Once a thief..(Caspian)

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A city floating in the center of a lake, Ravok is a place of dark beauty, romance and culture. Behind it all though is the presence of Rhysol, God of Evil and Betrayal. The city is controlled by The Black Sun, a religious organization devoted to Rhysol. [Lore]

Once a thief..(Caspian)

Postby Shiress on May 17th, 2019, 5:33 pm

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45th Day
Spring 519
17th Bell


Shiress sat atop the stone basin surrounding the fountain outside the Caldera Manor, knees pulled up to her chest, her pale blue dress pulled down over her legs, covering her bare feet, hand lazily gliding over the clear water within. Her long hair was twisted and pulled into an intricate bundle of braided ropes behind her head with long ringlets framing charcoaled eyes, blushed cheeks, and glossed lips. Bella's handiwork. It was all Shiress could do to will herself to sit still beneath her handmaid's beautification ritual, but she did draw the line at wearing shoes.

Across from where she sat, another guest had arrived at Elias's dinner party and was being greeted by the Master of the house in the doorway. Ten guests so far, Shiress surmised, although she hadn't been paying close attention to the arrivals. These were Elias's callers and the Zeltivan had graciously excused herself from the night's festivities, with her lover's blessing and understanding, and taken herself apart from the visitors. The doctor's mind was elsewhere, tangled in chains and whips and sweaty, subservient bodies; the slaves that she had treated only days before.

It didn't seem right, or even just, for her to indulge in such lush antics when people she had known, people she had been enslaved with -her friends- filled their bellies with only bread and water and prayed to be spared the whip this night. Few close her shared this burden, fewer still understood. Even her own household held claim to slaves. Isabella. Rook. Though stiff punishment if Shiress was to hear either of them called out as one. Even her Bondmate still wore invisible chains. It wasn't what?...right? Fair? Proper? For just one slave among so many to be plucked from a Master and given such a life was...was...Shiress let out a sorrowful sigh. It just didn't feel right to her.

Shiress stood, shaking the water from her hand and padded across the distance to the door of the Manor and slid through with barely a whisper of fabric. Inside, the guest's were beginning to take their places at the long table, it's surface unseeable for the platters, bowls, and treys of spiced meat, fresh fruits, and sweets. Candlelight spilled across Shiress's face as her emerald eyes flitted across each visitor, giving a polite smile and nod to those that met her gaze as she passed by.

Across the room, Elias was in deep conversation with his Butler, Alaric. The commander glanced up and smiled at her, she smiled back, ducked her head in acknowledgment, and left the room, her soft, unclad steps moving her down the hallway toward her room.

A hot bath. she thought Yes, a hot bath, a glass of wine, and a trouble-free evening in amongst the furs on my bed.

A smile snaked across her lips at the very notion.
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Once a thief..(Caspian)

Postby Caspian on May 19th, 2019, 2:06 am

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    45 Spring 519
It had all started with a joke Taalviel had had no right to make.

That she had made a joke to begin with was the witnessing of a greater supernatural phenomenon than her shifting into a bird and back, and under typical circumstances Caspian might have found this worthy of jeering, if not celebration, of the fruits of over a decade’s worth of incumbent proselytization. Typical circumstances - typical as to the parties immediately and intolerably involved - do not, however, involve said joke from one’s sister landing on the coattails of a snide comment that one’s boyfriend had elected to extrude. The - collaboration, as one might dare to dub it without retching, had happened to such a degree of synchronicity between two individuals who had yet to profess anything less than loathing for each other, that Caspian wonders wildly, in the heat of a second, if it had not been planned. Scripted, even, and if scripted, then the result of premeditation, rooted in the basest of treacheries - and doesn’t the mere thought of that just so keenly irk and disturb? And from both parties? Yes, he’s choosing to be irate and suspicious from here on out with both, because he’s very readily made up his mind that his particular vantage point between sister and scruffed partner-in-proximity affords him the rights to be affronted as he sees fit.

And then, to top it all off, said sister and that infuriating other one had the gall to glance towards each other and laugh.

One-two-punch, with a ripe giggle at Caspian’s expense, and he’s brought down for the count.

“They practically conferred,” he’s emphatically exclaiming to Saticath, throwing a dramatic hand up over his eyes and casting himself backwards in defeat across one of her plush divans.

“Don’t think I haven’t taken note that I’m actually your third and final option when domestics don’t go the way you want them to,” Saticath replies with a snort. “First is Thance - and given what’s just happened, him we can rule out. Second is your classic smoke-and-sulk. And only then third, is me. How you designate someone like me as what you do when you’ve nothing better -“

Caspian good-naturedly tosses a pillow at her as she, with an exaggerated sigh, begins despondently twirling a lock of hair round her finger. Giggling raucously, she hurls it back, but Caspian snatches it swiftly from the air, immediately slinging it the way it came. A scuffle erupts between them, Saticath leaping to her feat and pouncing on Caspian where he sprawls.

“Ridiculous-“ Caspian starts, but she’s digging her fingers into his ribs, making him double over with laughing gasps. She’s both legs over him now, straddling his waist, leaning over and sending her thick dark hair cascading across his face like a glossy curtain. The element of surprise having played its hand, it’s easy work for him to catch her wrists, and she presses a quick peck to his forehead in surrender.

“Not third,” he says as firmly as he can muster when they’ve settled in place, looking up into the eyes of the sincerest friend he’s made since coming to Ravok - maybe the dearest friend he’s made all his life.

“I’m not offended,” she replies, “so don’t feel the need to soften any blows for my own sake. I know you, Cassie. Third’s just fine with me.”

But it’s not third, he wants to swear to her again, at least not last resort, because it’s easy to define that one - the bottom of the barrel is likely along the lines of, say, the extremely abstract concept of confronting one’s problems head on, or worse, and truly dig down deep and retch at the prospect of this one - speaking about one’s issues with one’s sister directly and without pretense -

Is it still in the realm of pretense, though, if that sister’s joke had been a barely veiled jab at how noticeably remiss he’s been at carrying through even the pettiest of thefts, and the declaration that he shouldn’t even bother coming back home without bearing back something that doesn’t belong to him? The criteria for earning back his credibility are blessedly finite - the thing must be in the relatively intimate possession of someone else and also worth being stolen - pointless for him to nick something like a tribunal or a gazette, which they practically dole out for free.

“Let’s go out,” he suddenly declares.

Saticath raises an artfully tattooed eyebrow. “Thought you had a quest to mangle?”

“Oh, here’s you at third after all! First Thance, then Taalviel, and now you have made it clear you think I’m - well -“

Saticath raises her other eyebrow and holds them comically suspended.

“ - slipping!” he finishes, and she bursts out laughing, how much he’s allowed his being heckled to grate on him.

“Don’t pout, Cas.”

“I’m not pouting. I’m just feeling rather - ganged up on, is all.”

Saticath rolls her eyes and slides off him, readjusting her robes and tying her hair into a bun.

“There must be a party you know of. Within the vicinity. And several beyond, that distance at this point negligible to me, the benefits of waiting this out long enough for Taalviel to find something shiny on the ground and forget this new fixation - well, I can tell you we won’t have to wait very long.”

Saticath does know of a party; parties plural, in fact, but she’s quite busy tonight, and can’t come with. As a personable and reliable makeup artist, residing just across from the most illustrious brothel the city has to offer, she’s plenty of business with her flicks of clientele. A little busier than usual tonight, though, for some reason, so she rattles off an address and vague directions for Caspian to follow.

“They’re good people,” she assures him of her acquaintances hosting.

“You’re quite sure it won’t be odd, my strolling in without you?” he asks, and is promised it won’t be a problem in the slightest, and the company he’ll find will be as effervescent and droll as they come.

Out of habit, after dragging himself off the regrettably comfortable divan and onto his feet, he flicks through the contents of Saticath’s closet and standing wardrobes, all of them bursting with trifles she’s collected over the years, many of them happily left behind.

At random, Caspian draws out a grey suit jacket, its matching slacks to follow. A lot more unassuming than he’s used to - even now he’s got fine lines of gold across his lids and lightly lining the Cupid’s bow of his lips - but there’s something compelling in imagining himself doing something he wouldn’t normally. Even if that normal, it turns out, is performing exactly that.

“Never seen this one before,” he says to Saticath.

She’s blustering about, pulling cases of pigments and clasped collections of rouge in preparation for whichever courtesan might appear first on her doorstep, in need of her services, in preparing to give their own.

“Oh, that -?” She barely affords it a second glance. “Someone left that here ages ago. What they went out wearing instead, though ...?”

Suppose he treats this, plain as it is, as a canvas - could find a tailor to add some lace to it, a trim on the lapels, pearly buttons and a chain to drape across his shoulders...? Unabashedly - it’s just Saticath, after all - he shucks off his tunic and pants in favor of the new set in grey. What greets him in the mirror, though, is far from the aged anonymity he had expected.

The suit’s a deep amaranthine, covered in black flowers of lace, pressed flush against the fabric as if they’d been tucked between the pages of a book. The slacks are of a similar hue but deeper and darker, and when he steps back and regards himself in a shifted perspective to the light, he realizes with a glow that there’s a subtle gradient to the whole of it, the shade lightest at his shoulders, and most darkened by his ankles. The buttons at at his wrists and pinning the suit closed are silvered disks, reflective and in parts translucent, and when he scrapes a nail across them they tick with a pleasant rattle. And his shoes - supple leather, toes coming to elegant points, the metallic heels at a modest but impactful height of at least an inch and a half, going on two, flashes of silver in the same vein as the buttons. He paces towards the mirror and away, twirling before it, reveling in the suddenness of what can only be a very lovely and convenient point of magic.

From across the room, Saticath’s jaw drops.

The excitement of the discovery aside, it doesn’t change the line of customers she’s anticipating, and in the Ravokian twilight, heels clicking and gleaming, Caspian sets off alone.

Whether it’s the directions, though, or Caspian excessively and gleefully marveling over the stunning article he’s come into by chance, he gets the address for Saticath’s party squarely wrong. The mistake isn’t wholly realized until he’s well past someone’s threshold, and at that point - Caldera Manor, it seems, is as good a place to distract oneself as any.

People seem to be filing into a dining room. How much anonymity could one maintain, trapped face to face? Plenty, arguably, if one is any good?

Later, maybe. The lot of them might be a little more forgiving and a lot more absentminded once they’ve been given a chance to get into the liquor that’s undoubtedly to be served.

Walking steadily, quietly, with a posture of purpose, Caspian winds through the manor out of sheer curiosity. He’s been in a fair share of nice homes but this one’s categorically an estate, one that he finds that he envies more by the minute. What would one do if one had all these doors, all the rooms to which they lead, the exponentially and practically infinite number of things inside?

Quantifiably, so very many things, that one or even two of the still nebulous articles might not be missed?

And in a home like this, Caspian would have to try exceptionally hard to find something without value.

So there’s the criteria met, for his coming home following his being goaded, by a shoddy sister and shoddier boyfriend who dared claim something asinine about his being the shoddiest of thieves.

One-two-punch -

And who’ll be down for the count now?

In a home of this size, of this level of resplendence, he might have turned down any corner and chosen any door, to great satisfaction - but the one he finds is a particularly grand one, the bed lush and draped with furs, one that he can really see himself sinking body and breath down into -

Preliminary triumphs are put to rest, for the moment, as he senses someone approaching. Quieting his breath, he steals further into the room, tucking himself out of sight behind a towering armoire.
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Last edited by Caspian on July 25th, 2020, 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Once a thief..(Caspian)

Postby Shiress on May 22nd, 2019, 11:41 pm

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Shiress reached the door to her bedroom, but paused before entering, brows furrowing. The door stood open when she knew it shouldnt have been. At the very least it should have been pulled nearly closed, if not closed completely. Giving either side of the passageway outside her room a suspicious glance, Shiress cautiously entered the bed chamber, eyes wandering the far shadows of the candle lit room.

Seeing nothing disturbed or strangers lurking under her bed, Shiress began to relax, but a noise behind her caused her to spin round with a rather toddler like a squeal. "Bella!" breathed Shiress, her shoulders slumping in relief at seeing her friend. Isabella Crowley was actually many things to Shiress; handmaid, advisor...lady-in-waiting and a Caldera owned slave. Shiress ignored those titles and referred to Bella as a friend. An irritating, nosy, and arrogant friend, but a friend.

"You scared me!" Shiress managed, pausing to will her heart slow down beneath the palm of her hand now pressed to her chest. Bella grinned, sauntering into the room as if it were her own. "I do that to everyone, M'lady. Shiress" she corrected before Shiress had the chance to scold her about unnecessary honorifics. Shiress gave the vicinity of the room another wary glance "Have you been in here recently? The door was pushed open?" she asked. Bella's head was shaking before she spoke. "Not for some time." she replied, then added "I did open a window down the corridor a few ticks ago, and it's a bit windy." the woman shrugged. Shiress, not completely, but somewhat mollified, nodded and turned to a long, floor-length mirror and began tugging at the bejeweled confines of her hair.

Frowning, Bella crossed the floor to Shiress and supplanted the Doctor's fumbling attempts to free her hair. "Are you in for the evening, then?" Bella asked. Arms falling to her side, Shiress yielded her the woman's deft ministrations. "Yes" she said "I'm in no good mood to mingle tonight." Bella paused, placing a silver hairpin on a small vanity table. "Is something troubling you?" Shiress let out a sigh before replying. "The slave market. The slaves." her voice caught, words quivering as she spoke. "Many were too young or too old. It was horrible, Bella."

Bella freed the last of the hairpins from Shiress's hair and long chestnut hair cascaded down the length of the girl's back, swaying well past her hips. "Not tonight, Shiress." Bella said, arms wrapping around the caregiver's slender shoulders "You've fretted, worried, and cursed for days about that. Not tonight." Turning Shiress to face her, she smiled. "Rest your heart tonight, Shiress. Put those thoughts from your mind. How about wine and a bath? Elias heated the water to near boiling a bell ago; it should be nearly perfect by now." Shiress returned the woman's smile shaking her head. "You know me too well, Bella, I had thought the same."

A quarter of a bell later and Shiress was alone. Her handmaid, having filled a wineglass and dutifully leaving the bottle, had slipped out of the room, leaving her lady to her thoughts and Shiress silently thanked her for that. She sat on the edge of the bed, both hands encircling a half-full glass, gaze downcast, lost in the dark liquid, fat tears rolling down flushed cheeks. "I'm so so sorry, Miya." Shiress whispered, her words a soft sob into the quiet of the room before she settled into a silent cry for several ticks. Battling her emotions into a semblance of peace, she sniffed, emptied the glass with one substantial swallow, and crossed the floor to the door and locked it, dropping the key into the hip pocket of her dress. Grabbing up the bottle of wine, Shiress disappeared into the bathing room, pushing the door closed behind her with a soft click.

In her absolute favorite room in the Caldera Manor, Shiress was greeted by the aroma of the rose peddles floating lazily atop gently steaming and soapy water. She smiled, loving her Soldier a little deeper for his kindness and gentle understanding. Disrobing quickly, she tossed her dress across the back of a chair and slid into the heated bathwater with a grateful groan, easing her back against the cool rim of the tub, wineglass held loosely by fingertips over its edge. Shiress closed her eyes, quelling troubled thoughts as the warm water began to sooth tensed muscles.
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Once a thief..(Caspian)

Postby Caspian on May 25th, 2019, 2:41 pm

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    45 Spring 519
The sound of the bedroom door shutting by Shiress’ hand drives a spike of fear into Caspian’s heart, the telltale bolting by key a fatal twist - then, the muted click of the bathroom door that blade’s minute retraction.

Caspian counts to ten - rushes it, if he’s being honest - and when he’s absolutely certain he’s alone, unfolds himself from the accordion-like compression he’d inflicted on his limbs, the better to tuck himself into the shadows and out of their sight.

Carefully, he pads across the room, keeping his shiny metal heels as far off the floor as he can manage. It’s as he feared, though, the handle not turning exactly as it ought to, enough to grit his teeth and have him wishing he hadn’t even bothered - because he knows exactly what it sounds like when a key performs one of its two exclusive functions, yet he had gone through and suffered the trouble of the way being barred from him. More ridiculous, though, would have been not trying, and if by some misfiring of his abilities to assess the situation the blasted thing hadn’t been locked after all.

And how embarrassing would that have been?

The window, then -?

The darkness that’s settled at this soft hour greets him when he pulls back the heavy tasseled drapes. The window isn’t the escape route it ought to be, though, as he assesses with his forehead pressed against one of the many mullions. They aren’t at ground level, and it’s a sheer drop down the facade to the paved and cobbled lawns. That, and in testing the resistance of the latches, in a house this historied and settled in its ways, there’ll be far too much creaking and commotion if he tries to pry it open. How badly the compulsion is now, faced with sudden incarceration, to light his pipe for a smoke - but that would of course require an open window, which he squarely has not got and cannot chance (and it’s not like he’s a stranger to diving out a window if the situation requires but he still feels a certain crick in his neck coupled with a hitch in his step from having done exactly that in a situation categorically dire not more than a year ago, and if he tries that stunt again so soon his chances of survival are...?) -

Right, not panicking. Back to the door, still locked - and one two three fourth time’s the charm, possibly, on the window, except it isn’t, and the very generously poured shot he’d taken before leaving Saticath’s is now taking its toll. He’s not afraid - him? Never - and he’s not frightened, and the woman in her fineries had taken a bottle of wine to the bath, now there’s a capital idea so he’s fishing out his silver flash of a flask from the inner pocket of his jacket that had kept it pressed against his heart and taking a deep swig out of solidarity, and also perhaps for courage, because the second-to-worst-case scenario is that this turns into a waiting game that ends at dawn. Or whenever the lady of the house deems it her leisurely hour to rise. Which does not cause him to fret in the slightest.

The motion steadies him more than its contents, but that’s neither here nor there - what’s here is that he left his lockpicking set in his other suit, the one that isn’t magic, and what’s there is the grand lady in her grand bath, just one out of her many multitudes of grand things.

With his ear pressed against the bathroom door, there’s not much movement to be heard, only the gentle lush crush of water against limbs. Did she seem one to down the bottle, really see it through from start to finish, and even if so, how much time has he got left?

Another draught from his own stash, which spices and burns and would be cause to hum aloud, if stealth weren’t at issue. The bath must be lined with mirrors, gleaming taps, lace curtains and dozens of jars to perfume and saponify in a hundred different combinations - or so he imagines, because that’s what he’d want, if he ever had the chance. And the tub itself must have room for two, curved and silver -

As silver as the hairpins that lie enticingly on the vanity, where the woman had left them.

A prize, those, worthy of bringing home to one’s sister?

Having nothing better to do, except precisely what he came here to do, Caspian sidles onto the plush seat before the vanity and marvels at the pins. Sweeps them into a neat bundle that he tucks into his jacket - save for one which he weaves into his hair. Not very useful, with how short he keeps it, but he adores the shine all the same, and it’s a phenomenal wonder on him, the pin and his magical lavender suit, and how good he manages to look even in the face of strife worthy of another drink.

He throws in a quick rummage through the vanity drawers for good measure.
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Once a thief..(Caspian)

Postby Shiress on June 22nd, 2019, 2:27 am

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Comfortably ensconsed within the warm water, Shiress's mind still refused to not meander back to the slave market. So many familiar faces, friends, staired back at her from within the bars, their eyes devoid of joy, hopefulness, or even life. What had Radcliffe done to his slaves? The man was a terror to those few slaves he took an interest in when the mood came on him, otherwise they were unsubstancial in his company.

Shiress grimaced, hoping that her freedom hadn't caused the other slaves to incur his wrath, but knowing that it probably had. Though, the girl did wonder how. Her ex-slave master was injured, and some even said he no longer had the ability to walk. Though she figured there were other means by which he could inflict torment. Then a thought struck her; why had Radcliffe even sold his slaves?

Shiress shifted in the water, sighing. So many questions and never any right answers. Lifting the wine glass, she drained its contents in one long gulp and settled back again, eyes drifting closed. Save buying all the slaves, and she didn't think Elias would not like that idea, there wasn't much Shiress could do except worry and fret, and she was doing that in ample supply. But then there was Nya...

Ugh! Stop!

Shiress jerked upright in a surge of water and bubbles, irritated. "This isn't going to work!" she growled to herself. Glancing around, she pulled the wine bottle off the chair and filled her glass, subsequently depleting her current supply of alcohol. "This definitely isn't going to work!" she added, eyeing the empty decanter. She downed the remainder of the wine with a toss of her head and stood, allowing the water and soap to flow from her slender form as she set aside her glass. Climbing from the tub, she donned a fluffy white robe, slid the wineglass from the chair in passing, and pulled open the door.

And froze.

Across the room, partly cloaked in shadow, a stranger stood looking back at her. A quick sweep of emerald eyes took in the man's elaborate pointed shoes and elegant lavender attire before lifting to lock on his gold painted, dark eyes, chest suddenly heaving. Three very tense heartbeats passed before Shiress's gaze strayed to the bedside table and to where her dagger laid sheathed.

With a jerk, she threw herself toward her weapon, snatched it from the table, and while spinning in a circle, long damp locks whipping around her shoulders, unsheathed the blade. She did stumble a bit but managed to lift the dagger out in front of her as menacingly as possible, hoping that her hand wasn't shaking as badly as she knew it should be because just then she realized she had taken herself AWAY from the bedroom door and potential flight. Besides, it was locked and the key was...

Damn it!

Swinging her gaze back to the intruder that now stood ten paces directly in front of her, Shiress pivoted her weight from foot to foot and swallowed, grip tightening around the hilt of the dagger.

"Who are you?"
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Once a thief..(Caspian)

Postby Caspian on June 24th, 2019, 9:48 pm

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    The impulse to dive after the woman, to snatch the dagger up from her bedside table before she can, or even more dastardly, hurtle after and prove to be a physical impediment - it quells itself before it can begin. It’s the wiser choice - he very much hopes it’s the wiser, but the reasoning stilling him snaps through in a succession of if’s to then’s, none of the then’s presenting themselves as very favorable if the if’s involve physical altercation, or a raising of his voice in the slightest.

    In some not so past life he might have done just that, though, rushed and collided with his sister or his stepfather just a breath behind ordering him to snap a neck he holds in fast pinion and it didn’t matter how he felt about doing it because the needs of the immediate x outweigh the needs of the morally ethereal y - the needs of the blood outweigh the needs of the brood? - and this was for all their sakes -

    In this life, though, where he’s one long affectation, dressed in hues like precious stones, like rays of light through stained glass and wild spring blooms, no Sunberthian dirt to be found under his nails and incidental maiming at its most minimal -

    With a quick little flick, he sweeps the vanity drawer he’d been searching through shut, allows his glimmering, crystalline heels to click openly against the floor, and gently wipes at the flecks of water that have splattered across his face from her hair. Heart hammering in his chest, amplified by their close quarters and everything he’s just imbibed, he raises his hands in a gesture that attempts to convey he means no harm.

    It’s funny, for a grand dame in the grandest of digs, he hadn’t expected her to be quite so -

    Wild, from head to toe.

    “Just a guest,” he replies upon being questioned, resisting the urge to glance towards the door which, for better or for worse, he’s much nearer to, but aware of it all the same. “One who’s lost his head and seems to have lost his way. And who certainly never meant to intrude...”

    But his resolve wavers, and he’s instinctively leaning away from her and her knife. From the way she’s shaking, she doesn’t seem to be an expert with a blade, though it doesn’t preclude her taking his eye out all the same.

    At the idea of it - and wanting desperately to fill the air with some semblance of this not hurtling completely out of his control - he lets out a flustered little laugh.

    She can take that as she will, she who he had not thought would be as rightful, as wildling and rushed and ferocious and -

    Covered with a curious surplus of scars, for someone so laden with luxury, the crossings and tails of which reveal themselves in their overabundance from the edges and folds of her robe.
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    Once a thief..(Caspian)

    Postby Shiress on June 25th, 2019, 8:12 pm

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    Shiress regarded the strange man with an ever arching brow and dubious glare. "A guest?" she repeated, somewhat slowly, as if tasting the truth -or lie- within the words, "That has lost his way...into my locked room?" Green eyes flicked to the vanity then back "Who then took the time to rummage my vanity?"

    Shiress's eyes then settled pointedly to the top of the man's head. She gestured with a slight upward jerk of her chin to the glint of silver wedged into his dark hair, " And I dare say my hairpins look better on you than myself." Her eyes fell back to his, devoid of mirth. "Might I suggest that you remove the rest of them from your pocket?"

    Despite the fact that, or maybe because of it, the man's confident demeanor lulled Shiress's tendency to violence, anger still churned within her gut. Who was this man..this popinjay...that he thought her so simple, so dense, as to believe he had just wandered into her room? Had she not endured enough torment to be capable of seeing through a foolish and vain attempt at deceit? Had she not spilled enough blood to see through the innocence to the guilt beneath?

    This arrogant peacock had chosen the wrong place, the wrong time, and the wrong woman for such misgivings.

    Shiress watched the stranger's eyes gravitate from her gaze, curiosity blooming, or was it disdain, on his face as he considered her. Shiress's arm lifted to tug close the neckline of her robe, frowning at the man's observation, no doubt too late to cover up the slave's brand burned onto her chest before he had spied it.

    Yes, I was a slave. No, I don't belong in this place. she thought bitterly, Nor do I deserve it when so many of my... Shiress drew in a deep breath, pushing down those thoughts.

    Anger boiled in her veins now, deafening the small voice of reason that reached for her beyond the avalanche of grief and confusion. Taking a step toward the intruder, she paused long enough for the man to meet her vexed gaze. Tapping into her djed, Shiress let it flow outward on the currents of her voice to brush against the man's will, persuading and luring his desire to fall in line with her own. He may only feel the need to twitch a bemused brow at the attempt, but attempt it she would.

    "You will tell me who you are," she said, turning the dagger before her as if to align it with the man's throat, "and why you are here, or you will not leave as uninjured as you arrived."
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    Once a thief..(Caspian)

    Postby Caspian on July 1st, 2019, 1:30 pm

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      Hers is a light beyond tampering.

      Caspian’s seen it before. It’s not an impossible thing but it’s rare, for a person to go from strangle to roar. Of strangling, someone has certainly tried, and from the bone-chilling looks of things it’s likely been years of several someones.

      That hers is a light that hasn’t warped - and it might have, for doubtlessly good reason, and have been understood - it bears down upon him in its vastness, in its simplicity, in his wondering yet again if his mother had at the end of her Kelvic life, a good deal of it as a slave, succumbed or shone even half as brightly.

      Whether the lady of the house knows it or not, her wording betrays there’s mercy to be had, and if she were to hurt him she would at least not relish it. In so many of his catastrophes conditions have not nearly been so favorable, and along with his propensity to do unadvisably reckless things fairly frequently but not always - and that’s the important thing - the woman’s djed darting towards him in forceful vector is enough to tip him into complying, with only minimal complication.

      “Caspian,” he says, plucking the named pin from his hair, “of nothing, from nowhere.” Without breaking eye contact - but does one enjoy a knife wound more if one does or doesn’t see it coming? - he sets it down upon the vanity, with the cluster of the rest from the inner pocket of his jacket to follow.

      Save for two.

      Whether she’ll notice, it’s hard to say - and even harder than that is saying what precisely possesses him to defy her further, right in her line of sight. But the majority of them that he’s retrieved spill with such a pleasing clatter upon the vanity tabletop, and in such an abundance, that it would be an incredible feat for her to determine despite the distance that he’s endeavoring to further -

      “-oh, hang it all,” he says, changing his mind, her telltale scars burning on him like brands anew. With a heavy sigh, he fishes the last two pins from his pocket, and deposits them atop the rest, even as they seem to cling to his fingertips through the strength of kleptomanic compulsion alone. Whether there is right or wrong to be had, and if on a universal scale anyone might be qualified to arbitrate, he’s hardly one to claim possession of the necessary faculties. Moment by moment is how he’s lived through now, and a moment in Sunberth is no moment in the orderliness of the place at present. But in this moment, the history on her skin rattles him, its resemblance to his late mother’s sobering and stilling.

      The stranger with her knife - she reminds him of summer storms, of ivy burgeoning up trellises to cascading heights.

      “Forgive a little fool, madonna,” he says softly, chasing the dulcet swing he’s overheard supplicants nuzzle into the necks of their paramours with arms wrapped round, tucked into the alcoves of the bridges overlooking the canals. “One who really did wander through, and meant no further insult than what you see. I assumed then and I go on to assume now - but if I’d known these fineries weren’t something you’d been born to, I wouldn’t have dared.” Slowly, hands still raised so she can see them, he takes a seat upon the edge of her vanity stool. “It’s all in bloodless jest, and you may consider my personal principles on this self-defeating, and without real substance - but I find no joy in taking from someone who also knows how it feels to have less than nothing.”
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      Once a thief..(Caspian)

      Postby Shiress on July 24th, 2019, 6:08 pm

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      Shiress watched the thief carefully, paying close mind to his facial expressions, hand movements, his shifting of weight, and fleeting glances. She listened to the tone of his voice as it shifted from glibness, to acquiescence, to sincerity, then finally to contrition. The man struck an odd cord with the young doctor, his manourisms not what she would think a thief's should, or would, be.

      Even the young man's name didn't have the air of a criminal. Though, if posed the question of a criminal's rightful sounding name Shiress would be hardpressed to produce an accurate one. Even still, Caspian, although a bit flippant in Shiress's opinion, seemed a gentle and genuine soul, confident in himself, maybe, but not arrogant and the stated fact that the thief would not take from a once derelict woman's newly obtained treasure spoke loudly of the potential of Caspian's own less than pleasant history. That particular speculation gave Shiress enough pause to chew her bottom lip in thought, green eyes still regarding Caspian as he spoke on.

      Not until the man perched himself on the edge of the vanity stool and fell silent did Shiress draw breath to finally speak, but instead, released it wordlessly in an explosive sigh that could have toppled the walls surrounding them, shoulders slumping as the hand holding the dagger fell loosely to her side, emerald gaze holding Caspian's not quite in contempt, but closer to a stern look a mother might give to an overly foolish and mischievous child.

      "You speak prettily for a thief, Caspian of nothing, from nowhere."

      A resigned glint bloomed in Shiress's green eyes that noticeably defused the tension in the room. Glancing over her shoulder, she slowly backed away from Caspian and lowered herself to sit on the side of the bed, still not yet comfortable enough to take her eyes from the curious intruder, but with noticeably less potential to sudden violence. As she did so, the hem of the robe covering her bare legs fell loose, exposing a painted tapestry of abuse upon her lower legs and thighs. Mindlessly, Shiress tugged the cloth back across her bent knees in a way that alluded she would have covered her shame whether there was a stranger present or no.

      "I am Shiress" she said, laying the dagger across the top of her lap, "and I too am of nothing and from nowhere." she added pointedly, thinking she may have an idea of the nature of the strange sentiment. "I am displaced here as I'm sure you have deduced." she went on, eyes scanning the finery of the room. "This home is that of my..." here she paused a tick, unsure of the proper title to offer. Master was quick to mind, suitor was a close second, but neither fit her role in her mind. "inamorato, you might say. The finery, hairpins, all of it that you see a mere gift from him." Shiress drew in a long breath and within it a whispered "Even my life was a mere gift."

      Shiress speared the thief with an earnest glare that lingered on a moment before she spoke again Elias Caldera" she said simply "Maybe you have heard of him? He is an Ebonstryfe Commander and master mage?" she let that bit of information hang suspended between them, watching Caspian's reaction, if any. "I'm sure that he would be interested in knowing who, precisely, you are and why you have attempted to rob him. Although..." Shiress arched a sardonic brow "I would be willing to inform him....later if you are willing to divulge exactly why you have here in search of that which does not belong to you."

      A nod of her head indicated the four silver hairpins now strewn haphazardly across the surface of the vanity table. "Those are worth four gold mizas." she paused before adding emphatically "Each! So do not think your crime a jest or even petty, Mr. Caspian of nothing, from nowhere. You sit within the house of the very law itself and have attempted to steal from it."

      "This can go one of two ways, Caspian."
      she continued, a slight tone of sympathy entering her voice. "You can either tell me of your exact motives, and I can decide your fate, or you can tell Elias and leave the decision making up to him."
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      Once a thief..(Caspian)

      Postby Caspian on August 12th, 2019, 12:55 am

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        “That’s a relief,” Caspian says when she praises - or rather scrutinizes - his elocution. “Worked a sardin’ minute on t’git th’new natter n’ bants,” he adds, switching starkly to his buried yet beating Sunberthian sling. With just that bit of liquor in him, the usual shame that has him adamantly concealing this part of him is quelled, and besides that, it always did take well to a slur. “Raised by a narky, excavatin’ pack o’scunners, I was - and thought t’ turn o’er a new leaf.” Except for the one that has him scrambling through a vanity that doesn’t belong to him, that is.

        The scrappy, lopsided grin that lights upon his face in compliment to the accent of his adolescence dampens immediately upon glimpsing the history of abuse that’s written upon the lower half of her legs in new light. It’s not news that she might be so mottled - given the rest, it’s not a thing to warrant surprise. But it sits in him like jagged ice all the same, and his vandal’s smirk settles into a thin, hard line. Outweighing the sight is her own nonchalance - not to say that she’s disaffected, everyone’s affected and subject to affectation, of endurances long past and ever present. But she’s casting her robe back across her skin with very little thought or premonition, the simplicity of her self-acceptance and the silence with which the burdens are borne tremendous in their own right.

        A foolish thing, to reply in directness - despite all earnestness - that the name of her paramour rings no bells. But he knows as well as anyone who the Ebonstryfe are, can dilate his pupils and shudder with the best of them at the tendrils of their reach, and the hypothesization of the maelstrom that likely would have instantly battered down upon him, had he been caught by anyone else, chills him into stillness, doubling down on what had already gutted.

