Closed Into Enemy Territory (Orakan)

A Sun's Birth slave in Daggerhand territory...what could go wrong?

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Into Enemy Territory (Orakan)

Postby Asterope on March 3rd, 2019, 7:43 pm

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5th of spring, 519 AV

Ever since she'd revealed to Alard that she had some knowledge in herbs and medicine, he had been going to Aster when he was injured. Thankfully it wasn't too often, and it never seemed to be anything serious...just a few minor bumps and bruises here and there that she cleaned and bandaged.

That morning, however, had seen Alard returning from his almost daily bout of training with a sizable gash across his calf. Aster clicked her tongue when he sat himself down heavily in a rickety chair, stretching his leg out.

Aster had avoided using her gift to age things on Alard's wounds, his words of warning from one of her first days in Sunberth still fresh and strong in her mind.

"Just be mindful out there. A lot of folk have never seen something like you, and if they're dumb enough, they might just think you've got some kind of magic," Alard's upper lip curled with disgust as he spat the word.

"Magic?" Aster asked, cautiously.

"Disgusting and unnatural. We're smart enough to know it's not welcome. So mind nobody's stupid enough to get the wrong idea about your sparkly bits; and I don't ever want you outside at dusk, you hear? Day or night, but not in-between. Someone sees you change like that, you're good as dead."

Aster swallowed, and gave a small, solemn nod.


So out of fear for how the gift would be seen, even though she was sure it wasn't magical, Aster hadn't used it. Kneeling in front of him, Asterope pursed her lips. "This is pretty bad," She said, sitting back on her heels, glancing around the room. She did her best to keep it organized, but Alard was always moving things around.

"No shyke it is," Alard grunted, as Aster finally located the pile of clean rags. Standing, she fetched a few, as well as the bottle of clear spirits stashed by Alard's bedside.

"I don't know if cleaning and wrapping it is going to be enough. It might need stitches, and something to put on it to help it heal certainly wouldn't be amiss," Aster continued, kneeling once more. She used a dry rag to wipe blood away, applying pressure on the wound to slow the bleeding.

Surely there must be someone in the Sun's Birth that had medicinal knowledge, but if there was, Alard didn't seem to want to go to them. Alard was silent for a long moment, clearly contemplating.

With a sigh, Aster removed the now bloody rag, wetting a second one with alcohol and wiping the wound clean. Alard grunted but stayed still, and Aster wrapped the third piece of cloth around his calf, tying it as tightly as she could before she put a solid knot in it.

"That will have to do," She murmured, gathering up the bottle and dirty rags, beginning to tidy up.

"If you had some more basic supplies," Alard suddenly spoke up, "You'd be able to treat me better, right? I wouldn't have to go seek some idiot out here, or worse, go to that damned doctor?"

Aster had no idea who the doctor he spoke of was, but she nodded. "For basic stuff. I can only do so much."

He mulled her words over for a long time as she put the bottle away and tossed the rags into the dirty laundry pile. "There's a shop for herbs," He finally spoke. "Can't remember what it's called. Herbology, or something. But it's in Daggerhand territory. If I showed my hide there I'd get a knife in my back faster than you could say 'petch'."

Aster watched him, practically seeing the wheels in his head turn. "And I wouldn't?" She asked, glancing at the brand on her hand. Alard ran a hand over his jaw, scratching at the stubble there.

"Give me a tick," He spoke, before standing to rummage around the chest of drawers he kept his clothing in.

Which is how Aster found herself walking through the streets of the city, wearing brown leather gloves far too big for her hands, a rucksack, and with a carefully counted five gold mizas in her pocket.

"Only what's necessary, important, and useful," Alard had told her. "I better get my money's worth. If I find out you spent it on anything other than what comes back with you, there will be consequences, trust that."

Alard had at least had the decency to escort her to the river before giving her directions to head northeast. "You'll know you're in Daggerhand territory when you see a bunch of brutish idiots patrolling around like they own the gods-damned city," he growled, before leaving the Eth alone.

With little else to go on, Asterope had done her best to follow the directions given. She had no idea where she was going, though; at some point it did seem that perhaps the amount of armed men who seemed to be patrolling around increased, but it was difficult to say.

It took a bit of wandering around before Aster found where she needed to go; she didn't want to approach anyone for directions. She felt like a walking target, wandering around an unknown part of the city, clearly not having any idea where she was going; she tried her best to seem like she was just walking casually, but she doubted it was successful.

As she often was, Asterope was thankful for the collar around her neck...she hated it, but it was also a thing of safety. It marked her as a slave...somebody not worth the effort of robbing, since what money would a slave in ragged clothing have?

Aster entered the shop cautiously; a small bell tinkled above her head, announcing her presence. The smell of herbs hit Asterope like a wall, and she inhaled deeply; it wasn't unwelcome at all. Counters and shelves packed the small store, filled to the brim with herbs and tonics of all sorts.

As she peered around, a young woman approached her; despite eyeing her collar dubiously, she smiled politely at Aster. "Welcome to Hanhi's Herbologie. My name is Sara. Anything I can help you with?"

Aster nodded, smiling back hesitantly. "Please. I just need some basic things...herbs that can be applied to cuts mostly. Things for infection and to speed up healing, to lessen pain...if you have some bandages and the tools for stitches, maybe those, too?"

Sara nodded, leading Aster into the store. "Were you looking for herbs or already made medicine?"

"Just herbs, please. Some elentia for infection maybe..." Aster trailed off, wracking her brain. It had been so long since she'd had proper access to herbs that she had no idea what to look for. It was distressing. She felt like she was losing the one piece of herself she was trying so desperately to cling to.

"Belltor," Sara suggested. "It will help the wound heal faster and minimize scarring." Aster nodded thankfully, and the woman continued to speak as she fetched the herbs. "Jile to clean the wound, but you would have to make that into a medicine yourself..."

Aster shook her head; her resources were limited, and she doubted she could make much of anything. She really did just need the basics. "Alright then, no jile. Tolm for pain, maybe?"

With the herbs mostly collected, Aster suddenly recalled the book she had been reading over briefly last season, when she'd discovered the library. "Do you have rhinedale?" She asked, abruptly; the book, a journal of sorts, had said the ash of the...plant? Tree? Flower? Whatever it was, the ash had been used on a burn.

"Sure," Sara said, "Leaves or berries?"

"Leaves," Aster said, and they were added to the small pile she had amassed. Sara led Aster to the front, where the Eth paid and put the herbs in her bag, pleased to see she still had some change.

However, she paused when she went to put the rhinedale away. "Sorry if this is a strange request, but...is there any way you could burn this and mix it with some water in a small bottle?" The journal had specifically said rhinedale ash. Of course it was for herself, but Aster figured she could get away with it; after all, burns were a common injury...it couldn't hurt to be prepared for them.

Sara told her the new cost, including the price of the bottle and a little bit extra for preparation, and Aster forked over the extra money, receiving the bottle of ash paste in return. There wasn't much, but she didn't have money for more and a larger bottle, so it would have to do. "Thank you," Aster called, over her shoulder, as she left. She'd spent nearly all of the money Alard had given her, and hoped she had enough to satisfy him for the cost.

Once outside, Aster peered around before ducking down a nearby alley, leaning against the wall. She settled her bag firmly between her feet, and yanked the glove off her right hand with her teeth, holding the bottle of rhinedale ash in her other hand.

Somewhat clumsily, she shook some out onto the back of her injured hand; the damp ash was cool against her skin, and felt instantly soothing. She exhaled a breath, tucking the glove under her arm and putting the bottle away, gently rubbing the ash into the burn on the back of her hand; it was foolish, and a potentially fatal mistake, but she was no longer paying attention to her surroundings, focused on her injury instead.

She couldn't keep the ash on her hand, though. Alard would notice. She had to go find somewhere to wash it off before she returned...preferable not in the disgusting, muddy river. Holding her hand out, the scar of the eight-pointed sun obscured by the smeared ash but still visible, Aster hoisted up her bag and left the alley, still not entirely paying attention, nearly colliding with someone on her way out.
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Into Enemy Territory (Orakan)

Postby Orakan on May 11th, 2019, 9:50 am


The din of the Daggerhand Tavern was a constant hum - as it always seemed to be, no matter the bell - and only ever broken up by the odd, occasional belly laugh, shout or the unmistakable shattering noise of breaking glass. Orakan soaked in the familiarity of it, eyes half-lidded as he paid little mind to the pecker-measuring contest currently at hand by the two brothers in his company. However, the casual focus he had had on the shimmering innards of his tankard - made all the more vivid as he tilted the opening to-and-fro beneath the lantern suspended above him - was broken as he was pointedly addressed.

