Completed Resolutions in G

"Of COURSE it was stolen."

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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]

Resolutions in G

Postby Caspian on November 11th, 2018, 7:26 pm

23 Fall 518


Though it would have been perfectly understandable and wholesomely predictable, it’s not passing by the Chromatic Strings storefront in the Noble District that reminds Caspian of his violin, but the sight of the horned, trumped vines that grow in filigree over the many trellises stretching across Café Fleurs.

It triggers in him, suddenly, the memory of the scroll of his violin, which had been carved in tight, winding curl, reminiscent of the ivy rustling now with the billowing autumn breeze. Over the years, he’s tuned it and many others innumerable times - the scroll lodged with comforting heft in his left palm, pressing the base of the tailgut against himself, just beneath his ribs, the body of the instrument positioned orthogonally to his own while he coaxed the tuning pegs by the most minute of increments with the taut fingers of his right hand.

(They really shouldn’t be so resistant, he knows, and so he’s been told, but he gets a little overzealous when he tunes, when after his ministrations the plucking of an open string strikes the pitch it ought to so squarely, with bell-like tone, that he wants it to just stick for the duration. The tuning pegs were always in opposition to him when he was a child back in Avanthal, with a violin hewn to three-fourths the proportions of the usual model to suit his size, because the ever-present cold weather held the wood in rigid contraction. But to his father, Haalram, a fiddle player of Snowsong Hold, they never seemed to pose very much resistance, no matter whether a blizzard had been for days brewing. Take it as the results of a lifetime’s worth of experience, and those joints taught to take this particular type of strain.)

If Caspian had to choose his favorite component of the violin, he supposes the scroll would certainly have to be it. As he strolls past the Café, eastward towards the forge, he resolves to drag his violin back out from under his bed the moment he gets home and, at the very least, ease it back in tune. Doing so will be no form of capitulation to his sister Taalviel, who had since her reappearance in his life suggested more than once that he take music back up again.

Her reasoning? A paltry, “You seemed to like it enough,” accompanied by a typically-Taalviel effortless shrug, effortless not because the motion comes naturally, but it being due to an extremely evident lack, on her part, of emotional expenditure and empathy. A sideways “You seemed to like it enough,” followed, in the midst of his silent seething, by a flat “Seems like a waste otherwise,” on which she’d elaborated no further.

Seems upon seems in her roundabout ways, wheeling around her true intentions, circling as he’s seen her do in her raven form, in flight. This isn’t always the case with her, however, and if weighing her habitual ambiguities in communication over her moments of exacting perspicacity, the former gives him an unshakable, creeping unease, while the latter is only a knife in the heart to twist, and a dash of salt to sting.

Where she gets off on passing suggestions of any kind upon him, he hasn’t a clue, and his choosing now to dust off the case and see if it rings as it does in his memory should, he’s decided, be considered utter coincidence. If she finds out about this at all, of course. He has no plans to share this with her, because even with the sparsest of details, she’ll take this as a personal success, that she’s managed to change his mind or steer his life in any direction, and preen. In human form, and in bird, and then back again.

It’s highly irritating he think of her now, and in this regard, because he’s heading to The Defiled Blade today because of Taalviel. The moment she appeared he’d picked a fight-and-a-half, all three halves of which he’d certainly lost, due in no small part to being physically incapacitated for the task, though as some might have put it, his being hungover and mentally battered past sensorial recognition. But in that fight it became disappointingly apparent to the both of them how unprepared he’d been. How unprepared he’d become, perhaps, because if Caspian is honest with himself he has to acknowledge that over the past season or so he might have allowed himself to grow a titch complacent. Lately, without having to endure as much blinding duress as he’d been raised on, certain parts of him had gone unhoned, and one of those parts resulting in being sorely unequipped. An assassin’s dagger under his pillow had been his sole weapon for months, and in the course of their fight, with that extra half-fight thrown in for good measure, it had been laughably straightforward for her to disarm him. From there, clearly weaponless, he’d taken to throwing – what was it? Furniture.

Imagine if it hadn’t been Taalviel. If it had been some stranger instead, or frankly, anyone else instead, from his past, present, or future. Surely, by the end of it, they wouldn’t have relented. (Though, surely, if it were a stranger he might have managed to get in a least one good strike. Taalviel flits and soars in her human form with as much ease as when she’s a raven, and having been raised by the same group of mercenaries, she possesses the full index of his barrages and defenses. Even at his best, against him she’s deathly formidable.)

And who knows if Taalviel will turn on him again? Less if, though, and much more when? If he’d had one more knife on his person, or tucked away somewhere in his apartment, he might have gained even to some small degree the upper hand.

Nothing catches his eye at the forge. Steel’s dull enough when it’s on its own, though he can always get something embellished – and he has to at this point actively remind himself not to sacrifice function over form – but when he tests the weights of the daggers on display, none feel exactly right against his palms. Another day, then, and maybe another seller in the Merchant’s Ring.

Home, then, and he’s westward-bound. Taalviel comes and goes from his apartment as she pleases, and with very little explanation for her comings and goings, so with this level of unpredictability she might very be there waiting, though hopefully not – and if not, he’ll draw the black case out from under his bed and trace the shadowed nadirs of his violin’s scroll. It’ll be arduous, having not held it in so long, but he can hear the correct pitches for each string in his mind, and all he needs to do is tune to match them.

To his disappointment, Taalviel is seated on the less worn of his two chairs – the one he threw harder – fiddling with a tangled ball of silver chains.

“New pickings?” Caspian asks, because if he says nothing, neither will she, and lately he finds it easier to break the silence sooner rather than later.

“Not real silver, though,” she replies with only a quick glance at him by the door, returning immediately to peering fixedly over the knots, the mess of it intertwined over her slender fingers in a ramshackle cat’s cradle. “Just plated.” She purses her lips, revealing a touch of dissatisfaction.

That feeling rises in him again, the one that had engulfed him as he looked over the winding greenery of the Café. Pure silver or not, he knows very well she’s perfectly occupied and would have been sufficiently pleased had it been twine. He’ll just check, then, because he’s got it in mind, had his heart set all day on seeing his violin for the first time in months. Just a quick duck to squint past the dust beneath his bed – just to know it’s there.

From her position at the table, he’s out of her line of sight. With quick, quiet feet he pads across the room, kneels, and –

It isn’t there.

He rocks back onto his heels. Looks towards Taalviel, who’s still completely engrossed with her prize, or rather, prizes, because if she knows his methods in combat he knows her tendencies to go on serialized sprees, when the mood strikes her. There’s much more satisfaction, at least for her, to be gained from robbing a dozen shiny bits and trifles from a dozen different people, over hauling away an armful from just one.

A swift survey of the rest of his apartment yields no results.

But there are only so many places it could be. And he hasn’t had this feeling in forever, hasn’t sought to hold his violin in – well, before he took up with –

“Looking for something?” Taalviel asks, still with her back turned.

For a moment, he bites his words, thinks it might be wiser – then snaps, “Where is it?”

“Where is what?” she says calmly, plucking at one of the chains, succeeding in loosing one, but subsequently tightening two others.

“You know what,” he retorts, and immediately regrets it, finding himself locked in yet another iteration of the type of frustrating exchanges they’ve been running into for years. “My violin,” he says after a beat, deciding to come clean.

She tilts her head to the side. Preening, obviously. He’s glad he can’t see her face at this moment, because he’s sure whatever’s on it is insufferable.

“Taalviel,” he growls.

“So you wanted to play it.”

“So you know where it is.”

At this, she casts the mess of silver onto the table and twists towards him, but without the withering expression he expects.

“Could you ever forgive me?”

“For which of your infinite list of crimes? What are you talking about? What on earth have you done?”

She sighs. “I thought, since it had been so long, that it might do you some good to have the thing restrung.”

Well. That certainly isn’t what he’d expected her to say.

“And?”

“And, not knowing very much about it, I thought it would be best if I took it to that shop in the Noble District and got you whatever set they suggested.”

Caspian, still fuming and more baffled by the second, crosses his arms. “Rather than asking me?” It’s far from a difficult thing, switching strings. It's just making sure you don't unwind them all at once, and the pitches never change.

“It was meant to be a surprise.” She pauses. “One which I never intended to tell you about.”

“Naturally.”

“I don’t see what the point would have been in telling you. It would have been done with or without my letting you know.”

“I would have noticed!” he replies exasperatedly. “Immediately.”

Blankly unsympathetic to his rising fury, she shrugs.

“So it’s at the shop, then,” he goes on. “Chromatic Strings.”

“…no.”

“What do you mean, ‘no’?”

Taalviel relents, finally, and recounts that on entering the luthiers’ establishment and drawing Caspian’s violin out of its case, another patron had immediately confronted her, having recognized the instrument’s ruddy hue and brilliant flames.

“He asked to see the serial number. So I let him look, and it matched a number in an old record under his name, on a certificate of ownership. And he said it had been stolen from him, years ago, and he’s been searching for it ever since.”

“Gavir gave it to me,” Caspian says. Gavir, one of the least outwardly appalling of his stepfather’s friends, was a quiet Vantha man who had left the snowy north of his own volition, equally gifted in music as he was in extortion. He’d taken pity on Caspian, when at the age of 12 he was dragged out from Avanthal and into Taaldros’ service in Sunberth, and continued the music lessons Caspian’s father Haalram had started. The violin was a precious thing, its glowing hue, singularly blazed backing, and pealing tones articles of beauty that even all of Taaldros’ brutishness couldn’t manage to mar.

“Right.”

“…so of course it was stolen.”

Caspian demands Taalviel tell him everything she knows, and she, of course, already has the man’s precise address. His name is Melric, and he’s no one in particular, a middle-aged scholarly type who lives alone in a slightly-worn townhouse on the fringes of the Noble District. Taalviel could have resisted him, more than easily, but when she shares her reasoning with Caspian, that as a non-resident and a Kelvic it wouldn’t have been the wisest road for her to go down, Caspian has to agree.

Though it’s incredibly infuriating, still, that this had to happen at all.

When he extricates every relevant detail from his sister, he hurries east, and decides he won’t solve this by simply stealing it back. Though he could, and from a quick glance up and down Melric and his home, he knows it would be a pittance. No, if he makes the instrument not once but twice-stolen, Melric will be on the hunt for it forever, and Caspian would have to constantly look over his shoulder, at the dangers it could create for both him and Taalviel.

So he takes the other route when Melric answers his door, the one that involves cock-and-bull stories about loving fathers on 13th birthdays, pointing at things on traveling merchants’ carts and being granted them the acceptable way, with exchanges of coins and firm handshakes. Midway, Caspian changes tack, and veers into a space not nearly so fanciful, and tells Melric the things about the violin that he loves, that violin in particular, and concedes that if Melric intends to keep it, there’s nothing he can do.

It works, this route, playing at relinquishing power, putting it entirely in Melric’s hands. In the end, Melric retreats for a moment back into his home, and returns with a familiar, faded-black case.

“Keep it,” he says, handing Caspian the maker’s certificate of authenticity too, the serial number printed in red flourish.

“Are you sure?” Caspian asks, with both already firmly in his grip.

Melric shrugs. “They made plenty of that model, back in the day. I’ve got others.”

Taalviel is waiting for Caspian just around the corner. “That went well.”

“I should say so.”

“Is it true?”

“Is what true?”

“When you said that part about… hearing starlight.”

Caspian looks down at the unassuming black case by his side. Melric had said the manufacturer had made plenty – but that doesn’t bother him. Of this, this violin in particular, they will always only have made one. “You know me. Saccharine slag. Run my mouth the second I find an opening, don’t know when to quit.”

Taalviel smiles slightly, humming in response.

When they return to Caspian’s apartment, she’s back at her sparkling silver ball, and slowly but surely, Caspian presses the violin beneath his ribs, and tunes.

--

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Caspian
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Featured Thread (2)

Resolutions in G

Postby Orakan on October 2nd, 2019, 4:31 am

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ImageCaspian
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Skills
● Observation - 1XP
● Play Musical Instrument: Violin - 1XP
● Brawling - 1XP
● Planning - 1XP
● Tactics - 1XP
● Rhetoric - 1XP
● Stealth - 1XP
● Intelligence - 1XP
● Interrogation - 1XP
● Socialisation - 1XP
● Investigation - 1XP
● Logic - 1XP
● Subterfuge - 1XP
● Persuasion - 1XP

Lores
● Play Musical Instrument: Overzealous tuning results in sharp, square notes
● Planning: Anticipating and preparing for a future attack
● Brawling: Even furniture can be a weapon
● Caspian: Untuned... just like a violin
● Taalviel: Formidable and infuriating in either form
● Tactics: An extra blade can even the odds in a fight
● Dagger: Don't sacrifice function for form
● Dagger: The importance of the weight and balance of a blade
● Play Musical Instrument: How to restring a violin
● Gavir: Stole the violin he gave you
● Melric: Violin's previous owner
● Subterfuge: Spinning tales to deceive
● Persuasion: Pulling heart strings

Misc/Penalities/Loot
Yay, Caspian got his violin back... add its maker’s certificate of authenticity.

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My knowledge in regards to playing music is non-existent so I, once again, apologise if these lores seem.. wrong. Your way of explaining the art of music through writing is truly beautiful and really shows your own intimate knowledge of the craft.. this already on top of your stunning way of writing, in general. I continue to love the interactions between Caspian and Taalviel :)

Remember that he is still quite the novice in all his skills and to play him as such. I know you requested impersonation but, from what I can see, subterfuge is more fitting (plus a lot of other skills!) Of course, if you do have any issues with this grade then please feel free to contact me and don't forget 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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