Completed Adrift [Azcan]

Koroshtoph and Azcan meet in the midst of one of the drummer's stunts

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Adrift [Azcan]

Postby Koroshtoph Ephael Petyr on September 15th, 2018, 11:59 pm

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5th of Fall, 518 AV

It was hard for Koroshtoph to tell where he was going. In contrast to the well-ordered streets of Syliras, the layout of Sunberth gave the initial impression of having been determined by a roll of dice. Of course, there was an order to the chaos, of that he was sure, but he hadn’t yet been able to grasp the laws that governed it. Doubtless, it was convenient for the assortment of scum that the city had to offer. A prowling thief, well versed in the flow of the jumbled alleyways could easily disappear into them, whereas the many dead-ends provided the perfect hunting ground for the roaming thug to trap his prey.

The evening was getting late, and the alleys of The Sunset Quarters grew all the more menacing in the darkness. Koroshtoph could hear every pebble which shifted underneath his boots, and the gentle pitter-patter of rain gained an almost ominous quality. It unnerved him slightly, but he had prepared for the eventuality of being accosted, by taking with him only his long-sword and a mix of copper and silver mizas. The rest of what remained of his father’s–arguably squandered savings–was more or less well hidden in the various compartments Koroshtoph had found in his new abode.

Part of him enjoyed the risk of a nocturnal tour. Unlike being tossed around a ship by a conspiracy of gods, this felt like he was in control. He picked up the pace, walking in a way that implied he had somewhere to be, and that it was important. A childish game of make-believe perhaps, but it might also serve to deter a prudent criminal from risking a confrontation, though such a strategy was not at the forefront of Koroshtoph’s mind.

He walked for quite some time northwestward with not much excitement apart from the occasional shifty glance from a passing resident. After some dozen chimes, the forest of dilapidated buildings opened up, and he heard, a short distance ahead, the sound of softly sloshing water. As he drew closer, there was something else as well; a faint melody began to fill the evening air – a flighty tune, not seeming to go anywhere, but lingering on the same three or four notes.

As the river came into view, he saw a small sailing boat swaying in the water close to the shore. On the front of the deck, a woman with dirty blond hair lay cross-legged, fiddling with the fingers of her feet. She had been whistling, but when Koroshtoph approached she stopped and glanced up at him.

“One copper’ll take ya across.”

She spoke with the voice of one who had spoken the words a thousand times before and had gotten bored of saying them. Koroshtoph nodded and reached into his pocket, indicating that he wanted to pay. In contrast to her previously lethargic disposition, the Svefra quickly got up and jumped ashore. She pulled the bow of the ship towards them and gestured for Koroshtoph to get aboard.

As they cast off, she began again to whistle the same tune as before.

***

All traces of sunlight were gone from Sunberth’s rugged features by the time Koroshtoph found himself amid the empty stalls of what must have been a lively market just bells before. The original purpose of the outing had been to orient himself in the new city, yet the streets and alleys that he had walked to get to his current location now blended into one another in his memory. Though unlikely to admit it to himself or anyone else, he would have a difficult time finding his way back home.

The rain had steadily been getting worse since he stepped off the Svefra’s boat, and it was now threatening to turn into a downpour. Koroshtoph frowned, looking around for somewhere to wait it out. Nothing looked promising in the immediate vicinity, but he remembered walking past a building that must have been a tavern, judging by the commotion that could be heard from inside. He turned around on his heels and jogged back south.

Luckily, he didn’t have to go far until the lit up windows of the Pig’s Foot came into view. When he stepped inside the rain had already made good on its threat and was now mercilessly pelting the roof above.

Some of the more responsible Sunberthers had already left to rest up for the night, so the main room was not overflowing with patrons. Nevertheless, Koroshtoph’s arrival had gone mostly unnoticed. He made his way to the bar at the far end of the tavern and set down, contemplating a purchase.
Last edited by Koroshtoph Ephael Petyr on October 2nd, 2018, 11:42 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Adrift [Azcan]

Postby Azcan on September 17th, 2018, 2:41 am

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The last vestiges of Syna's light were the cue for Azcan to join the world of the living. He spent the night prior tossing and turning in his bed. Rest eluded him and with the rain that fell within the city of Sunberth, the cloudy skies when the drummer at last succumbed to sleep, found rest during the day. Dreams whirled about his mind, remembered in his wake and considered at face value. The faces of the Crestwidow pod were beginning to vanish away, the longer he spent on shore the more their individual identities began to fall by the wayside. However, what he recalled was the times he spent with them. A lone, normal human in the midst of Laviku-blessed sailors, Azcan often felt out of place and yet so beloved all the while. He wasn't the only drummer, but he was a people pleaser by his own admission. He forgot himself in the midst of a collective, brushing aside his own conflicts and allowing his spirit to flow through be it with his drums or through easy laughter and conversation. It was in those situations that he truly shone.

