Flashback Bastard for sale (Shiress)

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

Bastard for sale (Shiress)

Postby Reed on August 14th, 2020, 2:42 am

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He was fading. In and out. Time skipping. One moment he was being laid down on the table, the next Shiress was coming down the stairs with a bucket of water. Where did she get that from? The thought was gone as it came. His pain was back now, radiating from a multitude of cuts and bruises. He found himself needlessly clenching his jaw. Breathing deeply in through his nose, he felt further pin pricks of pain spiral out from his ribs as his chest swelled.

There she was again. Running a cloth over him now. Or had the searing pain came first. The one that felt like she was pulling at the torn skin around his wound. He felt somewhat detached from the situation. As if this was not his body, and the pain was a result of pure empathy. Like he was looking at himself through her eyes. Why had she stayed? If he was her. What was he trying to say anyways. He was a slave just like her even if his master gave him a little more rope.

He almost shuddered to remember her prick of a master but resisted as he didn’t want her to tear the skin around his hand. Blade was dead, and Shiress was here. It was just a shame Reed hadn’t been the one to kill him. In the pit preferably were he could make a good show of it. That was the only way he could get his release. Attain something that approached happiness. Not that he was too sure what that felt like. Just that it was the opposite of whatever torment he found himself caught in now. With this woman who could probably use some medical attention herself.

Reed thought about all of this while staring stock still at the ceiling. His blood pulsing thickly through his veins, or was that the drugs? Shifting his head slightly, he let his eyes fall on her as there was loud crack from above. Instinct shot through him like lightning as he abruptly sat up, muscles tense. He gripped the edges of the table firmly with both hands until searing pain from his recent sutures reminded him of his current state.

There was no time to confirm the damage though. His eyes were glued to the floorboards above them. To the ample light that was abruptly shedding through the cracks. Fire. This was bad. Lunging off the table he caught himself on Shiress and promptly stumbled on top of her.

Ugh. Sorry.” He muttered while rolling off of her and onto his knees. Then grasping the table he pulled himself up to his feet. “We need. Go down.” His words roared in his ears though he felt like he was just talking normally. Holding the side of his head with his left hand, he felt his way along through rough hewn wall with his right. Step. Step. Step. Thud. Something wooden underneath his foot. Covered by a thin sheen of dirt. It had a handle but at that moment Reed just wanted to get through it.

Slamming the heel of his foot down, the wood cracked. Pain rushed up his leg as he slammed it down again causing the trapdoor to shudder under the blow. His eyes focused on a sconce hanging not far from him. After kicking the door one more time for good measure he tore the torch out of the sconce and tossed it onto the ground. Then he wrapped it in his hands and pulled till it tore from the wall. At least, that was what he intended to do but the going took much longer than he anticipated. Blood seeped through the sutures on his hand as he pulled. There was a voice behind him. Soft. Warm. Comforting even if it was a touch hesitant.

Reed turned around to see that Shiress had levered open the door and he almost sank to his knees in relief. The way down was dark. Almost too dark if they didn’t have that torch he’d ripped off shedding some light down below. He didn’t have to look down though to know what was below. A mine shaft that he wasn’t sure about where it went. His master threw him down there when he was being uncooperative but Reed had never ventured far in that darkness. Instead he’d always hovered near the trap door were a little light always leaked through. It looked like today things would be different though. Gritting his teeth, Reed jumped down splashing down into some filthy water below.

Torch.” He asked simply as he reached up. Suddenly he was seeing double and he wasn’t so sure if he should be the man to carry it. “Climb down me.” It was supposed to be a thought but he blurted it out anyways as a creeping fear threatened to consume him in the darkness of this mineshaft. He wouldn’t be helping her down so much as he would be standing as still as possible to not mess her balance. Then when they had some light, Reed leaned heavily against the wall of the shaft. The moist earth sticking to his back as he felt the whisper of a web against the back of his ears. An he didn’t care enough to wipe it away right now. Right before him stood something divine in the torch light then suddenly monstrous as the light continually played with her features.

Which way?” He asked with a hint of trepidation.
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Bastard for sale (Shiress)

Postby Shiress on November 5th, 2020, 11:26 pm

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Another loud, cacophonic sound splintered the uneasy air that surrounded Reed and Shiress, jolting the prone form of Reed into wakefulness. Sort of.

The groggy Akalak sat bolt upright, swaying slightly from side to side. Shiress made a valiant effort to catch the giant, but just as she reached for him, he propelled himself off the table and straight into Shiress's arms.

All six and a half feet, two hundred pounds of Akalak drove Shiress to the floor with an audible grunt as air vacated her body. Reed rolled away with a mumbled apology, leaving Shiress to writhe where she lay, arms wrapping around herself in a futile effort to fill abused lungs. Gasping, she finally managed a much-needed breath and lifted her head enough to see Reed stumble away from a wooden door embedded into the floor and struggle with a torch that hung on the wall.

Gingerly, the slave girl made it to her feet and, as Reed continued to struggle with the light source, she grabbed hold of the handle of the latch and pulled open the door. The extremely heavy door. Pain screamed through her ribcage as the door creaked on unoiled hinges, and it took her more than one attempt to open it fully. Once she managed to get the thing up enough to prop it open, Shiress took a much needed chime to catch her breath before turning toward Reed, who had just freed their torch.

"Here," she said, her voice barely a whisper, "It's opened."

A relieved Reed turned to face her, just as another crash came from above their heads. The noise put a bit of extra effort into the Akalak's faltering steps, bringing him quickly back to the small doorway. The giant loomed over the opening for just a tick before he hurled himself over and into the blackness. Shiress heard him splash land and grimaced at the thought of what his feet had landed in. Reed handed the torch back up to Shiress and motioned her to follow, mumbling instructions that she barely made out. The Akalak was still very drugged and injured, and she was about to follow him into a hole in the ground, but with a fire raging above them, what other options did they have?

Lifting the torch high, Shiress leaned toward Reed, wrapping her free arm around the Akalak's neck, and leaned into him, allowing her body to slide down the front of Reed's. And, for just a chime, a split tick, Shiress, trembling, wanted to remain pressed against Reed's chest, every ache and pain surfacing, but she pulled away, steadying herself and the torch against the damp wall at her back.

Then Reed opened his mouth and spoke.

"Which way?! Shiress's reply was more of a croak. It hurt to take in enough air to make words. "I don't even..." she turned in place, feet squelching in the puddle she now stood in. She refused to look down to investigate it. "I don't even know where this goes." Turning back toward Reed, she eyed the big man worriedly. The Akalak was still unsteady on his feet, and his eyes were nearly shut, and she knew he wouldn't be leading them anywhere. With a breath, she turned slowly and pointed the torch out before her, stilled herself, and took her first step forward into the blackness.

Fifteen chimes into their trek and the dark, narrow passage ended, and two other passages lead off to either side. Shiress stood there for gazing dumbly into the darkness of one and then the other, then she coughed. A thick, wet, croupy cough that sent agony radiating along each rib and put a metallic, tangy taste in her mouth. Shiress spit the taste into her hand, noting the red stain of blood on her fingers before a wave of dizziness took her to her knees.

Shiress swore as the torch went out with a loud sizzle as it met with the water, leaving her and Reed in pure and perfect darkness. Pulling herself slowly to her feet, she cleared her throat.

"I'm sorry! I tripped," she lied, then belatedly added, "bit my tongue." For some reason letting Reed know that he had injured her far worse than bruised ribs when he fell on her was not an option. Shiress was his caretaker and was responsible for him. A lesson drilled into her blood by her mother and one she took seriously.

Swiping a hand across her mouth -but why, it was pitch black, Reed couldn't see the blood she attempted to wipe away- she leaned against the cold, dark wall at her back and breathed in deeply as best and as quietly she could. After a tick, she ripped a long strip from her already barely there remains of her tunic and wrapped Reed's hand in the dark. Once done, she felt around blindly before finding the Akalak's massive hand, turned her back to him, and placed it against her hip as a guide in the dark. The last thing she wanted was to get separated from him.

Not knowing a better way, Shiress stumbled to the right, hand raised to slide along the wall as she stepped carefully.

"Just follow me, and we'll be ok."

She hoped.
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Bastard for sale (Shiress)

Postby Reed on November 8th, 2020, 6:09 am

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As their breathing softly echoed down the tunnel, Reed felt as if he was on the edge of throwing up. The way her face contorted with the light made his stomach turn uncontrollably. He thought about leaning against the wall, but the slick feeling of those walls against his back came back to him then in a rush. Long nights spent with just his eyes to guide him. A small comfort when one was alone in this labyrinth.

Her voice did not connect with what was in his heart. She knew where to go, she was just confused and needed a strong hand to guide her. Was that him, or Merdem talking? It was hard to tell when the lines were blurred, when left was right, and the earth was no different than the sky. His fingertips prickled with the residual tension of her skin even though that was chimes ago. Bells? Since she last slid down the front of him to shelter in this darkness with him. He wondered how many times she had been down here since then. Of the ways she’d explored on her own without him. Of the secrets she kept.

Reed followed her tentatively, unsure of her motives for leaving him down into the dark. Away from the comfort of the only home he’d ever known. What was wrong with where they were? Why had she brought him down here? The torch flickered. The fire. Right. Reed clenched his eyes shut and then opened them again. The back of her head remained blurry, almost wavy in the dimness of the tunnel. Shiress stopped for some reason to cough, an Reed reached for a water skin. He looked down at his hip when his hand passed through empty air. Looking down confused, he saw that it was missing and cast a suspicious glance over at Shiress just as the light went out.

Instinctively his eyes flicked over to infra-vision, picking out her heat in the cool darkness in the tunnel. There was waves to the red light she produced, an in a way she was more beautiful than ever. It glittered across the curve of her lips as she turned to him. Pressed against his hand a strip of cloth she tore so casually from her tunic. The light breathed through her, beckoning him to reach forward and touch it. His hand pressed flat again the cold, wet wall to steady himself. Then she was guiding him to her hip. She was shaking, trembling perhaps. Was she hurt?

The thought was gone in a breath as she dragged him forward. Further amiss into the darkness, farther away from where they had come from. For a while he was content to be led by the woman made of light. Then he saw it. A brighter light that pulsed at the end of a crooked corridor an she was leading them away from it. Reed tugged at her hip insistently, turning her down the corridor he saw the light if she would follow his direction.

“We go this way.” He said, his voice flat with calm as he pressed her forward. The tiny light grew, an grew till he switched to his normal vision an just saw the blackness of the tunnel yawning before them. He switched back to see the red light and made out a shape now. It sat about waist high with four legs an a circle of blackness around his neck. There was a chain attached to that collar, an perhaps they were too close now. The beast started barking, filling the tunnel with a cacophony of noises that caused Reed to shrink into a ball till he managed to get ahold of himself. He straightened his body out and gripped Shiress to make sure she did not dart away.

“Don’t worry. Its just a dog. Chained. People. Lets go. You have weapon? Or do you want to go back?” He asked, hesitating for a moment on just what he wanted to do. Part of him thought that they didn’t want the trouble of this dog’s masters, though another part of him yearned to be out of this darkness. He wasn’t exactly sure of the fortitude of his companion either and he wanted to rest most of all.

“Shiress?”
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Bastard for sale (Shiress)

Postby Shiress on November 12th, 2020, 4:02 pm

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Why in all of Rhysol's most horrific nightmares was this Akalak asking Shiress for her coppers worth of an opinion?

Shiress couldn't get past the fact that there was a dog, a very loud and irate sounding dog, underground in a labyrinth of caves that she had no idea had even existed under Sunberth in the first place. And she was supposed to know which way to go and know when it was time to turn around? Ha!

And why would she need a weapon?

Shiress asked the one and most important question she could think of.

"Are you sure it's chained?" she paused, catching her breath, hand propped against the damp wall. Then, tilting her head in thought, added "How do you know it's chained? I cant see my hand in front of my face. Even if I had a weapon, I couldn't see the person well enough to use it."

A noice caught the girl's attention, and she inched forward a step, straining to listen past the yapping of the dog. Reed called her name, and she held up a hand for him to wait, then remembered he couldn't see her.

"Hold on." she whispered, then "Do you hear that?"

She guessed it was true that when one of your senses was dulled, the others were heightened because Shiress could hear the unmistakable rising sound of water sloshing under booted feet.

"Reed, someone's coming!" she whispered, slightly panicked. The slave threw herself against Reed, pressing him back against the wall, just before an arch of light swung around in front of them mere feet from where they stood.

A man coughed, and another grunted as if annoyed. Their steps halted, the sound of a chain raddled into the darkness, and the dog abruptly ceased its barking with a frightened whimper. Unbelievably, at that moment, Shiress felt sorry for the dog she had feared only chimes earlier.

A sudden splash and another cough, then a man's angry voice reverberated down the passage toward them.

"Get up, you whoreson!"

There was the sound of jostling, more sloshing, and then a different male voice said, "I'm going to kill you!"

Shiress's body went rigid against Reed with a deep inhale. That voice sounded familiar, but she couldn't place who it belonged to.

"Dead men can't kill nobody." the first voice sneered, and the other man must have made some kind of face because the same man laughed without humor. "Ya think Goldfinger burned down yer joint just to smoke ya out?" he laughed.

"Fraid not. No," Shiress could imagine the nasty sneer on the man's face through the darkness. A chain clinked, and footsteps began to move away through the darkness, heading back whichever way they had come. "No, you got a painful and slow death a'comin, Rocco, and I'm gonna enjoy it."

"Rocco!" Shiress breathed the name out in a horrified whisper. That was the familiar voice. It was Rocco.

"They have Rocco, Reed!" Shiress repeated herself dumbly -as if the Akalak wouldn't have come to the same conclusion that she just had- then after a brief hesitation, still whispering, asked "Who's Goldfinger?"
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Bastard for sale (Shiress)

Postby Reed on November 17th, 2020, 3:10 am

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Her doubt made the decision for him. Through the haze, Reed reached out to gently grasp her elbows as she stepped forward. He was tugging on her with his fingertips when the men stepped out of the side passage. His hands stiffened as he leaned forward to get a better look over her shoulder. The drug played with the red light like mad, but he could make out two humanoid figures out of the murk. Reed pulled Shiress towards him before wrapping her up in his arms, his hand coming up in the end to cover her mouth. He held it there until long after the men had departed down the tunnel.

When he was positive the danger had passed he released her, taking a step back into the darkness to ward off any attack. Her voice spoke a name familiar to him, and he felt a coldness run through him as he studied the red lines of her face. She was running hot in places though he did not know why. Cloistered in the tunnel with her, he noticed her breathing was also irregular. It made him feel itchy, anxious even. His hands flexed until a knuckle popped. The drug must be coming down now because his thoughts felt cold and organic. Sliding into one another as they occurred to him.

“Petch Rocco and his golden finger. We’ve got to get out of here.” He said, as he considered the tunnel around them again. How the ground was soft and wet under their step. Reed got an inkling that the floor wasn’t supposed to feel like that. It had always been hard in his minds eye. The stone walls were weeping as well which took his thoughts to darker places. Water in a tunnel seemed like a terrible way to go all things considered.

Looking at her again his words fled him. She troubled him fiercely as he wondered what the dice had in store for them. He reached out to grasp her hand and missed. Seeing double, he squeezed his eyes shut then tried again. He got a hold of half of it which he tugged into his grip as he took a step forward. Slowly as the ground trembled with every step and the walls wavered as if they were going to collapse inward.

Several times in the short journey he had to lean again a wall as he regained his sense of balance. He had the powerful urge to piss amongst a thousand other thoughts buzzing in his head right now. It felt almost like he was dragging Shiress along at times while others she dipped forward, urging him to move along the tunnel. Finally they came to the side passage the men had emerged from.

Leaning heavily against the entrance, Reed listened carefully before speaking to Shiress. “We see someone, you run.” He said, his voice a low rumble as he swung around the corner. The side passage turned out to be more of a doorway leading into the dank confines of a cellar. It was a little used one by the looks of the broken barrels stacked in the corner beside a heap of fishing implements. A thick coat of dust covered everything in sight. There was a wooden staircase at the far side of the room where a soft grey light was flickering down from.

Reed did not immediately make for the staircase but instead grabbed one of the barrels. With a rough pull he ripped off the rusted iron ring at the top. The sound was almost deafening in the quiet cellar. He froze to listen for a moment afterward, only to relax when he didn’t hear anyone coming to check out the commotion. Looking at the crude piece of iron in his hand, he was satisfied he’d be able to buy maybe a tick with this implement if they needed it. His eyes flicked over to Shiress as they adjusted to the normal spectrum of light.

Her pale face was wan in the dim light, and he felt a tingle of apprehension looking into those eyes of hers.

“Lets get going, see where this leads. Any luck, its near where I can find us somewhere to squat for a while till this runs its course.” He said, his voice flat. Reed started for the staircase without looking back.
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Bastard for sale (Shiress)

Postby Shiress on November 22nd, 2020, 4:52 am

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Shiress stared at the wooden steps of the staircase with not a little bit of trepidation before stepping forward to follow Reed, hand going out to grasp at the remnants of his shirt for balance.

Shiress did her best to make her ascent as steady and quiet as possible while Reed clopped and stomped his way up before her. The Akalak was definitely not at full headspace yet.

"Reed, wait" Shiress called out as they reached a closed door at the top of the stairs. Rounding the big man, she placed one hand on his chest, halting his forward motion, while the other slowly pushed open the door, old rusty hinges squealing precariously in the sudden silence.

Shiress cautiously peered around the doorframe and into a darkened alleyway. Night had descended fully onto the city. Sunberth was dangerous at any time of day, but doubly so at night. Shuddering slightly, Shiress turned back to Reed, swallowing hard.
"It's an alley in the city, but I'm not sure where we're at. Come on."

With a deep breath -and slight wince at the pain it caused- Shiress grabbed the front of Reed's shirt and hauled him out through the door, pausing a chime to make sure the unsteady Akalak caught his balance before venturing further into the darkness, opting for the more lit end of the ally. The other end was pitch black and seemed undeniably off-limits.

The moonlight seemed to ooze down between the buildings, into cracks and crevices before them, illuminating their muddy path just enough to make out several broken crates, splintered chairs, one sans legs, and other deeply shadowed objects Shiress couldn't make out. Hopefully, none would move from where they lay as they got closer.

The deeper into the passage they went, the more Shiress migrated her position to Reed. She had started out guiding him, then eased to creep along by his side, and now, she walked slightly behind him, heart hammering in her chest. Shiress was absolutely terrified.

"Reed, I don't like this." she said, hoping her voice didn't portray her cowardness.

"What's not to like?" a voice said that was definitely not Reed's.

Shiress felt her fingernails sink into Reed's flesh as she watched a shadow materialize into the shape of a man as it stepped away from the wall and into the dank alley. They continued on, passing the stranger as he whispered incoherently to someone Shiress hoped wasn't really there. But just before they had gotten too far away, Shiress heard the man mumble "got some good dust" and "some berries to go with it." and she paused, turning slightly back to look at the man, who had slumped back against the wall.

"What sort of berries?" she asked, then added "ephedra berries?"

The man nodded way too hard and nearly fell. "two silver. Just two silver an ye can have a hand full." Shiress started to shake her head and turn away, but the man quickly added, " One silver. Just one silver and ye can have em'." When Shiress didn't turn back, he added quickly. "A kiss! Gimme a kiss, and I'll let ye have em' all."

Gullible as ever, trusting, as usual, Shiress stopped and turned back. "Just a kiss, and that's it?"

Ahead of her, she thought she heard Reed say something, but the Akalak swayed precariously where he stood half in shadow. Reed could really use the berries, and they needed to find shelter, and he was the only one who knew the streets between them. It was just a kiss, right?

Dumbly, Shiress stepped toward the man, nodding. "Okay, one kiss, and I can have the berries?" The man only smiled wickedly, revealing crooked yellow teeth. What was left of them, anyway. Shiress held out a hand. "Give them to me first and..."

The man grabbed the front of Shiress's shirt and yanked her against his chest. "Kiss first." he said, then pressed his spit coated lips against hers.

His breath smelled of stale ale and bad teeth. Shiress grimaced but didn't pull away, letting the man have his kiss. When he did pull away, he wasn't smiling anymore. His eyes roamed Shiress's form. The dazed, drugged out look on his face had turned more sinister a tick before he grabbed her, slung her around, and slammed her back against the building. Dirty fingers began ripping and tearing at her dress as he pressed hard against her, forcing his tongue past her lips, hands squeezing painfully at her chest.

But, as fast as it had begun, it was over.

Shiress's eyes opened just in time to see the offender's body slam against the opposite building across the alleyway and slide very slowly to the ground in a heap. "Reed! No!" she yelled, scrambling forward in an attempt to stop the Akalak from beating the unconscious man to death. Grabbing the man's arm, Shiress yanked him away from the druggie, or tried to, the mountain didn't move and the look on the Akalak's face looked decidedly not like Reed. Shiress frowned, pushing a bit harder against his chest.

"He's high, Reed. He didn't mean it."

Shiress knelt, sorta fell, down beside the prone form, and rifled around in his pockets, producing a small burlap bag from one and a handful of red berries from the other, half smashed but still viable. Popping a few into her mouth for good measure, boy were they sour, she held out her hand for Reed to help her up. There was no way she was able to climb back to her feet on her own. She hurt!

Once on her feet, she backed the big Akalak into the building and unceremoniously shoved a dozen berries into his big hand. "Eat those. They'll help clear your head and give you energy."

She watched Reed chew and swallow. "Open your mouth. she requested, then demonstrated helpfully with her own, "ahhhhh."

When the big man had complied, Shiress rubbed some of the dust from her finger that she had pressed into the powder as he ate the berries into his gums. It was just a tiny amount and hopefully would help clear his mind even further. She pressed the same amount into her own mouth.

"Okay," Shiress said, slumping against Reed as a wave of nausea rolled through her belly, "Let's find somewhere to go, it looks like it's going to rain." She slid up under Reed's thick arm, wrapping her own around his waist, hoping that he would think it a bit of theater, a couple strolling home after a long night and not realize that he was supporting more and more of her weight.

Rest.

They both just needed to rest.

That was all.
Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars

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Bastard for sale (Shiress)

Postby Reed on December 2nd, 2020, 7:52 pm

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It was all just a trick of shadows and light. Reed was alone, then he wasn’t. Suddenly he remembered Shiress at his side, behind him as he lurched up the stairs. A gentle tug letting him know she was still there. Ahead the salty tang of the outside lingered. This door had been closed recently after having been left open for a long time if the smell was anything to go by. It didn’t smell as musty on the stairs at it should. Reed had plenty of experience with dank pits. He should know. Or perhaps his sniffer was a little more sensitive with the chemicals running through his system. Petch it was hard to get sorted.

His hand grasped the rail as Shiress squirmed in front of him, her small hand pressing against his chest. Her voice echoed in the room, and Reed’s jaw worked as he studied her face. She was brave for a slip of a girl. In his state he wasn’t sure if that was his thought or Merdem’s. Truthfully, he didn’t much care. He desired rest now, and maybe a bite to eat. Outside the night awaited them with its breath held.

Then she was pulling him into its cold embrace. He caught himself on the threshold before he could slip forwards any further. He would do well enough on his own feet for now. They were in an alley, that much was clear. The skin raised on the back of his neck as he appraised the situation as best he could with monsters lurking in every corner. Broken shadows caused by the clutter making him flick his eyes as they moved in his vision until he remembered his other sight. He sank into that now, focusing on the heat of Shiress to calm him, letting her lead him for a time until eventually he was leading the way down the alley.

Crumpled up against the side of the wall was the familiar silhouette of Sunberth’s most desperate sort of denizen. Reed averted his gaze from the sight, but then Shiress broke the silence. He winced as the man responded. Why couldn’t he have been stupefied by whatever cocktail he was on? It made Reed feel dirty to even be on the same plane with this man.

Mechanically he shifted to watch the interaction, a cold curiosity bubbling up within him as he watched Shiress inch towards the man. He took a step forward. Dirt crunched underfoot betraying the movement but neither of them were paying him any mind. His shoulders lowered slightly, neck bent forward as he studied the red light the man gave off. No weapons so far as he could see, just the filthy rags of a man with nothing left to lose. Merdem’s fingers tingled. In the pits he had fought many men such as this one. They made for poor sport as their courage lasted only so long as they thought they had the upper hand.

He looked down at his hands and realized he was holding a broken crate. They were talking quietly now, whispering inaudibly. Another step. Moonlight illuminated half of his face as his legs tensed. There was an ebb and a flow to the way the world swayed. Merdem waited for a point of equilibrium. The man grasped Shiress roughly as his heartbeat slowed.

Another step. Another. He set the crate against the opposite wall with its broken spines up. The man’s dirty shirt ripped as Merdem grabbed him by the collar. Heaving, he tossed the man against the wall. Crate cracking as he landed heavily on it shrieking only briefly before Merdem punched him in the temple. Cracked his nose with a knee. The red light bathed him now. His teeth chattered gleefully as he continued to take opportunity shots on the man’s body even as Shiress tried to pull him away, only stopping when she had placed herself in between him and the man.

Reed came to panting. His chest heaving as he noticed the bright splotches of blood across his knuckles and the crumpled form of the man against the wall. There was no regret in that gaze just like he found no reproach in Shiress when he looked at her eyes. Though there was something there, twisting in the background. When his head started to swim he abandoned the thought.

He extended his arm out to her without even thinking about it but when she pulled him into the shadows of the building he hesitated. Looked at the strange fruit she’d thrust into his palm. Part of him was suspicious, but then again he was so petching thirsty. Reed tossed them back, and sucked in air sharply through his nose at the pinch of tartness to them. After he had chomped them down like medicine, she had more for him, rubbing something gritting against his gums with her fingertip. It tasted vile. His heart beat at little faster as he felt his muscles tighten. He latched onto her, the sight of her face in the red light just as it switched to the normal spectrum.

Part of her strength seemed to give out then as she leaned heavily against him. It took him a moment to register what she had said before he slowly nodded. His mind working even as her hand slid around his waist. He wondered if she knew just where they were. Not directly of course because even he was at a loss to tell one grungy alley from another. However few alleys have a way into the belly of Sunberth, and it didn’t take a stretch of the imagination to realize what that meant for them. They were in someone’s territory like as not, and the only thing they had going for them that it wasn’t a stash. Reed breathed deeply through his nose to steady his rapidly beating heart.

“To get out of this fire we’ll need to go quiet like till I have more information.” Reed said, forming his first coherent thought in what felt like ages. He grasped her tightly back to help support her weight as they hobbled down one alley into another. Voices echoed distantly off the walls around them until there was a pair not so distant. Reed’s mind whirred.

He pressed Shiress against the wall, his arms wrapping around her waist as his face drew close. There was not time to explain, only a hope that Shiress had her wits about her. As the voices rounded the mouth of the alley he started to roughly paw at her clothes as he buried his face in the crook of her neck. It was no act. Part of him did desire her in this way, but he didn’t have to restrain himself from going any further because a voice rang out in the stillness of the alley.

“Eh! What’s a monster like you doing in our alley?” A man said, his rough voice rumbling through Reed as he looked up to regard the two men approaching them. They looked a little too old to be young toughs so Reed decided to lean on that.

“Goldfinger said I could have her how I wanted after doing a bit of work for him, but come on closer if you’d like to have a word.” Reed growled, splaying his bloody hand towards them in a crude gesture. “Keep interrupting, and I’ll let her go, an have a go at you instead.” His grin was almost feral.
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Bastard for sale (Shiress)

Postby Shiress on December 5th, 2020, 1:09 am

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The first thing that skittered through Shiress's shocked thoughts as Reed's big body pressed her up against the wall was that she had totally misplaced her trust in the giant. The second thought, gods help her, was that she didn't want him to stop.

Things happened to slaves, very bad things, especially to young female slaves, but fortunately for Shiress being a marked slave gave her a value that others didn't have, and she was protected, to a degree, from some of the more horrific abuse suffered by Jordan's enslaved. Being a slave from the young age of fourteen, the now eighteen-year-old Shiress's virtue was still well and truly intact, but that didn't stop her from desiring affection. Slave or no. Just to be held within a friendly embrace by arms that meant no harm or held no threat of a blow would be desirable. Just being valued outside of a slave's worth would go a long way for the slave girl.

Still, Reed's touch had a roughness about it that she wouldn't have expected from him, despite him being a huge Akalak. A moment later, Shiress understood why. A man's voice barked out what Shiress took as an insult, and instantly her body went rigid, hands fisting in the shirt against Reed's chest. Reed, however, seemed able to retain a semblance of calm, his voice coming out with such menacing promise that Shiress had an instant of panic rise in her chest before she realized what the man was doing.

If the tone of Reed's voice held an edge of violence, the smile that spread across his lips when he was done speaking was downright maniacal. More a show of teeth than anything else. Shiress swallowed hard, telling herself she may have to reevaluate her earlier conclusion that the Akalak was a gentle giant. She could almost taste the sudden violence radiating off Reed, and the man that spoke and his companion evidently picked up on it also because they didn't advance, but they didn't turn away either.

A tense silence settled into the alley as the man who spoke obviously weighed his options, then. In a mumble, he said something about sending his respectful regards to Goldfinger and turned on his heel, pulling his companion with him out of the alleyway. Shiress wondered briefly who this Goldfinger was before she sighed, body slumping against Reed's, relieved that the Akalak's tactic had paid off. Better than her earlier attempt.

Reed had protected her, and the feeling that that knowledge gave her was so foreign that it took her a tick to speak.

"That was smart thinking." she mumbled, pressing her forehead against Reed's chest, "Seem's the dust, or maybe the berries have done their job, at least."

For Shiress, the small amount of the drug she had taken herself made her feel like her heart was beating a path out through her chest and that a hive of bees had taken up residence between her ears. She wasn't entirely sure she enjoyed the feeling, but at least she wasn't focusing on the pain in her ribs as much. In fact, she felt quite content. Warm even. When was the last time she had felt so warm? She wanted to burrow deeper into the feeling and wrap herself within it, snuggle in, and never leave.

