The Price of Paradise II

[Job Thread]

(This is a thread from Mizahar's fantasy role play forums. Why don't you register today? This message is not shown when you are logged in. Come roleplay with us, it's fun!)

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]

The Price of Paradise II

Postby Elias Caldera on March 15th, 2019, 2:00 am

Image
1st Day of Spring, 519 AV

Though the sun was high at her zenith, all the shoreline districts were very much alive with the trappings of both the daytime and that which was regularly reserved to the night. Usually, the merchant's carts and caravans that dominated the daylight hours would have been replaced by roving groups of whores, pushers and dealers -each pausing to peddle their sinful wares before quickly moving on to the next. Instead, the Lakeshore had come to life as both sides of the outpost’s coin shared the streets and dark alleys of the small town, the mob just too good of an opportunity to pass up, regardless of the hour. Needless to say, things were a hectic kind of busy, but it was a directed sort of chaos. Everyone had a task to do and was either in the process of doing it or weaving through the crowds to get to somewhere they could do it.

By comparison, the gates were positively lethargic. Here, groups stopped in the narrow streets beneath the open sky to argue the best breed of horse to pull a wagon or bet over who had consumed the most alcohol that evening. The taverns and pubs themselves were a place of directed action, with passing travelers looking to fill their heads and mugs with something other than the thought of tomorrow's road. Bored pilgrims from distant lands eyed the passing soldiers -some with trepidation, others openly. All however, stepped out of their way. Regardless of where you came from, armed men encased in armor sent a very clear sort of message.

A handful of stragglers, a haze in their eyes that spoke of harsher chemicals than alcohol staggered up to Tannen and pestered the apprentice for directions to a suitable inn. Elias and Valmont shared a look as the young man stammered out a response, his tone almost comically deep. Beneath his hooded cloak, Elias was certain he could see the older knight's shoulders shaking as he chuckled. Tannen glared daggers at his patron for a moment before a grin split his own face as well.

"You did well, Tannen." Valmont laid a hand on the younger lad’s shoulder. "Even if I wouldn't have called him 'Sir', personally."

"I thought you made a lovely tour guide." Elias shot.

"That's all there is to it then?" Tannen ignored him, a touch of disappointment in his voice.

"Not quite." Valmont said. "You're not too far off though. It's not all banners and battle, lad. Particularly not here. You'll spend more time guarding people against themselves than anyone else. I thought you'd know that by now."

Elias stood apart and let Alistair give his lesson. In truth, patrol was not a new experience for him, but it was one he had not undertaken in a good long while now, which made it practically new all over. His unit and the company it belonged to patrolled, certainly, but it rarely meant interacting with anyone besides the odd passing caravan or an anxious buck who’d strayed to close to the path. The farmers kept to their fields, the transients kept to their roads, and the Stryfe kept those fields and roads safe. It was a straightforward arrangement that worked well for all concerned. It also meant that the he was used to watching for different signs altogether; damaged wagons, tracks in the woods and missing animals spoke to him of danger -not the alien human expressions Valmont and Tannen needed to read out here. Elias’s experience with the city and the wilds served him little in this new jungle. Ravok was a very different place than its colonies, a very different place indeed.

A brief but desperately needed breeze settled over the city as the day ticked on. Though still a languid tidal wave in most places, the flow of people on the streets slowly dwindled, and by the time Elias led the four of them off the main thoroughfares to patrol the areas near the docks, the crushing throngs of people had diminished into something far easier to navigate.

Valmont was the first to notice them by the water’s edge. The big man prodded his daintier companion in the ribs and pointed. “You were born here, Tannen. Tell me, in all your time, have you seen anything quite like that?”

Elias turned to look and beheld the naked, shivering figures of at least half a dozen men women clambering about up to their bellies in lake. One man, a particularly unshaved and ragged looking priest of sort, had thrown his arms up into the air towards Ravok and begun to preach something as two others under his guidance held a woman’s face beneath the water. She did not fight them, nor tried to flee despite her unbound limbs, but instead it seemed as if her only struggle was against her own instinct of survival. She bucked and thrashed reservedly, and only ever slightly as the bubbles eventually faded along with her movements.

