Something Precious

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

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Something Precious

Postby Ixzo on November 10th, 2018, 5:19 pm

34th of Fall, 518AV


“Excuse me, miss?” Ixzo would not have turned for the voice, except the person who it belonged to, stood in front of her. She walked with a string of game; a beaver and two ducks from a ways up the stream. It was not her largest haul, but this request had not been for the meat, but clean kills for the pelts and feathers. She had managed to shoot the beaver clean in the neck, although the ducks were not so lucky and one got an arrow in the belly, the other arrow was large enough to destroy the animal’s face, effectively killing it. This was not so much a problem, as the wound could be plucked around on the ducks, but she had needed the shot to be clean on the beaver, and was satisfied with the results. It would pay, which was important.

So the Kelvic was a little irritated to have stop in her tracks to look at him. She had only been in the city ten days, but she already knew to glance her surroundings quickly. She did this with the mind of a hunter, watching for any strategically placed pick pockets, any signs of stealth that alerted her instincts. Other than the fact that she could trust no one on this street, she didn’t immediately notice anything, and so she turned back to him. Not answering him, Ixzo made eye contact and raised a single eyebrow. It was clear he was trying to get her attention, but what he was saying, she wasn’t so sure.

Before he spoke, her eyes were drawn to the meek child standing just behind him and to the right. She had a collar round her neck, and stood with her head slightly hung and hands clasped in front of her. Had it not been for the rose tattoo that adorned her face, Ixzo might have dismissed this position for a mere weak confidence. But the ex-slave knew the mark of any Kenashians, and her eyes narrowed turning back to the man. She could now see that he was glancing between her eyes and her own brand that rested on her face, and was speaking.

It was so easy for her to tune out the Common Tongue words, that she brushed past him. She could tell by his tone that he was asking something of her, and did not respect her because of the brand worn on her face. He must be familiar with the dynasties in Kenash, and the ones who used to hold her. But in this lawless city, and every city but the cursed swamp where Kenash nested, she was free.

But Ixzo did not push past the man to continue on her way, instead she squared herself in front of the small girl. One hand holding the wrap of her game, the other reached out to wait for the girls. As her large palm entered the girl’s view, open and obviously waiting to be taken, the girl looked up. She recognized the brand on Ixzo’s face as well, and the Kelvic didn’t need to speak, nodding to her and offering a closed lip smile.

With instinct, the girl looked up to her lock-holder, and Ixzo pulled her hand up to the child’s chin, gently guiding her face back towards herself. “You don’t need his permission to talk to me, I don’t recognize his authority.” She spoke clearly in her deep Myrian tongue, not expecting this girl to understand her. And she didn’t, but her tone must have said enough, because the girl turned back, grabbing Ixzo’s hand from her face and gently holding it between the two of them, as Ixzo had wanted.

Within ticks, the place where their palms meant began to glow. A soft light at first seeped from the seams between their fingers, and then as the Kelvic spoke, the glow grew until it would draw the attention of anyone whose sight it settled in the corners of. “You are not his property. You will never be anyone’s property. You are merely being challenged, so look to the world around you and see what you can do. If you do nothing then you will remain in this place over and over, but if you do anything, you will revel the desperation in their hearts when they find they cannot hold you.”

Again, the Myrian words were clearly being understood for what they were by this child. But she knew that the child could hear the tone of her voice, and understand the look in her eyes. Besides that, the Kelvic could see the dejected acceptance of her position leaving her face. Priskil’s light filled the girl with enough courage that Ixzo could have told her to stand on her hands and eat grapes with her toes, and the child would have felt the encouragement of hope. As far as the Kelvic was concerned, there was always room for hope, and those who put in the effort to see that hope through, were protected by Priskil.

A hand fell on her shoulder, and in an instant, Priskil’s genuine smile vanished. She stood, stepping into the man, and allowing her full height to tower over the mere human. Whatever he was about to say, he lost, and she could smell the fear that mingled in his breathe. Any illusion of power that he thought he had over her had shriveled and shrunk away, when she leveled his gaze. If he hadn’t noticed before he could see the slit feline pupils, and recognize the face of a predator.