A deep rumble from a masculine chest startled her, causing her eyes to pop open. When had she closed them? Straightening abruptly, Shiress realized she had unknowingly pressed herself into the Akalak's hulking frame, thoroughly enjoying the hard cushion of muscles rippling beneath his skin. A flood of color made Shiress's cheeks even warmer, and she was suddenly thankful that it was too dark for Reed to see the blush she was sure had settled there. Gods, she was exhausted, the day finally taking its toll. Had it only been one day? It seemed she and Reed had been running from one catastrophe to the next for weeks. Shoulders slumping, she grabbed Reed's hand and led the way toward the end of the alleyway. Again

"Come on, we need to get somewhere safe. You're bleeding again."

They made it to the mouth of the passage without more trouble, but no less lost. At least, Shiress felt lost. The alley opened up on a muddy street running left and right. Another alley led off straight ahead, and Shiress had no plans to run the lets-see-if-we-survive-again gambit with another one, so she chose right. With no one interested or paid enough to light the street lamps, the road ahead was dark with only spotty illumination leaking through cracks in doors or establishments well maintained enough to have windows, cracked and broken as they may be. There were very few Sunberthians out, but Shiress spotted a handful stumble walking their way to the next drink. Deep shadows sat in corners and beside buildings and no doubt hid the seedier occupants of the city. Hopefully, Reed would be mistaken for one of those, having claimed himself a whore and was off somewhere to get his money's worth. Gods knew he was weaving and wavering enough to pass as a drunk. Maybe she was too.

Wrapping her arms around one of his, face lowered, Shiress tried her best to look like a whore about to get paid as they squelched their way down the road. She had opted to walk down the middle, as far away from solid objects as she could get. They had barely made it past the first dilapidated structure before someone, a female, called out Shiress's name. At first, Shiress told herself she hadn't just heard her name, but then the voice called out again.

"Is that you, Shi?"

Shi

Only certain people called her by that.

Friends

Coming to a stop, Shiress watched as a small figure detached herself from a much bigger one and trudged toward them.

"Shi, it's me, Emberly."

When she said her name, Shiress knew her instantly.

"Cat?" she said, taking a hesitant step toward her.

"Yes! What in Rhysol's darkest nightmares are you doing out here?"

As soon as the girl came close enough for Shiress to see her, she threw herself into her friend's arms. Cat, appropriately nicknamed, was a Kelvic slave, sold by Jordan to a brothel several seasons earlier. She came at a high price for her petite frame and long, silky black hair. For the short time they were together, she and Shiress had been close, often trading out chores and watching out for one another. When Cat had been sold, Shiress had felt her loss immensely, and, despite the circumstances, it was good to see her again.

"Master had me to see Reed" pulling herself from the embrace, she motioned over her shoulder toward the Akalak, "home and care for his injuries. There was a fire-"

"That place Reyes uses for his fighters? Saw it burnin' few bells ago" Cat said, interrupting Shiress.

Bells? Had it really been bells?

Shiress nodded "Yes. We escaped through some tunnels, and now," she paused, glancing back to Reed "we are misplaced, lost might be a better way to put it."

Shiress tried for a rueful half laugh, but even that fell short.

Cat took a step closer to Shiress, looking concerned.

"Shi, you cant just wander around Sunberth three bells past sundown. You'll get yourself killed." Cat shivered "or worse."

"I know. We are looking for somewhere to go till morning but I-"

Cat held up a finger, silencing Shiress, glancing over her shoulder. With a jerk of her head, a monstrosity of a shadow broke from the recesses of the building Shiress now knew was a brothel. For as many steps it took for the beast to reach them, Shiress found that she had taken exactly that many steps backward toward Reed's protection. The man, for lack of a better description, stood towering over her and Cat. Only Reed came close to his height, but even he lost several inches to the giant. He had the darkest skin Shiress had ever laid eyes on, but even in the poor light, she could tell it wasn't quite black. His like colored hair, from what she could tell, was long and secured at the back of his neck by a leather tie. Muscles lay upon muscles across his huge frame, and it made him the absolute biggest creature Shiress had ever seen.

Cat grinned at Shiress's fearful reaction motioning for her friend to lean down, speaking quietly to him before turning back to Shiress "This is Tuvayath. He'll take you somewhere safe for the night." she stepped close to Shiress, placing a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "You look in pain, Shi. Are you ok?"

Shiress smiled easily, reassuring her friend "I'm fine, just tired.

Cat nodded "You can trust him, Shi. Tuvayath was a medic. He'll see to you and your friend. He doesn't speak much common, but he knows it well enough to understand what you say. Go with him. He'll see you safe."

Shiress looked to Reed seeking approval, then back to Cat, nodding.

Wasting no time, Tuvayath stepped forward, waving a massive hand out before him.

"Follow." he said.

Shiress slid her hand into Reed's and followed.

They had been walking for fifteen chimes when a motion out of the corner of her eye caught Shiress's attention, but she was too slow to call out a warning. One tick she was walking by Reed's side. The next, she was wrenched backward by her hair. A dozen figures poured from an alley to their left, each holding something in their hands. Half closed in on Tuvayath and the last thing Shiress remembered seeing was the heart wrenching sight of Reed going down under the blows of the rest.
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Bastard for sale (Shiress)

Postby Reed on December 14th, 2020, 3:40 am

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Badum. Badum.