It was not the first time the Caldera had bared witness to such a thing as of late, but even still he couldn’t help but grimace at the sight as they dragged the lifeless carcass from the lake and unto the shore were the others surrounded her and the priest. The man had begun pushing on the dead woman’s chest as Sable spoke. “You can blame Vargas for this. There’s always been a belief among the pilgrims that by breathing in and becoming one with the waters of Rhysol that a soul can be found worthy of entering the city. Most people recognized it as the hogwash it sounds like, but Vargu- Commander Vargus decided he was going to have a laugh and allowed one of those crazed fools to enter after he’d been ‘reborn.’ Now the madness is spreading like a sickness as more and more bodies keep washing up on the banks.” The newly minted soldier explained with a shudder and sorrowful look. Tannen shook his head and Alistair seemed all too transfixed by the insanity to look anywhere but. Considering he had never seen the likes of it before, Elias wasn’t all too surprised to see the knight’s surprise when the woman suddenly began coughing up water by the buckets load. She gasped for a drowned breath as the chanting around her intensified, the believers falling into some kind of trance as the priest called out once more for the lord of chaos to cast his eye upon the hopeful.

“A fad.” Elias spat, turning away in disgust. “One short lived and long forgotten, god willing. Come, we have a date and we can’t be lat-”

That was when they heard the first scream.
Last edited by Elias Caldera on March 15th, 2019, 2:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Elias Caldera
Playa
 
Posts: 902
Words: 1255874
Joined roleplay: September 14th, 2013, 1:28 am
Location: Ravok
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 7
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (2)
Overlored (1) One Million Words! (1)
Ravok Seasonal Challenge (1) 2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

The Price of Paradise II

Postby Elias Caldera on March 15th, 2019, 2:01 am

Image
Another split the sky a moment later, deep and guttural -closer to a battlecry than an expression of pain. Elias was already moving, pushing off the dirt laden cobblestones, sword bouncing at his back. His leg still felt heavier than usual, a relic of an overambitious training session, but he forced himself to ignore it. Behind him, there were a trio of heavier thuds as Valmont, Sabel and Tannen rolled into motion, leather boots slapping at the stone. Despite the weight of their amour, they quickly reeled in his lead. No words passed between them -there was no need.

There is a curious instinct common among soldiers and small dogs. Namely, a tendency to run, at full speed, toward sounds that calmer, more sensible creatures would rather avoid. Perhaps it was because both were guardians of a sort. Perhaps it was simply a shared desire to protect their ‘territory’. Regardless, the party pushed on until their legs screamed in protest beneath their plate.

The alternating screams and bellows lead them to a row of buildings some six or seven dwellings back from the thoroughfare. It would have been a stretch to call it decrepit by any means, but it lacked the rich engravings and colorful signs that lined the main streets of Ravok. Instead, a battered board hanging over the door identified the place as Sheng’s. A faded donkey scowled at potential patrons out of a wooden panel that may have once been polished and still had fond memories of the occasion.

Valmont was the first to the door and inched it open with a hand on the hilt of his axe. Two men stood with broad backs to the entrance. Steel flickered in the hands of the man on the left, gleaming by the dancing light of the hearth. A handful of patrons were clustered around the far wall of the bar, eyes staring ahead at the men. As he watched, the man lowered his blade to the floor and another scream tore the night air. With a shock, Elias realized there was another figure curled on the floor between the men and the far wall. When the swordsman raised his blade again, he saw blood on the point.

The old knight looked to his pale commander expectantly. Elias nodded, motioning in the sign language the Syliran himself had taught him for Tannen to follow swiftly and Sabel to watch the doors.

"That will do." Valmont stepped into the room, his own mighty axe slipping into his hand as naturally if it had grown there. Elias and Tannen followed suit, tugging swords from their scabbards and stepping into the room with the clinking of mail. All as one, the tavern turned to face them.
User avatar
Elias Caldera
Playa
 
Posts: 902
Words: 1255874
Joined roleplay: September 14th, 2013, 1:28 am
Location: Ravok
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 7
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (2)
Overlored (1) One Million Words! (1)
Ravok Seasonal Challenge (1) 2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

