Little Lamb Lost (Caspian)

Ian goes missing (Doubles as a job thread for Caspian)

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Center of scholarly knowledge and shipwrighting, Zeltiva is a port city unlike any other in Mizahar. [Lore]

Little Lamb Lost (Caspian)

Postby Caspian on February 21st, 2021, 4:37 pm

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There are half a dozen rooms on the second floor of the inn. Here, finally, is a lane he can see in its totality, an end towards which he can track.

He presses an ear to the door on the immediate left – hears loud, girlish giggling and a man’s gruff response. Not Eve. The first door on the right – a man already snoring. The second pair of doors aren’t Eve either. Then the last two, at the very end of the hall –

It’s the fifth door he’s checked that gives him nothing but silence. Somewhere below, he can hear Taalviel stalling the bartender, argument rising in pitch. But they can’t keep the bartender away forever, and if someone calls the Wave Guard –

He knocks on the door. Loudly. Again, louder. It could very well be empty – and if it’s empty, there’s no one to complain about his barging his way through.

The door is thin, already splintering, the lock just a hooked latch, no more protection than might be given to a garden gate.

At the far end of the room, struggling to open a window, is Eve – he’s seen her once, twice, maybe more if he’d cared to pay attention – but there are the scars on her arms, the recognition flitting across her face. And above all, there’s Ian bundled up on the bed.

Eve shrieks, but the window only gives an inch, the warped wood holding it fast. What was she planning to do, jump with Ian out the window?

“He’s mine,” Eve exclaims, throwing herself upon Ian, snatching her up into her arms. She backs away sobbing into the corner as Caspian advances. “He’s mine, you bastard, he’s -“

“Ian Caldera,” Caspian shouts over her, “and needs to be with his mother, Shiress.” In the folds of his jacket, pressing down on his rapidly beating heart, is his spiral dagger. But he doesn’t need it – he shouldn’t need it, in such close quarters, with Ian too within harm’s way.

“You don’t understand,” Eve replies wildly. “You could never. To lose one’s child – Shiress did this to me. Shiress has to pay – “

How to do this without hurting Ian?

Sudden movements are risky – Ian isn’t gold, a trinket to be tossed around, something nicked from someone’s parlor. The fear that he’ll inadvertently cause Shiress’ child harm has him hesitating – but he sees the way Eve’s clutching him, almost reverently. She may be behaving erratically, but this is all about Ian, sharing a life with him – and so Caspian gambles on that reverence, that their wanting to avoid harming the child at all costs is mutual. He lunges forward, attempting to snatch Eve around the waist. But she sidesteps him, hurtling for the door, and –

Stumbles backwards at the sight of Taalviel, right into Caspian’s arms. He’s got one arm around her waist, the other around her neck and pulling tightly enough to choke.

“Give her the baby,” Caspian growls in Eve’s ear. “Now!

Sobbing, Eve finally relinquishes Ian, falling slack in Caspian’s grip, as if the source of all her power had just been siphoned. He drops her unceremoniously to the ground and draws his dagger, pointing it at her heart.

“Taalviel,” Caspian says, making a decision, eyes still trained on Eve, “I’ll take Ian. Fly to Shiress and bring her here. So someone can vouch for us before we all get arrested by the Wave Guard.”

Knife in one hand, Ian curled in his other arm, he sets his back against the door and waits.


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Little Lamb Lost (Caspian)

Postby Shiress on February 25th, 2021, 2:08 am

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It was nearly dark when the deep baritone voice of her father woke Shiress. Shipwright Josiah Underhill had been traveling to and from Syliras for some time, according to Shiress's mother, Lorna. As a senior shipbuilder, it was Josiah's knowledge of warships that the Knights of Syliras had called upon when the need to replenish their fleet arose. Upon receiving a letter from his wife informing him of his daughter's return, Josiah had come home at once, arriving no more than a few days before Eve gave birth.

Seeing his long-lost daughter for the first time in many seasons had brought the big man to his knees. Quite literally. It had been the first time in all of Shiress's life that she had ever witnessed her father crying. She hoped it would be the last.

Josiah had returned to his position at the docks, stalling any further traveling to Syliras for as long as one could when dealing with the order. Shiress wondered if her father had been in Syliras at the same time she had been. She was almost afraid to find out.

Up early and home late, Shiress wondered if Josiah had had the chance to meet her companions yet. If so, no one had mentioned the meeting to her, but it would be no surprise if they had; no one was talking to Shiress, not really, save Ambrosia, and even she wasn't much for a long conversation with Shiress.

Heavy steps drew closer to where Shiress lay, and when they stopped in the doorway of her room, she opened her eyes, seeing her father's large frame silhouetted by the lamplight behind him. Josiah was a bear of a man. Standing a couple of inches over six feet, with thick arms and broad shoulders, he was built much like one would come to expect of a lifelong shipwright. His thatch of thick red curls and like colored, close trimmed beard gave testament to his family's Inarta heritage, as did the man's pierced ears and the ring of gold that pierced the outside corner of one brow.

Josiah cut an imposing figure, bear indeed, but the man was no more imposing than the bear his infant grandson wrapped in his arms at night. He never met a stranger, laughed often and loud, and was the town's gentle giant. Shiress knew, however, that the fiery nature of the Inarta lay dormant within the man's long fused temper, though only a few have witnessed it.

He stood over her now, a silent presence, big hand easing back sweat-dampened hair from Shiress's forehead, a worried frown marring his handsome features. Josiah opened his mouth to speak, but the sound of the cottage door being thrown open cut whatever he was going to say off. Shiress heard Lorna's muffled voice, then Taalviel appeared in the doorway in the process of wrapping Lorna's thick night robe around her bare shoulders.

"We found him."

Shiress was quiet, withdrawn during the drive to the inn. Josiah had insisted on using his wagon since it was still hitched and waiting from where he had driven it from work. Taalviel had wanted to fly, with Josiah following from the road, but being a black raven kelvic and rather hard to see at night, had acquiesced in Josiah's request to lead from the wagon. Shiress let her have the bench beside her father while she claimed into the back.

Oddly enough, the last time Shiress had climbed into the back of that very same wagon, it had been with Zane, and the journey to Sunberth had ended with her in chains.

When they reached the tavern or inn, or whatever it was, Tavi jumped from the cart at a fast walk, breezing through the entrance, bypassing the bar without a sideways glance, and headed straight for the set of stairs in the back, Josiah not far behind.

Trepidation, however, had slowed Shiress's steps.

Taalviel had said they had found Ian, but the kelvic had said nothing about his condition. She had offered no reassurance that Shiress's son was unharmed, and the repercussion of overanalyzing this thought during the course of their journey to this place currently felt like a rock in Shiress's gut.

The things Shiress's mind was imagining doing to that woman if she so much has plucked a hair from her baby's head had her fingers playing lightly over the hidden dagger bound to her thigh beneath her skirt as she slowly ascended the stairs. She wasn't sure why she had paused long enough to don the weapon before leaving the cottage with her father and Tavi, but the more her mind wandered into that dark place it had only twice before ventured, she was pleased she had had the forethought.

By the time She reached the open door to the room, the kelvic and her father had disappeared in, Shiress's body was vibrating with fear and anger. Stepping through the doorway, her gaze snagged on the bundle Caspian held in his arms.

The very still and the very quiet bundle.

Gaze lifting to Caspian's face, eyes asking the question her tongue couldn't form, she slowly stepped forward and lifted a shaking hand toward her son.

"Is he..."

"Drugged, but alive." Taalviel supplied hautily, "fauxslip and connal."

Shiress said nothing, only gently divested Caspian of his burden, stepped toward the bed, and laid a limp Ian down on his back, knowing gaze studying the baby's breathing as she pressed fingers into the pulse point at the boy's neck.

Breathing deep and even.

Heartbeat steady and strong.

Shiress dropped her chin to her chest, eyes squeezing closed as relief washed through her.

"You...you drugged him?" Shiress asked in a near whisper, though it was obvious she had forced back a disbelieving sob. Narrow, green eyes slid down to where Eve sat on the floor.

"He..wouldnt..stop crying and I just-"

Shiress moved then, powered by a rage she never felt coming.

Grabbing Eve by her dark hair with both fists, Shiress jerked the other woman up from the floor, forcing her to stumble several steps backward before slamming her face-first into the wall by the bed. Eve's scarred arms splayed out across the wall on either side of her body with a pained oof.

"You. Drugged. My. Son.' Shiress grawled, biting off each syllable, lips hovering just over Eve's ear, her breath stirring strands of the woman's dirty hair with every word.

Shiress felt many hands holding on to her by the waist and arms, but no one attempted to pull her away. Or, if they did, they weren't successful in their attempt.

"You could have" Shiress squeezed her fists around Eve's hair, voice lowering an octave, "killed him!"

"I should have!" Eve roared, pushing back against Shiress.

Shiress gave Eve ground, stepping back with one foot, one hand jerking the woman's head back, the other dipping into her skirt, freeing the dagger sheathed on her thigh. The blade came free in an arch, aimed for the throat Shiress had just exposed.

Shiress's mouth opened in a primal scream, just as several other voices simultaneously yelled a warning.

Someone's hold on Shiress tightened, her wrist was seized painfully, and the dagger prised from her fist. Strong arms came around Shiress's chest, and she was being pulled back from Eve. She gripped the hair still in one fist harder, and just before she was pulled too far away, she managed a good hard shove, slamming Eve's face into the wall. Wild green eyes watched as her son's abductor's body slid down the wall. Then she was the one being slammed against a wall, an angry face swimming in and out of focus before her eyes.

Shiress fought against the hold, trying to get back across the room to Eve. She clawed, scratched, and spat, but the hold never faultered.

A hand wrapped around Shiress's throat.

Shiress snarled into the face leaning close, nearly nose to nose with her, spittal flying out between gritted teeth.

"Get off me!"

The hand around her throat tightened, cutting off just enough of Shiress's breath to garner attention.

"ENOUGH!" Taalviel bellowed mere millimeters from Shiress's face.

Shiress went very, very still, chest heaving.

"Now," Taalviel bit out, grip loosening minutely around Shi's throat "if you are finished acting like a barbarous cunt." The kelvic glanced sideways at something Shiress couldn't see, then back to Shiress "you need to get your son and get out of here before you end up in the mines."

Shiress stared at Caspian's sister for the total amount of time it took for her eyes to focus and her breathing to even out. All the while, Taalviel's fingers pressed threateningly against Shiress's throat, hard, dark gaze never wavering.

Mortification rolled over Shiress thick and heavy with the realization that she had just attacked a mentally unstable woman. A patient, no less. One struggling with an insurmountable amount of grief that Shiress had never known.

Shiress gave a shaky nod of her head, and the kelvic released her, stepping back. Shiress took a step toward where Eve slumped against the wall. Tavi grabbed her arm, but she shook it off. Leaning down, Shiress pulled a coin purse from the pocket of Eve's dress, straightened. Pulling at the tie, she tilted it toward a strip of lamplight. Satisfied, the doctor crossed the floor to Caspian but couldn't bring herself to lift her eyes to meet his.

"I counted twenty-five gold and a few silver coins." she attempted to meet Caspian's gaze, failed, and lowered her face again. What must the man think of her now, seeing her steady control fractured and unfettered. " I don't have words, Caspian. I cant-" Shiress drew in an unsteady breath, pressing the coin purse firmly into Caspian's hand.

Stepping back, she glanced around the room.

"Your father went with Avery downstairs to the bar to head off the wave guard." Taalviel said from behind her.

Shiress gave a slight nod, turned, scooped up a sleeping Ian into her arms, and headed for the door.
Last edited by Shiress on February 26th, 2021, 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Little Lamb Lost (Caspian)

Postby Caspian on February 26th, 2021, 1:58 pm

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When Shiress lunges for Eve –

Caspian doesn’t immediately fly to stop her. He doesn’t instinctively feel he has the right, and were this Sunberth and there were no fear of legal consequence, he might even have left the room. But the reality of where they are occurs to him and he, along with Shiress’ father and Taalviel, shout in warning and pull Shiress back.

In the end it’s Taalviel who gets through to her. Caspian’s usually on the receiving end of her pragmatic vitriol and it’s a bit shocking to see his sister’s merciless objectivity from a detached perspective. Was this how he’d looked when Taalviel had first come to Ravok and slammed him against a wall until he’d come to his senses?

“Shiress, I – “ he begins, his voice for some reason gone hoarse – but she only presses a purse of money into his hands as she passes. It lies heavily in his palm, as if it weighs far more than its twenty-and-something gold count, and when he numbly tucks it into his jacket pocket it’s as if it beats against his own pulse.

The patrons at the bar – nosy old codgers – haven’t moved a muscle since the altercation began, and with the appearance of the Wave Guard and their trundling out with Eve’s limp body, they turn back to their drinks. Business as usual on East Street, it seems.

