slipped against the stone and he fell in a heap on the ground. The impact radiated through his rump and up his spine. Shadows were cackling at the sight. That was one way to make an impression. Silently he dwelled in pain for a chime. After that he forced himself up to his feet. Another way would have to be found. Kynier moved to the corner of the alley and checked for any patrols. There was one roaming the street. From the look of their leisurely pace they weren’t yet notified of an intruder in their territory.

When the patrol was looking away Kynier stepped out and kept close to the walls of the structure. Moving to the door of the smaller building in just under two ticks. Kynier tried the handle while keeping an eye on the patrol. It was unlocked. Trying to be silent as the shadows around him he slipped inside and closed the door very very gently. After the soft click of the latch he stepped away from the door. The single story building was abandoned and dilapidated like so many. The roof wasn’t entirely whole either. There were a few gaps he could climb through to get on top. Though from the condition that it was in he didn’t think he really wanted to test his weight on it.

Kynier looked around at the surroundings. It looked like it had been a fire that caused the condition it was in. Blackened mounds of wood rested against the charred stones. There was nothing he could stand on that he would trust. However, there was a stone table. Kynier moved over to it and tried lifting one end of the round surface. It was heavy and didn’t want to budge. That should be sufficient. Kynier gauged the distance from the edge of the table to the wall. He might be able to make it. He climbed up onto the stone table and set some of his weight close to the rim. It tilted a small amount when most of his weight was on it.

The table itself was only two paces long. Kynier set himself on the end opposite his destination and knelt down. Eyes focused on the wall he imagined himself leaping and grasping the top of the wall where a hole in the roof lay. He launched himself and took a heavy step that made the table wobble before jumping. Hands raised above his head and one leg set out before him to soften the impact, Kynier crashed into the wall just short of his mark.
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The Sibling's Footsteps

Postby Kynier on July 16th, 2018, 6:22 pm

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Kynier fell on a blackened piece of a wooden dresser which crumbled under him. He stumbled backwards from the wall and fell over. How was it that every time he tried to accomplish something in this wretched city he ended up on the ground? Unsure of where the any patrols were he quickly got to his feet. That fall had made a lot of noise that probably had gotten someone’s attention. If it did he had a chime or two before they figure out where it came from. Without wasting any of it he climbed on top of the table again. After two quick breaths he tried again. Leaping as high as he could he still came short and hit the wall again.

Unlike before he didn’t fall to the ground but was even more aggravated this time. It just wasn’t close enough. Kynier rushed to the other side of the stone table and set his hands against the edge. Leaning heavily he pushed as hard as he could. The sound of stone scrapping on stone rang out as it slowly moved inch by inch. When Kynier stopped he wasn’t sure if it was enough, but he was pushing his luck as it was. With a hop he was up again and set himself for his short start. With two heavy steps he leapt again. His hands were stretched up as high as he could get them. They cleared the wall and fingers clung as hard as possible to the uneven stone.

Kynier didn’t give himself time to gloat and pulled himself up to the ledge. Swinging a leg up some pebbles broke off the wall and fell. From up there he could hear voices drawing closer. In a haste Kynier got both feet beneath him. Looking up the vine of stone roses were a little above his level, not so much he probably couldn’t reach. Heart frozen still in his chest he leapt from the precarious position and grasped a stone rose with both hands. As he swayed from the plant he heard the door to the other building bang open. Kynier adjusted his grip on the rose before resting his head against the stone wall, breathing quietly into it.

“I know that it came from in here.”
“There ain’t shyke here.”

Kynier searched for the next nearest stone rose within reach. Bracing his feet against the wall he reached out for it. Gradually he rose up the side of the structure. A collection of stone roses were attached to the roofs edge which he used to climb up. The architecture of the building didn’t include a flat roof of wood or stone. It was slanted with a three inch five inch wide edge for him to walk on. Kynier bent his knees and reached a steadying hand towards the slanted roof, deciding if he fell he would fall in that direction. With slow careful steps he went around the edge of the roof towards the window that he had seen the light coming from.

When he was on the front side of the building he crouched even lower. Muffled voices were coming from within. Two of them. The window itself was below him and he didn’t feel like being any more exposed than he already was. There was a sliver of light coming out through a crack in the roof. Kynier made his way over to it, rested his knees against the slant of the building, and set his hear close to the crack.

“…since when have I let that stop me?” the woman said. “Remember what I taught you Sebastian. That is the only way you can really protect yourself in this sort of life.” The woman’s voice wasn’t scolding but almost sounded playful. The sound of a man’s sigh came next.

“I know. But this goes against Stiletto’s wishes. If we were supposed to know who the Mask Maker is then we would’ve been told. This is a serious risk Ashara.” And there was that name. Kynier hadn’t actually heard any Daggerhand member say the name in order to give it any extra validity before now. He had been thinking that Stiletto was disinformation to throw people like him on a wild chase. Not anymore.

“Listen to me,” her tone less playful and more neutral, “If you continue to think like that in this organization then you’ll be stuck right where you are. That thinking is reserved for those that wish to follow. Now what will you do?”

The man sighed again in reluctance. “I will find the Mask Maker, and commission another mask to be made.”

“There’s a good boy,” the playfulness returned to her voice. Kynier had heard enough. This woman, Ashara, was a Big Sister. Some sort of lieutenant in the gang. But even she wasn’t told everything about this Night of Masks that was approaching. Kynier made to push off gently from the roof to return to his feet. When he did it creaked under his weight. A tense silence filled the void as Kynier froze. After a moment there was a pair of hurried footsteps from inside.
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The Sibling's Footsteps

Postby Kynier on July 16th, 2018, 7:44 pm

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Carefully he shifted his weight back onto the balls of his feet. It was far too high to jump, even to the neighboring roof. Despite being a port city that would have frequent showers in the later summer and fall seasons, roofs were rarely well constructed. Kynier was certain he’d just fall through and end up seriously hurt, or worse. The only option was back down the way he came. Only a little caution was spared for the sake of speed. Roaming over to the other side of the roof Kynier was in less of a crouch than before.

Grabbing the natural climbing supplement he twisted around and made his descent. For some reason it always scared him more to climb down rather than up. Kynier would reach with a foot for support before gradually applying his weight to it and then briefly falling enough for his hands to grasp the next one. Before long he had come to the end and looked over his shoulder at the other roof. The ground of the narrow alley he fell in before was still further down than he was comfortable dropping. With a steadying breath he prepared himself for what was probably a very foolish action.

Kynier pushed off from the stone rose he stood on as well as the wall. Twisting in the air he deliberately missed the hole in the other roof so that his hands could grab onto the ledge like before. His grip nearly slid off the stone when the pull of his own body weight came down. Kynier groaned as he held on for a tick. Then swung his feet side to side a little like a pendulum. Letting go he moved sideways and along the narrow path. Knees bent to absorb the impact he landed and rolled with it. During his roll his backside scrapped against the wall. It stalled him and made him spin around on his shoulders with his feet in the air before flopping down on his side.

Getting to his feet he avoided the instinct to brush himself off. Didn’t want to make any more noise than he already had. A presence was more felt than heard. Kynier looked over his shoulder. At the end of the alley stood the dark haired woman, Ashara. From there Kynier could see she was Svefran from the intense blue of her eyes. The lieutenant didn’t call out, or declare his position in anyway. Instead she just ran towards him. Kynier took off in the other direction. A confrontation in a place with only forward and backward movement was too dangerous. When he exited the alley he didn’t spare any time to check for other dangers. Kynier just ran south.

Out in the open he hoped his longer stride would work to his advantage. With a glimpse over his shoulder he saw that whatever factor it had was counter acted. The Big Sister kept pace with him down the road. If he couldn’t get enough speed then he’d have to lose her in the streets. Abruptly he stopped to make a ninety degree turn down a side street. The path was clear ahead, taking him west to the nameless river. At the next larger road he turned left, heading south. Ashara was still behind him and wasn’t giving ground.

Perhaps the only way to lose her was to get lost himself. Kynier took the next alley on the right, went left, left again, right, left, across the road… continuously he made random decisions. But the woman still stayed close behind. Until finally she stopped in her tracks as he continued. Kynier turned at the next right and could see the river before him. Stopping at the far corner he doubled over breathless. As he waited there she never came down the alley. That bothered him more than the chase itself. As far as he could tell, they were still in Daggerhand territory. Kynier looked around the corner and immediately brought his head back. He was almost on top of a patrol. He slowly stepped away, keeping his steps and his breathing soft.

Chest burning from the run he started moving slower down the alley. When he looked out the dark haired woman was nowhere to be seen. Neither were any other members of the gang. Kynier jogged across the street to another side road. There he slowed down again and walked the thirty foot space between buildings. Kynier leaned out to look for any other patrols. When he did a fist struck him across the face, hard. He stumbled and was kicked in the chest before he could recover. The kick pushed him back into the side street.

Gasping for breath he looked up. Ashara stood before him with a mischievous smile on her face. Long dark strands of hair falling past her shoulder as great blue eyes gazed at him. It was a feline sort of look. The one a hunter had when playing with its prey. Kynier backed away from her and she followed with sultry motions. The woman was tall though not as tall as he and moved with a confidence beyond the sexual nature it indicated. Kynier drew his short sword and raised it as a guard. The woman didn’t pause in her approach but stopped with a wide stance and slightly bent knees. She raised a hand and gestured a challenge with her fingers. For a moment he hesitated. There was a brace full of daggers strapped to the side of an arm as well as the outside of a thigh. Yet she didn’t draw any of them. Kynier forced his anger at being toyed with under control. She was confident enough in her skill to face him unarmed. He would have to fight intelligently rather than instinctually.

Kynier brought the blade up to cut down diagonally. She took a step back to remain out of reach then shifted her weight forward again. Before his blade could arch around for an upward cut she stepped forward and struck him in the abdomen. The air was knocked out of him as he bent forward. Her back knee shot up and collided with his face just below the left eye. Kynier staggered. Breath stolen and vision blurry he performed a horizontal warning cut to keep her from coming in closer. He chuckled at him as she circled around.

Mirroring her movement for a moment he raised the weapon above his head as though to cut down hard. It was a feint. One that she took. The woman stepped low and forward and tucked an elbow into her hip. As she raised the arm for an uppercut he made a crescent step back and away. Cutting down as he did. The tip crossed her forearm and made a shallow wound. The woman made a small moan which sounded more like displeasure than pain. Her eyes flared in rage for an instant before turning watery cool again when she recoiled.

Rather than cradle the injury she rushed in. Kynier swung the blade but she blocked his arm from moving with both of hers. The heel of a boot struck the side of his knee making his leg buckle. She drove an elbow across his face while still controlling his weapon hand with her other. Rapidly her limbs moved back and forth, striking him as they did. Kynier didn’t realize that he had fallen to his knees and the tip of his weapon was resting uselessly on the ground. Another elbow hit him above the left eye and he felt the skin tear.

Part of his vision ran red as blood flowed down over his eye. His head was swaying and ears were ringing. He almost could feel the pain of the next hit that jostled his head to the side. Through the haze of his sight he saw the back of her heel swinging around just before it came across his right cheek. That’s when everything went black.
Kynier
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The Sibling's Footsteps

Postby Kynier on July 20th, 2018, 12:38 am

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The man’s head whipped to the side violently, propelling the rest of his body in a small spiral before falling to the ground. The stillness afterwards brought chills to her blood as she stood above him, waiting. After several ticks the man hadn’t moved at all. Ashara took a step before kicking the short sword from his limp grasp to slide several feet across the ground. That didn’t instigate any sort of response either. She sighed disappointedly. It had been a long while since she last had such an engagement and had hoped it would’ve lasted. That’s how it was with men though.

Ashara brushed away the stray hairs that were crossing her face as she looked around for signs of anyone else. “Damn it Sebastian.” Her protégé had lost them during the chase. If he hadn’t noticed it at all that was not going to bode well for him. With a foot she flipped the dark brown haired intruder onto his back. The face was already beginning to swell and dirt clung to the blood in unsightly clumps. Ashara squatted down and started tracing her hands over his body, from the shoulders down. Her gloved hands moved quickly over the surface of his torso before reaching to his belt to remove the dagger and toss it aside. Then they resumed. Feeling the contours surrounding his loins first before going further down to caress his lower body.

Circling around the outsides of both legs revealed nothing. But… “Ah-ha,” she declared softly to the night. Delicately she pulled on the handle to the dagger concealed in his boot. Ashara shook her head. “Really now,” she said to the unconscious body with a constructive yet critical tone, “you’re so tall it would take you bells to reach down for this.” She tossed it aside to join the other dagger. Then her hands reached into his pockets and pulled out a folded sheet of parchment. Carefully unfolding it revealed an etching of a building. It wasn’t grand. Ashara rotated the paper around. It did look familiar but… she scoffed and folded it back up. Upon further examination she found charcoal and other pieces of an artisan’s kit in his possession.

But when her eyes rolled over the vest he was wearing she smiled. Burglar vests were not uncommon yet not so regularly worn that it was easy to notice one. She reached a hand to the inside of his vest and started pressing her hands together with the material between them. With roaming hands Ashara found each of the hidden pockets. With another chime she pulled out all their contents and laid them out on the ground. A rather beautiful feather quill caught her attention first. The deep dark blue that faded to white pattern from the rachis to the end of the barb was really eye catching. “I wonder what sort of creature has feathers like these.” She took off a glove and brushed it against her pale finger playfully.

She set the feather quill down and moved on to the coins that the man carried with him. Seven gold and… twenty two silvers? “That seems like a lot.” One by one she placed all the coins back in the pouch before tying it off. Next there were a few metal picks one would find in a larceny tool set. It wasn’t the complete set however. Ashara pursed her lips and tapped them gently. She gave the man a side glance. “Just the most frequently used pieces?” He didn’t give her an answer. Rude. Then Ashara looked at the last item. A locket.

Taking the glove off her other hand she picked it up and rotated it between her fingers. It was very simple and mundane. Surprising, considering the exotic quality of the quill. No engravings or special markings on the surface. “Hmmm.” When it clicked open part of a bundled lock of hair spilled out. Ashara felt the collection of soft hair strands between her fingers. The coloration was intriguing. Ombre: black to white. Holding it below her nose she took in the scent. It wasn’t strong, so it was an old… “Is it a gift or a token? Did it die?” She watched the unconscious man’s chest rise and fall. “Or did you steal it?”

She took in the intruder as she absentmindedly brushed the end of the lock back and forth against her knuckles. The patrols for The Den were tightly knit. Ashara knew this because she had taken the time to discover where all the gaps were that could be exploited. “I’m trying to decide something,” she said waddling closer to him, “if you’re just lucky, or if you’re talented. I don’t see the branding of anyone else upon your flesh,” she traced a finger along his jawline. “That doesn’t mean you’re not a Night Eye.” Ashara sucked on the inside of her cheek in thought. The man hadn’t completely gotten in unnoticed. Ashara never declared his position out loud but had heard the other patrols moving in a frantic state.

“You were noticed,” she said putting the two toned hair back in the locket, “and still you came further into the Den. You may have even heard things you shouldn’t have.” Ashara worked at putting all the man’s belonging back in their place. “And, if I hadn’t been the one to stop you, you may very well have made your escape.” Standing up she walked over his still form to collect his weapons. “Then again maybe not,” she shrugged. “The patrols could’ve found you, and killed you. And their plans would still be well kept within the Daggerhand.” Ashara lifted the short sword and noticed the unusual color of the blade. “Ooooh, pretty.” She rested a hand against the blade and felt the unnatural chill of the metal. “Cold Iron. You have an exotic palate for your possessions, don’t you?”

Squatting down again she placed each weapon back in their sheath for him. “If I’m wrong, I can give you a Dust Nap later.” She eyed his frame for a moment. Broad shoulders and lean muscles gave him an appeal. Ashara took a hand and felt his shape beneath the pants. A smile that had led the fall of many men bloomed. “Perhaps not immediately though.” She stood up and went to the alley’s eastern entrance and waited against the corner.

Ashara hummed a melody to herself with a mezzo-soprano voice. Casually looking up and down the street as she put her gloves back on. Ashara did appreciate the mysterious man for one particular action. He hadn’t run to the coast.

Nearly a bell passed before he finally came into view. When Ashara recognized his gait she pursed her lips and whistled. It wasn’t an attentive grabbing shrill but a frisky sort of yoo-hoo in nature. Sebastian heard it and quickly found the source. The man quickened his pace, because he knew she didn’t like to be kept waiting. The man was almost her height and had a lanky build with dense muscles that didn’t make him look bulky.

“Did you find them?” he asked when he approached. Ashara smiled an inclined her head towards the intruder. His gaze followed her direction. But before he moved from his spot he looked at her arm. “You’re hurt,” he said flatly, “was he a challenge?”

Ashara detached herself from the corner and walked back into the alley with her protégé. “The man made decent sport. Unlike the majority, he never pleaded for anything nor attempted to yield.” Something about her tone made Sebastian look at her skeptically.

“Am I mistaken, or was that admiration?”

“Respectful acknowledgement.” They stopped a few paces away from the man.

“You didn’t kill him?” Ashara shook her head and crossed her arms under her breasts. “We don’t know what he may have learned,” Sebastian said earnestly. “The Mask…” Ashara gave him a pointed look that silenced him. “We,” he began again, “shouldn’t even know. And now he may know.”

“You’re right Seb. That’s why I want you to follow him.” Her protégé started stammering for a response. She wouldn’t have it though and cut him off. “I want to know what he does with his information. If he’s a member of the Night Eyes you’ll see where he drops off his information. If he’s alone… well. You should know what to do then.” She rested her eyes back on the man. “Get him to the Commons before he wakes up. The man may be talented enough to be of use.”
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The Sibling's Footsteps

Postby Kynier on July 26th, 2018, 5:16 pm

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Pain. It radiated throughout his ribs and all over his face. Eyes still closed he began to stir and winced from the first movement. When his orientation was settled Kynier realized he was lying face down on the ground. The desire to scratch his face to remove the dirt embedded in dry blood was only outdone by the throbbing thick sensation in the back of his head. Slowly he rolled himself over onto his back, groaning the entire way. He tried to open his eyes only to discover that one couldn’t manage more than to crack open. It was swollen with his life fluid coagulated around it.

The sky was in a state of twilight as Leth and Syna exchanged control. Kynier’s breathing was deep and loud. A sense of relief filled him suddenly. He was alive. The notion was more than surprising. The svefra woman had pulverized him. By all rights he should be dead. Kynier allowed his head to fall sideways to look around. He was in an alley and he was alone. Something wasn’t right about it though. He couldn’t quite tell what it was that bothered him, but something was amiss. Kynier grunted through the aches to sit up, requiring the little strength he had in both arms to do so.

Panting, he reevaluated the situation. Immediately he noticed it wasn’t the same place he had his battle. There was no taste in the air to indicate the nameless river’s immediate vicinity. Also, there was a constant chatter of people in the distance. Not the voices of a few, or even a dozen, but of an amount he only ever heard in the markets. How had he gotten out of The Den? Kynier licked his dry lips and spat the dirt his tongue collected. Lips cracked open and the fresh taste of blood tickled the inside of his mouth.


“Just when it seemed your good fortune finally ended…”

Ignoring the rest of the thought, Kynier got to his feet. His stance was unsteady and required him to brace against the closest structure for support. Nausea climbed from his stomach to his chest. Kynier took deep breaths through the nose and long exhales out the mouth to calm his body. After a chime he felt better. Opening the right eye he looked himself over. His weapons were all still in place. The drawing of the temple folded in his pocket, coins in the vest, magic quill stowed away, artisan’s kit accounted for…

Nothing was missing.

That was more unsettling than the pain. To fall unconscious out in the city was a sure way to die or wake up with nothing, not even clothes. Taking the grip of his short sword in his hand he began to speak in Tukant. The long complicated phrasing was strange on his tongue but he said the words required to activate the long dormant power of his weapon. “I’ll Die Tomorrow.” A vibrant energy coursed through his hand from the hilt. Flowing over his insides it sought out all the damage that lay within. Each injury felt a small yet comfortable burn. The same type one felt on their hand when they held it close to a fire. Close enough to experience the warmth as well as the warning burn of proximity. The feeling spread over his torso and up to his face. In the comfort of the power he nearly tipped over but regain his balance.

The pain was alleviating in small measures as the gradual burn of healing magic ran its course inside him. Kynier started walking out of the alley, trying to get a sense for where he actually was in the city. On the main road were uncountable stalls with vendors hawking their goods. The Seaside Market? How did he turn up bells away from where he last remembered? But Kynier’s body ached for relief more than his mind ached for answers. He turned south towards home and made his way.

During the walk he had an uneasy feeling. Not about the night before, the injuries that bothered him, the magic working on said injuries, nor waking up miles away. Kynier felt that he had a shadow trailing him and not one of the goddess’ children either. With careful glances over his shoulder he would check for familiar forms or faces. While none were to be seen the sensation didn’t subside. Kynier stopped and just turned around to check. A trace of movement caught his eye. A person took cover in an alley before Kynier could tell if it was a man or woman. Kynier quickly went into an alley himself. Pushing through the discomfort he walked briskly. Instead of taking his usual route he wove through the maze, trying to lose his shadow.

After ten chimes of taking random turns Kynier slowed down. Continuing on a more normal path he kept looking over his shoulder. No one was following him. He sighed in relief once he stood at the door of his home. Unlocking it he went inside and locked it again. Kynier stripped off his equipment to rest on the table before taking a cloth from the cupboard. Dipping his hand into the bucket of cold water he plucked the unmelting ice egg from the bottom. Gasping from the sheer cold he set the egg in the cloth and wrapped it. Kynier retrieved the small square hand mirror and reviewed his injuries.

There was a deep cut across his right cheek as well as over his swollen left eye. Kynier dipped the cloth in the water and started cleaning his face off with tender strokes. Dirt and flakes of blood broke off from the skin. Kynier didn’t disturb the scabs that were forming over the cuts but rested the cloth against his left eye. The wet rag being chilled from the egg felt good against his skin. He sat down in the one chair he had and pulled out the magic quill. While he still could he needed to write down what he learned from last night. After that, he was probably going to pass out again.

Boxcode credit goes to Gossamer!
Kynier
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