Completed Slither and Sweep

Caspian never strayed that far from the family business. [Job Thread]

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A city floating in the center of a lake, Ravok is a place of dark beauty, romance and culture. Behind it all though is the presence of Rhysol, God of Evil and Betrayal. The city is controlled by The Black Sun, a religious organization devoted to Rhysol. [Lore]

Slither and Sweep

Postby Caspian on November 9th, 2018, 1:48 am

35 Fall 518


Caspian broods over a warming mug of ale alone, at a low table in a far corner of the Silver Sliver Tavern.

It’s been ten days since he’d last seen his sister Taalviel. Half-sister, he revises to himself, though he doubts whether the reduction of the designation would have in turn diminished the patchwork heap of their relationship over the years. Nor would a more frequent conferment, on his part, of the full term upon her have augmented it.

In any case he’s not seen her, and good riddance, this last sentiment punctuated by a sip of his ale he means to be victorious, but has only as tepid an effect as its own temperature.

Frustrating, isn’t it, that her unexpected and entirely unwanted presence has even soured drinking for him.

Who in the world was she, of all people, to barge suddenly back into his life and shine a light on what he was or wasn’t doing for a living?

On top of all of it, her timing had been uncanny. Unseemly. Only the night before she’d arrived, he’d been cut by both of his patrons, who had shown their appreciations for his talents in subterfuge and flattery in the form of mizas.

With a sigh, another sip. Even more of a labor than the last. There was a certainly not-so-inconsiderable sum of money he’d manage to squirrel away, but the clock of everything was ticking, and he was a creature who’d over the years developed shiny tastes, which he intended to cultivate into expensive habits.

But where would he find the new means to sustain them?

Compulsively, he taps out quick triplets against the rim of his drink, his brooding threatening to turn into his third sulk of the day. One sunny day over a season past, he’d dropped a handkerchief in a market square, and a passing gust had threatened to send it sailing across the platforms and directly into a proximal bend of the canals. Harrel, in his boisterous gallantry, had swept into Caspian’s life then, snatching the handkerchief out of the air and handing it back to him with a flourish, which had been accompanied with an appropriate amount of stumbling breathlessness. Their social collision had happened in front of a produce stand, if Caspian remembers right- which on their dark, lovely scrabble of an island, was as good as a field of wildflowers. Harrel had invited him out for dinner and a drink that night, and after only one glass of wine Caspian had fairly foolishly decided that his touch for larceny was a way he could flourish back.

He ended up, somehow, being entirely right about that.

From there – from the start – their relationship took on new shades, Caspian being asked to steal for Harrel’s amusement. It was all easy enough at first, the dangling trinkets in the shops they wandered into, intricately braided desserts on bakers’ displays, crystalline apothecary’s vials- all effective gilt feathers for his felt caps, and things that Caspian would probably have covertly shifted into his possession in his own time. It progressed to far more personal spaces when Harrel started keeping him by his side at the lavish parties he threw every other fortnight, sometimes two nights in a row if it suited him, and at these escapades he decided it very droll if Caspian lifted odd bits and bobs from his guests. A wreath of lace, a snip of satin, a length of leather stays. Once, even, a lock of hair. All this Caspian would bring back to Harrel with a slink and a smirk, and in return Harrel would pepper him with affection. And gold. The quantifiably jocose arrangement had suited Caspian just fine - and then Harrel began asking for rummaging through the ledgers in his father’s study, and tracking the chimes for his comings and goings.

The whole thing was good while it lasted – but now, how to begin again?

Another collection of triplet patterns against his drink, erratic taps to the untrained ear but pleasingly ascending flights of fourths in Caspian’s memory. He had, out of habit, already taken stock of the full population of patrons also in the tavern. Not being the most illustrious of locales, he’s not so sure that anyone here will prove to hold something for him to gain.

Another day, maybe, to another quadrant that isn’t across the street from where he lives, a quiet trip far enough away by Ravosala?

The ale grows worse by the minute, the semi-recent encounter with Taalviel to blame. His stomach grumbles suddenly – one of the arduous joys of being alive – just as a barmaid plunks an enticingly steaming bowl of fish stew before him, a loaf half-submerged in the center for good measure.

“I didn’t order anything,” Caspian protests, even as his instinctively leans towards it.

“’Course not. He did,” she replies, nodding towards a blonde man who’s waving at Caspian from a stool at the bar.

She hurries away to attend to her other tables, leaving Caspian to cross his arms and assess the stranger alone.

It’s been longer than Caspian likes since he’s been treated to this hearty of a meal.

Caution be damned, then. He uncrosses his arms and breaks his bread, inclining his head in invitation.

--

WC: 879
Last edited by Caspian on November 21st, 2018, 2:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Slither and Sweep

Postby Caspian on November 17th, 2018, 1:49 am

The first thing that crosses Caspian’s mind is that the man isn’t bad-looking – no, not bad at all. A little grayed at the temples, maybe, but not enough to tarnish the brilliance of his blonde hair, the touch of it allowing some degree of distinction. Age is something Caspian welcomes now, because maybe after all the boisterous foolishness he’d dealt with while with Harrel, a little distinction in the form of bread and stew is exactly what he needs.

His clothes are fine enough, Caspian notices that too – not to say that the stranger’s picked anything flashy, nothing Caspian himself would wear, just that the seams are intact and his jacket lined with silk, and the textures of the fabrics well-spun. Not damask and brocade, but as pointed out before, Caspian’s thinking of turning over a new leaf lately, the one that is perhaps kinder and calmer than his past ones, and that will also keep his wallet safely afloat in the process.

“Lovely evening,” the man says, taking the seat opposite Caspian and setting his own tankard and plate on the table like stakes in the ground.

“Always made better with fine fettle and fare,” Caspian replies with an easy smile. Up close, overcoming the dimming dusk, details become apparent that weren’t before. The light creasing around the man’s eyes, the unevenness (though still excusable) of his cravat, that his coat’s far more umber than the ocher Caspian had assumed from a glance… and that he’s bordering on being desperately in need of a shave. He’s rather easy in that seat, though, and Caspian had seen him just as easily baring his wallet for the bartender, and slipping it into a pocket gaping enough for someone to slip in right after – though in fairness, everyone’s easy here in Ravok, at least compared to the way things were when he was growing up in Sunberth.

When the man doesn’t reply immediately – so, not the verbal sparring type? Not the end of the world – Caspian tears a decent chunk of bread from the jagged loaf and digs in.

“That’s to your liking, I hope?” the man asks, as Caspian teeters on the edge of proving too voracious. “I’m sorry, I should have started with this: my name is Walthaen. If you’re not expecting company, could I, ah, interest you in sharing an early supper?”

“Oh, don’t worry yourself, I think you started off just fine,” Caspian replies, following a mouthful with a swig from his ale, which is much more palatable now given what immediately preceded it. “Do you have a family name I ought to tread lightly around, Walthaen?”

Walthaen snorts. So he’s got some sense of humor, at least? “Hardly. And it’s Frye, though I insist that I’m sure it doesn’t matter.”

“Name or not, this was very kind of you.”

“I’ve come to learn that it’s an acceptable way to begin a conversation.”

“Both parties willing, and under unequivocally temperate conditions, I’m inclined to agree with you.” And Caspian smiles to top it all off, his broadest smile so far, to assure him he’s willing indeed – at least with all demonstrations as presented so far.

“That’s a relief, then! Besides that, you… looked like you needed it.”

This garners a reaction from Caspian less than sunny – a reaction he reels in with appropriate immediateness. It’s no secret to him, that he’s always looked a bit on the – well, meager-looking side. But he supposes some amount of veritable desperation must be showing on his face now, being this bereft this late in the season, and he supposes also that he’s just feeling a bit bitter that someone else has gone and noticed it.

“And here you are, to bring me from the brink,” he decides to say. Another mouthful of stew, another knocking back of his ale. “So what am I to do for you in return?”

“Well-“ And here, Walthaen hems and haws at some lumbering pace. “I-“

He’s set his hands down on the table, gesturing blankly with his palms upturned. Caspian covers them with his own –

“If you’ve the time to spare, I’ve an opening for someone to… look after my wife.”

Caspian freezes. Then, “In what way?”

Walthaen, to his credit, lumbering as it may be, still hasn’t withdrawn his own hands. “She’s…”

Inwardly, Caspian sighs, then settles back in his chair and fiddles with the last bit of bread, shredding the crumbs into his bowl and submerging them in the hearty broth.

“She’s run off with the pocketbook – made a habit of it, I think,” Walthaen says.

“You think.”

“That’s where you come in – you see, I haven't got enough on my end to rightfully say it's one way or the other. Though there are things that have happened in my household that have worried me enough to render me sleepless on every odd night. So, here I am - if you’ve the means for it.”

“Ah, but in this arrangement, I think you would be the means, surely?”

At this, Walthaen laughs. “Yes. Can I tell you more?”

Caspian gestures at a passing barmaid for another round of drinks. “Tell away.”

--

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Slither and Sweep

Postby Caspian on November 18th, 2018, 8:27 pm

At Walthaen’s behest, the morning after, a slightly bedraggled Caspian sits with legs crossed on a respectably stable stool outside an appropriately busy café in the Merchant’s Quarter, watching for one Helva Frye to pass him by.

Blonde, Walthaen had said she’ll be, blonde a shade much lighter than his own, reaching down just past her shoulders. Caspian had pressed him for more details, having foreseen, and very correctly, that the state of that descriptor as it stood would not be enough to pinpoint her (in the past twenty minutes alone, three blonde women have strolled by. Though they were all far too young or much too old to have been her).

At this, Walthaen had shrugged. “It’s – I don’t know. It’s blonde. Just… blonde.”

Realistically, Caspian should not have hoped for much more than that.

The details of the job itself were presented by Walthaen, reassuringly, with far more confidence and direction.

Walthaen is missing money, and upon closer inspection, he’d found he’d been missing it for years. Tens of thousands of mizas, simply vanished, a thousand of it suddenly evaporated in the past fortnight alone.

“I’m sure she’s spending it,” he’d told Caspian over their third ales. “She has a penchant, so I’ve come to understand, for wearing predominantly taffeta.”

(Caspian and the woman he’ll be tailing for the foreseeable future, it seems, have at least that much in common.)

“The enormous sums that have gone missing in the past few weeks are particularly troubling, especially because – well, if something extravagant had been purchased, you’d think I’d have run into it at home by now, wouldn’t you? Whether it were one thing of grandiose enormity or even a dozen shining trinkets. Whatever it is, or they are – I would have noticed it for its newness. I am not so daft as to walk through my own home with blinders.”

It’s hard to say whether that’s entirely true, as he’s only just met Walthaen, but he hadn’t come off as excessively boorish, lending his self-assessment a plausible degree of accuracy.

So, the next morning, with the knowledge of Walthaen’s wife’s general leisurely schedule, Caspian sits alone on wicker outside a café, a cup of something ground and dark and heady going cold before him, with the express request to discover exactly what it is that she does with her time.

“If you’re convinced this is her doing, why don’t you just… ask her?” he’d said to Walthaen the previous night.

“I-“ Walthaen had shrugged. “I’ve tried to inquire into her spending habits over the years, far before I began to suspect that something underhanded was at play. ‘It costs what it costs.’ That’s her response to me every time, without fail.”

The memory of this makes a small, wry smile pass across Caspian’s face for a moment. As he takes a sip of his very tepid drink – he’d wanted to get here early, so as not to miss her, but it seems he’d vastly underestimated how long this would take – a woman with singularly icy blonde hair enters his field of vision.

And under an enviably billowing black coat she’s dressed, from head to toe, in teal taffeta and lace.

In anticipation of this, Caspian had paid for his drink at the very start – so a moment later, untethered, he follows after Helva from an appropriate interval.

--

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Slither and Sweep

Postby Caspian on November 18th, 2018, 9:27 pm

It’s incredible how little Walthaen had had to share about the particulars of his wife’s hair. It glimmers with a luster Caspian’s never seen before, not on a person, at least, and imitated perhaps only poorly by any of the intricate offerings in jeweler shop windows. It’s sun-like, more than anything, swaying readily to and fro with its fineness. Walthaen’s got Caspian chasing after rays of light.

She’s off on a brisk clip, navigating the city’s latticework of bridges and canals on efficient strides, accommodating all manner of the variable corners and tight walkways with ease. A resident of average aptitudes would have lost her by now, with passersby and the city itself as constant obstacles- but Caspian can do that too, the stealing by and through on cat-quick feet, and he maintains her in his sights with very little reason to fret.

They’re heading west together, the sun reaching to just past noon. With the season - though things are never too hardy in Ravok - the air is calm and light. Caspian has always held a love for walking, especially through cities – did it as often as he could in Sunberth, anything to keep him occupied and away from home. Ravok, of course, is a lovelier place for it, even if you don’t exactly know your way about. In a far less surly mood than before, Caspian idly imagines that Helva isn’t his target, but a strolling companion, one perfectly suited for him in this activity, where they say nothing to each other because there simply is no need.

Surely, though, she must want to stop eventually?

And just as Caspian ponders where their destination will be, Helva disappears.

He blinks. Almost freezes, but doesn’t, because as sure as Walthaen may feel about his own facelessness here, one can never be too careful. Without slowing his pace, still venturing west, he rapidly scans the surrounding buildings, the faces streaming by. They’d just passed the Nitrozian estate, so there are a good deal of people dressed far finer than anyone to be found around the Docks, where Caspian lives – but no one in a near-floor-length black coat and swaths of jewel-toned taffeta. And no one, certainly, with hair spun as strikingly.

It’s best not to linger here, especially given what he’d just devoted a morning to. After determining that she hasn’t dropped into one of the nearby shops, he slips onward through the Noble District and into the Merchant’s Ring. There’s far less here that would interest her, or so he believes, than any of the establishments to be found in the Noble District. This, judging on her tastes, which lend themselves towards a level of ostentatiousness that he himself, frankly, would see no fault in emulating. But she had began in the Noble District and stopped for nothing there, didn’t idle by any of the boutiques or the fineries on display, and as far as Caspian had seen, hadn’t even exchanged a word with anyone. Nothing had been of interest or aim, and so she had left it decisively for the west-

And what lies in the west?

His own apartment, for one. The Boarding House, the NHC, the Docks and the types that come with them.

But it’s a dead end, at least for today. Finding himself not very far from home, he retreats there, and waits for night to fall so that he can meet with Walthaen again.

--

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Slither and Sweep

Postby Caspian on November 21st, 2018, 2:34 am

Every other morning for the next fortnight, Caspian waits on the same wicker armchairs outside the same respectably charming café, a drink going cold on the table before him until one very sartorially stunning Helva Frye goes by.

According to some schools of thought – that school populated by the relentlessly mechanical insistence of Taalviel – it might have been in his best interests if he had chosen to wait for her every single morning. That’s maybe not the reasonable thing, but certainly the thorough thing, and as Taalviel had flatly pointed out on more than one occasion when he’d relay the events of his day, it’s not like he’s necessarily got much better to do. He doesn’t see Helva every time, but it’s frequently enough, and the two of them embark on their winding promenades on a number of instances sufficient for providing Walthaen with a detailed report.

“And she never stops?” Walthaen asks over another complimentary meal at the Silver Sliver one night.

“Not for a moment,” Caspian replies, idly milling his spoon about his cattails and gravy. “Not for a gust, or a hawking hawker, or even breaches crumbling into the canals. I thought I knew this city remarkably well, but she – well, I suppose there’s something she must know that I don’t, with the way I seem to lose her.”

“You’ve done this before, right?” Walthaen says, frowning. “I mean no offense, just… it’s been some time since we’ve begun, and-“

“I assure you I have,” Caspian interjects. “If this sort of thing were so straightforward, Walt, would you have gone out of your way to track down a miscreant like me in the first place?”

Caspian’s familiar enough with the city layout – and keen enough on clothing – to avidly describe Helva’s daily and seemingly destination-less adventures. Walthaen isn’t a swashbuckling type by any means – nor the most riveting – but Caspian comes to genuinely look forward to their meetings, though there isn’t always the most triumphant news to share. There’s a comfort in their predictability, certainly a pleasantness about Walthaen’s ways to be appreciated, and though Walthaen doesn’t hide his disappointment at the absence of a conclusion, he doesn’t abuse Caspian for it either.

(“That’s what happens when you’re lonely,” Taalviel at one point remarks. Caspian, in response, turns back to his violin and strikes high, chipped chords with unnecessary aggression.)

One day, however, some three weeks after his task is set, someone brushes past Caspian and takes the seat opposite him at the café.

It’s Helva Frye, sitting with legs demurely crossed, tucking her ice-blonde hair behind her ears and regarding him with a curious smile.

Caspian’s blood runs cold. “Sorry – that seat’s taken,” he says.

“And what a devil they must be, to keep you waiting for so long,” she replies. More taffeta today, magenta and gold, tucked again under a far more understated black knee-length coat.

“The things we do for love,” he says, crossing his arms. They’re in an open space, and he’s already paid, and he’s scanned the area twice now – as far as he can tell, there’s no one closing in. If this is an ambush, which based on how her smile’s widening, it most certainly is – it is, at least, a solitary one.

“Yes,” she says, her voice taking on a new lilt. “The things we do.”

For long moments, they stare at each other in silence in the mid-morning sunlight. Caspian’s never seen anything shine so bright as her locks of hair, framing a face that – not unlike her husband’s – isn’t bad-looking, not so bad-looking at all.

It’s actually… lovely, he might say. If blizzards in corporeal form could ever be.

“Let’s cut to it,” she says suddenly, with a staccato laugh. “Walthaen’s gone and worried himself about the books, hasn’t he?”

Caspian doesn’t reply.

“Come now, Mi-“ She hesitates. ‘Mister,’ she'd wanted to say, but it’s not the first time his gilded, ramshackle, angular appearance has confused a stranger. “Well, what does my husband call you?”

He could run, he supposes. It’s the second thing that crosses his mind, because the first thing is whether the odds are great that she intends to, well, perhaps do something like stab him?

But he doesn’t, perhaps due to the deftness with which she’d prowled from east to west, and the image of him fleeing proving immediately ineffective against her aptitudes. And, in this image, she's suddenly sprouted talons and claws.

“It’s Caspian,” he finally decides.

Caspian,” she repeats, smiling wider. “As your new employer, I find that name perfectly acceptable. So Caspian you’ll still be.”

New employer?

A waiter pauses by their table and asks them how they’re doing. Caspian doesn’t run, and sits back in his chair as Helva orders for the two of them.

--

WC: 795
Total WC: 3,662
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Caspian
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Posts: 365
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Featured Thread (2)

Slither and Sweep

Postby Orakan on September 30th, 2019, 9:22 am

Image

ImageCaspian
Image

Skills
● Observation - 5XP
● Tactics - 2XP
● Socialisation - 5XP
● Rhetoric - 2XP
● Intelligence - 3XP
● Persuasion - 2XP
● Etiquette - 1XP
● Seduction - 1XP
● Interrogation - 1XP
● Planning - 2XP
● Stealth - 1XP
● Land Navigation - 1XP
● Logic - 2XP
● Play Musical Instrument: Violin - 1XP

Lores
● Location: Silver Sliver Tavern
● Taalviel: Half-sister and ruiner of moods
● Lore of Rhythm: Tapping out triplets and fourths
● Harrel: Former 'employer'
● Walthaen Frye: Appearance and characteristics
● Persuasion: Assuring with a smile
● Helva Frye: Appearance and characteristics
● Helva Frye: A mark and Walthaen's wife
● Stealth: Tailing a mark at a safe distance
● Helva Frye: Clever new employer

Misc/Penalities/Loot
Hey you, I just noticed you haven't been paying rent. As you don't have permanent housing (it's cashed in), you need to pay for your lodgings on top of seasonal expenses. I apologise for not catching this earlier and welcome you to reach out to me via dm or pm if you have questions on how to go about this.

I also ask that you deduct 4sm from your ledger for the hot beverages you mentioned he paid for. Thanks!

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Ug, Caspian is such a character and I absolutely love reading your threads. Thanks for continuing to share his exploits with us! I wasn't sure how to name some of the lores so do let me know if you'd like anything changed or have any questions or concerns regarding your grade. Please make sure to delete/edit your request in the grading queue.
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“The means to every crime is ours,
and we employ them all,
we multiply the horror a hundredfold.”

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