"Oi, ya petcher. Ya listening to me or what?"

Crooking his lips, Orakan took his time to respond, taking a deep breath before exhaling lazily as he lifted his good eye to the brother that had spoken. His scarred brow lofted somewhat as he shrugged - more with his face than shoulders -, the motions oozing with his naturally defiant arrogance.

"No."

The singular word was equally cool and struck just as Orakan expected, the other man stiffening and posturing as if reeling from a physical blow. Before the half-blind Daggerhand's amusement could touch his features, he lifted his tankard to his lips and swallowed a mouthful down. He then fixed his mismatched gaze on his fellow's, "You jus' talk shyke anyways, Lodon."

The other man in their company burst out in a fit of laughter and Orakan only allowed a grin to steal across his own lips once he saw the emotions in his fellow Daggerhand visibly shift from offence to feigned amusement.

"You're a right cunt, Ora, y'know that?"

Orakan only offered another shrug before he fought the need to tense as he felt the other in their company give him a slap on the back.

"We're gonna play stabscotch. You in? One gold miza a round. Winner takes the pot. Losers might lose a finger - or worse." These words were accompanied by a wink and a needling, lopsided grin that revealed foul teeth - a good few of which were missing. Lodon seemed content in continuing to go toe-to-toe, ever keen to get in a final word or crushing blow - be it physical, mental or verbal. Orakan had forgotten what an aggravating petch of a man he was, ever compensating with a puffed chest and mouthful of utter bullshyke.

And then, unwarranted and unnecessary, the brother to his right once more cut through the tension between the pair as if oblivious to its existence, "More hands means more gold." His expression held the same hopeful eagerness of a dimwitted dog awaiting a pat on the head.

Another non-committal shrug was all Orakan offered. If truth be told, he wasn't familiar with whatever game this was that he was being talked into joining although Lodon's attempt at a threat made him think it had something to do with their hands if the loss of a finger was on the cards. However, there were plenty of games out there to gamble on and each had a handful of names and nicknames to go with them - it was possible that Orakan might know what this was under a different name. So, lifting his tankard to his chapped lips, he drained the dregs of his ale while he drummed up a plan in his head: he'd have to make sure he wasn't chosen to go first so he could watch whatever was being played.

Content with his plan, he set the tankard aside and then dropped that hand to paw at his hips where he found the pouch that held his coin. Withdrawing the required amount, he flicked it onto the scarred table top and watched as it hit and bounced with a distinct 'clink'.

He then made a move to put his plan into action, chin lifting as he regarded the man across from him, "Since it was your idea, you go first, Lodon." Orakan made sure to level his stare on the other man's to further emphasise his words, his fellow Daggerhand only shaking his head as he muttered something under his breath while drawing a dagger out from beneath the table, stabbing its point into the shoddy table top that separated them to emphasise his own words.

"Fine. You next. Then Stubs."

The young Daggerhand watched as the meatiest of the three set his own dagger on the table and, doing his best to disguise his uncertainty, Orakan made a move to mirror the pair, dragging his own dagger from its sheath to lay upon the table as well.

With his attention on Lodon, his good eye watched intently as the man tugged his own knife free and then proceeded to waver it about as he worked to regain the upper hand, "We need an unbiased party to keep time..." And then, without missing a beat, the Daggerhand brother shot his attention to the nearest serving girl and gave a sharp whistle to get her attention. "You there."

The woman slowly approached. Lodon continued.

"C'mere, lovely, take a seat." He even unburdened her of the jug of ale she had been carrying, discarding it on the table as his eyes visibly devoured every inch of the woman's exposed décolletage. Orakan turned his focus to the jug and seized it as his own, refilling his tankard as Lodon continued, dragging a finger along the woman's pitted cheek, "Why don't you be a doll and keep track of time for us while we play stabscotch, hm? All you gotta do is count on these pretty lil fingers of yours as we play." He brushed a finger along one of hers as he spoke.

The woman nodded mutely.

The game commenced shortly thereafter, Lodon taking up his dagger before signalling for the woman to begin her counting as he laid his free palm flat on the tabletop. She obeyed and Orakan watched as he began to make quick stabs between his fingers - starting outside his thumb then inside, then outside again before moving to stab between his index and middle. Outside his thumb then between his middle and ring fingers. Outside his thumb then between his ring finger and pinkie. Outside his thumb, outside his pinkie then outside his thumb again. This was repeated as he picked up his pace and Orakan suddenly wasn't so sure he was interested in this display of fearless masculinity. He happened to like his fingers and wanted them to remain intact.. but he wasn't about to waste a gold miza or wound his pride just to back out.

The counting stopped once Lodon hesitated and messed up the order, his curse being all Orakan needed to know what another option was as to how the game might end - the other was obviously bodily harm.

With three pairs of eyes on him, he swallowed another mouthful of ale and then readied his dagger, mentally going over the order again in his head while doing his best to visualise the pattern on his own hand. Then, on Lodon's signal, he began, his motions far slower than Lodon's had been, his messy depth perception doing him no favours. He managed to get - awkwardly - through the full round but caught his index finger once he started again. He mimicked Lodon's curse. The barmaid gasped. The two Daggerhand's in his company chortled at his pain.

Orakan was left nursing his finger as Stubs began and the Daggerhand Brother was halfway through his first round when a Big Brother sidled up to Lodon's other side. Without a word, he scooped up Lodon's dagger and drove it straight down into the back of the Brothers hand - careful enough to have the blade turned in such a way to miss bone and tendon. Lodon howled in a mix of shock and pain as he gripped his wrist.

Orakan and Stubbs sat frozen as the serving girl shot to her feet - visibly blanched, the jug forgotten as she scurried off.

"I told you to go out on patrol, not sit here and play games." The Big Brother's words cut as sharply as that dagger had, slicing into each person present. "When I give you an order, you follow it."

The Big Brother's gaze levelled on Orakan as he continued, tone never wavering, "You." There was a deliberate pause, Lodon - white-faced and squirming like a worm on a hook - ignored as the man continued, "You're on patrol with this meat sack beside you." Another tick passed and then the man's narrowed gaze darted like a viper to Stubs. "Stubbins - move your big arse before you get the same treatment as Lodon, here."

Order given, Stubs shot to his feet like a spooked cat, his movements far more spry than Orakan had expected for a man his size. Orakan muttered and guzzled down what was left of his tankard as the Big Brother dropped his gaze to the table and, without any hesitation, swept the coins from its surface into an awaiting palm with the same effortlessness in which he had driven that knife into Lodon's hand. He disappeared into the crowd as Orakan found his own feet.

The young Daggerhand Brother wore a scowl as he pinned Lodon with a glare. He had planned on spending his day here, drinking... not out patrolling. With that in mind, he made sure to reach across the table and grip the blade still firmly embedded in both Lodon's hand and the table beneath. He intentionally moved it just enough to watch Lodon shudder - wanting to see him squirm in pain - and then leaned down close to utter, words filled with contempt, "You petcher."

With that, he straightened and ripped the dagger free. With Lodon in no state to protest, Orakan took it upon himself to find a home for the bloodied blade within his weapon harness before sheathing his own back in its place and then followed Stubs out.

_____________________


In another part of Robern's Reaches another pair of Daggerhand Brothers were on patrol and engaged in mindless chatter, the younger of the two - and recently patched judging by the state of the fresh tattoo on his arm - ever eager for his veteran companion's approval.

However, his recent comment was waved away, the more veteran Daggerhand obviously enjoying the senior position he found himself in - as well as the unhindered attention of his younger compatriot, and was visibly looking to both steer the conversation and his young fellow's understanding. "No, no, you got it all wrong, kid. Get yourself to Ruby's. Not only are the girls better -" his swagger carried him around a corner, eyes fixed on the new Brother at his side, "but the grog is bar none." He punctuated these two words with pinched fingers, wavering them.

"Brega's only serves that swill that Merv makes." He shook his head in an exaggerated fashion, "It might put hair on your chest but it goes down like nails."

The kid countered with a bit of a laugh and too big a smile, "Oh yeah, that shyke." His words were too eager, racing each other to his lips and tumbling out. "That was like mother's milk for me." Another small, awkward laugh.. as if by doing so it might encourage his partner to join in. "Y'know what they say..." he paused to avoid bumping into the more veteran member as the man swerved, yet soldiered on, ignoring what had caused the man in his company to alter his steps, "turns boys into men!" That hesitant laugh was present again.. but it dropped off as the youth noticed his words had fallen on deaf ears, his companion's attention elsewhere.

The other Daggerhand had stopped abruptly, hand shooting out towards the woman who had nearly collided with him. "Well well well..." the veteran thug said with a cat-like grin that stretched the faint scar on the left side of his cheek, eyes roving the woman who had the misfortune of crossing his path, "What do we have here?"

His clear blue eyes continued to roam before fixing on the collar at her neck. The sight of it caused that grin to widen, "Someone's lost their pet."

The youth at his side grinned, attention divided between the two as that same obnoxious half-laugh left him as he parroted back, "Yeah, someone's lost their pet."

Both eyes were on her now, equally too eager, too invasive.

"Y'know what happens to lost pets, Kalyn.." The veteran's gaze never left the slave's, eyes narrowing as he toyed with her, as if she were now at his mercy.

"Yeah," the kid replied, shifting his weight from one leg to the other as he folded his arms in a way that flashed his new ink for the slave to see. However, judging by the way his eyes skittered back to the other Daggerhand, it was obvious he hadn't a clue and was, instead, waiting for a prompt to act on.

He didn't have to wait long.

The veteran thug's grin broadened, causing lines to form at the corners of his eyes as he flashed a glimpse of his thick, straight teeth, "We play with them, Kalyn." His eyes drifted to view his young companion's face before they lolled back towards the slave's own, making sure to lock eyes with her as he repeated himself, as if to make it all the more clear to her, "We play with them."

The youth grinned and nodded.. and then jumped as another voice chimed in from behind the pair.

"And break 'em."

Both Brothers whirled around to face the body that had spoken, the pair having been too fixated on the plaything that had landed in their laps to have noticed the other two Daggerhand thugs that had approached.

Orakan ignored them, his one good hazel eye locked on the woman - noting the collar, the horns, the way her skin seemed to shimmer. His faced lacked emotion, just as his words had, but his mind was actively mulling over the scene before him. He knew what would come of this woman.. and he couldn't blame his fellows for taking advantage of such an opportunity. If anyone was to blame then it was her owner. Without proper protection, she had found herself in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

"Gentlemen!" The more senior Daggerhand spread his arms wide as if to welcome them although it was evident he was not as keen on sharing as his actions made him seem. "The more the merrier, right?" He elbowed his young compatriot and the youth - bare faced and doe eyed - nodded on cue despite looking out of his depth.

The meat mountain that was Stubs rumbled out a hearty chuckle from over Orakan's shoulder, no doubt in agreeance.

Orakan sniffed and tried to shake the sting out of his still throbbing finger, unmoved by the other's words. He folded his arms across his chest as he regarded the two momentarily before looking past them to the slave. Unlike those in his company, Orakan did not look at her as a thing. His eyes looked beyond that, both curious and wary of her odd features which looked like the work of magic to him. He was vaguely aware that all kinds of races could be bought at the slave market but had never delved much into that side of Sunberth. Despite this, he could tell she wouldn't have been cheap and that made him wonder why exactly she was here, on her lonesome. The shoddy outfit and poorly sized gloves might make it seem like she wasn't gold on legs - but not every thief dealt in worldly possessions.

It was then his eye darted down to the exposed hand and suddenly his mind kicked over, looking to and fro between her dainty hand and the oversized gloves.

Were they meant to hide something? Was there a gang that left their mark on their slaves' hands to show ownership?

His brow narrowed as he shouldered past the pair without any hint of hesitation, ignoring the protests. His good eye lifted to her face and then dropped to the hand he was after, manoeuvring his body in a way to block it from view of the others as he went to reach for it.

"Hey! We found her first!" piped the youth, his chest puffed. Yet the senior Daggerhand shoved the kid aside and reached for Orakan's shoulder, seizing it just as the half blind Daggerhand spotted the outline of the Sun's Birth emblem through the grey muck she had spread over the back of her hand.

His eye whipped back up to her own and, in that instant, an ultimatum was offered, unsaid: Work with me or get tossed to them.
receipt :
Gambling -1gm

+1 dagger? (Lodon's)
“The means to every crime is ours,
and we employ them all,
we multiply the horror a hundredfold.”

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