Flashback First Impressions

Learning the ugly truth about Sunberth. [Showcase Challenge]

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

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First Impressions

Postby Kynier on March 11th, 2019, 2:54 am

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75th of Spring, 515 A.V.


As always, the smell was the first thing he noticed when walking out the door. A combination of odious stenches that were capable of being tasted if not smelled. Kynier scrunched his nose in displeasure as he forced the flimsy door to his new home in what they called the Sunset Quarters shut. Ever since he got off the boat five days ago, he had only been able to escape he smell by being close to an indoor fire. For a time, he had considered the aroma of living in Syliras to be bad. Sunberth was far worse.

It was less crowded than the city of knights, but the amount of filth just lying around was boggling. The scent of the sea air mixed with the grimy smell of human body odor, stagnant water, overflowed latrines, decaying bodies, and for some reason a hint of ash. Kynier hoped that he was going to be able to adjust to the smell of the city, otherwise, his time here was going to be very brief. A sigh escaped his lips. He thought that, but something in him said that he wouldn’t really leave. The first question that had come to his mind was, where would he go?

Twisting the key, the door’s lock clicked into place. He started heading west towards where he had found the markets yesterday. Their selections were a bit limited, but today he was hoping to find something specific. After having spent a vast quantity of his wealth on securing a private residence for himself, the next logical thing to do was go about finding a steady source of income. For now, he had enough to get him through to the end of the next season, maybe even the one after as well if he were to scrimp. Before he did that, he wanted to acquire a map of the city to help become more familiar with its layout.

Whether it was just from being in the different environment or now, Kynier felt on edge at all times when walking the streets. A hand instinctively rested on the hilt of his cold iron short sword, the only tangible reminder of a time from two lives ago. Each time a person glanced at him, Kynier sensed a rising tension. One that only dissipated once their gaze turned away and they moved on. His time alone in the wilds had a similar feeling. A sensation of being surrounded by predators.

After a few bells of walking, Kynier found himself at a river. From what he gathered, it was one of two that ran through the city. And where they were connected was supposed to be somewhere further north? A glance to the left and right to get his bearings reaffirmed the thought. Yes, it was north of where he was. A place they called the Seaside Markets were supposed to be where the shorter river deviated from the other. Keeping the river within his sight, he ventured north for another bell.

A cacophony of voices arose as he drew nearer as he approached the markets. People hawked their wares to every person that passed by. Kynier did not walk very far in before he looked down at his feet. It felt as though he were stepping in mud, and his inspection confirmed that. The ground of the whole area was damp, and the support beams of the stalls were unusually high. There were also catwalks taking specific routes over people’s heads for seemingly no purpose. Kynier wandered over to a stall, one with a dirty-blonde young woman tending the merchandise.

“Excuse me,” he said to get her attention. The woman turned to look at him with a reserved smile. “Uh… this may seem like an imbecilic question, but what are the catwalks for?” His finger pointed at them despite how clear it must have been what he was talking about. The woman smiled nervously at him with almond colored eyes.

“You’re obviously visiting the market for the first time,” she said with a soft laugh. “That’s for when the tide comes in. People raise their stalls above the flood waters, and the catwalks are for the customers to be able to move from one vendor to the next if they don’t wish to hire someone with a boat to take them.” Kynier looked back at the raised walkways and imagined the place with highwater.

“If its that much effort to have a stall here, they why haven’t the markets been set up somewhere else?” Kynier looked back at the woman who was looking at him with an intrigued expression. As though it were a question, she had thought of herself a long time ago but had since adjusted to how things were.

“Because,” she said with a sly smile and a slight turn of her head, “we’re ‘stubborn ‘berthers’.”




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Image Credit goes to Gossamer!
Kynier
Player
 
Posts: 851
Words: 1156083
Joined roleplay: May 13th, 2018, 3:14 am
Location: Sunberth
Race: Human
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Sunberth Seasonal Challenge (1) 2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)
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First Impressions

Postby Kynier on March 11th, 2019, 2:55 am

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For an instant, there was silence between them. The woman’s tone indicated that there was some sort of jest to her statements. It had to have been based off an understanding that he lacked, because it sounded a little more like nonsense than anything. His eyebrows were raises slightly at her. “That’s not a real saying, is it?” The woman laughed to herself and lowered her gaze, waiving a hand dismissively.

“No. No. It’s just… it’s something that I say sometimes. No one else cares to repeat it to make it a saying. Although,” the woman looked down at her hands and fidgeted with her fingers. “It is accurate. Many here don’t like change, and would rather stick through something than find a way around it.” It was clear that her mind wasn’t really on the stalls of the market, and Kynier crossed his arms as she appeared to reflect on something.

“Well,” he said to cut short whatever it was, “some things need to be confronted, rather than trying to find another way.” The woman titled her head a little at him with a bit of a smirk. After a tick, she started nodding.

She cleared her throat abruptly and pulled a long strand of hair away from her face. “So, what are you looking for today?” Kynier allowed his gaze to roam over her wares fairly quickly. The woman had an assortment of clothing. Nothing that was elaborate or made from fine materials.

“I’m uh… looking to purchase a map of the city.” The woman’s eyes opened wide in surprise.

“Really?” her tone was skeptical, “A map of Sunberth?” She laughed for a moment before stopping. The amusement was not shared by him. He wasn’t aware yet that things common in other cities were rather difficult to obtain here. When she realized he wasn’t sharing the laughter, it quickly died. “You’re serious?” Kynier nodded slowly. The woman shifted her weight and crossed her arms under her breasts. “You do realize that a lot of people here can’t read?”

Kynier shrugged. “A person doesn’t need to understand letters to be able to read a map.” Then he twisted his head to the side ever so slightly. “Can you read?” his question half in jest and half sincere. She raised her chin a bit and was very animated with her head as she retorted.

“I’ll have you know, that I can read. And that I…” she stopped midsentence. A thought occurring to her based off how her eyes were perceiving something that wasn’t really before her. “I think I know where you could possibly find a map of the city.” Kynier waited expectantly for her to reveal her thoughts, but she met his eyes and was staring at him in a strange way.

“Well?” he asked with a gesture of his hand to encourage her to be forthcoming. Instead of saying more, her lips closed and the smile drew wider across her face. Without saying anything, the woman pulled a large pack onto the counter of the stall. Hands folded clothes with quick familiarity, as though it were an action that she had performed a thousand times. “What’re you doing?” The woman continued folding and packing the clothes.

“I’ve already sold about half of what I’ve got for the day. Which means that I can spare some time to show you to the library.” Her last word caught his attention. If there was a library, he could learn a lot about the city and fairly quickly. It was a bit awkward waiting for her to finish packing her stuff away. Thus far, the people here had not been very helpful, and it was surprising to find the woman almost eager to lead him somewhere.

“I’m Kynier, by the way.” The woman finished tightening her pack to keep it sealed as she smiled at him.

“I’m Danica, and it’s nice to meet you.” She slung the pack over her shoulder and tilted her head to the side as an indication for him to follow. “Come on. It’s this way.”




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Image Credit goes to Gossamer!
Kynier
Player
 
Posts: 851
Words: 1156083
Joined roleplay: May 13th, 2018, 3:14 am
Location: Sunberth
Race: Human
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Medals: 7
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Overlored (1) One Million Words! (1)
Sunberth Seasonal Challenge (1) 2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)
2018 Top NaNo Word Count (1)

First Impressions

Postby Kynier on March 11th, 2019, 2:56 am

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Danica took him northeast through the city. Kynier’s eyes were roaming constantly to find landmarks to help him remember when navigating on his own. Unfortunately, many of the buildings were so poor of quality that none of them really stood out for him to be able to remember the street by. The only thing he had to really help with that matter was the river they were walking by. Their pace seemed a bit on the relaxed side, though they hadn’t exchanged many words since she started taking him to the library.

They were walking side by side, and Kynier looked over at her. Danica was a little taller than most women, though she still had to look up to see into his eyes. Unlike many women he had met in Syliras, this one walked with confidence. Only the women of the Syliran Knights had walked with a similar posture that he had seen. She was in healthy shape as well, and demonstrated better hygiene than many he had seen in Sunberth. And there was something else about her that he couldn’t quite place that appealed to him. “So… what’s the name of this river?” he asked to avoid the strange silence growing between them.

Danica’s eyes went from him to the river in a short span. “Oh, it’s uh… it’s called the Mudway.” Kynier arched an eyebrow with a bit of a disbelieving smile. When Danica noticed it she half laughed and half protested as she spoke. “I’m serious!” Kynier twisted his lips in a “if you say so” fashion. Danica narrowed her gaze a little. “Both the rivers had names,” she explained, “but at some point, people forgot what they were. Now, they’re just referred to as The Nameless River and the Mudway.” Kynier’s expression became a little more serious.

“Is there a lot of that here? Forgetting names and history?” Danica rubbed at the back of her neck and looked at the ground, all amusement gone from her expression.

“Uh… a little bit. But people mostly remember the bad things. Like recent history that their parents or grandparents lived through. Beyond that, it becomes a lot less common knowledge.” Crossing her arms in front of her, Danica’s expression became sterner as she looked at the road ahead of them. “And there’s a lot of hatred in our recent history.” Kynier cast his gaze to the ground in front of her.

“Mages,” he said a bit softly. Danica quickly turned on him and nearly touched him with a hand before pulling it back.

“Shh!” She looked down the way they came quickly before catching his eyes again. “Don’t say that too loud.” There was discomfort in her eyes, which caused him to flood with tension. “If you say that word loud enough, you will attract a lot of attention. And people will come, with whatever they can use as a weapon. You should only say that out loud when you see one, you understand?” Kynier stared into her almond eyes for a long moment. He had been warned about the prejudice towards mages in Sunberth, but to know that a single word is all it took to amass people seeking to hunt them…

“I understand,” his words were quiet. Danica gave him a courteous smile that appeared heavily forced.

“Good.” She turned and kept walking. Kynier followed suit after a tick. Despite the awkwardness in the air, he inquired further.

“Is the hatred for mages really that great here? In other places, they are distrusted. Sometimes considered a necessary resource depending on certain situations.” Danica held a straight face, though there was visible pain behind her eyes when she looked at him.

“Obal Causten came to Sunberth with a small collection of apprentices. They were able to kill, or enslave, every prominent figure at the time with their magic. When they controlled the city, they forced the people to work as slaves for them. Some were taken for strange experiments. While Causten was a mad wizard, they all had a bloodthirst and found amusement in people’s pain. For fourteen years, they controlled Sunberth. But as the people always do,” she said turning her head forward with her chin held up with pride, “they rebelled and killed many of the mages.”

Danica pursed her lips and licked the inside of her lips. The pride in her posture vanished as she continued to speak. “After the Causten Order was gone, the people refused to tolerate the presence of mages in the city. It’s the only thing they are united on right now.” She turned her head away from him for a moment, before gazing at him again. “You’re not a mage, are you? You don’t seem twisted enough to be one.”

Kynier laughed nervously, both at the complement and the irony. “No, I’m not a mage. I’ve met a few though,” he said, trying to lace the lie with some truth to make it more believable. “And they too seemed a bit… crazed. Obsessively driven, even.” In mid stride, Danica drew close enough to bump her shoulder against his.

“Good,” she said more pleasantly. Her stride did not take her further away. The closeness of her made him a bit unnerved. Partially because, he liked her for a strange reason. Even though she did not appear to have any love for what he truly was.

“I…” he said a bit awkwardly to get her attention. “Don’t know my way around the city very well. Nor do I know anyone here yet. Thusly, I was hoping to impose upon you, the responsibility, of showing me around the city. Beyond just how to get to the library,” he added with a smile. Danica looked at him with an intrigued smile. Her eyes looked him up and down once as she bit her lower lip.

“I think I could arrange for that to happen. Where are you living?” Kynier gestured towards the southeast.

“I’ve gotten my own place in the Sunset Quarters. It’s not much, but it allows me some privacy. After a few days of renting, I knew I couldn’t handle sharing living arrangements with other people without losing my sanity.” Danica ran a hand through her hair once and fidgeted with the ends of a few strands.

“There’s a park in the northern section of the Sunset Quarters. How about you meet me there at the fifteenth bell tomorrow?” The look in her eyes was hopeful, and Kynier smiled before he answered.

“Sounds like a plan.”


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Image Credit goes to Gossamer!
Kynier
Player
 
Posts: 851
Words: 1156083
Joined roleplay: May 13th, 2018, 3:14 am
Location: Sunberth
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 7
Featured Contributor (1) Featured Thread (1)
Overlored (1) One Million Words! (1)
Sunberth Seasonal Challenge (1) 2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)
2018 Top NaNo Word Count (1)

First Impressions

Postby Kynier on March 11th, 2019, 2:57 am

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76th of Spring, 515 A.V.


Kynier was restless throughout the night and the early part of the day. The trip to the library had been successful in procuring a map. But more than that, Danica had taken his interest. Of the things he had expected to encounter or find in the city of anarchy, romance was not one of them. He had examined himself in his hand mirror, obsessing over his hair by giving it more than five ticks worth of thought and effort. The last time he had felt like this about a woman, he wasn’t sure. Nor did he know what to really expect.

When he was ready, he set off from his apartment and north towards where the park had been indicated on the map he had been studying during the day. There was a route in his head, but walking it was vastly different from seeing it on a map. While his intention was to arrive a bell early, Kynier had gotten turned around several times trying to navigate through the streets of the Sunset Quarters. Enough that a few buildings were able to become his landmarks, and he used them as warning signs that he was backtracking if he came near them again.

By the time he the park came into view, Kynier was already several chimes late for his rendezvous. However, his worry was put aside suddenly as he heard numerous angry shouts coming from another section of the park. Kynier moved around the massive tree to see a large collection of people. Many were shouting obscenities for a woman. A figure was being pushed around and beaten with clubs in the center of the gathering. One word that rang out several times was “mage”. Filthy mage, petching mage, mage shyke, and more.

Kynier drew nearer in silent shock. An urge to help arose, but he knew there was nothing that he could do. His skills were paltry, and there were too many people. As he stood there, a group of men readied a rope by flinging it over one of the higher branches. A man on the other side caught the end and quickly started fastening a noose. Five men took hold of the other end, as the noose was slipped over a woman’s head, hair stained red with blood and clothes torn to pointless rags. A few people struck her with their weapons a few more times as the men began to hoist the mage off the ground.

As the mage hung from above people’s heads, Kynier was able to get a better look at the woman. His mouth fell open as he watched Danica kicking feebly in the air, her hands bound behind her. People started throwing rocks at her as she struggled to breath. Her face turning purple as the rope dug into her neck. Kynier didn’t understand why. Had she lied to him? Or was she falsely accused? As though he were in a stupor, he slowly drew closer, looking at the painful death occurring before him.

Through the hair matted with blood, her eyes caught sight of him, and her feet ceased kicking in vain. Danica’s expression was filled with sorrow more than fear. Kynier stopped, standing behind the mob that lingered to watch her die. He raised a hand and started drawing something in the air, large enough for her to easily follow the motions. A rune, Glig, which he had learned to interpret as “joined together”. When he was done, his hand fell to his side. Danica smiled briefly at him, before her eyes rolled into the back of her head, and her head slumped to the side.

Excited cheers from the crowd were a distant noise to him as he stared at the corpse hanging from the tree. Kynier understood. She was a mage, and had understood what he had meant with his rune. When it grew quiet, he looked around at those that had killed her. They were leaving and behaving as though nothing were amiss. That’s what it was like then. He needed to lie, even to those he took a liking too. Because sometimes, even that wouldn’t be enough to remain hidden from the ugliest side of the city. The side that kills a stranger because another stranger had accused them with a single word.

Kynier walked closer now that the people were leaving. “Serves the bitch right,” he heard a few muttered as they went past. They didn’t know. They hadn’t seen that she was a nice person. That Danica had been animated and seemed to share the hatred for evil mages that they had. But anger arose inside of him too. He didn’t know her, but he suspected that she was a mage with good intentions. For a long time, he stood there gazing up at her. The desire to cut her down was strong, but tempered by self-preservation. Cutting her down would make him look like a sympathizer. Even though he was.

little filler words

Image Credit goes to Gossamer!
Kynier
Player
 
Posts: 851
Words: 1156083
Joined roleplay: May 13th, 2018, 3:14 am
Location: Sunberth
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 7
Featured Contributor (1) Featured Thread (1)
Overlored (1) One Million Words! (1)
Sunberth Seasonal Challenge (1) 2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)
2018 Top NaNo Word Count (1)


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