Completed Out for Blood

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

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Out for Blood

Postby Kynier on November 9th, 2018, 7:27 pm

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29th of Fall, 518 A.V.


To most, the layout of Stumble Alley is a confusing collection of streets and alleys, making it difficult to navigate. Kynier’s familiarity with the area had grown substantially during the past few seasons. The Majestic was well hidden within the district and had taken Kynier sometime to get a lay of the land to be able to find it. A few times even he could still get lost, but that was mostly when his focus was placed heavily on something else and he was in a rush. Today though, he was getting rather frustrated with trying to find a place within the district.

The place had no name, which was part of the point. In his hand was a slip of parchment with vague directions on where he needed to go. The note had been left behind at the last dead drop and indicated where the next collection of dead drops would be located. It was not next to any truly distinguishable buildings or landmarks which was what made finding its location difficult. And it was only as the end of the second bell that he spent searching, did he find the location indicated on the note. At least, what looked like the location.

It was just like any other place within Stumble Alley, or even most of the city. Littered with garbage that appeared to have been there for multiple seasons. It gave off an odious stench. There was also rubble in the form of broken bricks, broken boards, and stones scattered and piled about. Kynier gave the note one last review. It said that the dead drop was under the triangular brick. Kynier set the note in his pocket and started searching. After he climbed over the rubble a couple of steps, he managed to find a crate that had some splintered planks hiding it from view. On top of the crate was a broken brick in the rough shape of a triangle. The brick itself was too small to conceal anything, so Kynier removed the wooden planks and lifted the lid of the crate.

Nothing was inside. As he stared at the inside for a moment an uneasy feeling crawled up his spine. His focused changed from what his eyes to could see to the other senses, including his intuitive ones. Rain lightly pattered on the wood and stone and made the odious garbage wet and odious. While he felt like he was alone in the alley, Kynier was certain that he wasn’t. He set the lid down and leaned the splintered wood back over the crate. Looking down both ends of the alley, he quietly drew both of his short swords.

Warily, he stalked his way down to the other end of the alley, giving an occasion glance over his shoulder at the direction that he just came from. When approached in the end of the alley, Kynier positioned himself to be up against one of the buildings. He wasn’t truly up against it, there were a few inches of space between his back and the wall to avoid making any scrapping sounds to give his position away. Kynier’s senses told him that there was something around the corner. He saw no movement and heard none either, but he was still sure that someone was there.

Taking a steadying breath, Kynier held both short swords up to the same shoulder in preparation. With a step he went out of the alley then pivoted and swung both blades at the place he was sure someone was standing. And someone was. A man of lean muscles dressed in leather leapt back from his position in wide-eyed surprise. The cold iron blades bounded off the stone surface of the building but Kynier kept moving in the man’s direction. “Sebastian,” he snarled as he continued to walk towards the man. Sebastian drew a single dagger but did not hold it up menacingly towards the spy. “What’re you doing here?”

The Daggerhand Brother’s grey eyes were still widened slightly from adrenaline, but the rest of his features were as calm as ever. “I’ve been sent to get you actually,” he stated casually like he was commenting on the weather. Kynier stopped his advance and stared at the man. Sebastian stood a little straighter but did not let his guard down completely. Kynier had never seen the man in battle and did not know how foolish it may be to engage him in combat. Without sudden movements, Kynier sheathed his weapons while keeping an eye on the Daggerhand. The other man also stowed his weapon and a moment of silent tension passed between them.

“Follow me,” Sabastian said like a command than a suggestion. “She wants to see you.” The Daggerhand turned and led the way, exposing his back to Kynier. It was very tempting to see if he could drive a blade into that opening, but his problems weren’t truly with the man before him. So, Kynier followed behind as Sebastian took them deeper into the maze of Stumble Alley. Kynier’s mind rattled at discovering what the meaning behind all of this was. Why not just leave another note behind for whatever task they wanted him to do?

After ten chimes of walking, Sebastian stopped at the door to a building that had no eye-catching qualities. It was not broken down and did not have any shattered windows either. For a building in Stumble Alley, that meant it was in decent condition. Sebastian tilted his head at the door to indicate that Kynier should go in first. The spy scowled at the other man before grasping the handle and opening the door to step inside. The interior was well furnished and illuminated with candles. An unusual scent filled the room that had a hint of lavender to it. There was a table in the middle of the room, and a woman that was lying across its surface.

The way she laid across the tables length towards the door provided a very suggestive view to those coming inside. The dark-haired woman was on her back and arched her back while tilting her head back to peer at them upside down. Kynier crossed half the distance between the door and the table, noting the woman’s smile towards him. While his eyes did once glimpse the deliberate display of cleavage, they locked onto the Svefran blue eyes of the woman and did not waver. Kynier held no smile and had maintained the scowl that he had given Sebastian outside. His hard look did not appear to affect the woman’s demeanor. “What do you want, Ashara?”



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Out for Blood

Postby Kynier on November 9th, 2018, 7:32 pm

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The dark-haired woman let out a long breath that resembled a feline’s purr as she rolled onto her side and propped herself up on an elbow. She was smiling behind the curtain of her hair that had fallen down to conceal half her face from him. Kynier took a glance over his shoulder to check Sebastian’s location. The man was by the door, blocking the exit. “Hello to you too, pet.” Her voice was smooth with mild disappointment. “Tell me, do you greet all women that way?” She asked as she slide herself to the table’s edge and set her feet on the ground.

“Just the Vipers,” he said with some bitterness as he crossed his arms. The Big Sister dropped her mouth open as part of a surprised smile. She was now leaning against the table with both hands on the edge. Ashara was in a leather outfit with several daggers strapped to her upper arms and thighs for quick access. Unlike the last time he saw her, she had no blood splatter on her form.

“Did you hear that Seb? The man made a joke!” It was difficult to gage the level of sarcasm in her voice. For there seemed to be some genuine surprise as well. Sebastian made no comment, nor even a grunt of acknowledgement. “Women do love,” she tilted her head back without taking her eyes off him, “someone that can make them laugh. Though I would suggest that you work on your delivery.” Ashara lowered her head and adopted a raptor like gaze at him. Kynier felt uncomfortable under that look. It was hard to say what it was filled with as she started to slowly walk towards him.

Her feet and hips moved in a slow, feminine saunter as her eyes stared at him. They looked to have been filled with hunger or desire as well as curious interest. Kynier shifted under the gaze and his hand rested on the hilt of a short sword as she drew near. “What am I doing here, Ashara?” he said with a civil volume laced with displeasure. Her hands went behind her back as she drew closer and her smile grew more mischievous.

“There’s something that I would like for you to do, my pet. Something exciting,” she wrinkled her nose and shrugged her shoulders when she used the exciting. Whatever it might be she was about to tell him to do, Kynier was certain that exciting was not giong to be the most apt description. Burning the Plantation to ruin had not been exciting. Stealing something from a squad of Dragoons had not been exciting. All the other small things she had wanted were not exciting. And Kynier wasn’t able to piece it all together either. Everything seemed random and unconnected. This was most likely going to be the same.

“I bet,” he grumbled disbelievingly. She appeared unphased by his attitude as she stopped at arm’s length from him. She was tall for a woman and stood only a few inches shorter than him. Her smile would have been pleasant and alluring where it not for the circumstances of their… acquaintance. A type of smile that portrayed pleasure in knowing a secret, one that she wanted to share but also wanted to keep. “So, what is it?” he demanded. This game was already tiresome, and he was prepared to just leave.

“I need you,” she paused as she looked up at him with her mouth open. Kynier watched her tongue lick her top teeth. “To kill someone.” Somehow, his brow furrowed even more than before as he stared at her.

What?” he asked incredulously. Ashara tilted her head at him curiously. The astoundingly sapphire eyes looked at him with wonder. “No,” he stated. “You have plenty of men at your disposal to get something like that accomplished.” Kynier turned to walk for the door. Before he made the first step she was already speaking.

“But, I want it to be you,” she said with feigned childishness. Kynier ignored it as he walked towards her lackey. Sebastian had his arms crossed in front of his chest. The man was not as tall as Kynier, nor was his frame any wider. Yet, he did not balk at Kynier’s approach. The spy stopped just short of the other man.

“Get out of my way,” he growled. Sebastian continued to stare at him as though he had said nothing. For a quick moment they glared at each other, but there was no victor in their battle of wills. Instead, Ashara spoke up to break the silence.

“You know what happens when you don’t do as your told,” the Viper’s tone was more of a mildly annoyed reminder than a threat. The way she said it was how one would address a child as well. Kynier turned around to face her. Though the smile was gone, her eyebrows were raised expectantly. “This is something that needs to be done, pet.” The playfulness was slowly draining from her voice and demeanor. That made Kynier grow more anxious, though he tried to not let it show. The woman had beaten him in combat once before on her own. While he thought he could get through Sebastian, he was fairly convinced he wouldn’t be able to escape Ashara. Not without revealing his more impressive abilities.

“I think it’s time to call your bluff, Ashara,” he said with menace. The woman pulled her head back slightly and gave him a surprised smirk. “Because I’d wager that you don’t have the influence with Goldfinger that you say you do. Sure, you convince him to bleed the Midnight Gem for a little more money. But the store is too successful and owes Goldfinger too much for him to allow it to fail.” The woman’s expression was neutral and gave away nothing. “But say that even if he took the owner back into slavery, she would have lost her reputation. The attraction to her work will diminish and she won’t earn as much for Goldfinger as you would have promised him.”

A moment of silence passed between them. The Big Sister of the Daggerhand kept her mask up and revealed nothing to the spy. Even her eyes were able to keep a blank expression. “With that in mind. I’m done. I won’t be doing any more work for you and whatever your interests are.” The blood in his veins felt warm as he turned around to approach the door again. Except this time, Sebastian had a dagger drawn in preparation. Kynier stopped at the sight of light glinting off the metal edge. If he was going to get out, it was clear he was going to have to fight for it.



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Out for Blood

Postby Kynier on November 9th, 2018, 8:46 pm

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At the moment, he was standing between both of them which was a terrible place to be. Engaging one would expose him to the other. What was equally as bad was that the one Kynier assumed to be the better fighter was not in the way of his exit strategy. Even if he used magic to eliminate the greater threat, he would have to contend with someone on his way out. Doing that would risk bringing the whole city down upon him too. It was impossible to explain a lightning strike indoors without the use of magic. And setting fire to a building he was standing inside was less than ideal.

His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of her voice. The Big Sibling’s tone had changed to something firmer, which he had only heard once before. “I can understand why you would think that way.” Peripherally, he watched her start walking in a circle around him. The Viper’s hands were still behind her back, and her eyes were cast down thoughtfully. “But let’s continue down that path of thinking, pet. That I can’t fulfill any threats I make with my influence with Goldfinger. There are the other alternatives to consider. A business can be ruined in multiple ways.”

She stopped and gave Kynier a hard expression with the sapphire eyes. “The jeweler’s reputation can be destroyed. Customers stop coming in, sales quotas fall short, and she falls behind on her payments. Reputations take years to rebuild which will be too late for her.” Kynier returned her gaze but was deep in his own thoughts. Considering what it was that could be done to ruin her reputation. At first, he had no idea, but then thought of something. Forgery. If rumors were spread that his bondmate was stealing another person’s work for her own and selling it, that would damage her reputation. Drive clients to other vendors. That was one possibility. How many scenarios had Ashara taken into consideration during the last season?

“Let’s say that I don’t do that,” Ashara stated as she continued to circle around him. “Let’s say, that I want the jeweler to keep her reputation so that Goldfinger can still make some profit off of her, if I, or someone else with sufficient resources, don’t wish to take her talents for myself. Supplies can be difficult to procure at times. Shortages on precious stones and precious metals. Resources can grow scarce from time to time. That would affect her ability to fulfill orders on time. The jeweler loses clients, falls short on payments…” she did not bother finishing because she had already iterated the point before.

When the Daggerhand Big Sister was in front of him again, she stopped and faced him. Her brow had adopted a scowl. “Now let’s say that I just forgo any subtle approach. And that I just demonstrate my frustration with more crude methods that are rather common and expected from brutes like the Sun’s Birth.” She took two steps forward. A hand came slowly from behind her back and rested on his chest as she looked him in the eyes. “Methods like,” she whispered, “having her wings clipped, so to speak.” Kynier’s upper lip curled into a snarl that began to show his teeth Ashara did not cringe away or have any sort of reaction.

The hand on his chest slid up his shoulder before moving down the length of his arm. “And it wouldn’t stop with her,” she said in a soft whisper. “The clerk, the Isurian, the young girl, and the others. Each of them would pay the consequence of you… not behaving… this one time.” Her hand came back up his arm before gently grasping his chin. “Can you live with that?” Kynier slapped her hand away from his chin with he back of his own.

“We’d be prepared to fight you,” he said firmly. Ashara sighed and looked disappointed.

“And here I thought you were smarter than that. For you won’t be fighting me. No. My hands will be clean of all this.” Kynier looked at her curiously. “If you walk out that door right now,” she said gesturing towards the exit, “I can promise that the Daggerhand would leave you alone. Because, all I have to do, my pet, is say a few whispers. That is enough to seal your fate and those closest to you. Whispers about who started the Plantation fire.” The color drained from Kynier’s face despite how he tried to look unphased. That brought a smile back to her face.

It was no secret that the Night Eyes were hunting whoever had caused the fire. The destruction of their Pulp fields must have been devastating to their operations, as well as the lives that may have been lost. The Night Eye’s strength was their secrecy. Unlike the Daggerhand or Sun’s Birth, they carried no markings to show their affiliation. It would be easy to defend against the Sun’s Birth or the Daggerhand forces. To fortify the Midnight Gem against them. But it was impossible to know who was a member of the Night Eyes and who wasn’t. They couldn’t fight an unseen enemy.

Kynier clenched his jaw. She had him. As one man, even with the support of the rest of the Midnight Gem, they couldn’t defend against so many methods of sabotage. Not without time to prepare. Those were just the ways Ashara mentioned. Kynier felt certain that she had a few other plans she was more inclined to utilize. After a moment his eyes dropped to the base of her neck. For now, he had to continue to serve. No matter how much he’d rather just call forth his Djed and use Reimancy to turn the Viper into a crisp husk.

He swallowed once before speaking in a hoarse whisper. “Who is it that you want me to kill?”



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Out for Blood

Postby Kynier on November 9th, 2018, 10:18 pm

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Ashara smiled and raised a hand to caress his cheek. “That’s a good pet,” she said with a trace of being condescending. Then she slapped him on the cheek lightly twice before walked around him and back to the table. She set her rump against the table’s edge and faced him. The smile she had when he first walked into the building was back upon her face. “There’s a Benshira that goes by the name of Narim Avuel. He’s the man that I want you to kill. It does not matter how you do it. But he needs to die as soon as possible.”

Kynier turned to face her and crossed his arms in front of his chest. “Narim Avuel,” he said softly to himself. A name was not a lot to begin with in this city as he had discovered earlier that season. While he wanted to know why it was that she wanted this man, this Narim Avuel, to die, he suspected that she would never say. Ashara was biting her lip in a way he had seen his bondmate do before she desired physical intimacy, and her eyes were watching him with keen interest. “I need to know more about him. Where does he work? What are his interests? Does he have any vices? Just having his name is not enough to accomplish this quickly.”