The Price of Paradise II

Postby Elias Caldera on March 15th, 2019, 2:01 am

Image
"No. No, I don't think it will." The armed man gave an easy grin. He had the look of a wildman about him, a scraggly beard clinging to his jaw like a vine desperately hanging to a cliff. Elias's hand curled tighter around the hilt of his sword as he recognized the tell-tale slur of drink in his speech. From his tone, he could have been someone's uncle discussing the country fair, If you could ignore the murderous gleam in his eyes that was. "This little piece of shyke called me whole host of rotten things, ‘cheater’ chief among them." Elias caught a glimpse of mercenary leathers beneath his shirt as he jabbed the sword towards the prone man, stopping just short of touching flesh. Worryingly, his victim, a lanky looking fellow whose beard had been drenched in the blood until it hardened into the color of rust, barely managed so much as a groan in response.

The wildman's companion, a tall, taut woman with the physique of a cat and a sword at her waist eyed the blade's point with morbid fascination before slowly twisting to face the Stryfers. Where the wildman's eyes were hard and murderous, this other one radiated enthusiasm, watching his companion's actions with careful attention before flicking her eyes over the soldiers and away again, dismissing a handful of armored Ravokians like most people would shrug off a morning shower. When her glower finally fell upon Elias himself, a flash recognition passed between them for all but the briefest of ticks.

"And while ‘foreign scum’ I may be, mama didn’t raise me to take such lip from no man." The thug raked his eyes over the bar behind him, looking for support. Anywhere else in in Ravok’s domain, he would not have found it. But this was the traveler’s port, and many here only knew of the Ebonstryfe in stories or by the black clad shadows they left in their wake. Besides, some of these folk were warriors -mercenaries or bandits by the look of them- and alcohol surged in their veins, false courage drowning out the parts of the brain that normally intervened in the name of self-preservation, and many met his eyes with nods of agreement and growls of assent. Many, but not all. Some wiser locals retreated back into the shadows at the sight of the Stryfe, recoiling like crawling insects exposed to the light. They knew what came of openly defying the Black Order. Nonetheless, the number who averted their gaze was far fewer than Elias would have liked. He ran the numbers in his head as best he could.

On his side, three Stryfers in armor. On theirs, the wildman and his silent friend, as well as maybe four or five supporters from the bar behind him. None besides the wildman and the Kelvic were visibly armed with weapons they should have never made it past the checkpoint with in the first place, but that meant next to nothing in a tavern full of mugs and chairs. Anything and everything was a weapon in here given the proper motivation.

"Be that as it may." Valmont's voice was as cold as the steel in his hand. "I say he has had enough. You are bound by law to lay down your arms." There was no grandstanding, no arrogant boasting. Valmont spoke with the icy calm of an aristocrat, the sort of man who could not imagine any response to his commands other than complete and immediate obedience. Years in the knighthood had likely ingrained such sense of unbridled confidence in his own righteousness. That, or he was just a very good actor. The wildman however, sneered in repugnance, but behind him there were a few hesitant second glances. Elias felt like someone had his stomach in a vice. The tension in the air was palatable. The forests had their share of conflict, but bandits and creatures of the wild simply attacked or fled on sight. To see the violence coming from so far off set his teeth on edge. He tugged at his scabbard, checking the straps.

Silence ruled for what felt like years. Then, the wildman turned to the woman behind him and uttered a short sentence in a smooth, lilting language that reminded him faintly of a child tapping at glasses, his free hand rising and falling like a boat upon the ocean swell. It seemed far too delicate a tongue to come out of the vagabond’s mouth. His companion -and bondmate the aurist realized- gave a short bark of laughter, the sound harsh and grating in the tavern's confines and responded with a whisper of her own. Then, as the silence moved to reassert itself, all hell proceeded to break loose.
User avatar
Elias Caldera
Playa
 
Posts: 902
Words: 1255874
Joined roleplay: September 14th, 2013, 1:28 am
Location: Ravok
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 7
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (2)
Overlored (1) One Million Words! (1)
Ravok Seasonal Challenge (1) 2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

The Price of Paradise II

Postby Elias Caldera on March 15th, 2019, 2:02 am

That. He decided, would have to be enough.
Image
The wildman lunged at Valmont, sword swinging in a wide arc, uncaring of the thin line it etched in the roof as it passed. Valmont stepped forward into the swing, twisting his body so the blade fell to his side, bringing the edge of his axe up to impale the bandit as he closed, to let the force of his own momentum drive him onto the blade. It was a deadly movement, and brutal in its simplicity.

Then, the foreigner simply wasn't there anymore. In one practiced movement he lowered the point of the sword, letting the attack fade away, and stepped to Valmont's unarmed side to strike at the knight's face with his free hand. All in less time than it took a heart to beat. Elias caught a flash of steel in the wildman's hand -a dagger, likely hidden in the folds of his sleeve- and saw Valmont's arm start to come up to deflect, but it was slow, far too slow. He heard Tannen's strangled cry a tick later and felt a sudden rush of movement behind him followed by a clatter of metal. Like that the cat was upon him and he had no further attention to spare for Valmont.

Her first slash very nearly finished the fight. Elias danced back against the wall as she thrust at his stomach, barely staying out of his reach. Oho. She was really putting her heart into it. He'd trained for fighting charges in formation, a bristling wall of shields and spear-points, but it was always the frantic brawls in a darkened tavern with an insane opponent at close quarters that managed to get his blood really pumping.

He sidestepped another slash aimed at his shoulder and gave up trying to settle into a proper guard, as Valmont had managed. There simply was no room. It was all he could do to avoid ending up on the point of him opponent's sword.

Thankfully, his enemy didn't seem to be too focused either. Her eyes kept darting back to the fight between Valmont, Tannen and the wildman, sidestepping Elias’s feeble attempts to strike as if he were no more than a particularly distracting insect. The pale mage didn't spare the fight so much as a glance, attention focused solely on the shifting arc of silver in the Kelvics graceful hands. She stepped forward, a lunge at his unprotected face. Almost on instinct, he raised a gauntleted hand to slap the blade aside, as Valmont had. As he focused on the cat's sword, he lowered the point of him own blade. Only slightly, only for the space of a blink. It was all the bitch had been waiting for.

She slapped his weapon aside, taking advantage of his inattention, even as the sword thudded into the wall next to his head with a shudder of protesting timber. Pain exploded in his ribs as she drove a fist into his side, letting her own blade clatter to the ground. Elias gasped and staggered, a second blow hammering into his mail. In between flashes of pain he noticed a wry smile starting to take shape on his attacker’s feline face.

She came at him again, relentless in this pantomime of pursuit, and laughing all the while, exposing two sharp rows of teeth and a clicking tongue between. She was giggling, he realized with a small but growing bubble of annoyance. Elias paid it no heed and stepped back to avoid a wild haymaker aimed at his face… only to find the curve of a table beneath his knees instead.

The Ravokian felt something in him shift as the blow hit home. Pain blossomed somewhere in his jaw and he stumbled backwards, knees buckling beneath him. He would have gasped, had the breath not been crushed from him. He rolled as he fell, tumbling to the ground in a tangle of chairs and cheap mead. Elias scrambled to get his hands beneath him, but him head was a haze of pain and competing signals. Everything spun. A knee slammed into him chest before he could find his wherewithal, forcing him back to the wooden floorboards in a rattle of mail.

A face swam into vision above him. The cat, yellow eyes radiating amusement. She sat atop his chest neatly, her weight pressing metal links into the soldier’s skin. She clawed at him with a hand he neglected to restrain, twisted in place, struggled with every inch of fibrous muscle the order had instilled in him, but everything was a haze and he felt as though him blood had been replaced by treacle, heavy and slow, each message to him limbs sent as though it passed through an intermediary, as though the body that bucked and winced beneath another volley of punches belonged to someone else entirely.
User avatar
Elias Caldera
Playa
 
Posts: 902
Words: 1255874
Joined roleplay: September 14th, 2013, 1:28 am
Location: Ravok
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 7
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (2)
Overlored (1) One Million Words! (1)
Ravok Seasonal Challenge (1) 2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

The Price of Paradise II

Postby Elias Caldera on March 15th, 2019, 2:02 am

Image
A cry spilled over the tavern, a familiar voice once rife with arrogance and drunken hubris, now replete with the all too sobering reality of pain. Elias knew what it signaled.

