Completed Flash of the Blade (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]

Flash of the Blade (Caspian)

Postby Shiress on October 7th, 2019, 5:50 pm

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89Th Day
Spring 520

Shiress frowned as she studied the female standing before her; long chestnut hair dangling across her slender shoulder in a braided rope, face somewhat rounder since the last time Shiress had scrutinized the feminine form, but her breast...Shiress cocked an amused, albeit approving, eyebrow at the round fullness of breasts that she had definetly missed before. They seem to sit higher, displaying a whole lot more cleavage than she remembered in that familiar deep red and gold laced corset dress.

Bottom lip slipping between her teeth, Shiress watched with anticipation as the body turned, allowing for an accurate appraisal of her backside. Shiress grinned; that too had plumped beautifully. The figure turned back now and Shiress eagerly watched the process of deft fingertips as they began their journey upward, latching tiny metal clasps together one by one, starting just above the navel and suddenly coming to an abrupt halt just below those full breast.

Shiress scoffed, cursing under her breath in a very unladylike way, and turned away from the floor-length mirror, letting the dress fall down her belly, past her hips to land around her ankles in a puddle of lace and silk.

"You can take this one, too, Cas." Stepping out of the mass of fabric, Shiress grumbled as she scooped up the dress, took a step around the dressing screen and tossed the offending garment on the bed, atop a handfull of other garments deemed too impolite to one's personal wellbeing. "It's too small." then, mumbling for her own irritated ears."or I'm too big."

Shiress sighed deeply, turning back to the mirror, wearing nothing but a deep, appraising frown. To look at Shiress, someone might think she had changed little in appearance over the last four moons, but the naked reflection staring back at very familiar green eyes belied that assessment -more significant, fuller breast, plumper backside, a little more curve between hip and waist- Shiress turned sideways, hand gliding down a still flat belly, wondering idly if this would have been the moment Elias would have slipped in behind her, his pale blue eyes watching the progression of scarred, calloused hands in the mirror's reflection, as they too slid down Shiress's taut stomach to rest just above his unborn baby. He would kiss the sensitive spot on her neck, whispering how beautiful she was and how much he loved his child already.

Tears stung Shiress's eyes at what should have been.

As it was, no one, save two others, knew that Shiress was with child. Isabella, her handmade, and Aleric, the manor's butler, both no longer employed and long let go. Rohka had speculated amongst her cards, even going so far as to warn her that if she was pregnant, discretion should surround the knowledge. Shiress had taken that bit of counsel to heart, telling no one other than the ones closest to her. Not even, hopefully, letting those that The Voice had called together know. Even Rook had died none the wiser.

A knock from outside the open door of her bedroom recalled Shiress from her heartbroken thoughts. Pulling the simple cotton shift over her shoulders, she stepped around the screen, smiling with a not-so-stifled laugh at Caspian enjoying the fruits of his laboring to personally help clear out some of Shiress's closet clutter.

"You look beautiful, my friend!" she laughed again, shaking her head. "There's a black box under the bed that I think I might have stowed away some beautiful accessories for that particular piece."

Still smiling, Shiress pulled a rope belt from the back of a chair and began looping it around her waist, turning for the bedroom door. Just outside in the hall, she called back, letting Caspian know she wouldn't be but a minute, that she wasn't expecting any visitors, and padded quietly down the hall.

Pulling open the front door, Shiress frowned at the hooded figure standing just outside. His scarred, pockmarked face glanced from a small slip of paper clutched in his gloved hand up to Shiress, then down again, then back up. A message then.

"Shiress?" a voice that sounded as if he had gargled rocks that morning asked. Shiress bobbed her head, reaching for the message, but the man suddenly lurched forward, grabbing Shiress around the back of her neck with one hand as the other snaked out from beneath his cloak. The scent of garlic and something far fouler assaulted Shiress's nostrils as he brought his lips to her ear.

"Regards from the Caldera's, but Radcliffe Lark sends his condolences."

The man pulled back, readying himself for something Shiress could quite register, when he suddenly stiffened, mouth going wide in a wordless scream. Clutching Shiress's arms, the stranger pulled her down to the ground with him. He let go, writhing, stretching awkwardly in an attempt to reach his back, and inadvertently kicked Shiress free. Rolling up awkwardly to a sitting position, Shiress's eyes flicked past the man to yet another cloaked figure before her eyes moved down, down, down to the hilt of a dagger protruding from her lower abdomen, and to the bright crimson flood spreading from around it.

She screamed.


Last edited by Shiress on July 18th, 2020, 4:33 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Flash of the Blade (Orias, Caspian)

Postby Caspian on October 18th, 2019, 2:23 am

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The sequence of events that leads Caspian to spending odd afternoons in the lovely haze and whirl that is Caldera Manor is not something he might have predicted. A far cry he is now from the maul-and-marrow 16-year-old Shiress had brought back from the brink of death, and equally far if not further is she. With a chirp of delight he pounces forward, taking up the frock she’s just tossed towards him upon the bed. Crimson and gold are two shades that suit him - well, most everything he lays his hands on tends to suit him, such is his interminable aesthetic burden - but these really do it for him, blazing and brilliant against his darker skin, slipping across his forearms like molten jewels.

Does indulgence cease to be if it comes with the frequency that it seems to so often find him? It’s not guilt but gilt that drives him, appreciation in a purer form for sumptuousness and all things that stun. Of these things Shiress has been more than ample, to a degree that one might deem as overly encouraging but he’s not really of the space and mind to discourage nor scrutinize, and the end result is he’s swathed himself in her silk blouses and chiffon scarves, and cinched himself at the waist with leather. With this newest set of spoils the likes of which he’s not sure he’s earned but is convinced he deserves, he’s turned the bodice in on itself, having no hope of filling it as Shiress can, letting the rest to hang from his hips as a skirt with splits that reach his mid-thighs.

“Not so much a shine to me as what you’ve got,” he says airily in response to her compliment, lounging in the center of her bed in regal observation of her exit. Rather giddily, he rolls to the edge of the bed and drops to the floor, drawing out the box she’d mentioned. The contents have him sharply drawing breath. Still kneeling, he reverently pulls on a pair of gloves of red lace that reach past his elbows, the delicate thread drawn with gold in direct compliment and extension to the dress. And then there’s more - a golden chain from which dangles an enamel pendant shaped like a red bloom, and a stack of bracelets and earrings to match. The stray piercings he’d gotten in his teenage years are long since closed, but the necklace and bracelets he can certainly take advantage of.

A stray thought occurs to him as he crouches with finery at his fingertips, the likes of which he finds sacrilegious to leave abandoned under a bed, like a pair of - well, spare and muddied garden clogs. It’s habit that makes him pause, one he’s exercised far many more times than the level of lounge-about he’s experiencing now. For a moment the calculations flood him, the ones that have him wondering whether if folded neatly and carefully he might make off with not just one of those scarves down his boot, but two or three, with perhaps another in the inner breast pocket to keep the bracelets from clinking together and giving him away, and -

No.

He wouldn’t - not to Flutter. Never.

After all she’s done, after how she’s cared for him today alone?

Funny thing, feeling guilty for something he hasn’t even done, and he’s not sure he likes it.

What better way to drown that out than diving back onto a bed that might fit five?

Resolutely, face burning over a sin uncommitted, he pushes it from his mind and marvels again on the distance they’ve come, in both leagues and love.

The other thing she’s quite spoiled him on is the food. Between the two - or, he supposes now, two-and-a-half? - they’ve made good on the permissiveness and resources the stately residence has at its disposal. It’s as if they’re making up for lost time, with their keeping the kitchen fires constantly roaring, the bath taps on flow, their chatter pitter-pattering and the richly carpeted floors littered with her wardrobe and vanity’s rummages and pilfers.

On top of all that - it’s all rather wild, isn’t it, that Flutter’s about to have a kid.

Not that it should come as much of a surprise to anyone, but he doesn’t know much when it comes to children - some might politely say it’s not really his area, that area occupied almost solely by persons and proclivities one should keep from children at the greatest distance one can muster.

Although - growing up the way he did, with atrocities just on the landing, he’s come out of it well enough, hasn’t he?

Sighing back through a cloud of jewel-toned satins and silks, Caspian supposes the extent of the consequences on the state of his moral bearing might be, to most parties, quite up to debate.

Idly, he rolls to the edge of the bed and slips to the floor, sauntering to the mahogany-framed cheval mirror across the room, appraising his own approach with a warm delight. Out of everything he’s got on, he’s not sure what his favorite bit is - the emerald green blouse wrapped in a deep V down to his navel, the burnished gold scarf woven about his waist, the scarlet skirt trailing behind him - or just simply the glimpses of his skin through the sheering and folds. In a spark of inspiration, he snatches up a glimmering sapphire shawl from the lovely pile of fripperies left on a nearby chair, drawing it across his shoulders and over his head - and when he pulls it a bit further over his brow, gathers it beneath his chin, draws closer to the mirror’s edge -

Were he to catch a glimpse of himself in the dark, in passing shade -

Though the memory of his father dims, his mother he’ll always remember - clutching herself with her back to tundra winds, eyes dark and deep, gazing out towards what to her could only have been a frozen waste.

From origins undetermined, there’s a tremor in the floor, no attenuation with his feet bare.

Where had Shiress said she’d gone?

But his unease comes too late, and Shiress’ sudden scream has him bolting from the room and hurtling down.

”Shiress -!” Her name erupts from him in half shutter, half shout, and with the unknown assailant incapacitated upon the threshold, a yet unknown savior beyond, he takes Shiress into his arms. The sight of the dagger in her abdomen, were he any frailer, would have him retching.

“Shiress, I -“ He’s out of his depth here, terribly out and far from, and when the doctor herself’s the one on the ropes? “Shyke, Shiress - shyke. Tell me what to do?”

Beyond his control, his voice shakes - and so do his hands, the pooling blood staining the lace gloves and gown, seeping past to the emerald and sapphire, the whole of him drowning in crimson corrode.


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Flash of the Blade (Orias, Caspian)

Postby Shiress on November 23rd, 2019, 6:06 pm

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The hooded man standing several paces from the front entrance growled out a curse, knowing his blade had left his hand too late. Stomping forward, the man appeared in the manor's doorway, his large frame blocking out Syna's rays and passing over the three figures before him in an inky shadow. His dark, nearly black eyes glanced over the still writhing intruder before pausing on Caspian, dark eyes narrowing.

If he had thought the young man an enemy, the thought quickly faded, and his body eased slightly, seeing the man was clearly distraught. The stranger's gaze then settled onto Shiress, hand lifting to push back the hood of his black cloak. A pained expression creased his features but was quickly replaced by rage.

"See to Shiress." The words came out as a growl, teeth clenching, jaw muscles working. Leaning down, Kylar jerked a dagger from the still writhing man's back, causing him to scream out in pain. "I'll see to him." Grabbing a fistful of the man's cloak, Kylar dragged him outside and out of sight.

As soon as the hood fell, Shiress knew the familiar face that looked down at her.

"Kylar!" she gasped, making the words sound like both a statement and a question.

Shiress had thought her once guard had been killed the night the Botanical Garden had gone up in flames. Eyebrows drawing down into a frown, Shiress's opened her mouth to undoubtedly ask several questions, but a lick of fiery pain across her stomach had her turning into Caspian's chest with a groan.

Behind her, she heard Kylar speak, but couldn't make out the words. She was so tired, suddenly, wanting nothing more than to sleep. Just as she began to drift into blissful darkness, something propelled her back.

Releasing the arm that held a death grip around her friend's waist, Shiress lowered her hand slowly toward the pain in her abdomen. Feeling the blade still lodged in her body, she grimaced and sucked in a painful breath, moving the hand to seek out Caspian's.

"Blood." Shiress's voice sounded breathy and tired. "We have to stop the bleeding." Glancing up, she tried to reassure the thief with a soft smile, struggling to keep her eyelids from drifting closed. "I think I'll be okay if we can stop the bleeding. But." Giant, unshed tears filled emerald eyes "But my baby might.." A sob cut off her words and Shiress nestled her face back into Caspian's hard chest.

From outside a man's tortured cries of pain were heard between snippets of desperate, panted words.

An unknown amount of time passed before Shiress again resurfaced enough to draw in a ragged breath to speak.

"The blade, it has to come out."

Shiress's hand moved again toward the dagger, but her arm felt like iron. Grabbing onto Caspian's hand instead, Shiress settled a steady gaze on her friend. "You have to do it."

More pain riddled cries reverberated around the room from outside.

"Just pull it out, straight and slow." Shiress said, her body started to vibrate with uncontrollable shivers. "I may pass out but don't stop. Once the blade is free you need to stop the bleeding with pressure."

Seeing something cross the young man's face, Shiress lifted a trembling hand and cupped the back of Caspian's neck, pulling him down so she could press a soft, lingering kiss to the corner of his mouth. Between them, Shiress's hand guided Caspian's to the hilt of the blade protruding low on her belly, nearly halfway between her hip bones.

Pulling away slightly, Shiress pressed their foreheads together.

"I'm going to be okay.

You can do this, Cassy.

I trust you completely."




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Flash of the Blade (Caspian)

Postby Caspian on January 29th, 2020, 5:38 pm

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Stopper her ears from the sound of the man named Kylar mangling what’s left of the attacker - stopper even her eyes from the way she gazes up at him, as if he could possibly do anything of any worth here. If it were even remotely within the realm that a scourge like him, whose extent of usefulness and experience to this day is bloodletting, categorically the opposite of what she’s ultimately asking him to do -

“Flutter -“ he begins, and it’s his own heart stoppering now when she brushes her lips across his own.

It goes beyond asking - it’s need, because if he doesn’t act now it will be the end of everything. How many times had she held him in her arms when he was on the brink? The memories are fogged by the chemical concoction his abductors had forced him to imbibe, the physical verge their ambush had driven him to, all of it dogged by his having spent the long years since then actively trying to forget.

Consciousness had flitted in and out but he can still recall glimpses of light from those dark days, when he would come to and she was there, brushing his hair back from his feverish brow. They had tasked her with keeping him alive, but she had done far more, stayed by his side even when he in bewildered, juvenile blustering scathed and spat, conflated her with all born and bred suspicion with his captors. Not once had she faltered, and through all her patience and innate need to simply help those in need, they’ve ended up here and now.

The strength with which she closes her hand over his own, and over the dagger in turn, surprises him. But she had never in his eyes been feeble in mind or body - and he feels a rush of something greater than them both, to see that her imperturbable sense of self might still shine now.

I can’t is on the tip of his tongue, but a higher power he’s never sought before now finds him.

I can’t lose her, it completes itself, a broken “I’m sorry -“ escaping him as he closes his grip around the dagger and draws it free.

As if it’s just been molten in a forge, he flings the weapon away, blood splattering in an arc across the manse’s threshold and the proximal walls. She seems to slump in his arms once the weapon’s released, red streaming in new fervor from her gut.

Distantly, with an odd calm starkly contrasting the trembling of his every limb, it’s as if he watches himself from afar, as if there’s a languid shade leaning on the railing atop the grand foyer staircase, feet crossed at jaunty angle, with a haze of tobacco streaming from his lips. It’s ironic, isn’t it? the shade seems to say in overlap, in loop, because it’s a funny thing, to be asked to heal instead of harm, and he’d do this for anyone, wouldn’t he? He’s stitched his sister up before. But it’s funny, still, always is, because he’s deadbeat useless stumbling faint-hearted -

The shade watches him drag the silks and wraps from his head and waist and press them against her abdomen.

“It’s too much,” he says to Shiress with stuttering jaw. The blood is seeping past the sumptuousness he’d torn off his body to try and stop the flood. “Gods. It’s too much. I -“

He looks around frantically, imagines his impassive onlooker as inclining his head towards the parlor, the many floor-to-ceiling curtains, the damasked divans. He needs more - something to dam -

Straining as far as he can without jostling her, he snatches at an intricately braided wool throw one of them had left on one of the settees.

“Here - this - Gods, please -“

It’s a lot thicker than the satins and silks, naturally far more absorbent - and he hopes it’ll be enough.

Enough for what, exactly? his third-person observer deftly lilts.

The unborn child - no matter what he does, even if she were to survive this, what could he possibly do to save the life she’s been cradling for so long?


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Flash of the Blade (Caspian)

Postby Ambrosia Alar on March 1st, 2020, 1:43 am

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Flash of the Blade (Caspian)

Postby Shiress on March 21st, 2020, 2:52 am

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Shiress was suddenly and inexplicably exhausted. Unable to keep her eyes from sliding closed, she lay listening to Kylar's muffled voice beyond the doorway and the soft, whispered pleas from Caspian.

Caspian.

Poor Caspian.

Shiress pressed her hand to Caspian's forearm, letting her thumb massage soothing circles against his warm flesh. It was all the comfort she could muster for her friend. Her mind drifted away on a cloud of memory to a time that she was the one cradling Caspian and whispering soft pleas into the cool night air.

A short time later, Kylar appeared in the doorway, paused, assessing, his sharp blue gaze lingering on Shiress before considering Caspian as he moved confidently into the house. As he circled around Caspian to kneel by Shiress's opposite side, he placed a warm hand on the thief's shoulder, squeezing reassuringly. Wordlessly, he withdrew a blade from within his boot, beckoned for Caspian to remove his hand, and cut the fabric away from Shiress's wound. With gentle fingers, Kylar probed and studied the stab wound a time, then sat back on his haunches with a grimace, scrubbing the back of his wrist across his forehead irritably.

"It's deep," he said finally, "but I don't think the blade hit anything vital. At least.." Kylars words trailed off, and the muscles in his jaw worked, "at least not in her." he spat out, visibly attempting to control his anger. "Let's get her on the couch."

With Caspian's help, they placed Shiress on the sofa. Kylar immediately unslung his bag from around his back and began rummaging within its contents. He pulled out a small brown jar and a cloth and glanced up to Caspian "Yarrow." he said simply. "It will stop the bleeding. Scooping a liberal amount of the brownish paste from within the jar, he pressed it firmly into Shiress's wound, causing her to grimace, but she didn't cry out. After covering the puncture with the cloth, Kylar tied strips from Shiress's dress to hold it in place. He held the jar out for Caspian to take.

Returning his attention to his bag, he produced a small brown sack and pulled out several dark red berries. "Ephedra berries," he explained, squeezing several into Shiress's mouth before handing the small bag to Caspian. "They'll giver her energy and clear her head, but the crash is hard and depleting." Kylar lifted his eyes and waited until Caspian's gaze met his. "She will want more, but you must give them to her carefully, or she will become dependent on their effects. Do you understand?"

"Kylar?" Shiress's voice caught the soldier's attention, and he knelt down in front of her. "I thought you were killed at..."

Kylar quieted Shiress with a shake of his head. "I'll explain that later," he said "but right now, I need you to listen to me. The blade went deep but at an angle toward the...the..."

"The baby." Shiress finished for him. Kylar nodded grimly, and Shiress turned her face away from him, tears flooding her eyes.

Kylar took hold of Shiress's hand. "Shiress, Im so sorry, but I need you to listen to me. Did Elias ever tell you of a blood curse? A Caldera family curse?"

Shiress nodded but remained silent.

"The man that attacked you was sent by the Caldera's, Shiress. By the Caldera's and, in some part, the Lark's."

Shiress turned her face to look at Kylar, disbelief and confusion warring for dominance of her features. She looked from Kylar to Caspian then back to Kylar "I don't understand."

Kylar moved closer, firming the hold he had on her hand. "Someone from within the Caldera family attempted to end Elias's bloodline," Kylar paused, then added "with your baby. That man was hired by the Caldera's to kill your baby. Elias's baby."

Horror washed through Shiress as Kylar's words registered. Her hand settled instinctually against her swollen belly as she stared at the soldier for a long, silent tick. When Kylar remained quiet, she looked to Caspian as if he could help her understand. But Shiress did understand. It all made a sort of convoluted sense, and she wondered if Elias's own family was behind her lover's disappearance. Panic began to bubble up Shiress's throat, but before she could voice it, Kylar spoke again.

"I felt the baby moving, Shi." The soldier gave Shiress the warmest and most heartfelt smile that Shiress had ever seen, and it made tears spring to her eyes yet again as his meaning hit home. What the man was meant to do to her had not been successful. At least, not yet. "You can not stay here any longer." Kylar stood and crossed the floor to a table, grabbed a paper and quill, and began writing something down. When done, the man took several steps to Caspian and held out the paper.

"Directions to the Sullins residence. Take her there and wait for me. Do not leave her alone. I am charging you with her safety..." he paused long enough to make sure he had Caspian's full attention before he added "..spy. I know you do not know who I am, but just know that if anything happens to Shiress, I am more than capable of making you very, very sorry." Kylar returned his attention to Shiress. "I'll bring Ambrosia to you and a healer, one I trust. Gather what little you need right now and go. I'll see you by last bell"

Then Kylar was gone.

Shiress eased herself slowly to her feet, reached for Caspain, and pulled herself into his arms with all the strength she had left.

"I am so very sorry, Caspian." Shiress's voice sounded muffled against his chest. "Please forgive me for all this."


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Flash of the Blade (Caspian)

Postby Caspian on March 24th, 2020, 10:31 pm

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“Sorry?” Caspian blusters. “Flutter -“ It’s preposterous that she should apologize, as if being gouged and bleeding out in his arms is an inconvenience to be waved off.

It’s me who should be sorry, he nearly interjects. Stops himself, because he doesn’t know the ending that sentence deserves - because maybe he does know but the articulation is beyond him, still something deeply entrenched and yet to be fully exhumed.

Under Kylar’s gaze, though all perceivable evidence denotes him as someone who towards them means no harm, Caspian flinches. Curls his arms tighter around Shiress in reflex at the sight of the knife from his boot. But he removes his hand as he’s bidden, her blood embedded in the creases of his palms.

Though he doesn’t know Kylar very well - and even if he did, would it make a difference? - there’s no other option but to trust in his directives, never mind the man behind them. And given being wholly unequipped to handle the situation by his own means, certainly unable to verify the validity of the effects of the substances handed to him, the only way forward is the one being written for him.

The curious thing about the directions Kylar’s given to him, though -

And here he lets out a broken huff of a laugh, perhaps not something to instill confidence in a stranger who’s already made his preconceived animosity apparent. But it is funny, enough to sober him and steady his hands, because whoever Sullins is, they’re practically neighbors.

“But - what if there are more of them -?” Caspian blurts out, snapping his gaze towards the direction of the assailant, but Kylar’s already taken his leave.

With just the two of them, the task both at and in hand, the maelstrom whirring through him presents itself as manageable, dare he say doable - if anything, it is modularly direct. So he’ll approach this piecemeal, the first of them being -

“Gods, Flutter! Careful -“ he exclaims as she rights herself, leaning against him as if her injuries were nothing more than a petching sprained ankle.

He could laugh, again, though it would only come across as manic. It’s utterly tremendous that she’s standing more or less on both feet, yarrow and berries be damned - though they might be medicaments, efficacy proven in real time, he’s certain they’re only amplifying the sheer force of will Shiress has always possessed, and which has never ceased on some level to terrify him.

From the rack by the door he snags the first two overcoats he can find, shucking one over his bared form and another over Shiress’ shoulders. If someone were to question why he’s escorting a gutted and evidently drugged woman through the streets, he -

It’s not often he finds himself at a complete standstill. That’ll just have to be dealt with in the moment it needs dealing.

“Hold on tight,” he says to Shiress, calling upon his practiced blitheness and shoving the directions Kylar had given him into his pocket. After all, he knows his own way home. “Let’s go for a stroll. A little promenade. Funny, isn’t it, how whenever there’s some disaster one finds at its center one of those petching Larks -“

It’s difficult, slowing his pace so as not to rush her. Though he himself is unscathed he feels as if he’s the one who’s been torn asunder, and with each of Shiress’ stumbles and flinchings, so lurches his heart. Against, likely, some medical professionals’ better judgment, he offers her more if the ephedra - because they need to move quicker than this, they need to fly, they need to bite through a moment so that they might look back and call it a horror, which would be better than a tragedy.

Though he hadn’t wanted to draw attention to them, the situation skyrocketing his suspicions of everyone around them, the metronome omnipresent in the back of his mind tells him beat by beat that they’re running out of time - and he can’t carry her nor could he drag her, and more wrenching than that, he can’t alter events that have already laid her to waste. With a curse he doesn’t bother muffling, he tries to flag down a ravosala, hisses in fury when he’s ignored - with all the light and might he can muster, waves down the next.

“Here,” he says, and there’s the purpose of Kylar’s note renewed as he hands it to the driver. He pays him immediately, and twice over.

A credit to their craft, the driver asks no questions, doesn’t bat an eye even when Caspian draws Shiress closer and banefully glowers, having become struck with the notion that they don’t know the full scope of their enemy’s attack, and he may have unwittingly walked them both right into range of the next scheduled assassin.

When they reach their intended address, Caspian eases Shiress as swiftly and unjarringly as he can up and onto the dock. Eyes cast behind him, attention drawn forward, he hurries them to Clyde Sullin’s door and raptly knocks.

They’re flying into this blind. He doesn’t like it - though of the matter at hand he’s not sure there’s anything to like.

“You know him?” he asks Shiress in hushed tones before the door opens, keeping a watchful eye out on his peripherals of the streets.
Last edited by Caspian on June 14th, 2020, 4:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Flash of the Blade (Caspian)

Postby Ambrosia Alar on March 31st, 2020, 12:14 am

Ambrosia walked down the walkways of Ravok, humming a merry tune at the sky. In the few seasons she had been here, she had grown accustomed to the odd layout of the city. While the canals cut clear paths from one place to the next, the walkways along them didn’t always necessarily connect. Any naturally born Ravokian would say it made sense and her hometown of Alvadas was nothing but madness, but Ambrosia was a natural born Alvalad. Only chaos made sense, and Alvadas had far more of that than Ravok. Where illusions abounded and the eyes couldn’t be trusted, one put no faith in themselves or the world about them and yet, somehow, still ended up getting where they needed to go.

Still, she was becoming surprisingly adept at navigating her way around the city. Up ahead about four islands was the one that contained the Caldera Manor, but it was not such a simple journey. Two islands ahead, there was no way across the canal, and she would have to back track from there to here to get to where she wanted to be. Having made the trip and that particular mistake enough times, Ambrosia instead turned down the canal to her left and followed it, crossing over several canals before turning back toward the Manor again. This route would get her there soonest.

Her eyes remained on the night skies, her vision only occasionally blocked by the bright light of torches as she passed by them, and as her curious eyes darted across the stars and traced the many shapes in her mind, their stories played there, too. Laughing at the ridiculousness of some of them, she swore she heard the stars laugh back with their glittering.

Tonight had been a good night. Tonight, she had made an ally, someone who might be able to help her find her way back home. While most of the Sliver’s patrons weren’t powerful or wealthy enough to hold any sway, the occasional Ebonstryfe commander would frequent the place. One had tonight, and Ambrosia had made a good impression.

Yes. Tonight had been a good night. Everything was exactly how it should be.

It had begun when Jeb saw someone enter the front door of the Silver Sliver Tavern.


Jeb was always a man who was all business, but something seemed to become even more so that way when the tall man with one white eye walked through their front door.

Quickly, Jeb caught Ambrosia’s arm and flicked his head toward the storage room door. It led to a room above the tavern with a single window that looked over the roof of the Sliver and out on to the city. “Grab a chair and take it upstairs. Make sure the area in front of the window is clear.”

“What-” she began to ask, but he cut her off.

“Don’t ask. Just do.”

Normally, Jeb was courteous and kind to Ambrosia. She had a way of forcing herself into people’s soft spots, of becoming a wanted part of their lives. For him to be so blunt with her meant he meant business. She shrugged, grabbed a chair from a currently empty table, thought twice about it, grabbed a second, and pulled both behind the door leading to the stairs. One at a time, because she wasn’t strong and the stairway was narrow, she carried each chair up to the second story.

There, she found the room the same way it had always been, chaotically organized. It would look like a mess to anyone who didn’t know any better, but things were easy to find once one understood the thoughts behind why things went where. Still, if someone was to be spending their evening up here, it would have to be tidied up a bit.

A large barrel sat directly in front of the window. Walking over to it, Ambrosia tried to pull against it, but it was too heavy, undoubtedly full of some liquid delight her customers could drown any unpleasantness in. Placing both hands on the far side of the barrel., she leaned back, pulling her full weight against it until it tipped up enough she could roll it to one side.

She had placed the chair in the middle of the room and had turned around to start picking up little piles of things when she saw that the Ebonstryfe man had already made his way up. Ambrosia paused, looking at the mess that still remained.

He laughed, a warm and comforting sound that put her at ease. “The mess? Don’t worry about it. Everything is exactly where I remember it being.”

Ambrosia smiled. “You worked here before, love?”

The man nodded, walking past her to grab the chair and slide it in front of window so he could look out of it.

“Shall I bring you a bottle of silver?” It was the tavern’s signature drink, a tart drink with a heavy alcoholic bite. Ambrosia wasn’t sure which bit worse, the tartness or the alcohol.

Another nod from him had her stepping down the stairs lightly and snagging a mug and a bottle of silver. Jeb didn’t question her, instead just shot a quick, “Make sure the marshal is taken care of tonight. I’ll handle things down here.”

Ambrosia went back up the stairs, pouring a mug full of the drink and handing it to the man. She left the bottle on the barrel next to him. “Why drink up here?”

The Marshal gestured to the window. “It’s the best seat in the house. It’s quiet and allows me to think. Besides, the view is the best one here.”

Shrugging at that claim, Ambrosia ducked behind him and set her chin on his shoulder. He tensed for a moment but relaxed once he realized she meant no harm. Ambrosia did have to admit it was an astounding view. It looked out over rooftops and canal ways and the scattered lights between, and the one doing the watching felt as if they could watch all of Ravok, not just watch but watch over. It was a protector’s view.

Ambrosia walked back around him and peeked out of the window at the roof, shrugging as she did. “It’s nice, sure, but it sure ain’t the best view in the house.”

She looked back at him as he spoke, the tone in his voice and the sharp glare in his eye saying he was not accustomed to being told he was wrong. “As if you know anything. You’ve been here all of a season.”

“It doesn’t matter how long I’ve been here. I ain’t blind.”

“This eye doesn’t make me blind.”

Ambrosia shrugged again and walked to the window. “Well, love, something’s getting in the way. I’m not saying you’re completely blind. You’re just missing the bigger picture.” Sliding the window open wider, she stepped out on to the roof, lay down, and rested her head against the angled shingles to stare at the stars. “This is the best view in the house.”

She waited, certain he’d take the bait. He might be confident in his superior rank and position, but something about him said he had a curious sense as well. She didn’t have to wait long for him to pop his head out the window. Patting the space next to her, Ambrosia continued to stare at the sky.

“Here. Hold my drink.”

Ambrosia smiled knowingly. The only reason he’d bring his drink was if he intended to stay, and the only reason he’d intend to stay was if he thought she would be right. Her confidence had placed a seed of doubt which had quickly sprouted, matured, and become full grown in an instant. She took it, waited for him to make his way out, then lay back down, handing him his drink and pointing upward.

This is the best seat, in any house, by far.”

He whistled appreciatively. “Damn. I hate being wrong.”

Her laugh filled the empty dark around them, giving the twinkling stars a voice as they shone down upon the pair. “Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone.”

He took a drink, then passed the mug to her. She took a deep gulp and savored the burn of liquor as it made its way down her throat, before she handed it back. Eyes that had long grown used to searching the heavens quickly picked out the constellations she knew, but after several chimes of silence, the marshal broke it.

“I’ve never done this before.”

