Closed Drawn To Paradise (Shiress)

Shadekas sets out to pay back a favor.

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Syka is a new settlement of primarily humans on the east coast of Falyndar opposite of Riverfall on The Suvan Sea. [Syka Codex]

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Drawn To Paradise (Shiress)

Postby Shade on March 30th, 2022, 3:18 am

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”Shiress, there is always a cost for everything in life. That is especially true of the Gods and their gifts.” He said softly, his voice a dangerous level of low. “You never get square with them. They will ask things of you over and over and over. That is doubly true of those of the darkness. You more than likely sold your son into Rhysol’s service for the whole of his life. Yourself as well.” The man said, his blue eyes thoughtful, almost sad. “They hide in plain sight, do the Gods, and usually in the guise of philanthropy. But its never as it looks… as it seems.” He said quietly. “You see, your worship feeds them. Your need gives them power. Every time you say their names, they pull from you. If enough people follow them, look to them, pray to them… they get empowered. By giving little Ian a toy that guards him, Ian is getting more and more indebted to Rhysol and that too gives him power.” Shadekas said firmly.

The monk began to pace, lost in thought. This was all deeply troubling to him. Hadrian hadn’t mentioned any of this and Shade guessed he hadn’t known the whole of the truth. “Shiress, its rarely clear cut when it comes to the Gods. You might seem to be one thing, but you can be a whole different thing in their eyes. They don’t care about money, status, or anything that usually matters openly to us humans. It might be something as simple as a single act you preformed in a past life. For all of that, Ian might be someone special that they are already waging war over even though he’s still a child. Their attention might be because you are a beautiful woman and Rhysol took note of it. Or you might hold a secret in your blood or in your mind. You might be something to someone that they support or consider an enemy like Ian’s father. It is hard to know, but you should look further into it.” He said softly, wondering if there was a soothsayer or reader of cards here in this new place.

“We need someone who has good sight. A Konti Seer would be ideal. Anyone though… with Avadas’ Mark and the ability to see through all the bullshit that is so often in the way of the truth. I wonder if there is someone in The Outpost? We need to talk to the Founders here and see if there is a Seer.” He said thoughtfully. “Yes, I mean a psychic. Their gifts are usually real. They might not be able to see everything or completely fill in all the blanks, but they can hold more information.” He added, then quietly went into listening mode as Shiress spoke more about her life.

Her tale was a sad one, not what he’d expected from her for sure. Had he a guess, Shadekas would have thought she a daughter of some rich Ravokian house or even a trade family. She didn’t seem all that poor. Her clothing was of a finer gilt and she sounded educated. Her profession, if nothing else, indicated that. It was very rare that a doctor was also a slave. “Yes, a jeweler. I fell into it when I was younger. And I most certainly can. I thought of taking a job in Syka as one, but I’m not sure there’s much call for it here. There might be later, but it will have to be after this mess is sorted out.” He added, nodding. “I’d be glad to make something for you.” He said with a smile. “Give me some idea of what you like? I don’t know much about you other than a sketchy history of being on the run… and that you have a young son and a missing lover. And you tend to recklessly accept gifts from shady Gods.” He said with a laugh.

Shade was normally easy going, but everything Shiress had said had left him with a lot to think about. It was only when she started asking him questions about his past that he lost the deeply thoughtful look and glanced up at her. “Nyka is ran by the Monkhood. We… control the food, money, and government.” He said quietly. “In the name of the Gods, of course, so that made us the military and administrative arm of the Government.” He explained. “I know a bit about hand-to-hand combat. I’m in fairly good shape. But I’m not specialized in a weapon. My work for the Monkhood was mostly involving jewelcrafting.” He said, knowing that was somewhat disappointing. “Monks have all sorts of skills. Some of us bred hunting dogs, some of us fought, and some of us were devote leading the faithful.” He added. “I can show you some basics, but I am not true warrior with a calling.” He said, reaching up to tease Opal a moment when she came to rest on his shoulder again.

“Not home.” She said, then nibbled at the top of his ear for a moment before she was gone again, exploring. Shade nodded, knowing the bird was right. “You’ll get used to it.” He assured the corvid before she was out of sight.

“I hope there are no predators for birds her size here. That coloring stands out in the jungle.” He said thoughtfully.

“No hobbies?” He seemed surprised. “Well, then I think it shall be interesting to see you develop a few. This city doesn’t seem particularly large, well stocked, or rife with things to do.” He said thoughtfully. “I’m not even sure it has enough people to support more than a casual jeweler. I don’t think I could make a living Jewelcrafting here. I’ll have to find something to do that bored people would flock too.” He said thoughtfully, then glanced at Shiress. He’d made a promise to protect her. But he wasn’t sure that was going to be very difficult in a city that wasn’t more than a few huts at the end of the world. Was she ready for this kind of rough living?

Shiress was a set of heavy contradictions and he wasn’t sure if she was to be believed. Who educated slaves? A runaway slave that was also a doctor? That seemed so far fetched and yet… here she was. He didn’t get the sense she was bullshitting him at all, but she didn’t have the ragged half-starved look of someone who owned nothing. Her son looked well cared for and fed adequately. In Nyka he knew starving people. She didn’t have the look of someone hungry. And while she might have had a few scars – he’d glimpsed more than one already – that didn’t mean she got them being someone’s property.