“The man does not need to work. He has enough wealth to have a comfortable life in the city. Often, he’s pissing it away, or on a good day, expanding his wealth at Tall Johnny’s. He likes to play cards where they hold the private games.” A gambler. Did this man have an outstanding debt that he refused to pay? “I think that should be enough to give you a decent start, pet.” Kynier heard Sebastian step away from the door. The spy did not like being dismissed like that, but he also did not want to linger any longer. Without saying anything more, he turned and left.

When he stepped outside, he turned right to head west. After a few chimes he lowered his hood to allow the rain to fall on his head. His ears were warm from how frustrated he was. “Damn that woman,” he said under his breath. As he walked, he groaned at himself. How had he let himself get into this position? No, those thoughts were not going to help him with the current situation. What he needed to do was focus on getting the task done and discovering why he had been given the task in the first place. Ashara was a better fighter than him and wasn’t afraid to cover her hands in blood. Why send him after a man that she wanted dead?

Kynier exited Stumble Alley on the north side and entered Baroque Bay. His destination was the Midnight Gem where he intended to change and appear wealthier. Or at least, less poor. While he had not been to Tall Johnny’s place, he had heard plenty of stories about it. It was a place for gambling as well as sport fighting. Kreig lived and worked there. The prize fighter was barely more than an acquaintance though. So, Kynier would not bother the man. He didn’t want to drag yet another person into the problems that he had found himself in anyway.

Taking the stairs up to the balcony in the back, Kynier stepped into the Great Room and shut the door behind him. “Hello Gem,” he called to the building itself. While he had no direct link to the building, he would feel its sentience when he was in close proximity to Kelski. It had been one thing for her to describe what the Architectrix did, and it was something else completely different to feel a glimpse of it. Kynier removed his boots and his cloak to set by the hearth. Afterwards, he went to the master suit and set his backpack of Voiding down on the large chest.

He took off the dark green vest that he wore, folded it, and stuffed it into the pack. He then removed his shirt and did the same with it. Then, he went to his wardrobe and pulled out the pieces to the nicest outfit that he had available. A sapphire blue velvet shirt and a black silk vest. With the weather, he did not think it necessary to change out of his black cotton pants. While he was going for opulence, he also wanted to perhaps appear frugal, and thoughtful. That would be easy for him, considering he did not have many impulse spending habits to speak of.

Once he changed his clothes, he unlocked the chest at the foot of the bed. Inside were his funds, which had grown fairly substantial. Not enough to have a lavish lifestyle, but enough to not really have any worries. He paused and wondered if he should offer some to Kelski. A contribution to help clear the Goldfinger debt quicker. Part of him knew that she would refuse due to her drive to succeed. To not be a burden upon others. Still, another part thought that perhaps he could convince her that there was no shame if it came from him. A conversation he would bring up later with her at some point.

He took a pouch and counted out two hundred gold mizas to add to it. When that was done, he added it to his pack as well. That was likely everything he would need for what came next. Kynier decided to leave a note mentioning how he wasn’t sure how late it would be before he came back home. He went out to the Great Room, left the note on the table where it would be easily noticed, and put on his boots and cloak before heading back out again. A hand caressed the door frame as a means of saying bye to the structure. Locking the way to the staircase behind him, Kynier turned and started crossing the street towards the large brick structure known as Tall Johnny’s.


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Out for Blood

Postby Kynier on November 10th, 2018, 3:40 am

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Compared to the other structures of the city, Tall Johnny’s was truly massive. Most buildings were small dilapidated structures that appeared to be one bad storm away from collapse. The casino was huge and well maintained. Three sets of double doors that all had Akalaks flanking their sides comprised of the main entrance. As he approached on of the sets of doors, he felt the eyes of all the guards resting on him until he entered the building. Shielding must have been involved with the doors’ construction because Kynier would not expect simple doors to have kept out all the noise that was inside the building.

The loud chatter of what had to have easily been hundreds of people greeted him inside. Hoots of celebration and disgruntled shouts alike came from the right, while the continuous cheering emanated from the left. In the center there was something that caught the spy off guard. Of all the rumors he had heard about tall Johnny’s none of them had bothered to mention the statue. Seven feet tall and plated with gold, the inclined hand had numerous mizas resting in its angled palm. Kynier looked at it critically for a moment. It looked like an offering alter. The purpose of it, he did not understand. For every miza that rested in the palm of the hand there were at least ten laying around the base of the statue.

After getting his share of staring at the gold statue, Kynier lowered the hood of his cloak and went towards the right side of the building where all the games of chance were located. Very close by were tellers behind iron bared windows. Kynier looked them over and stood in the shortest line that he could find. As the line progressed, he looked around the gambling pen. Tables upon tables were laid out with scantily dressed women and finely dressed men running the games. Serving maids in outfits that seemed almost pointless to wear wandered around between the tables to offer beverages to the gamblers. All within a smoky haze that lingered throughout as people smoked pipes at the tables.

