Atonement Is Due

Ixzo and Kelski take on the worst type of people.

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Atonement Is Due

Postby Ixzo on March 3rd, 2019, 10:30 pm

23rd of Spring, 519AV
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”Clean the kids, just the ones with names, and change them. Make yourself useful. You can at least do that until you find your…. family.” The sour old hag sneered at Lolan, and the Drykas child frowned in return. She had felt the raw dejection of this place over the past few days. They had locked her in a room and starved her, only giving her enough water to live, but not even a bucket for her to waste in. Luckily after the first few days without food, there was little waste to pass, but the situation was worse in other ways. The young girl found herself regretting her last fight with her strange cat guardian. The lion, which utterly terrified her, had been stalking her for the better part of two seasons, and she wanted nothing to do with the Kelvic who thought herself a Drykas. She took the aide the woman gave when it was necessary, but she had no intention of moving out into the wilderness, a dangerous place that Ixzo had said was safe. Now it seemed Ixzo had been telling the truth.

Lolan knew the Kelvic was more worried about the slavers returning for her, but Lolan was almost certain the Kelvic had killed all of them when she was first rescued. Now she had nothing to fear in the city… or so she thought. The old woman who sneered at her had offered her a bowl of stew and a night’s rest. Naturally the Drykas had been suspicious but at the sight of other children and even more babies, she was convinced it was a safe place to take refuge and care from. Only, it was a face. In less than a day Lolan found herself in the room, and only now, nearly twelve days later, was she being released. Her already scrawny arms had somehow withered to almost nothing coated in a thick hair she had never possessed before, and the effort of staying awake was exorbitant. When she managed to focus on her will to escape, her thoughts always clung to Ixzo. The Kelvic had been right. You were right.

”What are you doing! On with it!” The sharp smack of the wicker switch on the back of her legs resounded in the room, and Lolan gaped at the scene. The bright giggling babies she had seen when she was first lured in were not here, instead it looked to be a graveyard of children. The grey dusk filtering through the window painted the morbid atmosphere before her. A few cried and screamed, but many more lay without life, or so Lolan thought. Scared of meeting the pain of a switch again, Lolan rushed forward, falling to the nearest crib she could find. A chalk ‘X’ had been slashed on a board at the base of the crib and the child looked in dire need. Their diaper was soiled past any normal color and their breathes were shallow and irregular, a worrisome sight on the skeletal shadow of what used to be an infant.

”No not that one, one with a name.” The old lady sneered again, and Lolan tried to tear her eyes away from the child as her divine gift recounted the horrors that the short life had been through. There was something else tugging at her divination, a familiar shadow stalking her at a distance. Lolan slowly meandered to the nearest baby that seemed to have a name on it, although it was in better shape, it was still not taken care of to the extent a baby should. It’s diaper too was soiled, but it at least seemed fed with some regularity, bundled in a blanket that the other child had not had the luxury of. Carefully Lolan reached into the crib to remove the child, slowly walking towards the changing table in the corner of the room, or what had once been a changing table. There were no fresh rags to change the child into, which made the inexperienced child hesitate. She had no idea how to do any of this.

The sharp hiss of the wicker flew through the air and the Drykas braced herself for its sting, holding the baby carefully in two arms and then biting her lip as the fresh welt threatened to spill the tears from her eyes. Trying to act as if the recent hit had not bothered her she carefully placed the child down on the changing table and then turned to the old hag, the strong Drykas spirit still strong in the displaced child. It made sense to her now, what her divination was telling her. It was not of the past, but of the present. The shadow was familiar, it was the same dark figure that had followed her for two seasons, it was Ixzo... and another. The knowledge that her protector was coming for her, even after so many times she had rejected her, gave the small child confidence that someone in her situation should not have had.

”You’re in trouble now.” A nefarious tone dripped into the child’s voice and her frail face creased into a knowing grin as she watched the brief flash of confusion on the old lady’s face that was quickly overshadowed with rage and anger. ”They're coming.”

∆ ∆ ∆

Logically Ixzo knew that Lolan didn’t want to see her, the Drykas had told her as much many times this season already. The brief familiarity and friendship they had shared had been ruined by Ixzo’s insistence on the child’s safety. She didn’t trust this shyke-hole of a city, and she didn’t want the vulnerable child living in it… by herself. But Lolan hadn’t listened. Instead Ixzo had opted to keep an eye on the child from afar, Lolan could refuse her help, but Ixzo was determined. Only, she hadn’t found the child in the past few days. Lolan was known for moving spots frequently, but also staying near her other street urchin friends in Sunberth. There was a sort of unity between the children who didn’t seek out help from orphanages that Ixzo was beginning to recognize. She trusted Lolan with them, if she had to choose from the worst options for the child.