They arrived back at the Inn and Shade deposited Shiress’ bags in her room and went to put his own things away. She’d offered, at the beginning, to share a room with him. And he wondered about that. There was a giant checklist in his brain that he was slowly tallying pros and cons on the woman’s character, and none of it was making any sort of sense. He was from a place where his status literally gave him access to anything in the city he wanted. There were no doors barred to Monks. Women, food, leisurely entertainment… the world was theirs for the taking in Syka. Monks controlled the food and because of that, they controlled essentially everything. He wasn’t sure how to live outside of that environment where here his status was nothing and he had virtually no control of anything. He had a clear-cut mission though, but Hadrian had also told him this might be a while and that this was definitely his opportunity to get out of Nyka, see the world, and observe how the rest of it lived. There was a freedom in that and whether or not he returned became, somewhere along the lines, was his choice. Nyka certainly wouldn’t miss him.

As hard as it was to believe, Shade’s ethics didn’t line up exactly with those of the rest of the Monks. He had an inner compass that pointed a different direction than their usual true norths. He didn’t take the women he wanted when he wanted them. He didn’t keep all the good wine for himself and his brothers. He actually passed out food intended for the citizens, rather than having his own side business accepting bribes to make sure what he passed out was done so quickly so the food was always fresh and never spoiled. There were so many things in Nyka that Shade hadn’t agreed with. And he’d been working diligently to change things. But there was only so much one man could do with a conscience in a corrupt system that fed itself on immorality and greed? He’d hoped in taking this assignment from Hadrian, he’d find a new path and maybe a new place. Now though, hearing who this woman was and whom she seemed to be beholden too, was anything going to be different?

The Monk took his time putting his things away. He liked his room. It was open, airy, and had a breeze that blew its gossamer curtains out and about. The air was fresh and green, something he wasn’t used to in Nyka. Opal, of course, let herself in and surveyed the place. “Nice.” Was her only comment. He was still trying to get used to her talking. That was unusual. She hadn’t said much of interest yet, and he somehow doubted they’d have long philosophical conversations… but it was a start.

He swung by the kitchen and unused to asking for anything, he helped himself to wine, glasses, and a plate of snacks he assembled from a strange contraption that seemed to be a large insulated wooden box that held a huge cube of ice. He had no idea where ice was acquired in the tropics, but the food inside seemed fresh and delicious. He added some pastries he found on the counter to the tray, and carried it back to the private deck where Shiress had asked to meet him. He laid the things out then headed back to his room, having forgotten a notebook and some writing materials. Shade was a fastidious note taker, and he wanted to make some entries into his journal tonight while his memory was fresh. When he returned, Shiress was there… and she began to speak on her life.

The Monk pulled out a small vial of ink, opened his journal, and dipped a quill pen into the dark liquid. He carefully began to write, recording both his thoughts and what she said.

He listened intently… curious. She had a fantastical tale to tell, for certain, but there was something in her face that made him believe her. He was a fool for it, but as she spoke, he took notes, underlining points and adding his own personal code to what he wrote that indicated to him what needed further investigation or thought. He paled slightly under his bronze skin when she started to show emotion. That wasn’t something he was used too. Crying women. He set aside his journal, laid down his quill, and leaned closer. Frowning, he glanced around and picked up one of the linen napkins he had fetched from the kitchen with the snacks. “Here…” He said quietly, offering her the square of linen.

“The first thing you need to do, Lady, is to lock up all your emotions… stuff them in a little box in your mind… and think clearly. I’m not sure how you can be a healer and consider yourself ignorant. You are a mother and responsible for Ian’s life now. The first thing you need to do is get rid of that monkey… if you think it’s a danger to him. Children shouldn’t grow up that protected. They need to experience things, including hurts and hunger and danger. If you protect him from everything, you raise a weak child. If the God of Evil and Chaos gave my child a gift, I would get rid of it.” Shade said firmly… shaking his head even wondering what she was thinking asking such a boon of a God.

“If he has a mark over his heart, its probably already to late for him.” Shade said, trying to dig up some compassion, but finding it hard. He wasn’t invested in Shiress and Ian… at least not emotionally. And if he was wise, he’d keep it that way. “It’s been my experience children rarely deserve what they are given in life. He still has a mother. That’s better than most kids have it these days. And if you sit here on this deck in this place halfway across the world from civilization crying because you screwed up… he won’t have one long.” Shade said carefully.

He didn’t want to be cruel, but he was a Monk of Nyka and each and every one of his kind were heartless bastards… or they were supposed to be. He could protect her a bit… if he wanted to keep his word to Hadrian. But he couldn’t fix flat out stupid. And so far, the things she was telling him was leading him down that road at a dead run.

“My advice? Since your asking?” He said, pausing thoughtfully. “Start using your head. Educate yourself." He growled. Then he waited for her reaction, wondering if she was going to cry harder or decide to stop being a victim.

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Drawn To Paradise (Shiress)

Postby Shiress on March 31st, 2022, 11:11 pm

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Shiress listened quietly, thoughtfully, as Shade spoke about Rhysol, other deities, and, what Shiress was beginning to think of as, their inevitable entrapment. She had been a fool, and Shade's words only made the fist around her heart grow tighter. What would a god want with a little boy? Had Shiress inadvertently set in motion influences that would see her son walk a life plagued by an evil god's will? Once calmed by Rhysol's protection of Ian, now Shiress wanted nothing more than the deity to be blinded to her son.