For a heartbeat, the woman atop him froze mid-punch, yellow eyes widening in disbelief. Elias's brain caught up with his body with a lurch, a thousand slight pains springing into place in the absence of the Kelvic's blows. Slowly, painfully, his hand slid down his side to the dagger at him hip. The steel was heavier than it had any right to be, but he tugged it from the scabbard with an effort that felt like shifting stone.

The girl's eyes skated back to him, teeth bared in a snarl. Then she saw the weapon in his hand and froze. Just for a second, just the barest fraction of a moment. Her hands began to move to pin his wrist, but Elias was already moving. The narrow blade punched into the soft flesh just above her hip and Elias pushed it further until most of the steel vanished into her body. He felt blood on his hand, slicking the grip. The cat gasped, and stared, enthusiasm in her eyes replaced by something far more primal.

An arm like a battering ram pressed itself against the chest of the Kelvic creature and shoved her from him like a catapult it’s stone. Elias heard a heavy thud as she hit the floor, but didn't turn his head to look. A faintly familiar figure swam into view above him. Broad chest, speckled beard of ash and salt. The grizzled ex knight gave him a look that spoke more of disappointment than a thousand patron's angry lectures and extended a hand to him, mumbling a short, breathy "Up we go."

Elias winced as he pulled him to him feet, swaying for a moment before his sense of balance reasserted itself. Across the room, Tannen was still locked in combat with the wildman, his blade darting and parrying, dodging cuts and knocking away thrusts. As he watched, the elder apprentice aimed a cut at his stomach and the wildman dodged, tossing a nearby mug at the apprentice with his free hand. Only the need to parry another incoming blow from Valmont who had abruptly thrown himself into the fray prevented him from lunging forward and cutting down the young man while he staggered. It was some of the finest sword work Elias had ever seen. Even so, he was tiring. A thin film of sweat had settled across his face and was dripping down that scraggly beard.

A man from the crowd huddled against the wall inched forward, as though moving to assist the wildman, and the mage lunged at him, pinning him back against the wall. The rest of the group paled. After a long second, the man relaxed, thinking better of joining the fray.

Behind him, there was a whimper. He turned and saw the shapeshifter, slumped against the tavern wall, blood pooling around her. The dagger lay at her side, fingers scrambling for it like a drowning man reaches for land, but she didn't quite seem able to lift it. Elias turned his gaze from her and retrieved his sword from where it had fallen, pushing the pain in his jaw from him mind. This agony was nothing new to him, just another thing to be overcome. For now, he settled the blade before him and advanced toward the melee spinning in the center of the room.

The wildman fought like a cornered beast, lunging and swiping at the trio of blades that now encircled him. Sweat washed off him in waves, blade continuing to force openings that only another Stryfer's sword prevented him taking advantage of. Then, he misjudged a lunge. One mistake. Tannen darted to the side of the attack, and Valmont stepped behind, swinging his battle axe almost nonchalantly into the bandit's back, like a woodsman felling a tree. The bastard swerved between both with all the grace of a ballerina, but Elias's sword followed a moment later, sinking into his chest, and the struggle ceased.

For a moment, the tavern fell silent.

“I… I should report to the tower. Let them know there’s been an…” The words trailed from Tannen’s lips like a forgotten breath, fading into uncertainty and comprehension.

"That won’t be necessary, apprentice." Elias's voice sounded distant to his ears. Thick and slurred like a drunk's, the word prompted a series of painful clicks from him jaw. The boy turned to him, eyes wide and dazed. "The issue is resolved, and we can handle this ourselves." The commander instructed cooly. “Why don’t you go get Sabel and return to the others. Check on their status at the gates for me. Valmont and I can clean up here.”

"I-" Tannen looked as though he was going to throw up, but Elias skewered him with a glare.

"Now." The apprentice was unprepared to argue further once the familiar tenor of his commanding officer reached him, inevitably giving a quick nod before darting from the room. Elias heard something that sounded suspiciously like someone being ill on the street outside moments after the door closed.