His heart pounded in his chest as he held Shiress close. She seemed so frail up close. Wounded beyond the superficial injuries that stained her flesh. They were all wounded in their way. Even the men who leered at them from the end of the alley. As Reed prepared to tip over a barrel if they came at them, a deep sinking feeling nearly overwhelmed his senses. He’d broken a rule. An old one. One that unmade lives more than it saved them. When the men accepted the name he had proffered it felt as if the grave had already been dug for him. All because he had used a name that did not belong to him. The relief he felt at seeing the men gone was tempered by that dour realization as he suddenly felt an inkling of what it must be like to be hunted.

Turning his pale pink gaze towards Shiress, he could not find it in him to disagree with her assessment. Not verbally at least. He worried for her health if he added yet another burden on those thin shoulders of hers. Reed was a realist and could handle this worry on his own. Later when they weren’t in the middle of hostile territory. Right now it was important that they find somewhere safe. Just where that was though was another set of questions. Ones he was happy to latch onto if only to ease his present concerns.

For now he let Shiress lead as he got his bearings amidst the cramped alley. Her hand was warm wrapped around his, and almost reassuring if she didn’t feel him with so much worry. His anxiety at the situation spiked right around the time they came out into the open along a scrawny stretch of street. Perhaps more appropriately it could be called a broad alleyway for like most of Sunberth’s streets, very little of it was uniform. In fact the only thing uniform about it was the shallow pits dug along the muddy path where people dumped their refuse. The only reason Reed even knew it was a street in the first place was because it had establishments along its winding course. Structures that looked like two houses haphazardly stitched together with crude signs over their thresholds. They were the strongest source of light along this thoroughfare, which was to say meager at best.

An Shiress wanted to walk down it, where the shadows were long and deep. Reed hovered in the world between, watching the red light flit between the slats of the first establishment on their right. Forms materialized out of the deep blue of this world. Reed tensed visibly as two shapes crystallized into focus. One a small and lithe woman. Another the biggest man Reed had ever seen. Reflexively his eyes started to scan the ground between them, looking for anything that might be useful. The woman approached but the man stayed behind. Reed backed away as Shiress moved forward.

One step. Two. He knelt, pretending to fuss with the straps on his shoes only to realize he wasn’t wearing any. Where had they gone? He shunted that thought aside for now, ignoring his dirty and bloodied feet to wrap his fingers around the short broken handle of a broom. Not his first choice, but it would have to do. He flipped it around so the jagged end was tucked up behind his forearm as he got up to rejoin Shiress. His movements remained cold, and cautious as he waited in anticipation to see what the man lurking in the dark would do.

Only as he drew closer did Reed realize he was not a man, but one like him. Far from reassuring him, Reed’s knuckles turned a pale shade of pink as his grip tightened around the jagged stick. With his eyes still tuned into the infrared spectrum, he met the man’s eyes defiantly as he shifted his posture so he faced the group with only his left side exposed. Blade side out is what his master called it. A tried and true tactic when the fight in the pit wasn’t supposed to be fair. If that man made a move, Reed would take the brunt of the damage on his left size which would preferably leave an opening for a strike of his own.

Words. So many passed between the two women, but Reed only had eyes for the man with the dangerous light. Shiress looked back at him, an without taking his eyes off the Akalak, shrugged as if it wasn’t any of his business who she chose to escort her. He was along for the ride at this point till things reached an equilibrium in Reye’s neighborhood and it was safe to go back. Reed flexed his jaw as he switched back to his normal sight, wanting to get a good look at this man if they were to travel a ways together. It didn’t help seeing him in the darkness with the amber light playing over his darkened features. He could tell the man had seen his weapon. Sense it in the way he carried himself while he addressed Shiress. Good came Reed’s thought as he looked the man over once before switching back to the infrared. It was far better on this ill tempered night.

Together they traveled down the street hoping for a miracle. Only Sunberth wasn’t the place for miracles, like it wasn’t the place for happy endings. So when a group of men rushed them around a corner, it didn’t feel odd to Reed when a wave of relief swept across him. He thought about stabbing the end of that broom handle into the Akalak’s neck briefly before he missed a punch and got clocked in the side of his face for the effort. More bodies, and flesh pressed against him, bringing him down onto the slick ground. Knee came up to catch him in the gut. One man was laying on his left arm. His right was still free. Knuckles met the flesh around the man’s temple. A hollow thud echoed from the blow like he was tapping on a turned over bowl. Another man sank his teeth into his shoulder. Reed tried to pull back to hit the man with the blade of his elbow but something held him. Two someones actually. Pulling fiercely on his arm while the rest reigned kicks onto his sides. Reed curled up as best he could under the blows, brining his left arm up to shield his head.

Then he started to laugh. A deep guttural bellow which grew when the men actually stopped for a moment. “Think of me when they press you into the pits for this one.” Reed said, his voice a sharp and breathy as he turned his wild eyes upon them. An older fellow with short gray hair shook his head and looked at his fellows for a tick. They started to kick him again, and again, and again.
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