The drummer felt the cool light of Leth brandish its glow across the whole of Mizahar as he stirred from his musings within his room in the Drunken Fish. He rose from his bed, throwing the strap for his drums over his shoulder after he pulled on his pair of black breeches, letting his fingers trace the plane of that strap for a moment before he reached for his shirt. He wrapped his drums in the fabric before slinging the set behind his back. The drummer cast forward, his troubles forgotten as he set from the door to his bedroom and out the Drunken Fish. Unlike most, the drummer didn't carry himself in any sort of closed way, or attempt to hide himself. If violence came for the drummer, it wouldn't stop by hiding the light within. Rather, immediately upon exiting his room, there was a vibrant glow upon his visage. Lips curved into a wide smile, his step liberated as he saw several faces looking him over. He'd wink at a black-haired woman who seemed occupied by a drink in her hand, shrugging his shoulders when he was ignored.

Azcan exited the Drunken Fish, feeling as though he'd spent far too much time in the place as it was. Rain fell from the sky, tears that fell on the drummer's face, his bare chest, and dampened the shirt that covered his drums. Feet brushed along the earth, twisting as he felt his mood brighten. The rain was soothing, simmering down his 'homesickness', pulling at the music that existed in his soul, sullied by the damper his mood set upon his senses. As he walked forth, his shirt was pulled from the drum, thrown over his head and onto his shoulders, but not quite worn in a traditional sense. Azcan's abdomen and chest were in full view to the public, his hands beating down lightly on his drums as he stepped out of the invisible lines that separated Baroque Bay from the rest of Sunberth. His hands set about an easy tone, his light brown eyes cast forth and making pointed eye contact with each passerby before he made the turn needed.

The Pig's Foot was on his eye this evening, a change of pace from his usual habitation of the Song's Rest. While he held a certain fondness for the latter, he wasn't about to go there every day. Different crowds with different faces and the possibility of exploration of an altogether different form of entertainment was his to indulge in. Azcan, after all, wasn't the sort of man to revel in the routine and the known. The beat of his hands continued well and through, his feet turning on their spot, his body following their rhythm. He'd push through the doors into the Pig's Foot Tavern with his hands slamming down on the drums. He stamped down on the ground one foot at a time before allowing them to shuffle on the ground. Azcan shuffled backwards into the Pig's Foot, keeping little mind in where he was going until he collided backfirst right into a very large man. Azcan took a step forward, his eyes growing wide. He ceased the beating on the drum, looking up at the big guy with wide, beseeching eyes as he said, "
Well, shit, dude. You work out a lot? Sorry about the-" He was interrupted by a hand reaching out, and Azcan quickly ducked beneath his grasp. Not one to take an offensive, he retreated further into the tavern, his eyes cast to and fro as he watched the fellow follow. Apparently, the man was slower on his feet than Azcan was, and the drummer used that to his advantage, still trying to talk him down.

"
I'm sorry, man! Want me to play you a song? Buy you a drink?" The musician failed to see the froth on the man's chin, or hear the sounds of broken glass from the collision. Instead, he was floored. A man who preferred to avoid violence, Azcan tried to talk his way down, but it didn't seem like the behemoth of a man was willing to listen. Cautiously, the drummer unstrapped his instrument, plucking his drumsticks from the compartment underneath the bongo drum as he set it down.
Last edited by Azcan on September 23rd, 2018, 5:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Adrift [Azcan]

Postby Koroshtoph Ephael Petyr on September 18th, 2018, 11:11 am

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Koroshtoph did not take a drink particularly well. For most of his life, he had lived an existence that was rather sheltered from the vices in which some others found all their joy and respite. Had he discovered the comfort that can be found at the bottom of a mug, he might well have ended up—were such a thing allowed there—a drunken bum on the streets of Syliras.

A mug of ale was all he had ordered, and yet he could already feel himself falling under its influence. It wasn’t strong enough to have him jump atop a table and sing one of those jaunty tunes, which sailors, after having filled themselves with rum, were so fond of singing. Nor was he about to break the nose of that boisterous lout standing next to him, who seemed oblivious to the fact that his one sided conversation with the bartender amounted to little more than yelling in Koroshtoph’s ear. The temptation grew, of course, but not to the point of action. He threw his head back so that the last few drops of alcohol dripped from the mug down his throat. When none more would fall, he set it back down on the bar, enticed by the idea of ordering another round.

At that moment, the general commotion in the Pig’s Foot was interrupted by the fast, rhythmic beating of drums. Koroshtoph turned around on his stool and saw a curious sight. A man was walking backwards, his back bare, his arms in motion, his feet dancing more than walking – clearly the culprit for the noise. The patron, who had theretofore been inadvertently abusing Koroshtoph’s right ear, was now turned around, leaning on the bar, and bellowing in laughter at the scene unfolding before him. The reactions of the rest of the clientele were varied. A few tables had the people seated around them clapping or—if one of their hands was indisposed by a raised drink—slamming palms against the wood to the pulse of the drummer’s beat. Some girls and women eyed the bare-chested drummer with grins on their faces, while some others seemed annoyed. At the entrance, an angry patron slammed the door shut, cursing at the ‘goddamn shyke-brained petcher’ that had left it agape. Koroshtoph, slightly inebriated, couldn’t help but be amused at the spectacle.

Whether it was the nature of Sunberthers or simply the buzz of alcohol, the sum of the reactions in the tavern seemed positive. This clearly wasn’t some drunken stunt of a youth clumsily dipping his toes into showmanship. The man was in his element.

Things took a turn for the worse when, with fast steps, the drummer crashed into a bald brute of a man, knocking the glass from his hand. Koroshtoph winced just moments before, anticipating the accident, as the victim tried, too slowly, to step away from the path of the evening’s main attraction. As the glass shattered upon the floor, and the man ducked under the retaliatory punch, the tavern stood still only for a moment’s time before the cheers of humor turned to a chant, which seemed at home here.

“Fight, fight, fight!”

The crowd gathered around the pair which was to provide the second course of entertainment. While the drummer, attempting to get away, tried to diffuse the situation, some cheering patrons blocked the exit of the tavern. It didn’t seem to be an act of malice or ill will towards the man, but rather an unwillingness to give up an exciting show. Most of the people in the tavern shared the mood, but Koroshtoph noticed a young woman in the corner of the room, who had a concerned look on her face. Previously, he had seen her clapping and cheering. It was obvious that she didn’t want to see the drummer getting hurt.

Koroshtoph half expected a pair of Syliran knights to burst into the tavern and break up the fight before it escalated further. That didn’t happen, of course – it was not the way of things here. Koroshtoph’s instinct was to step in himself. It was an instinct which Norn had instilled. However, before he gathered the nerve to act on it, he saw the drummer stop, set his drum down, and pull out a pair of drumsticks. Was he really going to fight that brute of a man with those? The crowd definitely seemed excited at the idea. A roar of cheers reverberated throughout the tavern. Koroshtoph glanced again at the girl in the corner. Her hands were covering half her mouth, and she seemed to be holding her breath.
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Adrift [Azcan]

Postby Azcan on September 18th, 2018, 8:15 pm

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"Fight! Fight! Fight!"

Well, fuck. This is not how I planned for this to go...

The musician held both drumsticks in one hand, the joined metal sticks, in reality, would do very little to defend him. However, it was better than pulling a knife and getting the whole bar involved. The spectators seemed a mixture of laughter and curiosity, watching the gleaming metal sticks gingerly held between Azcan's fingers. The drummer didn't approach, instead keeping his back to the table upon which he'd set his drums. It was then that the Illusionist allowed himself to look around in earnest. The room was filled with both grins and faces twisted in horror. What brought a smile to his lips were that those horrified faces were all women who seemed far more drawn to the drummer's exposed body than his personal safety. Sunberth didn't know Azcan yet, and most of his encounters with the city were in the darkness of the Bolt Hole and the delights of its intoxicating atmosphere.

The drummer stepped forward at last, creating distance between himself and the table behind him as the bald, behemoth of a man began his approach. The drummer expected him to charge, like a bull after a matador. Yet... it didn't come. Instead, his approach was slow, hands clasped together as he cracked his knuckles. There was clear amusement on the man's expression. The froth of ale long left his expression, dripping from his palm. The other hand exhibited the smallest signs of blood droplets and Azcan now knew why the guy was so mad.

I spilled his fucking drink, didn't I? Well... I guess I'm not walking backward into bars anymore, he mused as the man stepped forward. A massive fist was thrown forth, and before Azcan could react to it, the hand made its mark on his face. He staggered back, his free hand caressing his features as he struggled to catch his balance. The drummer waited for his attacker to spring forth again, timing his move. The drummer stepped forward, right into the unprepared man. His right hand, bearing the twin drumsticks rose up with the intent of whipping the bald man straight in the face.

However, Azcan's aim was off. The bald man moved aside so easily, and took to Azcan's back. He reached out, grasping at Azcan's wrist and pulling it behind his head. The drummer was pulled against his attacker's chest, his breath growing heavy as eyes widened. He beat his head back, trying to gain purchase by dazing his attacker, but to no avail.

Goddamn... this guy has a chin made of steel, don't he? Well... it's been a good life? he thought to himself as he felt that encroaching grip settle round his neck. The drummer's features grew red as his left, gnosis bearing hand rose up to strike his attacker's head. Once, twice the slap crashed on the man's face, but lost force with each attempt. The drummer had one final line of play. He wove his God's magic into being, intent on springing illusions of touch to course along the palm of his attacker's hand. Frigid, ice would envelop his palm, coursing through his arm and along the entirety of his body. He'd shiver against Azcan's body, the drummer's eyes growing wider, red seeping into the edges as his ragged breath continued to get pulled from his straining lungs.

It was only when the entire arm grew numb that Azcan put everything he had into an elbow, striking into his attacker's abdomen as he thrust forward. He was released from that grasp, but when his mind diverted from the illusion, it crumbled to nothingness. The bald behemoth was ready for Azcan when the drummer turned to face him. Before Azcan could react, he was struck by a fierce fist to his chest. The wind knocked out of him, he staggered back, falling onto the table and knocking his drums to the ground. Winded, beaten and battling loss of consciousness, the drummer lay on the table, his eyes rolling back in his head as his chest wildly expanded and fell back into place. Clearly, he was trying to catch his breath, but his attacker had no such problem, fully prepared to keep wailing on the drummer, his approach imminent.
Last edited by Azcan on September 23rd, 2018, 5:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Adrift [Azcan]

Postby Koroshtoph Ephael Petyr on September 19th, 2018, 11:31 pm

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Honestly, it hadn’t looked too bad at the beginning. When the drummer stepped forward, it almost seemed as if he were prepared for the accosted brute stomping towards him. Koroshtoph even thought he saw a smile spread across the young man’s cheeks. And though that smile was promptly smashed by a giant fist just moments after, it appeared the man seemed to take it in stride, staggering back, but ready for the next one. The girl in the corner, who had averted her eyes when fist met face, was now watching again, seeming hopeful. Most of the crowd that was gathered around the combatants, however, roared at every play, indiscriminately, and regardless of who was on the wrong side of the latest blow.

When the drummer was mounting what seemed a potentially successful counterattack, Koroshtoph raised his eyebrows in anticipation. As the giant charged once more, the drummer struck. He missed. Damn it. Koroshtoph grimaced. The girl bit her lip. Much of the crowd roared in laughter. It was inevitable now – moments later, the man who had been the life of the party just chimes earlier was now struggling vainly against a the mass of muscle around his neck. By all appearances, the brute wasn’t going to go easy on him.

That lunatic is going to kill him over a goddamn broken glass!

Koroshtoph stood up from the bar. Glancing behind to put three copper mizas on the counter, he saw the bartender for the first time since the beginning of this spectacle. That one didn’t seem amused, observing the fight from under his brow while polishing the wood of the bar with a cloth. His eyes narrowed when the drummer crashed onto a table after the well aimed punch to the chest. It seemed that the table was the main object of concern. Now, the brute was walking towards the drummer with a menacing step, his hands clenched into fists.

Koroshtoph had seen enough. Being as of yet unassimilated, he wasn’t willing to watch a man get beaten to a pulp over an accident. Perhaps he also relished the idea of doing a Syliran Knight’s duty – here, in this place where their presence was needed more than in any of the many districts of Syliras. As he stepped towards the crowd, he felt his hands tremble. Damn it. He hadn’t seen much physical conflict in his life. Though he was reasonably well trained with a sword, he had only ever fought against other squires and knights, never outside of practice. Well, here goes...

“Hey,” he barely managed to keep his voice from shaking. “I think he’s had enough!” He spoke just loudly enough to cut through the commotion. The brute didn’t seem to acknowledge it, but some of the patrons turned to look him up and down. He heard a few chuckles and laughs. Koroshtoph clenched his teeth. It was not exactly a response that a knight in Syliras would have gotten. He wondered who—if anyone—had any authority to enact something resembling law in this city.

“Hey!” he repeated, this time louder. Inwardly, his confidence in this undertaking was taking a nosedive, but he tried to project the opposite. Nothing. The brute was still savoring every steady step he took towards the badly beaten drummer. Koroshtoph closed his eyes for a moment. His mother had taught him this. Focusing the djed to his mouth, he called one more time to the brute. “Hey!”

Are you going to let this whelp taunt you? The man was clearly easily provoked, probably prideful, probably liked to fight. When he’d finish with the drummer, he’d surely be hungry for more. Koroshtoph hoped that the suggestion would make him switch up his priorities.

The brute looked over his shoulder. His face bore a mocking grin as he turned the rest of his bulk. He was now facing Koroshotph directly. The pretend knight’s hand trembled again. He breathed in deeply. Exhaling, he reached for the sword sheathed at his side, but as his hand reached the hilt, he saw some of the faces in the tavern turn more grim. They seemed to advise against drawing his weapon.

Shit.

Last edited by Koroshtoph Ephael Petyr on September 20th, 2018, 9:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Adrift [Azcan]

Postby Azcan on September 20th, 2018, 4:51 am

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Azcan didn't ask for help, but he was fucking glad for it when he came. He barely heard the sound of the other man's voice rising through the Pig's Foot. No, his mind was still battling the black that settled at the edge of his vision. Spots popped infuriatingly in front of his eyes when they opened, air pouring into his lungs with steep inhales that suffused him with nourishing oxygen. His body trembled on top of the table, a twitch of life flickered along his fingertips but he did not rise from his spot. When the large, bald behemoth turned away, Azcan let a breath of relief pour into his lungs, at last finding the will to sit up on the table. When he was able to get a good look at the crowd, he noticed their gaze rested with Koroshtoph, whose fingers played at the hilt of a blade. He wanted to shake his head and discourage the notion. Fist fighting was all well and good in the tavern. It was a way to pass the time, but there was something to these people about brandishing a blade that sat ill with them. He didn't know or care, what it was but it seemed that the newcomer was a quick study. When he didn't produce the weapon, the bald giant crackled his knuckles again, his gruff voice cutting through the air in a grating tone.

"Oh, big britches brings a sword to a fist fight? See what happens ye petc-"

As the man spoke, Azcan rose from the table in earnest. He approached, his knees low to the ground as he sought a sort of crawl to retrieve his drumsticks. The drummer wasn't stealthy, but he hoped not to attract the large, angry man's attention as he slowly made his way over to the pair of them. Massive shoulders heaved as fingers tightened into a fist, arm raised over his shoulders. Within the crowd, one man shouted out, "Behind ye!" Azcan was found out, but he'd already drawn to his full height. Metal drumsticks crashed against the bald man's temple. However, with Azcan's very recent second wind, he lacked the force necessary to truly drive the blow home. He made contact, but his drumsticks flew out from his hand, large welts forming on the fighter's head as he shouted out, arms lashing out wildly. One of them caught Azcan at the chest, sending the drummer reeling backward and onto the ground with a hefty thud. The Illusionist's eyes fell shut, and the young woman who seemed so concerned with his safety used it as every excuse to run over to him.

She wailed aloud, cradling the drummer's head between her hands. Azcan hadn't surrendered quite yet to the call of unconsciousness, and when he awoke... it was to the sight of round breasts pressed up to his face. Not one to complain about such a turn of events, the drummer played the role of an unconscious victim, and he might well have been. He'd not be useful in a fight. His hand shook as weakness overcome him. He was beaten, he was bruised, and he was drained of his fight, with only lovely breasts rubbing against his cheek as solace for the infinite pain that racked his senses.

The behemoth, however merciless he was, wouldn't get away with beating a defenseless young man whose form was shrouded by a lovely face. And so, he'd set his attention towards Koroshtoph instead. Perhaps, given that the object of his attacker's rage was being defended by a beautiful lass, the unwitting hero might find his efforts at persuasion against the giant more successful. However, it was neither here nor there for the drummer. After a moment, he decided to have a bit of fun. A hand rose up to trail along the fair maiden's jawline, his other hand raising a finger to his lips as he nudged forward. Their faces were hidden by the woman's hair, and Azcan utilized the opening to breathe into her ear, "
Lovely savior of mine... I'll come back for you later," he promised her. Surely, it was an empty promise, but he sealed it with a kiss. A flush carried across the maiden's features as Azcan's lips parted her own. He'd have his tongue in her mouth in a moment, his savior wide-eyed but quickly falling in with his lead. When he was done with her, he licked his lips, finding that even in his daze, he enjoyed the taste of her. Perhaps he would come back for her, but certainly not right now. He pressed another kiss to her lips before rising to his feet. He supported his weight against the bar before invoking the power of Ionu's gnosis yet again. There was a guest on their way out of the Pig's Foot, a man much older than Azcan himself, but bearing a similar frame. Likely a beggar or otherwise similarly unfortunate vagabond, Azcan used his body as a canvas upon which he created a mimicry, albeit not a great one, of Azcan's own appearance.

The drummer wove several illusions, placing the stylized tattoo that set him apart on the man's back, and covering his own features with a similar illusory disguise. He wore a wider nose, his eyes a vibrant blue hue rather than their light brown. "
He's getting away! Go get 'im!" he shouted aloud, pointing at the still swinging doors of the Pig's Foot. Confusion was rife among the patrons of the Pig's Foot, for only the assailant would see the illusions that Azcan wove. If Koroshtoph caught Azcan's eye, the Illusionist raised fingers to his lips, winking at the Syliran native before he gestured to the end of the bar. Azcan's pace was slow as he moved towards his bongo drum, plucking it from the floor as he heard massive footsteps pumping the troublesome behemoth out of the bar and out of their hair.
Last edited by Azcan on September 23rd, 2018, 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Adrift [Azcan]

Postby Koroshtoph Ephael Petyr on September 21st, 2018, 2:59 pm

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Koroshtoph had meant to scare off the brute. Though the man was built like a bull, that in itself wouldn’t have been of much use at the wrong end of a sword. That plan, however, was out the window now. In a city so poor in etiquette, Koroshtoph had managed to stumble into a rare impropriety. Preventing a man from getting beaten, possibly to death, was evidently not seen as an admirable act. In fact, many of the spectators were looking at him as if he had individually spit into each of their faces. They relaxed their scorn only slightly when he raised both his hands in front of him to signify that he had gotten the message.

The brute, emboldened by the display, seemed eager to feel the disarmed squire’s face with his knuckles. A pained expression came upon Koroshtoph’s face. He had effectively threatened the brute with death, and though he had done it for what he thought was a righteous cause, it seemed that in the unwritten code of Sunberth, it was the imminent retaliation that would be seen as justice. None of the patrons were interested in diffusing the situation. Instead, they cheered on the brute as he spoke up, his voice both mocking and menacing his challenger. Perhaps Gruder was right. The thought came to him bitterly.

Preoccupied with contemplating his impending demise, the wayward Syliran did not notice the drummer come up behind the brute. It was only when a man—clearly aiming to keep the pummeling fair—shouted out a warning, that Koroshtoph saw the familiar pair of drumsticks cutting through the air. He was thankful to the wielder for not having taken the opportunity to run away. Though perhaps the man regretted it when another blow sent him flying to the ground. The brute, clearly enraged by the ambush, was now once again intent on giving the drummer, laying motionless on the tavern floor, his full attention. However, it seemed that the showman had Ovek’s favor as the woman from before bolted across the room to shield him from danger.

This was much more effective than what Koroshtoph had attempted. He wondered if he would have done better to simply wait for the girl in the first place. The brute spit on the floor, letting out a disdainful grunt then turned back towards the Syliran. The crowd watched in anticipation as the brute’s face contorted into a frightening mix between a grin and a scowl, showing a set of yellow, partly rotting teeth. Adrenalin coursing through his veins, Koroshtoph’s mind raced in search of a way out. He looked over the patrons and the behemoth, then glanced at his sword.

“If I draw my weapon now, all these good people would clearly take offense.” His voice shook slightly as he locked gaze with his opponent, djed rushing to his eyes. ”But the way I see it, my choice is between pleasing them by getting my face smashed in, or trying my luck with the sword once you charge me”--the hypnotist’s gaze intensified--“I can’t be sure I’ll make the right decision in the heat of the moment.”

Most of the eyes were now on the foolhardy Syliran. The traces of the grin faded from the brute’s face, his expression taken over by an unambiguous scowl. It wasn’t clear whether the amusement was gone because the play had given him pause, or if it had just served to make him angrier. The atmosphere in the tavern grew tense, but in the background, Koroshtoph could see the drummer he had thought unconscious in the arms of the woman. Judging by their body language, they were… kissing? If he weren’t petrified in wonder of what intention hid behind the brute’s grimace, he might have found the absurdity of the scene humorous – the man on whose account he was about to get battered had now seen it fit to take his time enjoying the company of his other, prettier savior.

The spontaneous lovers’ lips parted. The behemoth stepped forward with a heavy foot. Koroshtoph closed his eyes for a moment, breathing in to calm his nerves. When he opened them, he saw that the drummer was now on his feet. As he threw him a desperate look, the man winked at him before shouting:

“He’s getting away! Go get ‘im!”

The Syliran only realized who the shout had been directed at when the brute was already at the tavern exit. In the confusion, Koroshtoph had no time to appreciate that he was no longer in immediate danger. And in any event, there was no guarantee that the lumbering maniac wouldn’t be back in just a few chimes, even angrier after he’d realize that he’d been tricked. Looking at the drummer walk over to pick up his instrument, it was clear that the fight had left a mark. Koroshtoph looked over the perplexed faces of the patrons before stepping quickly towards him.

“We need to get out of here!” he said, letting the man lean on him and putting his hand over his shoulder. He looked around the room for an exit. Escaping through the front door, from whence angry curses could be heard louder and louder, would have been hopeless.

“Over there!”

The voice was naturally soft, but firm in it’s tone. Glancing to where it had come from, Koroshtoph saw the woman the drummer had been kissing, gesturing towards a door at the back of the room, on the opposite side of the entrance. He nodded gratefully as he passed her, hurrying to get himself and the drummer out of danger.

As the door flung open, the alley at the back of the Pig’s Foot was empty, and the rain had not yet let up, pouring down as if from a bucket. About an hour earlier, the Syliran had sought refuge in the tavern. Now, he was glad to step back into the downpour, and he felt relief finally wash over him along with the rain. He looked at the drummer.

“I’m Koroshtoph. What happened back there? Are you alright?”


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Adrift [Azcan]

Postby Azcan on September 21st, 2018, 7:46 pm

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Fist to fist. Broken chair leg to face. Knuckles to chin. Those were the sorts of fights welcomed in taverns. Cutting weapons with both reach and suited to murderous intent was frowned upon in the bars. If someone was battered to death, it was a poor show on their part, because at the very least... it was fair? Sometimes Azcan didn't understand Sunberth, but the city possessed this jewel allure like diamonds hidden in piles of shit. He took the blows when they came, glad that this time, like the last, wasn't the time that took his life from him.

The drummer realized that while he carried his drum, the sticks were scattered. However, to his great fortune, he didn't need to retrieve them. His body quivered in Koroshtoph's hold, his knees shaking for several long moments as he drew breath into his lungs. The punch to the head wasn't serious, he felt dried blood against the skin, partly swollen as his body's natural defenses worked their somewhat fascinating but ultimately unknown miracles. Azcan's eyes widened as he struggled against Koroshtoph's hold, trying to gain purchase to return for his drumsticks. But, there was no need.

It was as she carried the metal drumsticks that may well be a part of the drummer's soul that he felt his heart grow lighter. The fair woman was well within the light, giving Azcan purchase to see what sort of woman he'd bestowed with not one, but two kisses full of his infinite gratitude. She glowed with the light of the bar, her features carrying the flush of one in the presence of the object of their infatuation. While Azcan was certainly flattered by her attention, he wasn't the one to tell her of her misplaced infatuation. The drummer saw the metal sticks in the woman's hands, her index finger stroking along the surface of the base of both sticks. Flowing black hair framed the woman's features, spilling over her shoulders and along the expanse of her back. Soft features were marked with fine blue eyes, and Azcan certainly was glad to have kissed such a beautiful woman. And twice!

The maiden bit her lip as she extended her hand to the drummer, offering his sticks back to him. It was an offer graciously taken, and Azcan pulled away from Koroshtoph to gift the woman one final thing. He stepped forward, the motion nearly disrupting his balance. However, he caught himself against her body, his hands moving instinctively to catch himself on her waist. He craned his head, pressing a brief kiss to the woman's lips before he winked at her, breathing into her ear, "
I have a room at the Drunken Fish. Perhaps after my good friend here and I catch up a bit we can..." he trailed off, teasing the woman with a promise he didn't intend to keep tonight. They didn't wait for her answer, either. There was running away to be done. Of course, if he ever did see her at the Fish, that could change. The whims of fate were not known to the drummer, and he pulled away from his savior to fling his arm around Koroshtoph's shoulder once again.

Getting that last kiss was clearly more important than getting the fuck out of the bar, but Azcan wasn't going to make the same mistake twice. When Koroshtoph half-dragged the drummer out of the bar, Azcan slid his drumsticks into his pocket, holding the drum by its strap as he allowed Koroshtoph to lead the way. While the swordsman wasn't the hero of the day he'd clearly wanted to be, his efforts deserved their proper acknowledgment. Rain pattered down on drummer and swordsman, the cool waters soothing his heated skin, the patter falling on his face and allowing him to revel in the contrast between in and outside. Azcan was elated, his dance with death successfully ended without joining Dira for more.

Azcan didn't know where Koroshtoph was taking him, but he took both a liking and acquired trust for the young man who'd stuck his neck out for a stranger. The quality was one far too rare in the city of Sunberth, and it was a quick realization that Ephael wasn't from the city, but perhaps a new resident? Azcan couldn't say he was new to Sunberth anymore, but he certainly was no native. It was obvious in his voice, which possessed brief flecks of the Fratava accent he'd picked up in his years among the Svefra. Upon closer inspection, Azcan's sun-kissed skin would show an onlooker of his encounters with the sea, so long as they knew what to look for.

Koroshtoph, when he introduced himself, drew ire and intrigue alike. Ire at having to remember a name that if he needed to write, he'd never figure out how to spell. Intrigue because he wondered where such a unique name hailed from. A chuckle escaped the drummer's lips as Koroshtoph carried them forth. The Illusionist decided to be forthcoming with his new friend, preferring honesty over the unnecessary lies of the world. False perceptions were better suited coming from the senses and not from the lips.

"
We'll need to work on a nickname. Toph, maybe? Whatever. In any case, I'm Azcan. Friend, I've got to thank you for your... efforts. I don't know what came over that guy, but it was the best I could do to set up a diversion..." he muse. The drummer greatly disliked using Illusionism as a way to save his hide. It wasn't meant for that, after all. The drummer's gift from Ionu was meant as a tool to inspire and entertain, to free the minds of those he tricked and swayed with them from the delusion that their senses were truly theirs to own.

The drummer looked over his body, the darkness of the alley giving his eyesight little purchase on his form. When the flickering light of a dying lantern allowed Azcan a bare view, he saw the raised splotch on his flesh, indicative of his injuries. He'd be unable to see the bruises on his neck, formed into the shape of fingers. To him, the injuries were painful, groans of displeasure escaping his lips at the realization that he'd be feeling the consequences for days. However, to answer Toph's question...

"
I'll live. Maybe a bit worse for wear, but I don't think I'll be missing work tomorrow," he answered with a shaky grin.

WC: 1076
Last edited by Azcan on September 23rd, 2018, 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Adrift [Azcan]

Postby Koroshtoph Ephael Petyr on September 23rd, 2018, 10:02 am

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Toph.

Given the length of his proper name, Koroshtoph had carried many a moniker in the past. People had called him Korosh, Kor, Koro occasionally even Ko, but never had anyone thought to throw aside the whole beginning of his name to call him simply ‘Toph’. He didn’t quite know how to feel about it, but he knew that nicknames, once given, were hard to shake. It would have to do, he supposed, furrowing his brow only slightly at the suggestion. The thanks he acknowledged with a soft snort. Calling it ‘an effort’ sounded a sadly appropriate description, though he had hardly imagined that he would be up against the whole tavern when he chose to undertake it.

“Back in Syliras, a knight would have put an end to the whole thing in a heartbeat.” There was an edge of bitterness in his voice as he continued: “With the weight of the entire order and the people behind him.” It was a romanticized myth of the state of affairs in his home city to be sure, but he didn’t feel overly guilty about perpetuating it. As far as he was concerned, given the treatment he had received in the tavern, Syliras was a shining beacon of cohesion and order compared to this. One that he had left willingly, he reminded himself. He had heard of the nature of Sunberth from some of the sailors on the ship. Gruder especially. He had understood that it was a place of chaos and unpersecuted crime, and if he had listened, he might have also understood that, perversely, many of its people would have it no other way. How else would it have persisted in its apparent flaws for so long?

As for Azcan, Koroshtoph did not know what to make of the half naked drummer. Up till now he had seen him drum backwards into a bar, put up a decent fight against an enraged giant, and kiss a woman at not one but two inopportune moments. On top of that, he was marked by a god. What could be said about a man on the basis of those observations? Prudent or responsible he certainly wasn’t. Honorable? Enough to not have ran when he could have, instead rejoining the fight to earn some extra bruises. Brave therefore or foolish? Whatever the particulars of the man’s character, the mark that Koroshtoph had seen on his palm while he was half-carrying him outside, stood out as the biggest enigma.