“Y-you… you saved my life!” A new voice frailly exclaimed. The stryfers looked about for a moment until they realized it was the fellow lying on the floor whom had spoken the words. The commander moved over to help the man up, a nasty looking cut on his cheek spilling blood like a faucet down his face and into his bushy beard. Despite the dirt and the blood caking on his features, the grateful stranger held an air of youth about him, as well as a gaze filled with hatred and scorn when they settled on the two fallen mercenaries who had attacked him. “God scorned curs, the lot of them!” he cursed bitterly, wincing as he felt the slice on his lip sting in retaliation. He cupped at it sparingly, grumbling through his bloodied fingers. “This whoreson and his cock swaddling bitch tried to knife me after I beat them at cards. My slaves fled like sheep before the wolves as soon as they pulled their weapons. The cowards!”

He turned his scornful gaze towards his ghostly white savior, blue eyes softening like cheese as he studied the man. “I saw what you and your men did for me. I shall never forget it, master…”

“Caldera.” Elias responded, motioning in sign language for Valmont to ‘dispose of the trash.’ The big man went about gathering up the two bodies without another word. “Caldera. I shall remember it always as the name of the man who came rushing to my aid when all others-” He shouted the last part, turning his harsh judgement unto the thinning crowd around him “Simply stared on or cheered.”

“I was merely doing my job, sir. I only regret not arriving sooner. If you are well enough for it, I shall have someone tend to your wounds and see you escorted back to your home without further incident. I must take my leave to report-” The mage began to reply with practiced humility. On que, the bearded man pressed on, unwilling to let things be.

“I’ll hear none of it!” He shouted heatedly, limping over to a nearby chair and lifting it upright with a jarring clatter. “I am Mattias Calico, and I would not have it be said that my celebrations were brought to a jarring end simply because of one little brawl, nor that I was man so crude as to not show my gratitude to he who risked his life to aid me. Come, sit, drink with me Caldera. Tell the slaves to bring ale and wine instead of sutures and bandages. We shall drink and talk of your reward, you and I.”

Elias shook his head respectfully. “Forgive me, master Calico, but my duties come first and foremost.” He said, rubbing at his jaw. Mattias gave him such a look of disappointment and irritation that the sorcerer was helpless but to show some sort of relent. “But… let it also not be said that Elias Caldera was so churlish as to turn down a drink when offered in friendship. If its no bother, perhaps I could join you another day for that ale.”

Mattias’s smile was so wide it set his lip to bleeding all over again. “I’ll hold you to that, commander.”
Last edited by Elias Caldera on March 15th, 2019, 2:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Elias Caldera
Playa
 
Posts: 902
Words: 1255874
Joined roleplay: September 14th, 2013, 1:28 am
Location: Ravok
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 7
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (2)
Overlored (1) One Million Words! (1)
Ravok Seasonal Challenge (1) 2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

The Price of Paradise II

Postby Elias Caldera on March 15th, 2019, 2:13 am

Image
“So, how’d it go?”

"How do you-" Elias's attempt to talk without moving his jaw much ended misreably, but was cut off with a wave from his fellow Stryfer. Alistair stood at his side, the hooded knight slowly regaining some of his earlier composure.

"Sylir's breath Elias, you're a mess." He winced. He didn't need Valmont to tell him that. His ribs ached, and his face was a tangle of roving pains, not to mention his hands and mail were still coated in the Kelvic's ‘blood.’ Valmont had been luckier with his dancing partner it seemed. Neary a scratch on him.

"Yah, well I’m no spring chicken over here either!" Sedric guffawed defensively. "I felt like that damned kid was really trying to gut me! One would almost be convinced that he wasn’t in on the plan like the rest of us." The mercenary ranted, prodding at the red stained gash in his shirt.

Elias would have bristled in indignation at the comment had it been anything short of the truth. The fact his jaw ached too much to form a proper response was testament to the ridiculousness of such a complaint however. “I may have… forgotten to mention the details to young Tannen.” The mage muttered shamelessly.

"As I warned you was a bad idea." Valmont grumbled anxiously, still looking about the barn the small group had ducked into to converse. Luckily abandoned for the time being.

"Now why the petch would you go and do something like that." Sedric spat, exasperation mixing with his maelstrom of adrenaline that had been pumping through his veins not a few minutes past.

"It had to look good… Plus I wanted to see if the boy was ready for such a fight." He shook his head. Despite Valmont’s protest, the trial had been a necessity. Tannen had been falling behind the other apprentices, even the younger ones. Considering he had been with Elias the longest among any of them, such stagnation in his ascension to full soldierhood was far from acceptable. What better an opportunity then to put him to the test with this little bit of theater were all the pieces had been under the Caldera’s thumb the whole time.