“How much fauxlip and connal do you think it would take to knock me out?” Caspian says when he and Taalviel are alone again, footsteps clicking against the cobblestones, shadows dancing beneath the lamplight. Despite everything that’s happened – and not sleeping very much the night before – though exhaustion hangs just behind his eyes, his nerves feel wired, his mind turning somersaults. “Ian looked awfully peaceful. I mean, considering.”

“Lucky brat,” Taalviel says. She’s back in her usual clothes again, Lorna’s robe folded neatly over her arm.

“I’m glad you did something,” he says as they finally exit East Street and turn onto brighter lanes. Already it seems the conflict is far behind them, like it happened to someone else. “Imagine having to bail Shiress out of a noose.”

“No one’s got time for that,” Taalviel mutters earnestly.

They’d let everyone else walk ahead of them. By the time they get to the cottage, there’s only a solitary candle flickering in the sitting room, another in Shiress’ window on the second floor.

“See you in a bit.” With practiced alacrity, Taalviel’s clothes are off again and all of it along with the robe in Caspian’s arms, and a dark Raven soars up to their loft window.

Caspian scowls. She knows how uncomfortable he is whenever he enters and exits the cottage, and she’s either a sadist or woefully unsympathetic.

Though he’s – well, he hasn’t done anything wrong today, has he? Then why does he feel precisely like he has? – he waits until the candle in the sitting room goes out. Counts to ten – then to twelve, then with the gentlest of movements lets himself through the front door.

No one’s in the foyer, the sitting room, the kitchen. He steals towards the stairs, tests each step before allowing all of his weight upon it. Halfway up to the second floor and it creaks, freezing him in place. As if he’s a burglar, and not someone who’s lived here for seasons. But no one in the house stirs, and in a few moments he eases himself onto the second floor.

Distantly he berates himself for acting this way. Shouldn’t this be the one night he ought to be able to come and go with a modicum of self-respect? Hasn’t he earned it?

The grand sum of what he’s earned thrums against his chest. Eve’s money – his money, evidently, for a job summarily done.

Shiress’ door is open, just a crack, a vertical pane of candlelight cutting through the dark.

An entirely foreign feeling occurs to him – that says he doesn’t want the money, that he would, completely bizarrely given who he is, give it back. Because that’s not why he did this, why he tracked down Ian. But does Shiress know? Why had she made such a point of paying him? Is that really how she sees him?

If she does, he only has himself to blame.

He pauses by her door, still in the shadows. The door’s not nearly open enough for her to see him – thankfully not in view of her bed or Ian’s crib. Indecisive – unsure what he’s even indecisive about – he lingers.

But even if Shiress catches him now, he’s not sure what he would say.

The money pressing down on his heart, he holds his breath and slips across to the next staircase, slinking as steadily and silently as he can until, finally, he’s in the loft room and he’s shutting the door behind him.

“Did you give her back the money?”

Caspian dumps her clothes on the dresser and scowls. “You already know I didn’t.”

“Well, thank petch for that.” Taalviel draws the quilt tighter over herself and shuts her eyes.

Caspian gets ready for bed, stares at the ceiling. Sleep finds him more readily than he expects.



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Little Lamb Lost (Caspian)

Postby Shiress on February 26th, 2021, 3:25 pm

Your Grades!


Caspian

Skills
Interrigation - 5XP
Land navigation - 2XP
Tactics - 2XP
Investigation - 3XP
Leadership - 2XP
Observation - 5XP
Persuation - 2XP
Intimidation - 1XP
Weapan (dagger) - 1XP
Brawling - 1XP
Stealth - 1XP

Lores

Eve - Friend of Shiress's
Eve - gave birth to a stillborn
Eve - Abducted Shiress's baby
Avery - Fisherman, survivalist
Avery - Bella's father
Fauxsil - Herbal sleep aid
connal - Herbal sleep aid

Rewards & Penalties

Reward -25 gold mizas, 4 silver Mizas


Notes
This was so much fun! Thank you so much for letting me be a part of it!


Shiress

Skills
Medicine - 1Xp
Intimidation - 1XP
Weapan (dagger) - 1XP
Brawling - 1XP



Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars

Character sheet
User avatar
Shiress
Every path has a few puddles
 
Posts: 839
Words: 710222
Joined roleplay: January 25th, 2013, 7:01 pm
Location: Syliras
Race: Human
Character sheet
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Medals: 7
Featured Character (1) Featured Contributor (1)
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