        As his younger and callower self might have put it - he’d quite nearly gone and sarded it, and a reduction in digits or limbs for his crime might have been him being left off easy.

        “Good ‘eart on ‘im, ma’arm,” he replies when Shiress confirms the nature of her good fortune. Not for the first time he conjectures what his life might have been like, had he run into the right stranger at the right time - had he glanced the right way at the very right moment, found the very right eyes and allowed a rightly search, taken the right hands proffered and turned down the ones he hadn’t. Not to say that he was under any pretense that a notable percentage of Sunberth’s population has capacity for charitable intentions - but he will forever wonder if running into a scoundrel, a lesser one, even an incrementally but quantifiably righter one, might have removed him from his stepfather’s company and set him on towards brighter horizons.

        More harrowing a thought than his recursive speculation after the ephemeral is a point that occurs to him frequently when he is alone, when the lights are out and the Docks are creaking beneath moon’s light and waves’ weight, and the smoke from his pipe is swirling out beneath the crack of the window and the wisps are catching and curling against the panes - that maybe if he had only been better, tried harder, done more to resist and claw, he might have escaped the scum-laced wretch who dragged him at 12 to Sunberth in the first place, and simply avoided all of this - becoming someone who only wanted to become something further, who might press a self-made mask so tightly upon his visage and be willingly engulfed, who could one day blindly walk into an Ebonstryfe den and find his end on a bathroom floor he had only moments ago been consumed with coveting.

        It’s a fair point to hold suspect, the asychronicity of the flutters in which he speaks and those he wears, with the abject state she’d found him in. When Caspian was 14, a stranger had visited his stepfather Taaldros in their parlor. Toss of a word for it, parlor, and visit only in its lightest and scantest application, because the former was a plaster-peeled place missing half its floorboards and littered with glass and steel, and the latter involved the stranger having been blustered in by force, and Taaldros threatening to slice off his ears.

        The lot of it was all familiar - the presence of an unknown figure whose inducements for being there, no one bothered to explain; the number of brutes involved to bring about the inducing; the shoddy state of the room and the lingering stains from the last brawl that had broken out, which Caspian had not managed to scrub entirely away; the wielding of a blade by his stepfather as casually as if it has been a feather duster; and the present logistical obstacles - that being an armed, snarling Zhassel - preventing Caspian from removing himself from the vicinity.

        From his poor concealment behind the planks of wood that served as one of the parlor’s makeshift bars, Caspian could see that the stranger was quite unlike anyone else he’d ever encountered, and from that moment found a culmination for his own pursuits in emulation. In the handsomeness of his dress, his countenance, his bearing - his near complete absence of reaction to the prospects of being maimed - everything for the stranger was taken in stride, with smirks, with chin tipped high. With aplomb, with mirth, with style - a veritable dandy decked in sapphire blue he was, and a string of periwinkle pearls, gold on two legs to the fools’ eyes who had brought him to their hovel of a home and thought there was something material to be gleaned.

        The dissemination of information, and especially at that age to Caspian, had never been regarded as an organizational or domestic priority. The well-decked stranger took his leave with both ears intact in the end, though Caspian never found out the reason for their having been in peril to begin with. In his exiting, his lilt still hovering about the room like light, he’d locked eyes with Caspian, noted the starkness of his youth against the weather-worn vandals leering, his bruises and batters and the concavity of his frame. And his expression had twisted for a moment, from the unflappable coolness that had stood his ground under duress, to something that now, in retrospect, might have been pity, and far-flung hope.

        All the good that locking of eyes did, though - because the dulcet dandy never came again, Caspian spent the next seven years in Sunberth replicating the mannerisms of a half-remembered phantom, and the present is making itself known to him as a monumentally grievous error. There are frying pans, and there are fires, and then there is trying to rob a Stryfe-wife and the prospect of losing his life over a bindle.

        “My lady,” Caspian says, bounder’s brawly inflections now dropped, “I promise you, though it may mean nothing, that you and your Caldera were under no deliberate eye. My -“ he hesitates, but she is at least seated now, and with the dagger down. “My sister might have, ah, posited to me this morning that I’d lost my mettle. There are many means to many ends, some certain means when survival is your only end, and when we were younger we learned for our ilk what those means might be. I know I’m of an age far past claiming I know no better - but by this age it remains much of what I do know. That, and -“ A flush rises across his face in embarrassment much earned. “She said she’d lock me out of doors if I didn’t nick something worth at least several silvers tonight.”

        It’s a pathetic deflation after all that’s been said and done, one he’s got no one to blame for but himself.

        “That’s the lock and stock of it, Shiress,” he says, growing more flustered by the minute beneath the steadiness of her gaze, the vastness of her willingness to grant him a fair minute and simply listen. “My being here was unintentional - though I don’t deny looking to take what was not rightfully mine. I, ah, actually meant to drop in on another party altogether - though knowing my luck, it might have been a Lazarin etagere I’d have been caught rummaging.”

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