“And what if he had made mince meat out of me? What then!?”

"Then I imagine the butcher you bought these from-” he said, kicking the nearby bloodied slab of sirloin discarded on the floor “might be inclined to offer us a fair price for you." Elias forced the humorous words around his teeth with some effort.

Sedric was anything but amused. Elias rolled his eyes and motioned towards his partner, Pellia. “Consider us even. Your bondmate’s ‘passionate performance’ in there more than makes up for any perceived transgression.” He argued dully.

The bobcat Kelvic was sliding the rack of ribs out from beneath her shirt where it had been hiding when she recognized her name come up. The woman gave a feral grin. "Like you said, had to make it look good." She cooed, cheekily squeezing a squirt of pig’s blood out of the stabbed hunk of meat before tossing it over her shoulder. She seemed more perturbed by the hole in her clothing and the blood stain marring its frayed stitching than she did the Stryfer’s obviously irate accusation.

Sedric shook his head in disbelief, then waved the matter away with a bruised hand as something else seemed to come to the man’s mind. “‘Even’? Then he…"

Elias cracked a smile. “Like putty in my hands.” The ruse had worked without a hitch. Mattias Calico, heir to the lumber yards all across the Ravokian territories, now wanted to sit and share a drink with his personal hero. It couldn’t have possibly gone off any better unless the poor fool had been been in on it too. That and this incessant clicking in his jaw of course, but a price readily paid for the potential unlocked by this day’s toil. All it took was a little showmanship, a little patience, and a whole lot of bravado, but this was it. He was in.

“And, we did out part, so we get in now, right? For good, right?” Sedric stammered, restless jubilation spewing the words out of him before he could think otherwise. When Elias nodded in agreement, the man all but leapt for joy. Even Pellia, the calmer and usually more mature of the two, couldn’t hide a genuine smile from cutting across her puffy lips. She sauntered up to the soldier and gave him a look that put him both on edge and oddly ease at the same time.

"Say ‘aaah’." Elias cocked an eyebrow, but ultimately, did as he was told. The Kelvic proceeded to place her thumbs around his jaw, fingers cupping from the back, and pushed toward his chest. A fresh wave of pain shot through his entire face -not the sudden pain of a punch, but a slower, stretching sensation that burnt and tore at his mouth. Then, there was a click and the pain in his jaw settled to a dull ache.

He raised an armored hand to his face and rubbed it. With an air of faint approval, the Kelvic grinned and gave his swelling cheek a pat. “All these scars… I hope you’ll think of me when look to your newest ones.” She purred.

“Not this one,” the soldier retorted as he brushed past the tiny scrape along his chin and moved his hand southward, “But there is this nagging pinch in my backside that does remind me of you.”

They shared a laugh at that, save of course for Valmont who was watching the entrance for any sign of a problem he’d likely wish was there, if only to say I told you so. The big man worried too much. They were in the clear and the world was none the wiser. One of these days, he was going to have learn to relax, not just when he was out of that armor, but when he was in it too.

“Go, return to Barsavi and tell you him you did good work. He’ll find a forger for you to get into the city until we can work on the real thing. Oh, and give him a kiss from me. You know how he worries when I’m not there to hold his hand.” The soldier chuckled, watching the two louts he had nearly killed a few months back disappear behind their hoods and vanish out into the streets with a suspiciously victorious yelp or two following in their wake.

Valmont approached as the pair left, shaking his head in disapproval. “Honestly, the company you keep…”

“I know.” Elias sighed delightedly. “Come, Primus. We still have a patrol to carry out for the time being, and after that your next mission is to assist in the purchase of some fine clothes. I’ll be dining with the elite soon enough, it won’t do to show up in this dusty old thing now will it.”

Alistair groaned under his breath, falling in beside his commander as the two ducked back into the streets and tried in vain to stifle the smiles that came far too easily.
User avatar
Elias Caldera
Playa
 
Posts: 902
Words: 1255874
Joined roleplay: September 14th, 2013, 1:28 am
Location: Ravok
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 7
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (2)
Overlored (1) One Million Words! (1)
Ravok Seasonal Challenge (1) 2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests