Flashback The Loft Pt. II

Caspian plays lookout.

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

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

Moderator: Resolve

The Loft Pt. II

Postby Caspian on July 26th, 2020, 3:29 pm

Image
    73 Spring 506
Though Caspian and Taalviel had come back from last week’s outing largely empty-handed, her report to Taaldros sparks a discussion of measurable enthusiasm.

Immediately, Taaldros and the associates who seem to flit in and out of the house at will gather around what would have been a pleasant dining table for a nuclear familial unit, had it not been for the many gougings and suspicious stains marring the wood.

And the spare pair of rusted manacles sometimes taken up by any one of the mercenaries seeking to be heard above the rest.

Taaldros slams the manacles down on the table three times for silence, as if a regular gavel wouldn’t have been portentous enough.

Zhassel, the Kelvic hound who had replaced Caspian and Taalviel’s mother Kharis as Taaldros’ object of romantic affection – if it can be called that – clamps her hands over her ears against what to her is cacophony in sharp amplification.

“How much is a wagon?” Taaldros asks the three mercenaries – and he might not have needed the manacles at all, with the dark steadiness of his gaze, the timbre of his tone that means, without fail, that his word is law.

They shuffle amongst themselves.

“Fifty mizas,” one supplies, but it comes out more like a question.

Fifty?” the quiet one Caspian’s learned is named Gavir repeats. “You think a wagon is worth fifty?”

Between Taaldros and Gavir, their natural bents for scathing exactness could cause a grown man to break into a blathering, blubbering mess on the spot.

Caspian knows.

He’s seen it happen.

“Thirty-five,” Taalviel says.

Taaldros nods at her in approval. And to Caspian –

Caspian’s blood runs cold, as it does without fail whenever he’s in his stepfather’s vector.

But he only inclines his head towards the larder. Like Taalviel, he’s capable of saying much without saying anything at all, and this time it’s get the ale and get it quick, the penalty for doing otherwise not explicitly stated, but imagination and experience can fill in the rest.

They like drinking. A lot. And especially when schemes are being hatched. From the raucous debate clearly heard even from within the larder, tucked off in the kitchen, it seems his recent expedition with Taalviel has inspired the mercenaries to stage collisions of their own. Like highway robberies, except without the highway – and for some reason they don’t mind incurring collateral damage by smashing their own wagon, which would require the upfront investment of thirty-five mizas, give or take.

Caspian’s mostly useless to them, and as such had been relegated to being the scullion to fetch and tidy. (The latter isn’t necessarily asked of him – but it drives him mad, the filth and grime and how it had only accumulated and festered over the years – so he does what he can.) They’ve gone through most of the ale they have on hand, but there’s a promising crate towards the back, on the highest shelf. Caspian drags a spare stool over and uses the added height to step onto a barrel. From here, he can reach for the crate with both hands, but it’s a lot heavier than he’d anticipated, and if he drags it off the shelf, it’ll be a long drop to the floor, and he doubts he has the strength to lean over while still on the barrel and lower it to the ground without shattering its contents.

Carefully – because it’s infernally dark in here, just like every other musted room in this house – he feels his way down the barrel, back onto the stool, then the surer footing of the ground.

He drags over another barrel, then hops onto the stool, clambers back onto the first barrel, and with both hands drags the crate off its shelf. Back straining, the bottles rattling noisily, he lowers the crate onto the second barrel. It wobbles, but holds steady. Racing against Taaldros’ internal clock – which will always, to his consequence, run several ticks ahead of his own – he lowers himself down the barrel and stool, and carries the crate out of the larder, sneezing at the dust that billows up.

WC: 684
Image
x
User avatar
Caspian
Player
 
Posts: 216
Words: 278728
Joined roleplay: August 12th, 2018, 11:26 pm
Location: Ravok
Race: Human, Mixed
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Medals: 2
Featured Thread (2)

The Loft Pt. II

Postby Caspian on July 26th, 2020, 4:21 pm

Image
    Though they live in relative squalor, Taaldros and his associates appear to have some idea of decorum. They take one look at the dusty bottles of ale with their rusted crimped caps and send him immediately back to the kitchen for proper glasses.

    Taalviel, of course, is no help at all.

    But Caspian had learned early on there’s no point in expecting it.

    Everything’s frustratingly mismatched here. He suspects that whenever Taaldros had acquired this house, he had done it by force – and even if he hadn’t done it himself, force had been used, and the previous occupants had left all of their possessions. The tenants before them probably had fallen to an equally unpleasant demise, and before them, and on and on, the result of which is Caspian pulling down the glasses of various heights nearest to him and finding, with dismay, that they were all cracked and unusable.

    Suppose they all drink quick enough not to even notice it’s leaking, though?

    But Taaldros would certainly see.

    Caspian opens one of the cupboards to a frightening array of knives thrown haphazardly among plates. Not very helpful, and from the corner of his eye he catches, with a grimace, the glimpse of something dark and furry darting behind a sieve. The cupboard on the other side of the kitchen is a lot more promising. On one of the higher shelves he spies metal tankards, the sort you’d see at a tavern, more likely than glass to survive mishandling intact. And therefore worth, hopefully, pursuit.

    It’s far out of his reach, so he boosts himself up onto the counter, on his knees, wincing against the bruises he can feel forming from the unforgiving approximation to marble. There’s a lot on that shelf, shoved behind stacks of bowls and more glass so fogged with grime that they’ve turned opaque. With one hand gripping the shelf to anchor him, he sorts and sifts through the offerings, retrieving four tankards in reasonable shape. He already knows which one to give Taaldros – it’s the cleanest one by far, with braided etchings around the rim, the embossing of an eagle taking flight.

    His arms are full but if he can just –

    One of the tankards slips from his grasp, and in his haste to grab it he drops another, and then a third.

    Fortunately for him, the mercenaries have begun arguing about the best road to pull off their scheme, and pay him no mind.

    Feeling relieved more than anything that Taaldros hadn’t lobbied a threat at him for his clumsiness that would surely be made good on, he crouches on the counter and deftly slides down to the kitchen tiles.

    When he returns they instantly send him back for a bottle opener, and one of them swears there ought to be at least half a bottle of port somewhere back in the larder.

    Caspian isn’t foolish enough to argue. Not wanting to feel his stepfather’s glare upon him for even a moment, he scurries back to the larder, drags back the stool he’d used to retrieve the ale, and climbs back onto the barrel in search of the alleged remainder of port – because that’s just what you do when you’re in Sunberth, he’s come to learn, and it’s two in the afternoon.

    WC: 547
    Image
    x
    User avatar
    Caspian
    Player
     
    Posts: 216
    Words: 278728
    Joined roleplay: August 12th, 2018, 11:26 pm
    Location: Ravok
    Race: Human, Mixed
    Character sheet
    Storyteller secrets
    Medals: 2
    Featured Thread (2)

    The Loft Pt. II

    Postby Caspian on July 26th, 2020, 4:42 pm

    Image
      “Why can’t I just be in the wagon?” Caspian dares ask Taalviel. It’s the day after Taaldros and his unsavory circle of associates decided that the most lucrative thing they can do with their time is facilitate a vehicular collision and raid the belongings of their victims – as if they fancied themselves as pirates. He isn’t sure what they want from him, with uselessness lobbied at him more often than his actual name – though Taaldros had made it abundantly clear he isn’t to sit this one out.

      “You want to be in the wagon?” Taalviel raises an eyebrow at him. “It’s going to crash, you know.”

      “It seems a lot more straightforward than wherever I’m going with you.”

      She doesn’t respond, only quickens her pace without warning. Caspian has to jog a few feet to catch up.

      It’s the late afternoon, and they’re winding their way through a neighborhood considerably nicer than theirs – niceness, of course, tempered by relativity, but Caspian’s glad for a change of scenery all the same.

      Taalviel stops suddenly. Looks at him, face expressionless, then at the crumbling wall beside them. Beyond the wall are two-story houses, and theirs is a two-story, but based on the facades alone, Caspian would wager that their cupboards are filled with less garbage and considerably more dinnerware. Trash and crates have been left against the wall, and she nimbly steps onto the weathered wreckage. There are stones jutting from the wall, and in addition to the crumblings, she uses them as handholds to scale herself up to the top in a matter of seconds. From the top of the wall, sitting with her legs dangling off the edge, she beckons.

      Up.

      As she’d done, he steps gingerly onto the most solid-looking of the crates, wincing as it begins to cave beneath his weight. Not wanting to be questioned by anyone passing by if he can help it, he steps fully onto it anyway, and hurriedly plants one foot and then another on stones jutting from the wall.

      Taalviel watches him mirthlessly as he scans above him for something else to grasp. There’s an amber-colored stone by his right hand, smooth but not so much that he slips off. He finds a divet in the wall for his right foot next, boosting him half a foot higher, and immediately after spies another stone for his left hand. Casting his gaze up – he isn’t sure, being pressed right against the wall, exactly how much higher he has to go. From the ground, it had seemed to be about two times his height, maybe a bit less, and with Taalviel’s alacrity she had made the distance appear negligible.

      For him, of course, it’s another matter entirely, and after discovering another foothold and handhold, the ground seems much too far away for him to fall safely, should it happen, and the top –

      Taalviel sighs. And as if it’s an afterthought, points. “Your left foot. That reddish brick. No, not – yes. That one. Come on.”

      He complies.

      WC: 502
      Image
      x
      Last edited by Caspian on July 26th, 2020, 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
      User avatar
      Caspian
      Player
       
      Posts: 216
      Words: 278728
      Joined roleplay: August 12th, 2018, 11:26 pm
      Location: Ravok
      Race: Human, Mixed
      Character sheet
      Storyteller secrets
      Medals: 2
      Featured Thread (2)

      The Loft Pt. II

      Postby Caspian on July 26th, 2020, 5:32 pm

      Image
        “ – by your right hand. I said your right hand. Look. And with your eyes this time.”

        Who doesn’t look with their eyes? He’d snap this at her if he weren’t holding on for dear life to two stones so unhelpfully without much friction that it’s almost as if he’d chosen them with intent to self-sabotage.

        But she’s right, which he’s of no means to admit to her even if he’d wanted to. About half a foot directly above his right hand is a jutting bit of rubble, comfortingly angular in appearance, and wide enough for him to plant his entire hand atop it should he get the leverage. He stretches, eases himself as high as he can on the balls of his feet – and his fingertips graze the bottom of what should be his next ledge.

        “I – “

        It’s only spring, but the sun beats down all the same. A trickle of perspiration pools at the base of his neck, sliding down his spine.

        “I can’t –“

        “Yes, you can,” she replies exasperatedly.

        On paper, he might jot her words down and read them back with an encouraging tone. One of positivity, of camaraderie, of whatever it is sisters are supposed to represent and convey.

        But here there’s only the wall he’s pretty sure was built to keep rabble like them out, the unforgivingly cloudless sky, and an older-looking-but-actually-far-younger-by-calendar-years sister who had somehow gained her present position as easily as if she’d flown.

        But he doesn’t see a better way up than the one she’s pointed out to him. The problem is he’s just so very close, but it’s either within reach or just, well, not, and he’s half a mind to lower himself down, if he can figure it out, and find another spot along the wall that seems more promising than –

        “Just do it,” she snaps, and he knows what she means.

        If he breaks his neck, so be it.

        Using the leverage he’s gripping with his left hand, he crouches down momentarily, then leaps up like a tightly coiled spring, and it’s clumsy and feels like he’s just scraped off the skin on all the fingertips of his right hand, but he grabs the new ledge all the same, and that’s what matters. His right hand’s the anchor now, the left still planted a bit too low to be of much help, and with both feet scrabbling against the wall he scrambles even higher. Wildly, he runs his left hand along the wall, seeking anything, even the slightest nook or cranny to buoy him until he can find somewhere else to dig his toes into. By some miracle, he finds it, and somewhere higher up than is comfortable, he finds purchase for his left foot. He’s folded up now, his left leg bent with his knee pressed between the wall and his chest. His right foot’s against the wall, scraping pointlessly, sending dust and crumblings to the ground – which now, to his vivid imagination, is a chasm reaching dangerously far below.

        WC: 505
        Image
        x
        User avatar
        Caspian
        Player
         
        Posts: 216
        Words: 278728
        Joined roleplay: August 12th, 2018, 11:26 pm
        Location: Ravok
        Race: Human, Mixed
        Character sheet
        Storyteller secrets
        Medals: 2
        Featured Thread (2)

        The Loft Pt. II

        Postby Caspian on July 26th, 2020, 6:00 pm

        Image
          “If you don’t hurry, you may as well have stayed at home,” Taalviel decides to inform him.