"I don't worship Rhysol." Shiress mumbled grumpily, casting a sideways glance over to Shade, "I don't worship, pray, bow, or anything else to any of the god or goddesses. Why should I?" she scowled, adding in a whisper, "They've never done anything for me." louder she said, "I'll check about a seer at the Outpost when I return to work at The Redynn; there should be someone there that would know where I can find one. If after I meet with a founder and explain everything, there's not one in Syka."

As the conversation rerouted back to Shade, Shiress's mood lightened, and she found herself trying to think up ideas to help the monk continue his jewel-making craft.

"What about clothes?" she asked, looking pensive, "Like putting jewelry on clothes. Elias once bought me dresses with jewels and stones sewed into them."

Shiress smiled, remembering the emerald green gown that Elias had said would match her eyes. Then the smile faded as the memory of her having to leave all that was Elias, and everything he had ever given her, the night she fled Ravok.

"They were beautiful dresses." her gaze fell, trailing along the path before her. "I had to leave them. I had to leave everything when I fled Ravok." she shook her head, "Every time I have to leave, I leave with nothing but what I have on or what I can shove in my bag. I've started over so many times it should be easy this go round." she added, chuckling sadly.

Shiress lifted a hand to touch the lobe of an ear, eyes going wide with excitement, "I have pierced ears!" she exclaimed as if just then remembering. "Many, many seasons ago in Syliras, I got my ears pierced, and I would love to have a pair of earrings!" Shiress's eyes jerked to Shade, then away, pink creeping into her cheeks.

To find out that the entire city of Nyka was run by monks was...well... Shiress definitely had the wrong impression about them. Oddly, though, the way Shade described them, and their duties reminded her of the Ebonstryfe in a way, or maybe the Syliran knights, though she kept that to herself.

"Fairly good shape? Pfft! I'd say you're several levels up from being fairly anything." Shiress cleared her throat, the color in her cheeks darkening, "I mean, the basics are good enough for me. I just want to be able to get out of a bad situation without going berserker like you hear about warriors doing on a battlefield and killing someone again."

Shiress jumped, startled at Opal's voice -she didn't think she'd ever get used to an animal speaking, then frowned at her words. The poor bird was homesick, and Shiress was the one who had displaced her and her father? Master? Owner? Shade.

"I hope not, either." Shiress said, replying to Shade's concern about Opal's safety. "I wish there was a way you might keep Opal closer and her not wander off from you." she smiled, "Maybe I can have that as a hobby; wandering around behind Opal, making sure she isn't hurt or eaten by anything."

Once back at the inn, it didn't take long for Shiress to settle Ian and freshen herself up a bit. She changed into a billowy, light blue tunic and belted it at her waist over a soft and worn pair of brown linen riding pants, then brushed her long hair out. Heading out to the deck, it wasn't long until she was pouring her soul out to Shade. The monk's response to her emotional outpouring was stern and direct, but Shiress appreciated that directness. It wasn't until his remark about it being too late for Ian that Shiress felt her emotions shift, and her gaze swung to Shade.

"It's not too late for my son!" Shiress snapped, snatching the proffered cloth from Shade's fingers, "And I'm not crying because I screwed up!" Throwing herself irritably out of the chair, she stomped across the deck to the railing, " I'm crying because I'm scared, Shade! I'm scared of the consequences of my screw up." Shiress frowned, wondering if what she had just said was the same exact thing she had just denied she was doing. "I'll educate myself as soon as I have something to educate myself with." she added, then frowned again, shaking her head. Shyke, she wasn't making any sense.

"I'll throw that petching monkey in the fire tonight if I-"

Shiress's words cut off with a sharp intake of breath, burning pain slicing across her forearm. Dropping her gaze, she watched in stunned disbelief as a deep slash appeared, carving a bloody path on her forearm from her wrist to nearly reaching her elbow before Shiress became aware enough to jerk her arm back toward her body. She spun around toward Shade, but it wasn't the monk her eyes locked on. It was the same ghost of the man she had seen earlier in the day.

Elijah Jordan, her slavemaster, wrapped a hand around Shiress's throat before she could make a sound, then backhanded her across the face. Shiress stumbled sideways, tasting blood, but when she looked back, Elijah was gone, and the dagger hidden around her thigh was unsheathed and, in her trembling hand, sharp tip pointed at the spot he had just been.

Wide green eyes shifted hesitantly toward Shade, then back where the ghost had been standing.

"Did you see it?" Shiress's quiet voice quaked as she spoke, "It was the man from earlier." her tongue darted out, licking at the trail of blood running from her lip, "The ghost that Ian was running to. My master...my slavemaster...did you see him?"

Shiress started backing away from where the ghost had been, from Shade, from everything. She just wanted to get away. Tell me you saw him, Shade! she yelled, bordering on a scream, and not entirely sane. "Tell me you saw him because I know I killed that man five seasons ago!"