“You’ve never looked at the stars?”

“Never. I was always too focused on the here and the now and what I could do for this city and my god.”

“Well, there’s always time now. Here.” She scooted closer to him, placing her head alongside his, and pointed up to the sky. In this same way, she had taught her own sisters about the stars. “See the bright one there? That’s the Watchstar or Lady Priskil’s Light. It sits on top of a ‘h’. That’s the Aquiras Gate. And if you look there, that’s Zintila’s Fall, the one that looks like a pair of eyes.”

For nearly a bell, her voice filled the empty night as she pointed out each constellation and told the tales that went with them. At the end, the marshal had only one question.

“Is there a constellation for Rhysol?”

Ambrosia shrugged. “I’m sure there is, but I ain’t ever been told which one it is. I’ll ask, and the next time I see you, I’ll show you.”

“I’d like that.”

Silence ruled the rest of the night. Three bells passed as two pairs of eyes, one seasoned in the watching of the sky and the other brand new, scraped their way across the heavens, as if they could divine some understanding of the scope of the world and their insignificant place in it. He didn’t speak a word when he left, still dumbfounded by whatever insight had been revealed. Instead, he stepped inside, helped her in, and left down the stairs.

Ambrosia tidied up the room the little bit it needed, then made her way down the stairs. Apparently, the marshal had tipped well, because Jeb put a few extra coins in her hand and smiled. He actually
smiled.

“The marshal seemed to have a good night, a very good night. What did you two do up there?”

Ambrosia winked. “A lady ain’t supposed to kiss and tell.”

“You’re hardly a lady.”

Ambrosia shrugged.

“Well, a man came by earlier, insisted on seeing you. He said he was sent by your mistress on urgent business. I told him you weren’t here.”



Ambrosia had left the Silver Sliver feeling quite proud of herself and the connection she had made, though also a touch confused as to why Shiress would be trying to pull her away from work. There was going to be some explaining to do, but Shiress was forgiving. Today had been a good day. Everything was exactly as it should be. Everything was going her way.

Ahead, the Caldera Manor loomed out of the darkness. No lamps lay lit behind the windows. Caspian had been coming over. No doubt, he and Shiress had had too much fun. As softly as she could so she wouldn’t wake the sleepers, Ambrosia stepped through the door, and immediately, her foot found a puddle of something sticky.

“Too much fun,” she murmured.

She’d have to clean up whatever mess the two had made. Stumbling through the dark hallway, she found a lamp, lit it, and turned back toward the door.

And froze.

The puddle in question was blood. There was a lot of it. And no body. Ambrosia stared some more, as if doing so would suddenly make something good come of this. It didn’t.

Tonight was a bad night. Nothing was how it should be.

She stood there, burning lamp in her hand, with no idea what to do.
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Flash of the Blade (Caspian)

Postby Shiress on March 31st, 2020, 1:09 am

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The journey from the Caldera Manor to the Sullins' cottage was undertaken in a haze of thought and whirl of emotion. Everything seemed to be happening so quickly that Shiress wondered if she had been slightly less coherent through more than half of the conversation between Caspian and Kylar.

As it were, Shiress felt as if she were standing still. At the same time, the world around her spun out of control, slowing for a tick long enough for her hypervigilant gaze to make out shadowy features of a face that had turned her way only for it to spin out unrecognizable the next instant.

What had Kylar given her?

If she didn't avert her gaze, she was afraid she would retch.

Shiress tucked her face further into her Caspian's chest, having complete trust in his guidance and allowed herself to be inundated by his strength. Gods but Shiress missed the feeling of protection being wrapped in a man's arm gave her. It hadn't lasted long enough with her Soldier. Rook was ripped away from her, and now her baby...Shiress let out a moan of pain and grief, steps faltering, but dearest Caspain urged her onward, his arms tightening their hold on her swaying form. She wanted to lie down and sleep. She wanted to lie down and die, and If it weren't for him, for her Cas, Shiress knew she would lose herself in the flood of despair.

Dont let go of me

Hold me tighter

He did

By the time Shiress felt herself and Caspian stumble up the few steps leading to the cottage door, she was numb, drenched with sweat, and very far from lucid. Maybe that's why she failed to inform Caspian that there was no need to knock quick enough, that the cottage was empty, Clyde having been gone for some seasons. Before the thought had registered, the entrance was yanked inward, and Caspian was gone, leaving Shiress to lean upon the doorframe to remain upright.

"Where is it!?"

The voice sounded desperate, irrational, and distinctly male.

"Give it to me, I know you have it!"

There was the sound of rustling as if someone was yanking away at clothing, plunging hands into pockets. Another sound, indicative; flesh hitting flesh, had Shiress stumbling forward into the cottage.

A tall and lanky man with greasy strands of dark hair framing a pale and panicked face, had Caspian pressed face-first into a wall. A filthy hand between her friend's shoulder blades held him in place as another raked and searched what seemed like every inch of Caspian. Unsatisfied with his findings, the stranger jerked Caspian backward, twisting him around to slam his back against the same wall. He was yelling, screaming, something into the spy's face, Caspian looked to be saying something back, but Shiress couldn't understand the words. Then he was lifting his arm, and Shiress watched as the stranger struck her friend across the face once, twice, thrice.

Shiress gasped out Caspian's name and surged forward, but froze in place when Caspian's attacker turned his attention her way, Caspian slumping to the floor beside him. Shiress saw it then; bloodshot red eyes that, even in the shadowed room, she could discern were dark with dilated pupils. His face was dotted with perspiration, chest heaving with every intake of breath, and his body shook.

The man was drugged to the gills.

He was on Shiress before she could think of anything to say or do, his hand wrapping around her throat, Caspian's blood staining the knuckles. Then it was her turn to be smacked into something solid. Shiress wasn't sure if the stars dotting her vision were from the man's hand against her throat or the air abruptly leaving her lungs, but by the time her eyes cleared, the man stood an inch from her nose, sneering down at her. He seemed to come to some sort of an unsatisfied conclusion because, in the next instant, Shiress was shoved forward and thrown to the floor.

Pain lanced through her belly, and she felt the warm oozing of blood down her side. She lay still, stunned, hearing the man's curses and worse reverberating throughout the small cottage. Through a curtain of disheveled hair, Shiress glanced up, watching the man stomp across the floor, both of his fist drawn up in his hair, agitated.

As soon as his back turned to her, she crawled toward Caspian, pulling his head into her lap. Her friend was not moving, and his face was covered in blood from a gash across his cheek. Gently, Shiress swiped fingertips across his face, whispering his name alongside pleas for him to wake up, momentarily forgotten by the drug-addled man.

Shiress didn't remember blacking out, but she came to sprawled awkwardly across Caspian's chest, erratic breathing close to her ear, but it wasn't Caspian's, she concluded, her hand laying gently across his chest. Slowly lifting her head, her gaze found the man and followed his line of attention down to her friend's face.

Shiress balked, jerking upright, at the sight of the stranger shoving something past Caspian's lips, and yelled out, unintelligible even to her own ears. The man lunged at her, pulling her free of Caspian's still form and forced her to the floor, holding a smothering hand over her mouth. Shiress's hand left the stabbing pain at her side and wrapped around the offending appendage, instinctually.

"Shhhhhh"

Shiress could hear the man hissing nonsensical by her ear.

"Shhhhhhhutup, bitch.'

"shhhhhhhh"


Shiress struggled free of his grip just enough to scream out for Caspian before the hand clamped back across her mouth and nose, stopping any attempt of calling out again or even to breathe. Despite her best efforts to free herself, Shiress felt the will to fight gradually lessen and begin to fade within the encroaching darkness. With one last, desperate attempt, she felt her teeth sink deep into flesh, and the firm grip relented enough for her to draw breath into greedy lungs, expelling it on a scream.

"Caspian!!!"



Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars

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Flash of the Blade (Caspian)

Postby Caspian on April 1st, 2020, 6:06 pm

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Once, when Caspian was 14, Taalviel had abandoned him in a marketplace.

That’s the summarial distillation of events, because what she had really done, mercilessly and unscrupulously, was shove him from the top of the cobblestone wall upon which they’d been skulking, directly into the back of a wagon hurtling by on the road down below.

It’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that this might have happened anyway, regardless of her arbitration. Like most things in Sunberth lacking resources and attention, the wall was torn and crumbling and overrun with rats like them - and until very recently he had been used to treading upon snow in omnipresent layers, or gliding across ice, none of which had prepared him to traverse the barbed tightropes in Sunberth where he was so often led. Not swiftly, at least - and when he thinks back, he supposes that might have been sufficient reason for her deciding that pushing him off was precisely what he deserved. Everything in those days had been about teaching him a lesson. That one, though no one had bothered elucidating in so many words, had likely been about adaptability - about honing a razor’s edge out of one’s mettle, and in the face of terrible shock, dodging and pressing forward.

He had failed that day. It had been a nasty shock, the sudden plummeting of his heart - she’d moved so swiftly, a shade he had sworn in the moment before impact was a gull flying overhead. Worse than that was the termination of the fall, because he’d crashed right through the wagon’s canvas cover and into a throng of louts, some the live spoils of a local bounty hunter, but all already slurry-drunk at three bells past noon. Half-blind with terror, stunned still from the collision, and in those days at baseline near half-starved, he’d capitalized on his own catastrophe by not immediately jumping from the vehicle.

It had certainly been in motion, at a velocity considered barreling through his unmodeled and unpracticed eyes, but to Taalviel’s -

She’d gone and rescued him. Eventually. And with the utmost contempt lacing her already permanent glower.

The point is that even if he hadn’t been prepared - disregarding, for a moment, the nasty voice in the back of his mind reasserting that’s exactly where his shortcomings lie - it had been no excuse not to react to every moment following.

That’s what Caspian remembers, with the same sense of detached calm from earlier, when the wild-eyed stranger slams him once-then-twice against the cottage walls.

Even if he hadn’t seen this coming he should have asked more questions; despite his not asking more questions he should have kept his dagger strapped to his side; and she had shouted after him, Taalviel, as he’d gotten dressed to leave for Shiress’ that morning, to bring his knife in the first place. Always looking out for him, his sister, and even if her methods were harsh, they weren’t inexplicable. She had been preparing him for an innumerable moment none of them could name - and one of those moments is here now, to which he can’t say he’s learned a thing.

He likes to think he can hold his own but the stranger has a wiry strength, a complete disregard for their own self-preservation, the wild manglings of a survivalist. He throws up his arms, but the stranger strikes past them.

As the lights seem to burst before his eyes, only to occlude his every vision to shutters of black, he distantly thinks of two things - that his sister is not here, and she isn’t coming - and at least it’s him and not Shiress.

He tastes blood before he hits the floor.
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