Quest Latvian Gambit (Alric Please)

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

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Latvian Gambit (Alric Please)

Postby Gossamer on March 16th, 2022, 4:31 am

Timestamp: 35th of Spring, 522 A.V.


Stumble Alley

As the twisted trail through the entrails of Sunberth, Stumble Alley often leads past caches of information and resources that are far more than what they seem. Some people thrive in this rat maze environment while others simply vanish. Many of those lose their lives or sanity in the bowels of the City of Misery while others are simply snatched away from their everyday miserable lives to work aboard ships or in positions of slavery elsewhere. It is a place of cast-offs, where no one cares who is who or what anyone else is doing. The only concern is who has the most and who can take from whomever has the most.

This environment takes adaptation to thrive within, and even those able to adapt only do so because there is something fundamentally wrong with them. Their souls are shattered or their minds are broken. It takes more than a wasted body or a life lost to the pursuits of drugs or flesh. The denizens of Stumble Alley all appear human, but are the furthest from it and would not hold onto their human guises under any sort of close scrutiny. They were birthed human, from mothers full of hope or desperation for their offspring, but the environment they dwell in robs them of anything remotely civilized and cultured. Then it takes pieces from them, one after another, after another, until they feel they are standing in ruins and only too late realize those ruins are the remains of the foundations of who they wanted to be.

Left standing was the reality of what Sunberth had deemed too unfit to confiscate. Ruined minds. Ruined hearts. Ruined ambitions.

Nothing epitomizes this more than The Majestic. This small shop is tucked into the deep twisting shadows of Stumble Alley and almost always gets overlooked. It probably gets visitors once or twice a tenday, perhaps maybe a dozen for the whole season. They buy books, potions, pills, and even drugs. They knock, walk into a barren room, and wait for a voice from behind a bookshelf to answer. Business is conducted. And then the individuals exit again. No fanfare, no fuss, no coin exchanges hands. Information, small sachets of something or another, and that is all. The voice behind the bookcase never reveals himself. There is no visible entrance to where the voice originates from either.

It was just past late morning before a visitor was found slipping through the front door and pausing to stand distastefully in the vacant room with nothing but rat shit and cobwebs for company. The slender figure stood tall, healthy, well fed, and while the quality of her cloak was dubious as were her battered boots, the way she stood tended to suggest the clothing was a lie.

“Don’t keep me waiting all day.” The words came forth, acidic and impatient. The visitor was decidedly out of patience today for her words were not her usual tone with the reclusive mage.

“I’ll keep you waiting as long as I’d like.” Said the voice behind the bookshelves. “You took your time getting here.” He added, irritation not being bothered to be covered.

“The streets are unusually … treacherous today.” She replied, the tone as if something left a bad taste in her mouth.

“You’ve noticed too.” He snorted. “What in the six regions has brought them in, en masse, I might add.” He growled.

The figure standing in the middle of the room exposed shifted slightly. Almost unconsciously, she began a careful weapons-check out of habit, touching systematic places about her body as if assuring herself that her beloved instruments were there if she needed them. “Information isn’t free.” She prompted after her mind was satisfied of her relative safety.

“You are of their kind. Stop stalling and just tell me. You know I’ll pay well.” He added.

“I don’t want coin.” She grumbled, shifting a hip so she looked relaxed. Now that she knew what Doler wanted, she was more relieved about the whole situation. Anything Doler was curious about usually boded no good for anyone, but in this case, an internal affair wouldn’t be of much interest to him.

“I want to see the payment first.” She insisted, beginning the game between them. They’d been at it for years. Doler was a dealer of all things exotic. He knew what she liked. And she was shocked when he answered her promptly.

“Top shelf… right hand side. Careful climbing up.” He cautioned with a laugh.

The woman tipped her head up, peering into the cobwebbed interior of one of the deep empty bookshelves and saw that it wasn’t empty. Frowning, but knowing he was just doing it so he could look at her ass, she walked over to the shelves and scrambled up them as if they were a stair. She swiped the small wooden chest off the back of the shelves, and was back down in the center of the room in a moment. The light was better there and she didn’t hesitate to lift the lid on the chest. Her eyes widened and she carefully shut the chest up again. It was about a foot long and about half that wide with a nice curved top and a bit of carved artistry on its sides.

“You did a good job on this one.” She admitted, tucking it under her arm.

“I know you like your secrets and things that can keep them.” Doler replied.

The woman nodded, then looked thoughtfully at the box. It was well worked, and the interior was far more than she could have hoped for. She turned to the bookshelf and looked thoughtful.

“We lost one of ours a while back. Twenty years or more. At first it was a defection. The story goes it was for love. We aren’t supposed to fall in love, you know. But it still happens. And when it does, we usually bring the object of affection into the organization for better control. But in this case, our operative disappeared before we could recruit. Later, we learned that he was taken by Arcadius because she was one of his targets. The irony? Arcadius hired us to grab her for his purposes, but our guy couldn’t do it. It wasn’t pretty after that. They were on the run for years. It takes one of us to hide from one of us. The object of his affection birthed him a whelp and that one escaped the old Benshira’s grasp. I heard Arcadius killed half his staff in his rage to the point they call that day Bloody Seventh in his operation. But regardless, Kalas’ bloodline owes us one, and now we are here to collect. His defection gives us the right to take a replacement. The kids a mage too, one with a big scrumptious aura that has half the league salivating, especially the Leeches. Rumor has him placed here in the city and we brought all our best to collect him. There’s just one problem…” She said, taking a deep breath.

The man behind the bookshelves made an appropriate noise of agreement then frustration. This particular Mortanis always did take too long to tell a good yarn.

“Arcadius got here first. And he has the equivalent of a small army with him. He’s also got strong ties to The Sun’s Birth and they are quietly scouring the city looking for the kid. They are backing the venture with a wagonload of coin. We need to take him first if we ever want our debt collected on. If Arcadius gets to him, it seems he’s destined to be Arcadisus’ new vessel. No one wants that. Death would be better.” She added, then gave him a long slow smile.

“What did you think it was?” She asked, curious.

The bookcase was silent for a time then a throat cleared as if someone had been lost in a lot of thought. “I thought it was the Second Valterrian. I’ve never seen so many Gods Forsaken Mortanis and that power-hungry Kois faction in one city at one time together. I was actually thinking it was time to clear out.” He said, snorting at any of her thoughts. “I’m glad you were among them. Straight answers from either side is hard to get. I just have one more question.” He asked, his voice not failing to hide the curiosity behind the bookcase. “Who is the target?” He said, sounding puzzled.

“It’s one of the guards at Ruby’s. Goes by the name Alric.” She said, then gestured at the wooden chest in her hands. “The information you want wasn’t worth this.” She said, hefting the little chest once more. “The chest is worth more.” She added.

“Not to me, dear… not to me. Now get out of here… before I take it back and demand a better payment.” He grumped, kicking the bookshelf from somewhere behind the wood.

She offered him a smile, a bow, and then headed out the front door in plain daylight.

When she was gone, the man behind the bookshelf muttered to himself then called out louder. “You can come out now.”

A figure stepped from the shadows, the darkness and gloom peeling off him like he had stepped from the very shadows themselves. The figure pushed back his hood revealing a sandy blond man with bright mischievous green eyes. “You did well. Our debt is canceled. Thank you.” He said to Doler, staring straight at him as if he could see right through the bookcase.

“What are you going to do now?” Doler asked of the third man, curiously. It had been a long time since he’d gotten involved with any direct city affairs. And now that he knew the Mortanis and Aradicus’ people were on a direct bullseye that was not in any way shape or form related to him, he was a whole lot more relaxed.

“I’m going to go start a brawl at Ruby’s. Then I’m going to snatch this Alric out of the fray before either party gets a hold of him for the sheer fun of it. Then I’m going to see which is the left standing at the end of their temper tantrums. And I’ll probably sell him to that one if they have anything left to buy him with after they tear each other apart. Unlike you, I value coin.” He said with a smirk and turned on his heels.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Ruby's

Exactly one bell later, an enormous brawl got started in Ruby’s. One girl, who had repeatedly had her things vanish, found them in another girl’s vanity. The catfight that had ensued was epic. Ruby stood back, bade everyone to wait, and let the two girls fight it out. Meanwhile, their clients left waiting got steamed, over liquored, and before they knew what happened, the catfight had escalated into a huge brothel-wide brawl. When the guards were finally alerted and asked to intervene, a figure standing in the deep shadows was waiting… waiting for an opportunity to figure out which guard he wanted and then to snatch him out of the fray.

Mod note :
This is just a mood setting post. Feel free to do a normal day’s work. This can count as a job thread if you’d like… and end your post at the brawl. You can describe it going down any way you want and have a little fun with it. Be prepared to get snatched out of the middle of it, so be sure you note somewhere in your post someone using your name or otherwise identifying you. Then lets get the real adventure started…


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Latvian Gambit (Alric Please)

Postby Alric Lysane on March 16th, 2022, 11:26 am

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Things had settled into a somewhat stable rhythm over the last score of days, in so far as one could be found whilst juggling dealing with a young woman who constantly wanted to do various things, learning magic in secret moments of stolen time, and keeping the rest of his life going – the keeping alive part of particular importance to him. Still, his written words to Taz had proven to be correct. Whilst at first, he had been hesitant, despite being the one to step in and save Lys, once he had embraced the situation somewhat, he was finding it to be more enjoyable than not. She followed him everywhere, though, including to Ruby’s.

In fact, the girls had taken quite a liking to her, a new ally in their teasing of him and one who was more than happy to give out pointers upon how to get under his skin better. So far, they had taken to secluding her towards the back of the brothel when he worked, which was a relief as it meant she was reasonably safe – or as safe as one could be at Ruby’s. So far, she had stayed where instructed, more interested in the cosmetics and clothing that was found there in abundance. He knew he couldn’t really say much, given his life, but there was a pause in his pacing as the idea of her finding the other…items…there eventually, a vague look of horror at having the conversation flickering in his eyes before he kept walking to take his place at the door.

“Should be a good evening for it” Garth noted as Alric joined him, his eyes sweeping the throng in the street before them and not seeing anything particularly untoward, though untoward in Sunberth was likely catastrophically criminal elsewhere.

“For you, or for me?” he asked with a tired sigh, knowing what the man had meant.

“Depends on whether that lass of yours shares anything else about you”

“The fact that she cannot keep her mouth shut, even after being asked to, being a constant source of amusement to you is what I live for”

“Maybe I’ll have a chat alone with her an-“

“Try it and see how long you’re breathing normally for”

The man braked a laugh, glancing at Alric’s set jaw before slapping him upon the shoulder just before the first larger groups starting making their way to the doors, the guards stationing giving them the silent signal that Ruby’s was officially open for evening business. The chimes passed as they patted down the punters, some having weapons taken from them and some being forcibly turned away for being known troublemakers. All paid, even those who got kicked to the street, a ‘tax’ for Ruby and her staff having their time wasted. He still wondered where all the miza went, the Sanctum didn’t seem to need much maintenance of expense.

But he wasn’t a brothel madame and so he simply kept his curiosities to himself and the crowd flowing through the doors. It was busy night, busier than usual they noted for some reason. All sorts had converged upon the Sanctum, many of them already merry – perhaps extending the Burning of the Giant into the whole of the season – and some were already jittery from the drugs that had recently flooded the grime covered streets. So long as they weren’t a threat they were let in, there to do many sordid things and leave without a miza to their names – the Associates were very good at their jobs. The evening was going well, so well that he was relieved after a few Bells and asked to provide help for Nessilie’s act – she had moved from fire to all things sharp and deadly and the crowds had seemed to enjoy the transition, possibly because sex and violence were quick bedfellows in Sunberth.

For a time the crowd was tantalised by Nessilie’s wire act, her lithe Symenestran form not the usual kind of Sunberth stock but able to twist and bend as she caught the knives and more, dancing with them and then sending them to hit various targets to applause, especially when it was one of the trailing edges of her garment, then to be torn off piece by piece. He had, for some reason, become her assistant for such things – she no longer wanted any of the other guards. He didn’t mind, though she was still acidic and sarcastic about his ‘inferior human traits’. As her act came to a close, he spied Lys watching Nessilie and rolled his eyes in exasperation, pacing over to lean against the wall beside her.

“I knoooow…’Stay in the back where it’s safe, last season I almost got killed here you know’,” Lys pouted and put on a mimic of his voice that made him want to laugh, though he kept his face carefully impassive, “I just wanted to see her do her act. She’s just soooo pretty!”

“Pretty things often have sharp claws” he noted, not chastising her overly much for her curiosity – it was something they shared.

“You didn’t seem to complain about them being on you when I was sewing you up last season, ungrateful human. I wonder if I should let your secret woman know, embellish the deta-“

“Thank you…Nessilie, for your input. And Lys, for your loose tongue. We’ll talk later, back to the back” he gave her a pointed look and she whined, eyes darting between him and Nessilie.

“Let her see the Sanctum at work Alric, it is quite instructive. The girl needs to learn to become the woman she is destined to be. You can’t keep her back there fore-“ Nessilie began before a wailing shriek filled the room and two of the Associates started clawing at each other’s hair. They all whirled to look and saw the throng gathering.

“Back there. Now” he said firmly, meeting Nessilie’s gaze until she nodded and took Lys by the hand, beginning a chat about her act and what it took to do it as he watched them disappear into her room.

He was about to intervene as he turned back to the scuffle, but Ruby got there first, setting up an old-fashioned catfight, and encouraging bets and drinking alongside of course. The men went mad for it, their desires to see the clothes torn off and the sweat flowing shouted out as the combat continued. He eyed them warily, watching Ruby and wondering if her judgement was the wisest in the moment. He wouldn’t complain about getting a free look at the Associate’s bodies, but he would complain if he ended up getting another batch of scars for no discernible reason. His fears seemed well placed as the fighting spilled over into the crowd with calls of ‘Idiot, Jessie’s ass is way better than Fay’s’ and ‘What’re you talking about, those tits are worth the gold you petcher’ amongst other slurred antagonisms.

“Garth….Garth!” he shouted as he waded into the brawl that was breaking out, pulling people by the scruff of the neck and yanking them back, tossing them out of the fighting and trying to find a way to resolve this without getting into a scrap himself. Mostly, though, he was trying to get to the Associates – Ruby’s temper might not wane at all if they got killed in the brawl, even if they had started it.

“What the petch is going on Alric?!” Garth shouted at him, a handful of other guards surging through the door and taking in the scene.

“Later, just…break it up!” he shouted back, ducking a wild punch and using the puncher’s momentum to grab their wrist and throw them out of the throng, finally managing to wade to the two women, both still clawing at each other. He forcibly separated them, pushing them apart and getting a slap from both that stunned him and sent him a step back, both of them attacking each other again.

This time he wasn’t able to get between them again, instead the brawl consuming him and leaving him blocking and jabbing as best he could as the spaces closed up and sweaty bodies began to wrestle with each other more than box.
~ Thanks to Gossamer/Shiress for post Boxcodes ~
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Latvian Gambit (Alric Please)

Postby Gossamer on March 18th, 2022, 4:15 am



Ruby's

The blonde man loved a good brawl ruining a perfectly peaceful lavish experience like Ruby’s. He gave himself extra credit for starting it among the girls rather than among the patrons. There was just something invigorating about feisty women being feisty. Besides, he deemed the girls in the facility stronger mentally than the men who frequented it. They tended to be cesspools of negative traits, primarily lazy. They’d rather buy company than win companionship through their less than stellar personalities.

Idiots.

The escalation of the two ladies’ irritation into a full-fledged cat-fight was pure genius, he decided, as he snagged a drink off the counter as if this was an every day occurrence. While he sipped the drink, he kicked back and propped a foot up on the stool next to him near the bar. He casually ducked a thrown item – someone’s shoe? – and went back to his observations. The young lady that had been paying him particular attention in hopes of his business had moved to gather with the others around the two women facing off.

The man just smiled.

Now, for his target. The brilliant green eyes tracked the place, catching on the teen girl and the man arguing with her. Ah. There wasn’t just this Alric fellow to deal with. There was a child involved as well. Perhaps child was the wrong word. She decidedly was above most of her age group in maturity and the man judged her to be as sharp as the ladies working the brothel. Well… it wasn’t a brothel exactly. Madame Ruby put on shows to class the place up. But in the end, it was about the urges of humans to mate and mate often. The man sighed.

The back huh? He’d take her first. Now that the men and guards were joining the brawl – most drunk – it was going to get dicier taking the man from the middle of the room in plain sight of everyone. Swallowing down his drink he set the drained glass on the counter, tossed down a few silvers, and casually strode – amidst the brawl – into the back following the youth. He caught up to her in an instant. When the teen narrowed her eyes at him, he held his hands up, both of them, and said… “Woah… before you start caterwauling like those damsels out there, know that Alric sent me to keep an eye on you.” He said with a shrug. The girl glanced towards the brawl going down. “I’m Croix.” He said with a grin. “And does Alric always caw like a crow at everyone around him instead of actually wading in and breaking up fights?” He asked with an eyeroll, as if he thought the whole thing too dramatic.