Word Count - 1139
Last edited by Shiress on May 12th, 2022, 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Drawn To Paradise (Shiress)

Postby Shade on April 2nd, 2022, 3:06 am

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Shiress didn’t follow the Gods? As a monk, Shade was devoted, and honestly, he saw the divine in all things every day. The Gods walked among the people, in every place, just not in Nyka… so why would Syka be any different? They could have met ten Gods getting off the boat today and not even known it. He had observed, however, that much of Syka was driven by barter… trade for trade. So, there was something to that. He might not have had a lot of skills in areas useful to Syka, but he wasn’t beyond branching things out.

He was starting to think Shiress was… deliberately baiting him. “Jewelry on clothing? Do these people look that sophisticated? I’ve seen very little ornamentation and other than a few beads on strings and seashell windchimes that look handmade and simple. You might be from a place where dresses were commonly sewn with jewels and stones, but I don’t think this place qualifies as that sort. In fact, I saw quite a few people unloading the ship barely bothering with clothing.” He added, shaking his head.

“The jewelry market would be soft here, simple things and small pleasures. Sentimental ornamentation and maybe even carved wood.” He said, furrowing his brow. “But have you seen the flowers all over? If someone could somehow make a business into that… arranging flowers for celebrations, even for the tables at places like this Inn or that bar… I bet the owners would trade drinks or food for such things.” He said, leaning back and thinking out loud. “I could arrange flowers. I knew a good friend in Nyka I often went on patrols with who did that. We’d have no shortage of materials. And it’d be a contribution to those tenday celebrations the captain was going on about. I guess this settlement gets together every ten days for a party just to check up on one another.” He said thoughtfully shaking his head.

Shade glanced at Shiress. “You left with the most important thing you have, Shiress. You left with your son.” He emphasized. “Things are just things. They can be replaced. Lives cannot. In Nyka we had people rich with gold that would starve to death routinely because gold would never buy food, not really. You can’t buy and sell food in Nyka. It was who you were and how influential you were whether or not you ate. A poor man that knew a skill often ate far better than a rich skill-less man.” He added.

He glanced at her ears, then nodded, sighing softly. “I have no supplies. I’ll have to wait for James to get some supplies in Riverfall or trade with Svefra for them… then I can maybe set up some kind of jewelry practice. Once I have something set up, I promise I’ll make you something.” He said, amenable to the idea. “But I still don’t think its enough. If I want to earn something to trade with here, be it money or services… then I need to think harder. You are lucky you’ve been trained as a doctor. It’s a universally desired skill welcomed anywhere. You shouldn’t starve and should be able to get some kind of job here.” He said thoughtfully, offering her an encouraging smile.

“I’m just average where I’m from. There were many many monks far better than I am at a whole multitude of things, including combat and physical prowess. I’ve always been more artistic.” He said, shaking his head. “I can show you a few things though, but you’ll need to get in better shape. You are beautiful, but you will need to tone up, do some running, gain some strength.” He said softly, not wanting to hurt her feelings. But if she was going to be any threat to anyone, she needed strength and how to use the body the Gods gave her.

The talk turned to Opal.

The bird was a distraction. But then again, the day he acquired the white raven had been a distracting one too. It had involved too much drink and a dare by other monks and a reckless climb up a cliff to retrieve a hatchling. The conversation, however, didn’t stay lighthearted long. Shade didn’t like arguments and didn’t like people asking for advice then being unwilling to heed advice that was given, including the fact that a child marked by a God might be doomed by that same God. It happened all the time in Nyka.

It was why he’d ended up a jewelcrafter, so he had first hand knowledge. Semele had always been part of his life. It was the way things worked. The Gods divided up the mortals among them like cards in a deck. When they were born, they were shuffled and passed out just like cards in a game of poker. “Shiress….” Shade started out, trying to explain this to her. “You don’t get a choice about who you serve. They….” He started do explain, then paused as Shiress lost what little sense she was making.

He watched her draw her own dagger from her thigh, cut herself, right after saying she’d throw the gifted animal idol into the fire. She made an evasive action, stared at something that wasn’t there, and then backed up before she started choking. The woman acted like she’d been slapped, stumbled sideways, and then turned back to Shade. Then she seemed to notice the bloody dagger in her own hand and stared at it like she’d never seen it before.

He moved fast. He crowded her space immediately, reached out and engaged her arm with a cross-block. He had both his thumbs down, so the knife couldn’t slip through her grip and kept one hand high and one low so he had her elbow surrounded. Then he pushed forward to prevent Shiress from retracting the dagger. Shade collapsed into her and redirected the weapon to outside both their bodies.

Then his arm came tightly around hers and he immediately pushed her away and scraped down her arm with his armpit. He waited until her arm was below his elbow to eliminate her having any range of motion with her arm, being totally in control of it. The he brought his fist to his chest with successfully locking her arm under his armpit. Then he used his free hand to apply upwards pressure on her wrist until she had no choice but to drop the weapon.

He kicked it off the deck completely with a sharp tap of his booted toe.

Shade twisted, dragging Shiress with him, and slammed her against the wall of The Protea. They were alone, on the private deck as she requested, and he was glad for it. Holding her steadily against the building, he gave her one more hard shove into the wall to soften her up, then he released his grip on her wrist and grabbed a fist full of hair and pulled it off the back of her neck, looking. Shade had her trapped between the wall and his chest, with her face pressed into the wall. “Don’t fight me.” He said firmly.

Finding nothing, he eased up a little and let her breathe. “Hold still, Shiress, and I won’t hurt you.” He reiterated calmly, no anger in his tone. This was business and she quite possibly might be crazy. But first, he wanted to check and see that she served no Gods. Shade trusted people not at all. He didn’t even trust people he knew well… if anything those types were trusted less than strangers. The boy could be cover. The stories could be made up. The invisible attacks could be fake. He was going to figure out what was going on.

He moved methodically, not like someone who was getting glee out of pushing a woman around. He patted her torso down, each arm, and ran his hands around the waistband of her pants over the belt, looking for weapons. He patted down her ass, ran his hand across her pelvis and bent down enough to pass his hands down one leg and then the other, looking for more pigstickers. In his experience, if a woman had one visible, she had ten tucked about her person.

Nothing. He reached down and pulled up both of her sleeves, one at a time, searching. He found the brand on her wrist, then moved on. Frustrated, he growled slightly, he reached down and yanked the whole hem of her shirt up and over her head, fisting it around her neck. “Easy.” He said, scanning the entirety of her back, where he paused. He found thick ivory colored whip marks. They were ugly and spoke of a history full of violence.

He’d expected to find something by now.

Shade then forcefully but not roughly twisted her so she was back up against the wall and facing him. He’d check every inch of her skin. She had small light scars from whips on her collar bones, shoulders and chest. There was a brand as well. He couldn’t tell what it said because it looked like a newer scar overlayed it. He ran his hands up across her breasts, glancing up at her and smiling at the fact she wore no bra. He then looked back down, checking the slight undersides and across her nipples, looking more with his thumbs than his eyes.

When he found nothing, he dropped his hands to her belt and unbuckled it. “I have to be sure.” Was all he said to her, keeping his eyes on her a moment longer.

With the belt buckle unbuckled, he unfastened the rest of the ties on her pants and yanked them down around her ankles, leaving her shirt drift free so it pooled back over her torso. He ran his hands over her stomach, down her thighs, and across her knees. He found more whip marks, a large red scar on her inner thigh, several marks he thought might be from arrows. There were more whip marks, and he ran his thumb across her Bala mark. He wouldn’t have known what it was, but she’d explained it earlier. And it certainly didn’t look sinister, since Bala was one of the Goddesses that folks in Nyka looked too.

He checked everything except for the undersides of her feet. And when he was done, he reached down, yanked up her pants, and like he was fastening the pants of a child, he redid her belt and smoothed down her shirt. “Nothing. You were telling the truth.” He said softly, shaking his head. “I’m sorry, Shiress. I had to be sure.” He said, stepping back carefully, then gently reaching out to take her elbow and lead her to the chair.

“There was nothing here. You were struggling with nothing. There was no one. You even cut yourself. Let me ….” He was going to offer to bandage her hand, but he had nothing to bandage her hand with. Then he glanced around, found the other linen napkin he’d brought with the food, and offered it to her. “For your cut.” He said, gesturing to the cut that was still bleeding.

“Have you ever had this happen before? This kind of attack?” He said, trying to understand… not wanting to think she was crazy. He thought there should be some sort of logical explanation for it.

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Drawn To Paradise (Shiress)

Postby Shiress on April 4th, 2022, 12:12 am

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The only response Shiress offered to Shade's statement about Sykan's being sophisticated was her shoulders lifting and falling in a shrug. Shiress had thought sprucing up clothing with jewelry had been a good idea, but apparently, Shade hadn't. Would the monk ever agree or see eye to eye with the Zeltivan about anything? Shiress was beginning to think that he wouldn't.

"What about, in addition to arranging flowers, you made flowers to wear?" Shiress shot Shade a hopeful glance, "Like for the women to put in their hair? Maybe even hair barrettes with flowers and even jewels. Hat's too." another shrug and her voice lowered, "I'd buy it, or trade for it. Whichever." she s smiled, tacking on, "You'll figure it out, eventually," deciding her suggestions were better left unsaid.

When Shade spoke about Shiress leaving with Ian, her most important possession, she smiled with a soft, "I know.", but the more the monk spoke of his home in Nyka, the more Shiress was sure she never wanted to end up in that city and the more unsure she became about Shade, trying to imagine the man enforcing such laws.

"Earrings can wait until a better time." she said, smiling softly. Then, as Shade continued, she said, "I'm not sure luck had much to do with it," she said, responding to Shade saying she was lucky to be a doctor, "It was more necessity than training. I either learned more than my mother taught me by keeping other slaves alive when I could or watching them die. Sometimes, I had to tell them how to treat me when the beatings were too much."

As their conversation went on, and Shade made a comment about her getting in shape, Shiress opened her mouth, surely about to say something undoubtedly witty and indignant, but then the monk said she was beautiful, and like a schoolgirl, Shiress grinned, blushed, and let what she thought was an insult go. Shade thought she was beautiful?

After that, Shiress couldn't remember what Shade had been about to say.

Her ghost attacked, and then Shade had....

The monk was fast, too fast for Shiress to even process what was happening.

Shiress hit the wall once, twice, with a woosh of air, the breath having been knocked out of her. At first, she had been sure her slavemaster ghost had reappeared, but it had been Shade's voice near her ear, demanding that she not fight him. Shade's fist that had tightened in her hair, pressing her face painfully against the inn's wall.

"Shade." Shiress said, breathlessly, barely above a whisper, but anything she might say fell away as the monk began to pat her down, demanding that she be still.

Something inside Shiress stirred, shifted, then moved toward the surface of awareness. Something ancient and familiar and safe. Like an old friend wrapping her in an embrace, Shiress welcomed it. Her body went docile beneath Shade's hands. Shiress wouldn't fight, she wouldn't speak, she would do nothing until this had passed. Just like so many times before.

When Shiress's shirt was shoved up her back, the only sound the ex-slave made was a small gasp. When the shirt was ripped off altogether, the only response was a sharp intake of breath. That old friend's embrace squeezed harder, numbing her until not even the new slash to her arm hurt.

When Shade forced her around to face him, Shiress's green gaze latched onto Shade's face and never strayed. Face a cold mask of stoicism, her eyes clear and dry. The monk's smile went unnoticed, his touch unfelt, his words warranting no response. Shiress was as still and quiet as the dead. Only her emerald eyes tracked his every movement.

Shiress's belt was released, and her pants lowered, and still, her icy gaze never wavered from Shade's face. The monk stooped to pull her pants back up and fasten her belt, and Shiress didn't move a finger to help. As Shade grabbed her by the elbow to lead her back to the chair, his search done, she blinked, letting her eyes roll away from his. Shiress said nothing, though, and made no move to hinder his aid.

Shiress lowered herself into the chair, back straight, face emotionless, as she accepted the cloth from Shade, pressing it against the leaking cut on her arm.

Shade had long fallen silent before Shiress finally spoke, her voice level and calm, frigid.

"As I said, what just attacked me was the same...thing I saw earlier when I ran after Ian. It was my slavemaster, his name is..was Elijah Jordan, and I stabbed him to death nearly ten summers ago." Shiress drew in a long, slow breath, hissing slightly as the cut on her forearm started to burn, "Aside from seeing him this morning, no. I had never had anything like this happen to me before."

Shiress slowly stood and turned, gazing down at Shade through a mask void of emotion.

"I do not know what you were looking for, Shade, or what you expected to find. Nor do I know what Nykan nonsense justification you feel you have, but you are no longer in Nyka, monk!" Shiress's eyes narrowed, flashing with anger, "I have been nothing but truthful with you from the start, Shade. Every single thing I have shared was true, and whether you choose to believe me or not does not give you the right to do what you just did."

Shiress paused, glaring, "If I went to the Founders right now and told them what you just did to me, what do you think they would do to you?" she shook her head, "I won't, though. I won't tell anyone because, despite how I feel about it, I believe your intentions were what you claim them to be."

Shiress stepped forward into Shade's space, making no threatening movements, just leaned slightly down, lowering her voice, blood from her arm leaking down onto Shade's pants covered thigh, " When you find out that I have actually been telling you the truth, I will expect an apology, but if you think for one tick that you will do the same to my son what you just did to me, I will slit your throat as you sleep."

Shiress's hard gaze lingered a moment before she turned and walked away.

"You should be thankful I don't demand my own justified strip search." Shiress called back over a shoulder, then cursed low and long as pain pulsed up her arm, "You'll have to excuse me while I try and sew my arm back together."

Shiress's room door slammed closed behind her.



Word Count - 1191
Last edited by Shiress on May 12th, 2022, 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Drawn To Paradise (Shiress)

Postby Shade on April 4th, 2022, 12:34 am

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He furrowed his brow that she said NOTHING about the fact he just told her she cut herself. She _ cut _ herself! Was the lady unstable? He just watched her cut herself with her own dagger and there was zero reaction. “I was looking for a Gnosis mark from the Gods, Shiress. Some of those marks make the people that wear them do terrible things. Some of them make them crave to cause pain, to beat children, to lie, to steal, to be able to cheat at cards. I have one… you have one… mine is out in the open for anyone to see.” He said through clenched teeth. This woman was starting to piss him off.

Shade flashed her the back of his hand and she could see what looked like an embedded opal poking out of his flesh there. It was a cabochon and it refracted light in the beauty of the quickly falling night. “Semele gave it to me… the Goddess of Earth and Gemstones.” He added, rising even as she had her say. “And if you were to tell the Founders, I’d explain to them very carefully and cautiously that you KNOW PERSONALLY the God of Evil and have asked him for a boon for your son… and that your son carries a toy from him that is his personal protector… and that you CUT YOURSELF in front of me and claimed a ghost did it that I couldn’t see. No one was attacking you yet you acted like you were attacked. And we’d let them sort it out.” The man bit out and folded his arms across his chest.

“Don’t threaten me.” He added, his lips turning downward. “Do it or shut up about it.” He added, getting a little frustrated at her pigheadedness.

“You know which type of person has lied to me the most in my life, Shiress? Beautiful women. Guess what you are?” He said with a shrug. “I had to be sure. Now I’m sure. I will not apologize for being cautious and making sure things were what you said they were.” He added, not upset at her really. She was truthfully responding better than he thought she would. And she didn’t try to attack him, hit him, or anything else.

“I’ll strip for you if you want to make sure I have no more marks. I have nothing to hide.” He said, letting her leave while he took a moment to retrieve her dagger off the sand at the base of the deck. He cleaned it neatly using one of the linen napkins, walked over to her room, pushed the curtains aside, and hopped through the opening and into her room.

The security in this place was seriously lacking, Shade decided, almost instantly.

“Now…” He said, setting the dagger down on her nightstand next to her bed, keeping his voice down. “I suggest you search your son yourself and make sure he hasn’t gained any marks when you weren’t looking. It seems like something that could have happened. I’ll be right here to make sure you are thorough…. though it can wait until you get done fixing your arm. I probably shouldn’t give you that dagger back, because next time you might cut your own pretty throat. But I don’t want you defenseless here staying alone.” He said, making himself comfortable on the edge of her bed.

“Do you need any help with that? Jewelers can make neat stitches you know.” He pointed out. “I can at least hold the edges together while you stitch since you only have one hand to do it with.” He added, folding his arms once more and waiting for more of her wrath.
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Drawn To Paradise (Shiress)

Postby Shiress on April 4th, 2022, 1:48 am

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Shade's voice in her room made Shiress jump, and spin around, the cloth she held against her arm falling to the floor. Shiress's wide-eyed, startled gaze searched the monk for a moment, before she firmly wedged her tongue into a molar, clinched her jaw, and looked away. Seems that not even pointedly, and very deliberately, ignoring the man and what spewed from his mouth did nothing to deter the rat bastard, no more than sequestering herself behind a closed door detered him from entering anyway.

Even a threat to slit the petching man's throat merely warranted a 'sit down and shut up' from him. Was there nothing Shiress could do that would put Shade's arrogant, self-centered, bullying in check? The man was impossible and Shiress had a good mind to sneak away in the middle of the night, board the first ship sailing away from Syka, and rid him of his troubles. Shade would probably, undoubtedly approve.

Shiress let her gaze roam over Ian's sleeping form before returning it to Shade, nodding agreement to search Ian later. There would be nothing there, she knew, but nothing was going to stop this man from getting what he wanted.

"I didn't cut myself, Shade." she said, voice sounding defeated, "It was the ghost, my master, that cut me, I swear it. I didn't even have the dagger in my hand until afterward." she sighed, suddenly tired, "The dagger hadn't even entered my mind until I looked down and saw that I held it."

Shiress lifted fingers to her throat, wondering if when her master had wrapped his ghostly hand around it, he had left behind marks. With her luck and Shade's doubts, she figured there wouldn't be any sign of it. If there was, Shade would accuse her of doing it to herself when she had been out of his sight anyway, so she didn't mention it.

Shade offered to help stitch her arm, causing something inside the doctor to soften, and with a resigned, weary sigh, Shiress grabbed her bag and padded over and sat next to Shade on the bed, looking up at him. She wasn't going to get an apology from this man, and she doubted he would ever feel bad about what he had done. Maybe it had been necessary. In his eyes, it had been necessary, so why did Shiress even try? She stared a long time at Shade, not expecting anything, not thinking she would get any more words, she just...looked at him. The man did have striking blue eyes.

"I'm not crazy." she said, then a niggle of worry bloomed in her chest, "Am I? If I am, if something has happened to me, I'm scared for Ian," she glanced down at the open wound on her arm, "And myself." Looking back up, she met the monk's gaze. "I'm sorry you've been hurt by other women before." she smiled at him, but it was tinged with weariness and a little sad, "Beautiful women." she added, " I hope you know that I would never mean to hurt you or anyone. I'm a healer, not...like that. It's just," she sighed, "I came here to be safe, yes, but I also wanted to start over. I just want to be happy for once in my life and the first thing that happens the tick I arrive is I'm butting heads with an arsehole monk who is bent on convincing me that I'm crazy and a willing pawn for an evil god." slender shoulders slumped, "But I'm truly not."

Shiress dug around in her bag with one arm until she found the needle and thread pouch she searched for, then laid it out on the bed beside her. Glancing down at the blouse she wore, Shiress noticed that Shade had ripped it a little with his impromptu search and she had smeared blood on it.

Standing, Shiress aimed her back to Shade, pulled off the top, and, with nearly the same motion, pulled a sheer nightgown she had just purchased from the counter and slid it over her head, straightening it as she returned to the bed. Lowering herself back down beside the monk, Shiress spread out the soiled blouse over Shade's thigh, stretched her wounded arm out over it, and handed over the suture pouch.

"You'll have to thread the needle." she looked down at the wound, saw that it nearly ran the entire length of her forearm, and sighed, " You may have to do the stitching, too. This is going to hurt." she added, then, looking thoughtful, suggesting, "You mentioned a gnosis and the Goddess of Earth and Gemstones earlier. Might as well tell me about it. I'm going to need a distraction while you work."

Word Count - 871



Last edited by Shiress on May 12th, 2022, 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Drawn To Paradise (Shiress)

Postby Shade on April 8th, 2022, 3:45 am

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He wasn’t going to argue with her. Shade saw what he saw. If Shiress wanted to claim she didn’t cut herself, that was her right. But he’d seen her grab the dagger with her own hand and make the cut. There had been no ghost, no danger, no one besides them were in the room. Even her own words contradicted what she said. She’d looked down and saw that she held it.