“If you so much as look at me wrong again, I will have your throat.” She whispered to him in Myrian. Her hands still glowed with the confidence of Priskil, and now rested on the hilt of her knife. The coin on which she was able to flip from warm an encouraging to the child to suddenly cold and threatening towards the human who thought he owned her, was substantial enough to create the intimidation that she needed, and the human stepped back over the weight of her stare. The hands that he had put up to block her approach quickly found their way into his pockets, and he took three large steps back, taking himself out of the range of her reach. The Kelvic did not follow him, but instead shifted her gaze to the child. As she did so, the intensity of her stare softened, and Ixzo nodded to the child, before turning back in the direction she was heading.

If these stupid humans were not careful, she would find herself killing one of them. It wasn’t that she had any qualms with the prospect, not one of her Gods would fault her for such a move. But she had greater plans, and at the moment she needed people to want to buy her game, which typically did not go over well if she murdered every human that had coin to his name, because he had put a collar on another and claimed ownership.

What the Kelvic didn’t notice, was that when he had put his hands up to ward off her attack, and then had quickly dropped them to his pockets as he retreated, he had pawned off one of the most precious things to the Kelvic, a horse amulet carved into the natural off-white agate found in the Sea of Grass, and her only remaining connection to her beloved Drykas people. Yet the Kelvic was too irritated by the stares that that scene had just gotten her. Clearly people had expected a fight, but that weak willed human had not stood up to her, and she had no interest in attacking an unarmed man. So now they watched her, the one who brought the scene to its peak, and did not lash out to satisfy their voyeuristic needs.

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Something Precious

Postby Kynier on November 11th, 2018, 1:48 am

Image



They had told him that he should stay at home and recover more from his injuries before heading out again. But two days of rest had been more than enough time given all the resources they had for accelerating one’s ability to heal from wounds. It was one thing to rest and relax for enjoyment, it was another entirely when it was forced upon a person. Kynier appreciated all the support that the others had given him over the last few days. But it had started to feel as though he were an invalid and that was very bothersome. The wound that had caused him to limp was already fully healed, and the rest of his lingering wounds were hidden under his crimson shirt.

Even his employer refused to give him work, though he suspected that was not due to his injuries. Wanting to be out of the Midnight Gem, Kynier decided to pursue one of his other interests that had fallen on the wayside for some time. For the better part of that day, he had been watching The Quay in hopes of seeing something that would grant him further insight into the Vino’s influence on the slave trade. A man had gone in alone and came out with a young girl in tow. For nearly a bell, the mage had been following the man and waiting for an opportunity to question him in private.

Djed was flowing to his eyes to empower his Sight with Auristics. The man’s aura was putrid in color and gave Kynier the distinct impression that he was a despicable person in general. His unique sensitivity with the magic discipline informed him that the man was smug. Because Kynier could feel his own chest swell and the urge to hold his chin higher and look down at everyone. Superiority. The man’s aura was filled to the rim with the unjustified viewpoint of himself. The longer Kynier kept his focus on the man’s aura the more he wanted to bath in the Mudway. For he was certain that those filthy waters would still allow him to feel cleaner after staring and sensing the man’s essence for so long.

When the man stopped in the street, he was addressing a woman that had been walking in the other direction. Kynier did not stop following but veered off to observe from across the street. The mage felt a desire to question, curiosity, and… distaste… from the man he was following. Why was he addressing the dark-skinned woman? She was imposing in size and was obviously a hunter of some sort. From what Kynier could tell, she did not seem that interested in engaging in conversation with the man. Her expression towards him was rather blank.

Kynier took a deep breath as he looked at her aura as well and focused upon it. It was then that he noticed that she was Kelvic. The woman’s aura was scarred and there were tendril type limbs, which were unique to Kelvics, wrapped around her form in a protective manner. The tendrils themselves looked frayed to indicate that she had been bonded before. Kynier knew this because of Ebon’s aura demonstrating the same signs. But Ebon’s never looked as damaged as her’s. Her aura was greyed with only a few bright colors at the fringes from traumas that he could only imagine.

The Kelvic was ignoring the man and paying more attention to the girl that he had brought with him from The Quay. From where he was, Kynier could not see that the two females bore the same rose tattoos on their faces. He was too involved with sensing the feelings and emotions that were involved with the woman. The man was simple frustration, which Kynier brushed aside. But it was difficult getting a solid understanding of what the dark skinned Kelvic felt towards the girl. Sympathy maybe. But when the girl took the Kelvic’s hand the light began to form.

With his Auristics, Kynier was able to see that it was divine magic. The light was brilliant and drew his attention so much he nearly missed the sensations of what the Kelvic was experiencing. It felt like… encouragement and kindness. But at the touch of the stranger, it instantly flipped to anger. Kynier felt the desire to growl within his own throat as the woman rose to her full height above him. It was then that Kynier felt something strange. It wasn’t from the woman this time, but from the man. He felt an unusual texture in the palm of his hand.

Kynier stepped around to be more behind the Kelvic to be able to see the man’s hands more clearly. They were fidgeting on something. From the man Kynier felt a sense of satisfaction behind the unease of being stared down. What had the man just done? There was nothing on the woman’s back or shoulder that was of an unusual nature. And when she started to walk away, there was a sense of… glee. Kynier watched the man watch the Kelvic walk away. After a few ticks he looked at something in his hand and smiled. Satisfaction and curiosity welled up within Kynier, though they were not his own.

A point behind his eyes the size of a needle’s tip began to burn. Kynier cut off the flow of Djed that was powering his Auristics and the Sight closed. The auras of the world faded from his view as the man began walking again, half dragging the little girl behind him. Kynier watched the two of them walk by then looked down the street at the Kelvic walking away. It wasn’t truly his concern, but he was feeling a strong sense of empathy. It would be easy to recover the Kelvic’s possession, but then how would he find her again to give it back?

Kynier reached into his soulcore again and took hold of his Djed. Hastily, and painfully, he detached his right astral arm from his body. The nerves of his right arm flared as though he had just thrust his arm into a fire, causing him to wince aloud. Kynier reached out and stretched the astral limb towards the Kelvic. The invisible hand touched her shoulder and pinched one of her dreadlocks in hopes to get her attention. Kynier’s astral form was still too weak to pull hard enough to cause pain. But he gave the Kelvic a moment to turn to see what would’ve just touched her. He would lock eyes with her before tilting his head in the direction of the man with the young slave and giving a short, high pitched whistle to indicate she should follow him.

Then he turned and followed the man who had picked up his pace. The man’s direction was north and slightly west. Already, Kynier knew where he was going. The Fence was in the Riverside district, and there anyone could pawn off stolen goods. Kynier had made use of the establishment a time or two himself. He needed to do something to slow the man down. His right arm was hanging uselessly by his side while his astral limb was still detached. Kynier stretched out the limb towards the young girl and grasped her by the arm. The distance his astral limb covered was uncomfortable and the furthest he had pushed a limb yet. Incorporeal fingers squeezed on the girl’s arm.

Kynier watched as she looked down to see nothing but felt him. With another squeeze, her eyes widened, and she let out a shrill scream. That should be enough. Kynier released her and pulled the astral limb back. The man stopped and glared at the girl. What he started to scream at her Kynier could not quite make out. When he finished expressing his displeasure towards the girl he glanced up and his eyes fell on Kynier. The mage paused for half a tick and betrayed the intensity of his interest in the man. The fellow grabbed the girl by the arm and started to run.

“Shyke,” Kynier muttered as he began to give chase.



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Something Precious

Postby Ixzo on November 11th, 2018, 2:45 am

Something tweaked her locks just over her shoulder, and Ixzo bristled. It was rare that people were able to sneak up on the hunter without her noticing. And she was confident that the man was not brave enough to confront her face on. She flipped her hair over her shoulder and glanced behind her, expecting to see someone getting her attention, but saw no limb immediately beside her. Instead her silver gaze turned up towards the man who seemed to be staring her down. Her eyes narrowed, but he didn’t shy away, merely nodded his head back in the direction she had just come from and whistled to her like an animal. She frowned; glanced back to where he was looking, and found the man and the girl had already disappeared.

Without waiting for the Kelvic to react, the human was off. So he had likely just witnessed her use luminance to give the girl some hope, but what did he have to do with it? Coming from Endrykas, Ixzo had the assumption that her divine magic was acceptable, and had even been looked forward to by some. But she had quickly learned Sunberth may not have the same view. Personal magics were obviously shunned, but divine magics? Her hand flew up to her charm, to rub it with the familiar motion she always did when the Drykas people crossed her mind, but her searching fingers found nothing. Patting her chest twice, the hunter’s eyes narrowed, now understanding why the man with the girl had taken off so quickly. Slippery stupid humans.

Without thinking, Ixzo dropped her haul. Someone would make use of it, and she could easily get more furs for the person who hired her. But this wasn’t what crossed her mind at the moment. All the lion cared about was that this man had stolen something important to her, and she was going to get it back. The man who signaled her seemed to have seen where they had gone, and the Kelvic fell in line with his stride. He was nearly as tall as her, so she could keep up easily, but he knew these maze-like streets better than she. She watched him for a tick, wondering why he had bothered to signal her. She wasn’t obviously going to get an answer, not at the moment, at least. But her attention snapped forward once again, when the girl shrieked. Not of horror, but as if something had spooked her, one quick chirp of noise. It was enough to piss the man off, and Ixzo recognized the false ego of those who thought they owned people. Clenching her fist, she no longer kept stride with the man. The stranger seemed to pause, watching the man chastise the girl, and Ixzo began taking careful steps away from him.

For a chime, her intent on retrieving the amulet was forgotten, and her hunter’s mind was already scoping the possible exits that her prey had to escape her. They were in an open street, so the possibilities where endless, but her prey had cargo, and she did not. Her silver gaze flicked to the man, who still watched their prey, and she assessed that he may help her if necessary. Now it was two on one. Whoever this stranger was, he had an interest in these people, and his stare lasted just a little too long. When the slavemaster’s gaze flitted up to catch the kind stranger staring at him, Ixzo began stepping forward, coming at him from an angle. It didn’t take much to spook prey, and humans were intelligent, if he thought he was being tracked he would run. The stranger who had alerted her could play it safe if he wanted, she was going to take the direct approach.

When the man grabbed the child and began to run, Ixzo’s predatory instinct kicked into action. An almost amused grin lit her face, and she burst forward as well. He was trying to drag an unwilling girl, and much smaller than the lion, bearing almost no match for her. With five short bounds, she passed him, glancing over her shoulder to make sure she knew where he was, more importantly where his ribs were. Curving her elbow out, she stopped short, ducked, and rammed her elbow back into the man’s ribs. She could hear the sharp exhale of breathe as he obviously was not anticipating this.

It did not knock him over though, and Ixzo straightened up, her first instinct was to lunge for him and complete her kill, but the frightened girl was in her field of vision. She hesitated, not wanting to get the girl stuck in the following skirmish, and the hesitation was enough to feel the grip of hands on her throat. Ixzo’s eyes widened in shock, not expecting him to recover so quickly, let alone counter her with an attack, and her hands fell on his, attempting to peel his fingers from her neck. Anger surged through her, and she managed to pull one of his fingers back in a position that wasn’t natural. She could feel the crack of bone and ligament under her own fingers, and the violence sent a pulse of adrenaline through her. This wasn’t going to work. Instead she brought her arm up through the center of his arms, yanking it outwards so her elbow caught in the crook of his, which yanked the hand from her neck. She could feel the burn of his finger nails on the skin of her neck, but she didn’t register it as pain in the moment. He only had her by one hand now, and that she could work with better. Sticking the other arm up on the outside of his remaining arm, she brought her elbow into her chest, catching his arm in the crook of hers, yanking it free of her neck as well. A slightly mad giggle fell from her mouth as she realized the effectiveness of this move. It was not often she got to fight in this form. With a fluid motion, she let him go, sticking one leg out and landing it squarely on his chest, throwing him off his own feet, and back onto the ground.

With the acute feline grace, she stalked over his prone body, one foot landing square between his legs, uncomfortably close to the family jewels. She balanced her weight onto that foot, and then placed the other boot on his chest, slowly leaning into it. She had forgotten about her amulet, she had forgotten about the girl, and the kind stranger. At the moment she had managed to snag her prey, and she was enjoying the thrill of playing with her food for just a few more ticks before she ate it.

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Something Precious

Postby Kynier on November 11th, 2018, 7:45 pm

Image



Kynier had a long stride, longer than that of the man they were chasing. Rather than focusing on taking as many steps as possible in order to cover more distance, he made his steps as long as possible to be able to move further with less effort. Nighttime runs that he had been taking with his bondmate had given him insights into the different styles of running. Ways to run further with less effort, run faster, run longer, and the balances of trying to accomplish all the combinations. The man was trying to drag the girl along with him. Unless he swept her up in his arms, he was never going to outrun the mage. Though that was less of a worry it seemed.

The Kelvic woman bounded past him and even beyond the stranger in a few strides. Her speed was unsettling mainly because of how effortless it appeared to be. When she stopped the man ran straight into her braced elbow. Kynier winced at the sight of the collision and slowed his pace. The girl that had been dragged behind the man was backing away silently. Kynier came up behind her and set a hand against her back to stop her. The girl looked up at him with a gasp. “It’s alright,” he said with as much assurance as he could manage.

The two of them watched the Kelvic and the man struggle with each other’s grasp. Kynier took the time to reconnect his astral form with his physical one in a way that would not incite even more pain. The match appeared very one-sided as the man was kicked off his feet. The Kelvic planted herself above the man and set a heel to his chest. The man groaned and cried out from the weight of her on his sternum. An expression of sadistic joy spread across her face. While Kynier could not tell what sort of creature she was, he could see that it had to have been some sort of predator. Not one that made clean kills either. Death was not what he wanted for the man. Not yet at least. So, he stepped forward and drew one of his cold iron short swords. The blue tinted metal of the blade hung down at his side in an unthreatening manner.

“Stop!” he demanded. Hazel eyes stared hard at the woman, expressing his desire for what she was doing to end. He walked around to the side of the man and knelt beside him. The unnaturally cold metal edge rested at the man’s throat. “Don’t move, or I’ll do it myself.” With his free hand, Kynier searched the man’s pockets. In one he felt an oval stone with unusual etchings in its surface connected to a chain. The texture was familiar thanks to his use of Auristics earlier. When he pulled it out, he realized it was an agate that had been carved to have unusual shapes. With a quick rotation of it in his hand, he thought he saw the shape of a horse in its design.

Kynier stood up and held out the strange item to the Kelvic. The design was a bit crude and the material was not very precious looking in its condition. The man wore fine quality wools with embroidered designs in the clothes. The stone clearly was not his and seemed more like something the Kelvic would keep. He held out the amulet for the Kelvic to take back. “I need him alive,” he stated. “There are some questions that I’d like him to answer.” The pinned man groaned and spat at Kynier’s feet.

“Take a walk down a mineshaft,” he spat. Kynier gave a bemused sigh as he knelt again by the man’s side. With a rotation of his wrist, the cold iron blade came around and slapped the man’s cheek with its flat edge.

“It’s remarks like that that won’t help your current predicament.”



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Something Precious

Postby Ixzo on November 13th, 2018, 4:47 am

She heard the yell, and some part of her brain recognized the common word, but since her grasp of the language was poor, it took her a few seconds to register what it meant. He wanted her to stop. After two ticks, she swiveled her head towards the man, without letting her shoulder’s shift as well, narrowed feline eyes caught his expression, which was not angry, rather… disappointed. He didn’t drop her gaze, but she saw movement out of the corner of her eye, and her silver gaze flitted to his hand which pulled his sword from the hilt. Alarms for another attack rang through her brain, and her body began to tense for an appropriate reaction, but when her eyes met his again, there was still no aggression, just displeasure.

She frowned, and leaned back onto the foot that was still on the ground, eyes flitting to the girl, who cowered from the scene. Whatever hope and strength her gnosis had given the small child had vanished in wake of the recent events. She returned her gaze towards the man below her, curling her lip and spitting on him. The liquid glob fell on his chest, and the lioness stepped off him. She stepped to the side, bowed slightly, and spread her arm towards him, as if presenting the prize to the human. Whoever he was, he cared more about keeping this thing alive than she cared to kill it, and his actions still confused her to no end. He stepped over to the man, setting his sword on the prone man’s throat, which gave the lioness some satisfaction to watch. Perhaps this man’s intentions were good, it was hard to tell.

Almost as if he had known exactly what she was missing and where it was, his hand disappeared into the man’s pocket and pulled her amulet out. He held it out to her, without a second glance towards its value. Clearly it was nothing that a person who wore clothes like his would look twice at, but it wasn’t the expense of the jewelry that she cared about, it was those who made it for her. She took it from him, examining the leather strap that held it to her neck. The knot had been loosened, which was how she somehow did not feel it leave her neck. Refastening the knot, she slipped the amulet back on, stepping back from the man. He had told her he needed the man alive, which she had understood, although not the rest of his common words.

Shuffling back, she watched him carefully to see what he was doing with the slaver. She had half the mind to come back in the night and hunt him as a lion, where this stranger could not place blame on her for its death. She felt a hand flutter on her forearm, and the Kelvic turned to look down at the child.

“What is he going to do to him?”

“Not kill.” She muttered a reply to the child in Common, thick displeasure mixing in with her Myrian accent. She instinctually made the Pavi sign for Coward. Her predator brain couldn’t comprehend a slow or stealthy game. Stealth was needed to buy time to attack, but it was strength that won. At least that was how the Kelvic understood it, and so she viewed this human as weak. But he had gotten her necklace back, and he was not taking advantage of her lack of familiarity with the city, as far as she could tell. Both were rarities in Sunberth, which she had quickly learned, and she would not let a human like that slip from her attention so easily.

Crouching beside the girl, Ixzo held out one large palm in an offer. It was thickly calloused and Priskil’s vortex shimmered on her palm, and she shifted her silvery gaze up to the girl, asking the question with her eyes. Hesitancy covered the child’s face for a second before she took the lioness’s hand. She grasped it, letting it rest on her knee as she crouched. The offer was more than just comfort from the frightful events in this moment. With her other hand, she rubbed her agate carving with a familiar motion. Together the child and the woman watched what he would do to the man next. The child watched with a fearful hope, and the woman with a vivid curiosity. She did not care really what he did with the slaver, but more who he was. Why had he returned something precious to her, without realizing its impact? Why had he notified her of the theft in the first place? Did he detest these slavers as much as she did? Then why did he not want this poor excuse for sentience dead?

The Kelvic was unsure of how she was able to say this in Common, but while she waited she began to attempt to form sentences that could communicate some semblance of her questions.

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Something Precious

Postby Kynier on Today, 1:11 am

Image




When the Kelvic looked up at him with silver eyes, he could see that her mind was actively processing something. From the hatred that he could see in them, it was clear that she had a strong interest in ending the man’s life. No one would have stopped her from doing so. Gods knew, that he did not really care enough to stop her from doing it either. But he had questions that he wanted to ask the man while he still drew breath. Had she killed him, Kynier would have been frustrated but ultimately the left with the same amount of knowledge as what he had started with that day.

The woman was taller than him, but not my much. Well defined muscles covered her figure in addition to the scars and tattoos. Kynier had no familiarity with the race, but his first inclination was that she had Myrian blood in her veins. While she had an imposing figure, Kynier was not deterred by it. A couple of years of living in Sunberth had hardened him enough to know that the size of a person did not matter. A blade was a blade and could kill as efficiently as ever regardless of how big the person wielding it was. And he had too much blood on his hands to be timid from a stranger’s gaze.

He watched as she spat on him and stepped away. The slight bow and opening of the arms were a clear enough message. Was the Kelvic mute? It was strange that she didn’t say anything. No expression of disappointment or even asking why he had an interest. Even when he handed her the amulet, she said nothing. And her expression was just as communicative. Kynier had not known many Kelvics, but each of them were very social. Except Ebon. Ebon was melancholier due to the death of his bondmate. Was this Kelvic the same way? Her aura made it look that way. Kelski was immediately present to save their night lion from depression and anger. Perhaps this woman did not have anyone when she needed it.

Kynier heard the young girl’s question, as well as the Kelvic’s answer. So, she wasn’t mute, though her words were heavily accented. The strange gesture she gave in his direction had no meaning to him. The only other person he had seen make gestures similar to it was the Ghost Hunter that lived in the Dust Bed. Kynier did not even have a name to associate with the language. Thusly, he ignored it and turned his gave back on the man. The fellow was trying to get to his feet. Kynier slid his foot across the ground to take one of them man’s feet out from under him, dropping him back down on the ground.

“What do you want?” the man cried out in a mixture of fear and frustration. Kynier circled around the man to stand in front of him. He tapped the cold iron blade against the side of his leg as he did.

“Nothing other than some answers.” Upon closer inspection of the man, Kynier could see that he was human with dark eyes. A mixed blood with some chaktawe most likely. He was not well dressed but certainly wore finer apparel than the common citizen. What was strange, Kynier could not see a weapon on him. That made him furrow his brow suspiciously and tighten his grip on his weapon. People with slaves obviously were not wanting for food or money. But to walk around with a young girl, unarmed as well, was a picture that did not make sense.

Kynier raised the tip of the weapon and took a step forward to have it closer to the man. “What’s your relationship with the Vino?” The man scoffed before spitting to the side in defiance. His dark eyes glared up at Kynier as silence followed. Kynier turned his gaze to the young girl that the Kelvic was embracing. Her eyes were young and impressionable. The mage did not want her to see what he would do to the man for answers. “What’s your name?” he asked the young girl with the rose tattoo on her face. Her eyes betrayed the nervousness he imbued in her with his presence. But after a small pause, she meekly answered him.

“Lolan.”

“Do you have any family, Lolan?” The young girl shook her head. Shyke. Then there was likely no place they could take her. They could not stay here for the questioning. But he could not take risks either. Bending forward slightly, he stabbed the man in the bicep, driving the blade in until it lanced off the bone. The slave owner cried out as he curled around the blade.

As abruptly as he sent it in, Kynier took the blade out. The man whimpered and groaned as he cradled his arm to his chest. The mage then reached down and grabbed the man by the shoulder. “Come on, we’re going on a walk now,” he said as he hauled the man to his feet. Keeping a grip on the man to be aware of his movement, Kynier turned to face the Kelvic. “You do not have to follow,” he said only a little slower than he normally would have.

“Where are you taking him?” Lolan asked. There was a nervousness in her voice that Kynier didn’t understand. Was the girl attached to his man? As he looked in her eyes, he did not think he saw worry for him. But there was something there he could not grasp.

“Taking him someplace less crowded, where we can have a conversation.”

“If you take him away… then where am I supposed to go?” she asked quietly. Kynier stared at the girl for a moment in sympathy. She had no family and most likely no one to turn to. A situation he was all too familiar with. The only difference was, they were in Sunberth and not in the Wilderlands.

“I… don’t know,” he admitted. Then he sighed and looked to the Kelvic. Whatever she was thinking for the entire encounter was locked behind her eyes. He could not question this slave owner and care for the slave girl at the same time. Where he could possibly take her, he did not know either. Perhaps the only choice was to take her in. He did not know what the right permanent solution was, or even the temporary. Making a split-second decision on the girl’s life did not seem fair either. “Bring her along,” he said to the Kelvic. Then he gave the man a push to get him moving.

He led them north towards a few abandoned structures that he knew they could use.



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Sometimes the only way to win is by relinquishing a superior position.

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Kynier
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