          Was that even an option?

          His neck aches from craning it both up and down the wall. Still pressed against it with only the sky above, marred by the dark wraith that is his glowering half-sister, what he’s hoping is just a matter of a few more feet threatens to become a league.

          Whatever amusement she’s been deriving from his struggle – and he knows she finds it amusing even if she doesn’t laugh, because she’d sat up there and crossed her ankles and peered just as one might have done at a community playhouse – it seems to have spent itself. With catlike grace, she rises to her feet, crosses the distance to him and crouches down with her hand outstretched.

          He reaches out like a drowning man, and she heaves him up and onto the top of the wall beside her.

          Panting heavily, from both the exertion and spark of fury and sheer indignation, he looks away from her to survey their surroundings.

          When she doesn’t say anything – what is she waiting for? A thank you? – he snaps his gaze back to hers crossly. “Now what?”

          Wordlessly, she heads a few yards down. There’s an enormous willow tree, the branches lapping at the wall and trailing over. She disappears beneath the leafy curtains –

          And doesn’t return.

          Swearing under his breath, Caspian rises unsteadily to his feet. It would be ridiculous – but, sadly, not entirely impossible – that upon finally reaching the top of the wall, he immediately fell down. Slowly, he plants one foot in front of the other and follows her, trying very hard not to look down. When he ducks beneath the willow branches, she’s nestled up in the tree, waiting in the shady gloom.

          He grabs one of the branches – doesn’t really like how easily it sways and bends, but she doesn’t advise him to the contrary – and steps out onto another branch, a thicker one, and quickly eases onto it and closer to the trunk. She’s some feet above him, still climbing, and ascending a tree is better than a wall, at least for the absence of any potentially disruptive or otherwise heckling audience.

          Beside the tree is one of the two-story houses. She clambers quietly onto the roof, and he follows closely behind. The roof tiles, thankfully, are embossed and give his shoes something to grip.

          Here she stops. They can see a considerable amount of the neighboring streets, about a two- or three-block radius, including the intersection where they’re planning to hold the collision, chosen by Taaldros for its being tucked enough away to minimize the number of witnesses.

          For some time, Taalviel says nothing. A quarter of a bell passes, and if it weren’t for the breeze that thankfully airs out the flush he’d given himself climbing the wall, it would have been a lot more unpleasant. She’s been watching the road leading to the intersection in question. Suddenly, a red carriage pulled by two white mares trundles down. The driver’s wearing a top hat, and in the passenger seat are a man in a bowler and his bonneted wife.

          From the folds of her blouse, Taalviel draws out a glimmering green cloth, the edges of which are trimmed with something gold that sparkles sharply in the afternoon light.

          “Wave it,” she says. “Now.”

          Bewildered, Caspian complies – and spots, with a shock, Gavir on a rooftop two blocks away, waving a shining sapphire flag in response.

          Their timing, Caspian has to admit, is excellent – for down the other, perpendicular road, Taaldros and his two cronies in their wagon barrel down.

          Even from a distance, they hear the sickening crash and crunch. The cries of the marks, however, are lost to the city sweep.

          WC: 636
          Total WC: 2,874
          Image
          x
          User avatar
          Caspian
          Player
           
          Posts: 216
          Words: 278728
          Joined roleplay: August 12th, 2018, 11:26 pm
          Location: Ravok
          Race: Human, Mixed
          Character sheet
          Storyteller secrets
          Medals: 2
          Featured Thread (2)

          The Loft Pt. II

          Postby Marino Oceangem on July 28th, 2020, 10:04 pm

          Image
          Grades Awarded!

          Don't forget to edit/delete your grade request!


          Character Name

          Skills
          • Climbing 5
          • Observation 3
          • Rhetoric: 1
          • Endurance: 1

          Lores
          • Taaldros: Quick temper
          • Lore - Staging a wagon collision
          • Climbing: Scaling a crumbling wall

          Awards & Retribution


          Notes


          Always a pleasure!
          User avatar
          Marino Oceangem
          Player
           
          Posts: 165
          Words: 205459
          Joined roleplay: February 8th, 2020, 5:33 am
          Race: Human, Svefra
          Character sheet
          Storyteller secrets
          Medals: 1
          Mizahar Grader (1)


          Who is online

          Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests