Solo A Viper's Bite

A familiar face gives Kynier a hard lesson in Intelligence.

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

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A Viper's Bite

Postby Kynier on August 17th, 2018, 5:53 pm

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45th of Summer 518 A.V.



It was becoming a bit of a regular routine now that he didn’t have to walk halfway across the city for it. Sitting at the Pig’s Foot tavern and observing any possible exchanges between the tavern owner and the Daggerhands. Kynier had found that the table with the most optimal view was not the best one for his purposes. A table closer to the bar allowed him more opportunity to actually hear what was being said. Hopefully it also made him less suspicious. For the time being there was no reason for anyone in the tavern to suspect the mage of anything, let alone being a mage.

As the twenty-first bell approached a server came to the table with the stew he had ordered. It wasn’t nearly as good as Hammer’s from No Man’s Land, but it was a sight better than the roast or fish. Kynier set all the artisan’s kit tools back in his pack and proceeded to have his dinner. The tavern was having a quieter night. Only a few other patrons were present and no one had come in to speak with Merv yet. If nothing happened after another bell and a half then odds are that nothing would. That gave plenty of time to work on his art more and make it back home before it was too late.

The plan changed only a few bites into the stew. The door opened and several Brothers of the Daggerhand stepped into the establishment. They weren’t moving at a leisurely pace either. Purpose drove their steps and their gaze as they approached the other patrons in the tavern. All of the other patrons. Merv stood silently and watched as each person was forcibly escorted out of the tavern. Kynier grabbed his pack and was standing up when a hand slapped him on the shoulder and forced him to sit back down. Kynier looked up at the Brother who was shorter than him but had more muscular definition.

“You stay there,” the man said with a finger of warning. Kynier’s blood was pumping as fight or flight was demanding his body to take some sort of action. Flight had already been denied. In less than a few chimes the last patron had been escorted out, leaving the mage alone with six members of the Daggerhand and Merv. Fight wasn’t an option either. It was impossible to tell what was going on exactly, or why they had singled him out. His efforts to understand the coming event known only as The Night of Masks, were slow moving.

Kynier looked at the owner of the building. The man was shifting uncomfortably but hadn’t so much as muttered his irritation. The old set of eyes were watching all the Brothers and would look to the mage with curiosity. At last a Brother emerged from the back and mentioned that they were ready. The one that had kept Kynier from moving nodded.

“Let her know.” One of the men went out the front door. Kynier glared up at the man keeping him from making an escape. The voice was familiar but he couldn’t place where he had heard it before. Whoever the man was, he avoided the mage’s gaze. When the door opened again Kynier turned to see who had entered, and the color drained from his face. A woman in leather armor covering every portion except her cleavage walked into the tavern. Long dark hair framed her angular face and eyes of a Svefrain blue quality were set upon the mage. Dark painted lips smiled at him as she very slowly approached.

Blood had been splattered on the side of her face as though it were war paint. Kynier shifted in his seat uncomfortably. The last time he’d seen the woman she had rendered him unconscious. The Daggerhand Big Sister paused in her step and looked around at everyone. “Everyone can leave now, except Sebastian.” While the Brothers all gave each other perplexed looks they raised no argument. Each of them made their exit either out the front or the back door. The woman gave Merv and expectant look. “That includes you too, Merv.”

The old man gave her an indignant look before taking his leave. Everyone except the three of them had left before the woman moved from her spot. She went to the bar and picked up a rag. “Sorry for being so late, I had another matter to resolve.” The tone she used was as if they had planned to meet for dinner. Kynier narrowed his eyes at her. The woman, Ashara, took the rag was wiped the blood from her face. A mischievous smile on her face as she did. The man, Sebastian, turned away and took a seat at another table across the tavern as she approached.

The Big Sister was strange. From the way she was looking at the mage it seemed as though she were… happy. A feeling far from mutual. As she sat down she took off her gloves and set them on the table next to the rag. “Hello pet.” Kynier gave her a glare which made her laugh a high noted laugh. “Don’t be cross. Pet’s need to be disciplined when they go where they’re not allowed.” She playfully pursed her lips at him. Then she reached across the table and took his bowl of stew and began to eat, using the spoon he had left in the bowl.

Kynier arched an eyebrow at the motion. Did this woman have no understanding of boundaries? He watched as she ate his meal. Truth be told his appetite was lost before she had taken it, but it was unsettling none the less. “What do you want?” he finally asked after she had taken several bites. The woman took the spoon out from between tight lips unnecessarily slow and licked her lips.

“To talk business.”

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A Viper's Bite

Postby Kynier on August 17th, 2018, 7:13 pm

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Legitimate surprise passed over him. But once it was gone he scoffed loudly at her. The woman didn’t seem disturbed by his reaction but just continued to watch him with those intense blue eyes. Kynier leaned forward a bit on the table and snarled at her. “I have no business interests with the Daggerhand. I’d rather see you all butchered.” Ashara titled her head slightly. Kynier watched the movement of her eyes. They were taking something in about him. What it was he couldn’t say, but she showed complete disregard to his feeble statement.

“You’re face,” she said with a gesture of the spoon, “Shows no sign of that night we first met.” Her tone was a curious one. Intrigue filled her eyes. “No scars at all, though the cuts were in fact deep.” She said fascinated. “Hmm.” She blinked and shifted her shoulders. “A man of unusual resources.” Kynier leaned back and looked at her skeptically. Why was she here? Business? He had the sense that this wasn’t going to be at all favorable.

“We’ve been watching you, pet,” she said putting the spoon down on the bowl. Ashara set her elbows on the table and made a platform with the backs of her hands for her chin. She arched her back and leaned forward unnecessarily. Kynier’s eyes flicked down and up to the exposed sensual nature of her body. Was that a deliberate or subconscious movement on her part? Ashara seemed to note the quick movement of his eyes and smiled. “And from what I’ve been told, you are… no one.” She let the words hang in the air for several ticks.

“You hold no affiliation with anyone. And you keep to yourself when you’re not skulking around everyone’s territory.” She held an approving smile. “And you don’t back down. Others would run when you chose to fight. That tenacity is something that I can respect.” A moan of pleasure escaped her throat as she lifted her chin up to extend her neck. “It’s also something I love to exploit.” When her eyes narrowed at him he felt as though he sat across from a wild predator. One that had boxed him in and was savoring the feeling before going for his throat.

“I can make your life miserable my pet. And it would be so simple to do so. So I wanted to offer you a proposal. I won’t make your life miserable, and in exchange you carry out some tasks for me.” Kynier felt his skin raise on edge. Ashara may have bested him once, but he hadn’t used his full skillset then. While the other thug sat not far away… he could do it. If he wanted he could discretely pull enough res to burn this creature before him. But the Nightstalker itch made him hesitant to do so. How could she make his life miserable?

“You can save your threats,” he said calmly. “Because I refuse to join your organization.” Kynier noticed that the woman’s dark hair had streaks of red in it. It only caught his eye when she shook her head disapprovingly and the light reflected off her hair. She pursed her lips and tsked at him several times.

“I’m not offering that.” Her tone grew sharper and the smile faded from her lips a bit. “You have talents that seem to be wasted. And I wish to rectify that.”

“Let me be perfectly clear,” Kynier said leaning forward on the table. Matching her gaze with his own. “I won’t work for you. You will have a need to kill me before that has a chance to happen.” The woman let out a long sigh of disappointment as she broke her gaze away. That was it? No. She didn’t seem the sort to come here unprepared.

“Men,” she remarked. “Always have to use extremes against them. Fine.” One of her hands reached below the table. Kynier tensed and his will burrowed deeply for his djed. It was difficult. His emotions were in the way making his mind turbulent. But as his mind reached his soul core, her hand reemerged. There was no dagger in her hand. But what she held was more mortifying. A braided lock of ombre hair that transitioned from black to white. Djed slipped from his will as she brought the locket of hair up to fiddle between her hands. “I always find it a bit distasteful, yet you seem to insist on it my pet.”

Ashara’s expression was not that of distaste but amusement. It was directed at his own expression. The way his eyes widened with horror at the sight of the hair. The mage thought he had lost the locket four days past. Instead, his initial suspicions had been correct. It had been stolen. He valued that simple gift too much to have simply lost it. “So perhaps I should make the lives of those you care about miserable instead?” she said with a small giggle at the end of her words.

Credit for the boxcode goes to Luminescence!
Sometimes the only way to win is by relinquishing a superior position.

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A Viper's Bite

Postby Kynier on August 19th, 2018, 2:19 am

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For nearly a chime he just watched the locket of hair being played with between her hands. Sadistically she smiled, seeming to savor his reaction to the development of the situation. Eventually the mage snapped out of it and leaned forward with an intense snarl upon his face. “If you so much as…”

“You’ll do nothing,” she cut him off with a soft yet stern voice. “Except for what I tell you to do.” The playfulness left her eyes and was replaced with an edge. “This is how it will work. There will be a dead drop you will check for every day. When there’s a note left there, it will include the necessary details of what you need to do. You will do what it says, and how it says if it says so, and when it says. If you do not…” The Big Sister looked down at the locket of hair in her hands. “Someone else will have to suffer for your incompetence. Because you clearly don’t care enough about your own well-being by thinking you could stop me.”

It made his blood boil to hear it all. That he would be someone else’s pawn. Kynier tried to imagine how it was they would hurt those he cared for. He was the less capable fighter between the two of them. So he scoffed again and shook his head. “The problem with that is,” he said quietly, “if you hurt her, I’ll come after you in retaliation.” The woman across from him gave him a sad smile and shook her head.

“I honestly wish it was so simple to make you do the things I need you to do pet.” Then her lips turned to a smile, devious in nature. “However, I promise you to not hurt your exotic lover if that makes you feel better.” Kynier furrowed his brow at the woman.

“Then you have nothing to use against me.” He said with a bit of triumph in his voice.

“Sweetie,” she said in the way a woman does when needing to point out something that seemed obvious. “I promised not to hurt her. That doesn’t stop me from ruining her and forcing her back into the dreadful circumstances she was just freed from.” Kynier looked at her skeptically. “I recognized her, as Jaren’s trophy jeweler. His precious slave that he was too good for, but was somehow good enough for him. Hypocritical and hedonistic.” Ashara shook her head in disgust. “If the man weren’t so useful being an absolute blunder to the Sun’s Birth, I would’ve had him removed a long time ago.”

“But I digress.” She said with a sadistic smile returning to her features. “Your lover has quite the loan from Goldfinger. Without that loan, she has nothing of her own. But she’s talented in her work and the word is she won’t have any trouble repaying what she owes. But…” she emphasized the word with a long silence. “Payments do have an ability to get lost.” Kynier leaned back in his seat and started to chuckle. Genuine confusion crossed her face before replaced with annoyance.

“You don’t have the ability to interfere with her payments. Goldfinger is part of the Sun’s Birth and out of your reach of influence.”

“Not true. He’s just a rich man. He holds a seat on the Council of Four for the Sun’s Birth, but he holds no loyalty to them. Goldfinger is just a merchant purchasing his protection. As for the payments…” She took the spoon up again to continue eating. Kynier could tell this was something she had done on several occasions. The way she punctuated the pauses and how they were placed to drive at his anxiety. She swallowed loudly and licked her lips. “They could be intercepted before reaching Goldfinger and have a significant enough portion removed to cause problems. Or an arrangement may be made where he and I agree it’s in his best interest for the loan to default and he take the jeweler as his slave. Where she continues her work and he lines all the profits.”

She had been considering this a long time. That much he could see. What she was and wasn’t capable of the mage had no comprehension of. All he had to make a decision of was her word. But his eyes fell to the locket of hair she held. Could he risk it? If he were wrong, Kelski would lose the Midnight Gem. The security of home she had been trying to establish, gone. The freedoms and comforts that were making her stronger and happier would be stripped from her life one more. Another collar would be placed around her neck. Though it would be a different owner, she would have no value to society once again.

Kynier couldn’t let that happen. And he couldn’t bear being the one responsible if it did.

There must have been some change to his expression. Ashara was smiling even more, showing off her well-kept teeth. She held the locket of hair out across the table. “Go to The Establishment each morning. Check the inside of the barrel with a white streak of paint across its lid that sits against the closest eastern building to the fountain.” For a moment, the mage did nothing but look at the hair she offered to him. He understood as he reached out for it, that he was accepting a fate he didn’t anticipate having. The burden of Kelski’s life and happiness was something he was already accepted from the moment he agreed to abandon the Sunset Quarters. But this wasn’t to maintain the happiness. This was to keep it from being plundered senselessly.

The familiar feeling of the hair touched his fingers as he took the locket from the Daggerhand lieutenant. “Don’t ever disappoint me, my pet.” She stood up from the table slowly, with an unnecessary display of her exposed figure to him. Kynier looked at her with disgust and loathing as she turned away. The last one, Sebastian, walked over to the bar and set down a pouch.

“We’re done here Merv!” he called out to parts unseen before making his exit as well.

In the silence Kynier sat. Rubbing the strands of ombre hair between his fingers and resting it against the underside of his nose. While he got to see the sea eagle frequently now, he still found himself missing her scent when he was away. When he looked up, Merv was standing at the counter with the pouch in his hand. The old man was looking at him with what may have been pity.

“So the Viper got you?” the tavern owner asked. Kynier kept the old man’s gaze as he stood up and wrapped the strap of his pack around his shoulder. Without a word he took his leave of the Pig’s Foot. The old man’s description felt quite adequate. It felt as though the mage’s happy life just got poisoned.

Credit for the boxcode goes to Luminescence!
Sometimes the only way to win is by relinquishing a superior position.

Character Sheet
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Kynier
Delves in Darkness
 
Posts: 619
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Joined roleplay: May 13th, 2018, 3:14 am
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A Viper's Bite

Postby Kynier on September 2nd, 2018, 12:56 am

Grades!


Skill Rewards
  • Intimidation +2
  • Logic +1
  • Socialization +2

Lores Learned
  • Ashara: Doesn’t have personal boundries
  • Ashara: Expects him to perform special tasks when needed
  • Ashara: Will sabotage the Midnight Gem if he fails
  • Ashara: Could influence Goldfinger’s loan to Kelski negatively
  • Ashara: Known as The Viper
Sometimes the only way to win is by relinquishing a superior position.

Character Sheet
Sunberth Map
Midnight Gem Floor Plan
User avatar
Kynier
Delves in Darkness
 
Posts: 619
Words: 826264
Joined roleplay: May 13th, 2018, 3:14 am
Location: Sunberth
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 5
Featured Contributor (1) Featured Thread (1)
Mizahar Grader (1) Overlored (1)
Sunberth Seasonal Challenge (1)


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