But she had not seen her or heard from her in too long. Ixzo counted ten days, although she was sure it was longer than that. She was used to going two or three days before finding the child again, Lolan was her only reason to come into town now. But ten days? Something was wrong. In an effort to find her, Ixzo had delved into the tent city, hunting down the twins that Lolan associated with most and asking them where she was. They had sited her near the gated community twelve days ago, just after their fight, but had not seen her since. Ixzo had followed the hint to the gated community, fairly unfamiliar with the place. She had sold meat to them once or twice, but had not been permitted to enter the gates, and she wondered if it was because of how she looked. Not just her scars and tattoos but her matted unkempt hair and yellow teeth. She had not been taking care of herself, she knew it.

The afternoon sun was beginning to darken to an orange as night threatened above. Ixzo waiting for Leth’s cover, at home with it and knowing it would aid her oncoming hunt. She was going to get Lolan out. She had spent the better part of five bells circling the gated community, trying to see inside as best she could and figure out if Lolan had gone in. Only during one of her frustrated breaks, did Ixzo notice what she was missing. Across one of the avenues from the community was a red brick building. It was not as dilapidated as the building surrounding it, but looked to be inhabited. She had watched a single woman walk in, spend less than half a bell, and then be thrown out of the front door by an older, angry looking woman. During that moment, she had glimpsed a sitting parlor, and a crying infant that it seemed had been ripped out of the woman’s hand, but it was being in the arms of a child, a child she recognized. Lolan did not see her, nor did the woman, but Lolan looked utterly shocked by whatever events that had transpired to require the visiting woman to be throw out. But just as long as it took them to remove the woman, the door was shut and Ixzo could no longer see inside, but her anger had already flared. She knew Lolan was in there now, and she was going to get her out, even if the little Drykas hated her for it.

Her hair was matted and gross, her stench strong from having gone just too long without a bath, Ixzo wore a simple linen dress and unfastened boots. It was not dyed, but it was stained with use and her life in the woods. Mud mixed with dried blood dressed the hem of her skirts, and food stains fell on her breast from sloppy eating. She looked like the homeless vagrants of Sunberth, not her usual prideful self. Still, beneath the neglect was the permanent art of her tattoos and scars speaking of her warrior’s upbringing among the Myrians and Drykas, even as shameful as she appeared now. What this simple attire did afford her though was camouflage. She was hardly looked at in this city, and straight up avoided by the more expensively dressed denizens making their way to and from the gated community with heavily armed guards watching the obviously wild woman carefully as they passed. Although her dress was simple, she wore her belt with her ax, and her kukri. It was simple attire and weapons, but the lion didn’t think she needed much, she had her claws, after all. As soon as Ixzo narrowed in on the building, she began circling it too, but she was no longer looking for clues on where Lolan was, she was trying to find a way in.

Ixzo strolled through the alley-ways surrounding it, meandering as best she could with her angry anticipatory steps so that she did not draw attention from inside, but still trying to get as best a glimpse in the covered windows as possible. The parlor in the front had opened windows with old yellowed glass letting in as little of the setting sun as possible, but no one was in there. All other windows were covered or boarded, some without glass any longer.

At this time, with the sun making its last escape down the horizon, Ixzo found herself at the back of the building, large dark fingers probing the weakest board over one of the windows. The Kelvic took a tick to glance down the alleyway for ground-based witnesses for a tick before pressing her left palm up against the board and her ear as well. Her gnosis did not tell her of any light on the other side, although she could hear the soft mumbling of voices, neither of which seemed very friendly. Ixzo didn’t need much more information before she was focusing on peeling the nails out as silently as possible, taking her time to do the work. There was almost no one in this particular alleyway, since she had about one foot before the next building was sidled up to her back, and the window she was peeling at was up by her face, six feet in the air. It was not on very many people’s radar to be protected… or repaired apparently. The spring rains had softened and molded the wood boarding, and although Ixzo felt splinters lodging themselves into her finger pads, the determination of getting inside was more important than inconvenient pain. She wasn’t entirely sure what she would find on the other side, but she was determined to find Lolan.