His lips thinned, but still he said nothing. She was still petching pissed about the strip search, but she didn’t understand how interactive the Gods could be and how they could do things sight unseen and sit back and laugh at the mortals struggling in the wake of their bullshyte. He wasn’t going to take a dagger by her hand because he’d been careless in covering just the basics like missing a gnosis mark from a dark God or Goddess. And while it was no skin off his nose if she didn’t search her son, the bitch could keep the plagued little boy away from him in the meantime. He’d seen children younger than Ian be more deadly. Nyka was like that. Syka, it seems, was just as bad. He’d hoped for a little peace here. It looked like he wasn’t going to be that lucky.

Then she stared at him. Gods, what was the woman thinking now? Shade just wanted to leave, but she was still bleeding. Then she started spouting off some nonsense about being worried. If she’d really been worried, she’d petching listen to him. But since she wasn’t inclined, he wasn’t inclined to tolerate too much more of the nonsense. “We aren’t talking about my life. And honestly? I don’t give women enough rope to hang me with. I know how your kind operate. They always want something… security, more food, comfort… and they’ll go to a whole lot of trouble to get whatever they want. That’s why I don’t have baggage.” He didn’t elaborate on what he considered baggage, as it would just add to the argument anyhow.

He said nothing to her mini tirade about how good of a person she was and how deserving she was of a do-over and fresh start. He had news for her… everyone deserved such things. Nothing made her special, other than her blindness to the evils of how Gods could petch up people’s lives. Half her rant was about him and he was completely and utterly over it. Shiress had pretty much stomped on his very last nerve and he wasn’t a patient person to begin with. He hadn’t tried to convince her of shyte. He’d just asked some hard questions because he’d walked into this situation blind to repay a favor to a friend. And he couldn’t do this job blind. He had to know what was going on. But she was definitely spinning his actions in a way that was utterly untrue… so he did the best thing he could do and just kept his mouth shut.

If she wasn’t open to listening and understanding his reasoning, he wasn’t open to actually trying to talk to her like an adult. He’d have better luck with her toddler.

Shiress fussed some more, making a big production out of a few stitches and he sighed glad none of the men he used to have to patrol with acted like this. He dug around in her pouch, retrieved a needle, suture, and strung the line. He made a neat knot in the end of the thread, and set it aside. Then he got up, walked back to his room, retrieved a bottle of whiskey along with a glass. “This might hurt.” He warned. Then he poured some of the whiskey in a glass, dunked the needle and thread in it, and then upended more of the bottle on the open cut. Shade didn’t bother to explain his actions, though he did set the rest of the whiskey in the glass within easy reach of Shiress if she wanted some of it. Quickly, he began to stitch up the wound, making neat even stitches with the curved needle so her flesh wouldn’t heal wide open. Then he pulled a small pair of scissors from the kit and snipped off the thread when he was done. He took extra care. If it was just himself or one of the men he’d patrol with, he’d have taken half the time and not put too much effort into the neatness of the stitches.

He didn’t say anything about Semele as he worked. He needed to concentrate on his stitching and not entertain the woman.

When he was done, he finally spoke. He didn’t say much, however. “That okay?” He asked, not sure she could see it good enough, but stupidly opening himself up to what he considered a doctor’s disapproval. He had no doubt she’d complain. That seemed to be in her nature.

“Sorry… I didn’t want to be distracted while I was making stitches. Talking is distracting.” Shade said firmly. Did the woman not realize that? Maybe she was good enough at her stitching that she could afford to be distracted, but he could not. “I look to Xannos as well. I fell under his direction as a monk.” Shade said, saying nothing more about either. He was not willing to give Shiress more things to fuss about and certainly he didn’t want to get into private personal things with her at this point. He didn’t trust easily. And at this point, he didn’t particularly trust her.

“I’m going to call it a night. I’m next door if something happens. Just call out if you need me.” He said with a frown, wondering if that was a good idea. But a promise was a promise.

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Drawn To Paradise (Shiress)

Postby Shiress on April 8th, 2022, 6:51 pm

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"I know." Shiress replied softly, acknowledging Shade's warning that what he was about to do would hurt, lowered her face into her free hand, and readied herself as best she could. It hurt, but she managed only a few hisses and grunts of pain.

When Shade was finished and her arm sewn up, she relaxed somewhat, examining Shade's handiwork.

"It's fine." she replied, when asked if the stitching was suitable, then waved a hand dismissively, adding, "Right, I understand, talking is distracting. Sorry."

Shiress wasn't sure who Xannos was and since Shade mentioned he had fallen under Xannos's direction as a monk, wondered if he was a teacher, but It was obvious the monk was done with their introductions and had nothing else to say to Shiress, so Shiress didn't ask. Shade made ready to leave, announcing his intentions to turn in for the night, it surprised Shuiress that he made himself available to her if she needed him, but still, she said nothing, not until Shade had nearly exited the room.

"Shade?" she called, but when the monk turned back toward her, his anger or annoyance, perhaps both, was evident in his face, and she lost nerve. Instead, she said, "Thank you." she lifted her arm, indicating his stitch work, "Sleep well."

Once Shade had left, Shiress stood from the bed, walked to the window, pulled the curtain closed, then picked up her soiled shirt, and cleaned the needle before situating it back into the kit.

Tossing the shirt aside, Shiress picked up the class, slid down the closest wall until she could settle herself on the floor of the room, and there she sat, sipping at whiskey and watching her son sleep well into the night.


Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars

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Every path has a few puddles
 
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