“Sir!” Someone called to grab Kynier’s attention. He looked over and saw that he was next to be helped. He stepped forward. “How much will you be needing sir?” Kynier gave a side glance to the next window to see a woman being given tokens after handing over her mizas. An exchange window. “Sir? How much do you need?” the teller asked impatiently.

“Two Hundred gold mizas worth,” he said politely. He reached into his pack and pulled out the pouch he had filled not long ago. He set it on the counter before him and the teller emptied the contents onto a surface below the window. After a chime, the teller placed a large stack of painted wooden chips on the counter for him. Kynier had to use both hands to grasp the whole thing and quickly wandered from the window. There were various colors in his stack. Reds, blues, whites, blacks, and greens. Kynier looked at the flat surfaces to see a different numeric assigned to each of them. He arched an eyebrow. No wonder it was so easy to lose money at this place.

Kynier immersed himself in the haze and the noise of the gambling pen. As he walked around, he pocketed all but a few of the wooden tokens that he had received. There were games of dice and cards alike. As well as guessing games involving wheels and little circular balls. Some of the games he recognized while others he had no understanding of at all. What he paid more attention to were the betting habits of the patrons. For some of the card games they were making smaller bets. Those were the ones where they seemed to be betting against the man or barely dressed woman that was hosting the game. Yet, for other games where they seemed to be betting against the other players the betting habits were more… daring… to say the least.

One thing that he did notice, there were two additional increments to the wooden chips that he had not received. A fifty which was painted silver as well as a hundred which was painted gold. Once he noticed that, he started paying more attention to the types of people that were gathered at each table. Some that looked to be wealthier merchants or others that had an ample supply of funding. At one table there was a small collection of them playing dice. Kynier did not linger directly beside the table but watched from a distance.

As he watched he was able to notice that one woman at the table was quite inebriated. Servers were bringing her drinks that she was consuming rapidly. The people around her experienced multiple occurrences of affectionate touches as she swayed in her seat. Kynier reached inward mentally to grasp some of his Djed to initiate a use of Projection. With a series of bursts of power, he detached his left astral arm from his physical body over several chimes. His left arm hung loosely at his side as he ventured closer to stand behind the woman.

Hair that once appeared to have been in a tight bun had half escaped from its confines to hang in long blonde strands around her shoulders. Peering around he noted that she had numerous chips at her disposal, and all within an unorganized mass before her. Both men beside her were very appreciative of her affections. Which gave him further inspirations. Looking at her mass of chips he saw a few incremented at one hundred along the top. Kynier waited for the next game where she won to conclude. As the woman reached over to grasp her winnings, Kynier’s astral arm reached in under her and picked up a few chips. Before he withdrew, he lifted his astral arm to graze against her breast.

The woman gasped and looked at the man next to her, a large smile on her face. She rammed her lips against his rather suddenly which made those around her, including Kynier, stared wide-eyed in shock. He hadn’t expected her to react like that. He set the chips he had gotten in his right hand and looked at what he had gotten. He managed to grab a single one hundred and three tens. He shrugged and left the table.



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Out for Blood

Postby Kynier on November 11th, 2018, 3:46 am

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As Kynier wandered around for another chime, he noticed a staircase leading up to a second floor. That’s where Ashara said that the private games were held. Kynier suspected that private meant higher stakes as well. With people throwing around as much as hundreds of gold mizas around down here, up there may very well be in the thousands. Kynier went back to a table that had several men with lots of high incremented chips at their disposal. His astral arm was still desynchronized from his body, so he thought one more attempt at lifting some chips unsuspectingly would be in order.

There was a pair of men he picked out. Both that looked to be of a surly nature. With his astral hand, Kynier flicked the earlobe of one man as hard as he could. It did not illicit a reaction. Kynier flicked at it again, and this time it produced a reaction. The man leered at the other man sitting next to him and gave him a hard shove to begin a scene. Heated words were quickly exchanged between the two which Kynier had been hoping for. The mage reached between the men with his astral arm to take some of their gambling chips. When he grasped a few of them, one man struck the other across the face with a fist.

The action itself only helped in creating a greater distraction. However, a fight erupted between them as one moved to grapple with the other. Kynier’s astral arm was resting between the two. When the grapple was initiated it pushed on his astral arm which pulled on his hand. Several of the gambling chips fell from the table and onto the floor. As Kynier retracted his incorporeal limb, a few couple that had been nearby began to scramble to get the fallen chips. The two men were otherwise engaged and did not notice. While Kynier’s arm reduced itself in length to match his physical form, he stepped forward and stepped between the brawlers and the people fighting for chips on the ground.

The mage looked at the piles that had been left on the table. With a glance up, he noted that the game host was trying his best to end the fight. Kynier helped himself to a handful of gold painted chips marked with the one hundred increment. Then he stepped away and allowed the scene to finish without his involvement. For the next pair of chimes, he set his astral limb to resynchronize with his body as he walked around. Once his right had regained its function, Kynier stopped to count out how much he had taken. There were eight chips which gave him just over a thousand to gamble with in total. With a smirk, he made his way towards the stairs leading to the private rooms.

The stairs were carpeted all the way up to the doorway at the landing. There was an Akalak standing by the door that was watching Kynier with a hard gaze. He did not move as Kynier just walked to the door. He kept his head up and his spine straight while pretending to ignore the Akalak. Trying to act as though he had every right to be there. The Akalak said and did nothing to stop him as he went through the door. The inside was much quieter than the gambling pen downstairs, although it had a smoke-filled ambience that was thicker than downstairs.

Kynier let out a breath to clear the smell from his throat and restricted himself to breathing through the nose. There were tables set up for games as well as a private tavern. There wasn’t the same liveliness as there was downstairs. Winnings and loses were remarked on quietly. Kynier suspected it was because it was more for entertainment than for the hope of improving their livelihoods. Taking a few steps in away from the door, he scanned the occupants of the room to look for his mark. A Benshira. Nari Avuel. After a moment of searching, he saw only one Benshiran male.

The fellow was sitting a card table with a few others. A couple of empty chairs were present at the table as well. Kynier rolled his shoulders and tried to not notice how his heart was racing before approaching the table. There was a slight curve to his path so that he would pick the seat directly across from his target. When he came up behind the seat, the Benshiran and the other three all fell silent and looked up at him.

“Gentlemen. Lady,” he said with a nod to the white-haired woman sitting on his right by the game host. “Is there room for one more in this game?” He asked, looking to each of the in turn. There was a moment of silence as the Benshiran, the Konti, the Inarta, and the last man seemed to quietly measure him up in their minds. When the moment had passed, no one had said anything. Kynier’s cautionary senses told him to leave, but the persona he needed would not be so meek. He pulled the chair out and sat down at the table with them. The Konti tossed her hair as though she were annoyed.

“This is a private game among friends. And it doesn’t seem like anyone of us know you,” she said in a subtle yet irate way. Kynier started pulling his ill-gotten chips out from his pocket to stack on the table. With a glance and a smile, he acknowledged her remark.

“I do apologize, my lady, I am being very rude. How can we develop a friendship, or even become acquaintances if we don’t know each other’s names? I’m Hashimer.” The mage felt an uncomfortable stirring in the deep recesses of his mind. “What would your names be?”



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Out for Blood

Postby Kynier on November 12th, 2018, 1:49 am

Image



Courage was something rarely needed as a spy. More often than not, any courageous acts would be referred to as foolish instead. Kynier would not categorize himself as a courageous man. Yet sitting there, underneath the inquisitive or annoyed expressions of strangers, was scaring him immensely. He had just thrown himself out of his element without any solid planning. Operating on a whim like this was causing his heart to beat so loud that they surely must have been able to hear it. Still, Kynier did not waiver, but met each of their gazes in turn while doing his best to maintain the ruse that he was a person that belonged there.

“Well, Hashimer,” the Inarta said with an aged yet smooth voice. “I’m Renold, and any acquaintance that loses money to me can easily be made a friend,” he said with a wide smile. Kynier pointed at Renold and gave a dry laugh. Renold was fairly young. Younger than Kynier for certain and wrapped in fine silks of varying colors. Then he looked around at the others to see if they would warm up to him, now that at least one of them had accepted his presence. The other human was the next one to speak. He was older and dressed the most luxuriously among them. Several rings adored each finger and jewels had been pierced into his skin.

“You should excuse Renold,” the man said with a voice that was beginning to adopt the wheezing of age. “His blood is still young enough to still crave gold at every opportunity. I’m Ghuno.” Kynier gave Ghuno a smile and a nod of his head in acknowledgement. Then he looked at Narim Avuel with his eyebrows slightly raised in expectance. The Benshira had long wavey dark hair that framed his angular face well. The eyes were not piercing but clearly attentive as they stared at Kynier. He had the smallest of smirks tugging at the edge of his lip.

“This is an expensive game, friend,” he said in a tone that clearly expressed that he was undecisive about his opinion thus far. “It is a thousand gold requirement just to have a seat with us. And one hundred to start each game regardless of whether you stay in or not. If you can provide that, then I can provide a name.” Kynier smiled and neatly stacked his eleven hundred mizas worth of chips before him before taking a gold painted chip and tossing it into the center of the table. Narim smiled, but it was a smile of amusement. The sort of amusement of knowing another man was undergoing actions he would regret but said nothing to stop it. “My name is Narim,” he said with his accented, honeyed voice.

The Konti stood up before Kynier’s gaze could turn to her. She huffed and left with her back to Kynier. The other three chuckled and Kynier only shrugged his indifference. The game host asked if each of them were ready and the others provided their ante. Then each player was dealt two cards face down. It had been a long time since Kynier entertained himself with the nuances of Blush, or in this case, Stammer and Blush. Lifting the corners of his two cards revealed what it was that he had received. One had the illustration of a Broken Shackle and the other had six coins on it. Kynier withheld his natural instinct to raise an eyebrow but was sure that it had managed to twitch a little bit. The game host pointed to Renold to indicate he was to start the first round of betting.

The young man tapped the table’s surface twice. Everyone’s eyes moved to Ghuno who did the same. The motion was repeated by everyone and the game host drew three more cards to set down in front of herself facing up. An eight of arrows followed by a two of swords with a card with an illustration of the Slag Heap on it came last. Which meant that right now, Kynier had nothing except a high card. If he remembered correctly, it was a higher card than the Slag Heap, so he wasn’t completely without fortune.

Renold began with forty mizas only to have Narim raise it up to a hundred. Kynier tapped the backs of his cards once in thought before meeting the wager. Renold and Ghuno both met it as well. The game master drew one more card to set in the center. The card had an image of a pickaxe. He still had no hand but there was a remote hope for a good hand. One specific card would give him a strong chance of winning this round. Renold tapped the table again and so did Ghuno. Narim was either a professional bluffer or had something really good. He threw out another fifty into the pot and looked at Kynier expectedly. “So, tell me, Hashimer, what is it that you do to earn coin?”

What did he do indeed? Kynier thought about his bet while saying something as far from the truth as possible. “I facilitate the sale of valuable commodities that provide various services that all depend on the one doing the purchasing.” There was a moment of silence as everyone thought on his words. Renold was staring at him completely perplexed. Kynier forced himself to smile as though he were being smug and entertaining. “I sell slaves.” Renold let out a prolonged “oh” as he nodded his head once in a slow manner. Kynier decided to match the bet. There was still plenty to his resources before he was losing his own money. Renold and Ghuno both opted to withdraw from the game.

Before the last card was drawn, Kynier drew on his Djed for Auristics. The Sight enhanced his eyes to perceive the auras around him. Kynier’s focus was on the Benshira, who’s aura was a swirl of white and sandy brown. The woman turned over the last card which was a six of arrows. While he had been hoping for a nine of any type, another six gave him at least something to work with. Narim’s aura dimmed and Kynier felt a weight hit his stomach. The last card had been of no help to Narim from what Kynier could guess. Narim grabbed a couple of painted chips from his stack and slid them into the center.

“One hundred and twenty-five,” he said calmly. But Kynier could sense the man’s blood warming through the Auristics. There was a trace of something behind that mask. And it felt like uncertainty through the Auristics. Kynier did not smile though he wanted to as he looked down at his own pile of chips. He took two of the gold painted coins and pushed them across the table.

“I raise by seventy-five.” A flush of anxiety coursed over Kynier’s skin, though it wasn’t his own. Narim smiled and counted some chips in his hand before pushing three of them into the center.

“Your seventy-five,” he said before pushing another, silver painted chip to join the rest of them in the center. “And fifty more.” Tension ran up the Benshiran’s spine and Kynier felt it through his enhanced senses. Narim was bluffing. He had to be. Kynier took a silver chip and added it to the middle to call the man’s bluff. Disappointment drained Narim’s cheeks as he sat up straighter and flipped his cards over. A pair of ones. Ghuno blew a breath of pained sympathy. Narim had tried to bluff him with the weakest hand that wasn’t nothing possible in the game. Kynier smiled and flipped his cards over to reveal he had a pair of sixes when using the cards in the center.

“Not the most interesting of games, but Ovek seemed to favor the new face today,” said Ghuno. Kynier chuckled slightly as he reached in to take his winnings.



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Out for Blood

Postby Kynier on November 12th, 2018, 3:15 am

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Over the next bell and a half, they played several more games. Kynier reserved the use of his Auristics only for the moments that seemed like the critical decision points. Doing so had allowed him to have a little bit of winnings when considering the average. It was Ghuno that won the most frequently and Renold that lost the most. Kynier did not give any thoughts to considerations to their overall stacks still available. It was not his plan to stay the entire night and gamble. If he wanted to leave with a profit, he would have done it now and have been well over a thousand gold mizas richer for it. But that wasn’t why he had come.

Instead, he engaged in more conversation to better understand the individuals he was playing with. Renold had inherited a fortune and had come to Sunberth initially as part of a stop to resupply the ship he was on. Something had spoken to him and kept him in the city. That was a few years ago. Ghuno was not a merchant per se, but he owned several businesses in Sunberth. The man never alluded to which ones he had control over. He would only say that almost everything gave him profit. The man sounded like a Goldfinger figure only not as well known. Something about him just attracted wealth to the point it had pierced his flesh with precious stones.

Narim was more secretive, and vague. “I used to be a metalsmith before I started being more active in the community. Now, I merely look for opportunities to advance the interests of Sunberth as a whole.” It was difficult to determine what that could have possibly meant. It wasn’t until Narim stretched his back by leaning back in his chair with his arms above his head that the answer became clear to him. The Benshiran’s sleeves fell and revealed a tattoo on his forearm. Red chains that formed a circle around a dagger that was also red. Kynier’s eye began to widen when he bent his head down to pretend to look at his current pair of cards on the table. Narim… is a member of the petching Daggerhand!

Any interest in the game they were playing was gone. Kynier’s mind raced to understand why it was that Ashara, a Big Sister of the Daggerhand, would send him to kill another member of her gang. Only half paying attention, Kynier pushed some chips into the center of the table to keep the game moving. Whatever the reason was, it had to involve some intergang politics. Narim must be doing something that Ashara did not approve of. The fact that she was having Kynier attempt to murder the man indicated that the action would not be approved by her superiors.

The game host flipped a card over onto the table. An illustration of a whip was on its surface. Kynier glanced at his cards again. He had two whips for himself. Along with the third one in the center, there was a pair of Broken Shackles, a seven of fingers, and a three of swords. It was up to him to begin the final round of betting. He took two gold painted chips and added them to the pile in the center. Renold matched the wager, Ghuno raised it by fifty, and Narim raised it by another hundred after Ghuno. Kynier did not feel the need for his Auristics on this one. He added another hundred and fifty before placing two hundred more in the pot.

“That is way too much confidence to bet against,” Renold said. He slid his still facedown cards to the game host in submission. Ghuno was staring intently at Kynier. After a moment of consideration, the older man resigned his hand as well without saying a word. Narim appeared indifferent to the situation. The Benshiran’s fingers ran along the ridges of some of his chips. Kynier rested his elbows on the table and steepled his fingers as he waited to see what his target was going to do. Then Narim cast his eyes down at Kynier’s stacks and seemed to be counting. After a moment he took a deep inhale through his nose.

“Let’s make this more interesting, shall we?” Kynier arched an eyebrow. Narim carefully counted out his next bet. It did not include all his chips but a large portion of them had been separated and added to the wager. “This should match what you have left, Hashimer. But that’s not all I’m going to bet.” Ghuno scoffed and rolled his eyes. The way he did it gave Kynier the impression that this was a typical tactic of Narim’s. The Benshiran removed a ring from his finger. A gold band with a blood red ruby encrusted into it.

“This ring has magic in it. It gives the wearer quicker reflexes, which has saved my life many times in Sunberth.” He placed the ring on the table and added it to the pot. “Now Hashimer, will you call my bet?” Kynier leaned back in his seat and stared at the Benhiran. The man’s eyes did not reveal anything to him beyond the stoic expression he wore. The ticks went by in a painful fashion as everyone seemed to be holding their breath. Kynier looked at the cards on the table for an instant before returning his gaze to Narim. The man must be bluffing again. Kynier had a strong hand for what was available. But this man was testing him. He could feel it. Part of him considered backing out and taking the remainder of his chips with him. He still had not dipped into his original funds with how far the betting had gone. At the same time, he wanted to test the Benshiran. For he seemed to just provide the illusion of a strong position while always having very little support behind it.

Kynier sat up straight and pushed his chips into the center. Ghuno shook his head while Renold was staring with wide blue eyes. Kynier undid the fastening of his belt to remove one of his cold iron short swords. It was the one that he had carried with him for nearly fifteen years. The one he had found on that day. He lifted it onto the table and slid the weapon out just enough for the to see what it was made from. Narim looked at it with approval. “I found this weapon the day I lost my parents,” he said firmly. “It too has magic. It can heal the moderate wounds that a person can suffer in battle.”

“An impressive and valuable weapon,” Narim stated. Kynier’s heart was pounding loudly in his ears. He was going to win, and while Narim’s ring might be fake with its alleged magic, Kynier would still get some valuable insight into the man. “Come, Hashimer. Show me what you have!” he said excitedly. It was not the proper etiquette of the game, for Narim should have shown his first since Kynier had called his wager. But that detail had slipped Kynier’s mind as he flipped his cards to reveal his three-of-a-kind.

Narim closed his eyes slowly before bowing his head slightly. “That is a good hand.” He flipped his cards over as well. The man had a seven of coins… and a broken shackle. Three-of-a-kind and a pair. Kynier felt the blood drain from his face as the Benshiran smiled wide. “Unfortunately, my friend, it was not a good enough hand.” Stunned, Kynier watched the man take his weapon… his weapon… from the center of the table. He drew it out further from the sheath to admire the weapon. Why? Why had he gambled that? Kynier swore at himself at length internally. This was the very reason why he had avoided gambling in the first place. He’d seen others lose things of great personal value and had sworn to never do the same thing.

Only… he had.



NaNo Post: 1,332
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Delves in Darkness
 
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Out for Blood

Postby Kynier on Yesterday, 6:58 pm

Grades!


Skill Rewards
  • Acting +2
  • Auristics +1
  • Deduction +1
  • Detection +1
  • Disguise +2
  • Duel Wield +1
  • Forgery +1
  • Gambling +3
  • Intelligence +2
  • Interrogation +4
  • Intimidation +1
  • Land Navigation +1
  • Larceny +2
  • Logic +1
  • Planning +1
  • Projection +2
  • Research +1
  • Rhetoric +3
  • Subterfuge +5
  • Tactics +1
  • Weapon: Short Sword +1

Lores Learned
  • Ashara: Has multiple plans for how to ruin the Midnight Gem’s business
  • Ashara: Had him kill another member of the Daggerhand
  • Auristics: Reading a person’s aura to assist in Gambling
  • Disguise: Using a false name
  • Location: Tall Johnny’s
  • Subterfuge: Ruining a business by tampering with its suppliers
  • Subterfuge: Ruining a business by soiling its reputation
  • Subterfuge: Relaying information to an enemy so they accomplish things for you

Penalties
  • -200 gm
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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