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Atonement Is Due

Postby Kelski on March 17th, 2019, 5:47 pm

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The Kelvic Sea Eagle materialized out of a shadow beside the strangely marked woman. Her Kelvic senses recognized a fellow Kelvic immediately and she gave pause, quietly staying her hand. Kelski had watched the baby far for two seasons now, hoping they’d changed their ways after she’d killed Layla and let Myrtle go. But business seemed as busy as ever and Kelski knew it was just a matter of time before she herself needed to move against it as one last loose tie before she left Sunberth. She owed it to Mercy and Caitlyn whom she’d given shelter too since that fateful night she’d investigated Mercy’s claims with a svefra who had then vanished.

“You should be careful.” Kelski whispered softly, not wanting to startle the other Kelvic. “The women inside are brutally vicious and abuse children on a regular basis. I was once in there, fetching a child back they stole from a mother, and saw it all first hand. They have empty eyes, those humans… eyes that only fill with greed.” The Sea Eagle Kelvic said, stepping back out of the other woman’s space and studying her curiously. Kelski had kept her voice low and her hands were the woman could see them. She wanted no trouble because there was enough trouble with the baby farm in front of them as it is.

“If you are trying to break in….” She started out. “You’ll find no loose coin or valuables, only young flesh bought and paid for or stolen from desperate scared young women who know not what they give their children over into.” Kelski said, her words soft but tinged with her disgust. Her voice dropped even lower. “You will find a lot of death here too. For they won’t feed them and care for them if their mother’s don’t pay generously.” Kelski explained, glancing nervously at the building.

“I rescued a mother from their beating once… and her young child. Last Fall… took her in. She was a long time healing and her baby daughter almost died because of the way they starved her since Mercy had her bells cut at the laundry and had no coin to pay them.” Kelski said softly.

“My name is Kelski. I often fly over this place, watching, waiting for an opportunity to take it on again. Last time I brought help, but she vanished. The Svefra are unreliable at best, and will stab you in the back at their worst. But another Kelvic… I didn’t anticipate.” Kelski said thoughtfully.

The Sea Eagle moved like a bird, and her sharp eyes flickered back and forth like that of a raptor. But she also had a smell to her beyond her very raptorish scent. Ixzo could easily detect it on Kelski’s clothing and person. Night Lion. Somehow, somewhere, Kelski had contact with another Night Lion. There were other smells about her. Mouse, human, and even dog. Brat as well, though those scents were fainter.

She was dressed in black and dark grey leathers. Boots rode up her legs, wrapped down and bound around her calves. A dark leather vest was covered over with a bandolier of daggers, with more sheathed at her hips. There was a black backpack nestled up against her shoulders. She was dressed like a warrior, but spoke like an educated woman. Her words were a bit of a contrast to how she was dressed. But then Ixzo would understand that looks were everything in Sunberth and since the Kelvic looked like she could handle her own, people most likely left her alone.

“So tell me, why are you trying to get in? Do they have your child? I would help you if I could. I know the layout… I’ve been at least as far as through the whole of the first floor.” The Sea Eagle said, her words quietly whispered, her expression fierce. Then she quieted, and waited for everything she’d said and done to sink into Ixzo’s mind.
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Atonement Is Due

Postby Ixzo on March 17th, 2019, 6:55 pm

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And then suddenly, someone was there. Ixzo jumped, her upper lip curling back to expose her teeth and lowering into a defensive stance. Trying to grasp the situation, Ixzo took two deep breathes in, only then remembering that she would have been smarter to reach towards one of her weapons, but she was not trained enough in them to have that reaction yet. She could smell many animals on this woman, but most strongly that of a bird. Perhaps she was a bird of some sort in her Kelvic form? The odd way of her eyes was unfamiliar to the cat-like woman, and the idea that she was a grackle to play with would have excited the adventuresome side of Ixzo instantly, had she not been as distracted as she was. There were other, fainter scents on the woman, some that were familiar and some that were not. There was one that was eerily familiar, although not one Ixzo had smelled in years… a Night Lion. One of her own kind. She could vaguely remember her brush in with the pride in the sea of grass, but how was there another like her this far away? She could sense the woman as Kelvic in the odd way that Kelvics could, but she had little else to go off of. This grey woman rose her hands to show she meant no harm, and Ixzo hesitated for a moment longer, listening to her words.

Child, stole, greed. No coin, scared, death. Name, Kelski, Svefra, help. Ixzo had trouble understand much of the Kelvic’s quick and smooth words. It was that language she had met in Kenash, but seemed to infect Sunberth as well. She could pick out words that were familiar to her, and had to guess their meaning when put together. The last part confused her, but most of Kelski’s words had at least confirmed her suspicions. Although if she was being honest with herself, the place could have been utterly kind and caring towards Lolan and Ixzo still would be working to break her out.

The hunter straightened more, still watching the woman carefully. She was small but capable. Her clothing spoke of someone who had significantly more coin than Ixzo would ever wish to see, but the utility of the clothes spoke of someone with common sense. The other Kelvic had Her name was Kelski, but she was not a Svefra, Ixzo knew her as Kelvic as surely as she knew herself as Kelvic. Ixzo could tell by the snarl of her lips and the set of her voice that this woman detested whoever lay inside this building, and it occurred to her that they shared this feeling, even if Ixzo had come to settle on the decision to hate this building within the past few chimes.

”I am Ixzo.” She nodded, her words thickly accented in a whisper. Ixzo pulled her axe from her belt and began working the first board away from the window as silently as possible, using the blade as a wedge. ”My Lolan in this. I go in here.” She wasn’t entirely sure if that was what the Kelvic had asked, but she wanted to explain that she was not a thief, not that being a thief would be a problem. As far as Ixzo was aware, everyone was a thief and an idiot, and no one was ashamed of it. If this woman hated this place as much as she seemed, then they could work together. Whatever reason this woman had was good enough. While working the nails out of the second board, Ixzo watched the woman out of the corner of her eye

Once the last board was off, with more noise than the first two due to Ixzo’s anticipation, she turned to the woman once more. A small part of her told her that this woman might be a part of this building and may have been sent out on a ploy to get Ixzo inside. She would have to pay attention if that was the case. The lion’s confidence told her taking down a bird kelvic would not be that difficult, although if she was lead into a trap, that would be significantly harder. ”You help me, I help you.” She stated, a slight lilt at the end of her sentence to signify the offer. She could use the help, and she was sure the other woman could too.

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Atonement Is Due

Postby Kelski on March 20th, 2019, 8:47 pm

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Kelski quickly got the idea that there might be a language barrier when Ixzo answered her with a thick accent and broken common. She had listened to the Sea Eagle’s words but in a way that indicated she was getting only part of the context because her expression darted from confusion and confirmation. Ixzo watched Kelski carefully, studying her, not unlike Kelski was watching Ixzo. Some inherent part of it amused and enthralled Kelski because it was so rare she ran across another stubborn strong willed female in Sunberth.

Kelvics were known to size each other up. Curious, Kelski tapped into her djed well, concentrated, and pulled djed into her vision blinking her magesight. Kelski felt the burn of power fill her eyes and she blinked, looking between the real world and her auristics. The other kelvic was beautiful in the fading light. Lit up with emotions like determination and worry, Kelski knew immediately this was no thief. This was an angry protective woman deeply disturbed and undeterred. Scanning her body, Kelski tried to learn as much about Ixzo as she could in just a chime or two of intense staring.
The raised scars on Ixzo’s skin were beautiful too. They gleamed faintly in Kelski’s magesight as well as tracking on the physical. That meant they had spiritual meaning to the other Kelvic beyond that of outward decoration. Truthfully, the kelvic sea eagle wanted to touch them gently… explore them. They were that unusual and beautiful in her sight.

Like her, Ixzo had bonding cords wrapped as light tendrils around her form, but hers were different than Kelski’s own looked. The other Kelvics looked strong, used, but truncated as if they’d been broken. Kelski’s own were always small things, unused, almost vestigial. The Sea Eagle was fairly sure she wasn’t bonded at the moment, but like Kelski… bond or no. Family was family.

Evidently this Lolan was family.

Undeterred by Kelski’s interruption, the other Kelvic woman picked at the nails with her axe quietly and doggedly determined to quietly get in. Kelski admired that trait. Even with the interruption, she was dealing with it and still persisting at her task. Stubborn. It wasn’t a bad label in the Sea Eagle’s opinion. Glancing around, Kelski blinked out of her magesight, moved to a patch of bare dirt, and pulled a not-so-great throwing dagger out. She quickly sketched the floorplan of the inside of the house of the first floor as she knew it, and caught Ixzo’s attention when she was done.

“I’ll help you if you would like. I don’t want to get in your way, but I cannot abide by the people that work in here. Last time I was abandoned when I tried to infiltrate on the part of an woman whose baby they held hostage. I’d like another chance at them if you want someone at your back. I know you don’t know me, but when you see what’s inside, you’ll understand my anger. I doubt they have changed at all… “ Kelski said, then gestured down at the quickly sketched floorplan.