Having lived for many years in Mizahar’s cradle of civilization, albeit chiefly in its poorest district, he had seen a few people who bore the unmistakable marks. One of them was a healer that his father once brought to look at his wife’s condition – for all the good the gods did then! Many knights were marked as well. The one on Azcan’s palm, however, was not a one that Koroshtoph had seen before. Given all this, he couldn’t help but wonder what sort of deity had seen it fit to mark this one; a paragon of what quality was this man to have garnered the favor of the divine? In the back of his mind, this raised the question of why he himself had been—except when it came to tormenting him on the open ocean—beneath the gods’ notice.

This question gnawing at the edge of his conscious thoughts, and, combined with the fact that he had proven only marginally useful in the tavern, left his ego somewhat bruised. Almost bruised enough to overpower his desire for sating his curiosity with regards to Azcan’s mark. This gave his voice an undertone of severity though he tried to make the situation less stark in his mind by putting on a joking tone as he asked:

“What exactly was it that you did back there? I mean apart from taking your time to mix fluids with that woman, when I was about to be charged by the whole tavern, or when I was trying to get you out before that lunatic returned to pummel you some more.”

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Adrift [Azcan]

Postby Azcan on September 23rd, 2018, 8:36 pm

Syliras?

While Azcan spent his formative years and the ones he remembered best on the seas of Mizahar, he was raised in the hub of Zeltiva. The then much younger drummer was exposed to some of the tradesman that ventured between the two cities, but the city itself in name and concept eluded him. Azcan, however, wasn't the sort of man to ask about the pasts of others. After all, how could one ask a question they couldn't answer themselves? Life beyond Sunberth was a haze of blurry memories and things best left forgotten. He despised the fact that he couldn't, without great effort, uncover the veil of his past, but the drummer was no amnesiac. Drugs withered away at his long-term memory, living forever in the present and the experiences he knew from the Tabernacle and Sunberth. Toph mentioned knights and an order, but Azcan simply nodded, acknowledging Toph's words without telling him he didn't know what the fuck he was talking about.

Azcan didn't pretend to be the most astute individual, but it was very difficult not to witness Toph staring at his gnosis, then at the drummer himself. Was he sizing him up? The drummer didn't know what lay behind Toph's eyes, but he certainly knew what existed between his own ears. Azcan was sober enough in the moment, and the rush of excitement along with his injuries tied him very firmly to the present. It looked to Toph that, indeed, he was trying to figure him out. Azcan didn't pretend to be incredibly mysterious. What was visible about him was generally the limits of his mystique. Azcan possessed rudimentary education, but he'd lived aboard the deck of a ship for years on end, learning tall tales, songs and musings of the Svefra, all of which proved rather useless in the context of meaningful conversation.

Or at least, intelligent conversation. When Toph asked his questions, easy laughter escaped the man's lips. He pushed himself off of Toph, letting himself stand on his feet. His breath recovered and his injuries all limited to the upper half of his body, he didn't really need help walking once he regained his senses. He stood, wrapping his right arm around his chest. His left hand, bearing his gnosis remained visible, because it seemed obvious to the drummer that his companion was fascinated by it.

Taking your time to mix fluids with that woman,

The phrase set through the drummer's mind, eliciting further, deep laughter that eventually reached his chest and flared pain through his senses. The gnosis on his palm flared red, the color burgeoning along his palm and replacing the cool blues and greens that settled in the interim. The drummer felt perfectly calm, despite his pain, and couldn't help the laughter that continued to assault his chest. Clearly, Toph was either a prude or he was jealous. Either way, the drummer didn't care. The swordsman did his utmost to protect Azcan in the midst of all the trouble, and it was the least he could do to give him a proper answer.

"I've seen you staring at my palm, Toph. No need to hide it, it's perfectly reasonable to do. A strange, shifting mark on the skin is bound to raise attention. I won't bore you with the details, but the Illusionist painted the triangle on my palm. Because of them... I can do things to people's minds. Make them see things. Feel things. The five senses are a bastion upon which my power can paint. I would apologize about taking so long to get back to the brute, but... you seemed like you were handling it. I had to thank my actual savior, you see. Pretty girls like that are a silver a dozen, but it doesn't mean you just leave them be."

After all, one didn't keep fans by being a dick to people. Pulling at heartstrings, stringing along women out of the public eye? That, for whatever reason, was tolerated. Azcan didn't pretend to know the inner workings of the minds of the opposite sex, but he did know enough to take advantage of. A chuckle escaped the drummer's lips, a curiosity filling his brain as stepped back. He'd give Toph a measure of space, looking the swordsman over properly before he asked,

"I mean... you've got to understand, right? There are delights to be had with the lips of another. But, that's neither here nor there. I won't be going back to the Pig's Foot tonight and you have my full attention. Ask again, and I'll tell you exactly what I did to that guy."

WC: 770


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