“We are here. You picked a good place to go in. I think there are sleeping infants on the other side of the wall in that room. But if there is smoke in the fireplace… sweet smoke… don’t breathe it in. It is to make the babies calm and sleepy.” She added, looking thoughtful and wanting the Kelvic to understand she really did want to help.

“They are cold hearted butchers in there. And they will stab you in the heart if you let them. If your Lolan is in there, they won’t hesitate to hurt them to hurt you.” Kelski advised, willing to keep this woman’s back safe.

“Do you have a plan? If you don’t, we should make one before you head in there. Something to distract them.” Kelski glanced up suddenly, seeing that one of the fireplaces was indeed burning. She thought a moment, being an excellent planner, and frowned thoughtfully.

“I could gather some garbage and plug the chimney. Smoke will fill the house, distracting them. They might even come out but regardless of what they do, that will keep them busy while we go in.” She suggested, thinking hard. Kelski had a lot of tricks up her sleeve but she didn’t know Ixzo well. Some of them were best kept in the heat of the moment and for the battle that was certain to come.
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Atonement Is Due

Postby Ixzo on April 15th, 2019, 12:33 am

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Ixzo was not a trapper nor was she used to hunting in pairs or prides, she had always been a solitary hunter, much more from necessity than design. Ixzo found results tracking, she got as close as she could without detection before she relied on strength and speed to secure her kill. Typically her prey would take her extended distances and it became a game of endurance as she waited until they least expected her, but never had she attempted this. It seemed their prey tonight was like badgers, hard to get to in their den, and only dangerous so long as they were protected by the earth they dug into. This woman hunted differently though, and the night lion tried to focus on the other way of thinking. Ixzo crouched beside her, examining the layout of the first floor and trying to commit it to memory. Already Kelski had more information than herself, a sweet smoke that put infants to sleep, an idea of what the first floor looked like. All useful knowledge, but to Ixzo it all seemed optional. The idea of waiting for a ruse seemed tedious and uncertain, but the Kelvic didn’t have to force herself to recognize the ingenuity of it.

”Yes, good.” She finally agreed, imagining how she would make use of her prey coming to her. They would be more likely to see her, or perhaps they would remain inside and force her to come in, fighting through the smoke herself to reach them. Whatever plan this other Kelvic had, she had seemed to hatch it quickly, which meant this was not her first time staking out this place, and she was angry. Good, Ixzo could work with anger. Not a woman of many words, Ixzo nodded at the plan, or at least what she understood of it, still studying the crudely drawn map to try and make sense of it.

”Children here?” She pointed to the room that Kelski had said the children would be in, a curious furrow to her brow. ”Fire here?” She tapped the same square that represented the room. And then shook her head. It was a good idea to smoke the people out, but she was not willing to risk putting so many infants in danger. If they were under the sleep of this sweet smoke, then what would more smoke do to them? Not good things, and if Kelski and her were trying to kill these vile creatures, then they would not have time to care for the children. And although Ixzo was here for Lolan first, that seemed to risky. ”Must make smoke… other place. Cook place?” She asked, waiting on a confirmation from the plan hatcher.

”I go here,” She pointed to the child’s room that Kelski said she would enter through. Skurak,” She spat the insulting name of the people who ran this place. ”Go where you make smoke. Away children, we fight.” She recounted Kelski’s words, trying to emphasize that if they were going to take charge of where to start the fight, they should do so with the least amount of danger to the children. ”No children hurt. Good? Ixzo’s voice was filled with the optimistic hope that only a follower of Priskil would have after having gone through so many experiences which didn’t go as planned. She knew warriors who said it was foolish to think that there would be no casualties in a battle like this, but she was more confident in her Goddess than that. They would eliminate risk as best as they could, and then hope for the best, while doing what they needed to in order to enact it.

By now she was certain this woman was as angry as she was, they wanted similar things and had a common goal: take this place down. Ixzo was not used to working with others, having never needed to in the jungles, and not gotten the chance to in the plains, but she was willing to give this a go. And she would be lying to herself if she denied that she was curious. Other than the elusive Crylon, she had met no other kind soul. No soul who chose the harder path so long as it would help another.

Ixzo rose from her crouch, and extended her hand to shake it as these pale humans did upon an agreement. ”Thank you.” She said simply, regardless of if the other Kelvic took her hand or not. Then, Ixzo stepped back giving the other woman a few ticks to reply or argue with her before she set to work, enacting her part of the plot and examining the window.

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