Lys had paused to stare at him, momentarily confused, and that’s when he reached out and touched her on the shoulder. She looked surprised, then went limp. Croix caught her in his arms, boosted her up, and carried her out of sight. He was gone and back in a moment, brushing his hands like he just finished disposing of something distasteful. “One down. The bigger pain in the ass to go.” He muttered to himself, then waded back out where the entire brothel had seemed to eventually join in the brawl.

Ruby was screaming. Croix just laughed. He’d set this up well and fueled the atmosphere so tempers were high as well as the energy level. Wading into the crowd, the man threw a few punches, ducked others, and smashed a chair across one particularly drunk fellow’s back. He’d always truthfully wanted to do that. Humans were so much fun. Soon enough, he found himself up against the fierce blue-eyed guard that had banished the girl to the back room. He wasn’t being too cooperative either. He was shouting at another guard to ‘break it up!’ What kind of fun was that? Really… it was a waste of all the effort Croix had put into setting the scene for his abduction.

Duck, duck, swing… this was starting to resemble an adult version of a child’s game. The next person who took a swing at him was going to become the goose, that much was for sure. This was, after all, just a giant game of duck duck goose, wasn’t it? Speaking of Gooses…. or was it Gander? Croix drew once more next to Alric. Definitely it was time. He waited until the guard was mid-swing, his body committed to the action, and reached out to touch the Alric fellow. A zap of his power, and the man went down like someone had just exposed his grey matter to the stale air of the brothel. Croix didn’t bother catching him. The fellow wasn’t overly large, but he was far bigger than a teenage girl, that much was for sure.

“Alric… dear Alric…. What are you doing on the floor?” He chastised with a smile. Then he bent down, and it was as if the fallen guard weighed nothing, he swung him up and over his shoulder. “I’m glad you aren’t fat.” He grumbled and wove through the brawling crowd pretending to pat Alric on the back and once or twice making comments like “He can’t hold his drink…” Or… “He didn’t duck fast enough and took a chair upside the head…” followed by “… but he’ll be fine.” He piped up when curious eyes turned his direction. Luckily the crowd wasn’t much for paying attention and Croix carted him off bold as could be through the front door.

Three steps later, not even off the porch of the establishment, he heaved a sigh of relief and vanished. When he reappeared, he dumped the unconscious man off his shoulder a good deal of distance away from Ruby’s. He unceremoniously nudged the man with his toe. “Well, that answers that I suppose.” He said, rubbing his shoulder where Alric had been slung over it. “Either your juiced up by Leeching or you have one hell of a Djepool. Was that why they want you?” He said, reaching down and touching Alric’s forehead. “More than one Alvina in there as well… a ways back, but you definitely aren’t pure human. Hrm… I thought all the by-blows of the Gods of the past were captured long ago… but maybe some survived. I’ll have to wait until you wake and ask you." He sighed

~~~~~~~~~~~~


An Abandoned Building

Alric woke a good deal later. In fact, the sun was well down and he found himself sprawled on a partially decayed sofa in the middle of what looked like an abandoned half-crumbled building. It was dark, but a lantern burned on the table next to a blonde man with green eyes. The man was studying him with what looked like infinite patience. “At the risk of sounding cliché… I have your daughter. And you are going to answer a few questions for me. If you do so, we will get along fabulously. And if you don’t take this immediately down to the level of a shitfest, I’ll answer some of yours.” He added, then gestured to his right. Lys was curled up in an overstuffed wing-backed chair that had part of its stuffing torn out on the side closest to Alric. She looked fine, only deeply asleep.

“My first question…. no… my first three questions. “ The man said thoughtfully. “Firstly, why are the Mortanis after you? Secondly, why is half the city filled with Kois Benshira? The two factions look like on the verge of an all-out gang war. I mean the Mortanis hate everyone, so that’s not surprising, but those pony-loving freaks never leave their side of the desert. Oil and water those two. It’s getting so bad someone is going to do something drastic soon and Sunberth might burn.” He seemed to realize he was on a tangent and moved forward, refocusing on the topic at hand.

“And finally… what are you doing wasting your life as a guard in a brothel? I’ve been watching you for a while and you never tap that particular keg and pour yourself mug… like that little redhead. She is soooo fine. And I can tell she likes you. We... ” He paused, then gave himself a little shake. “Let’s leave it at that… I don’t want you distracted from these answers." The man said with a grin.

If Alric answered those questions carefully, Croix would offer to answer one for Alric as well, but only one.



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Latvian Gambit (Alric Please)

Postby Alric Lysane on March 18th, 2022, 2:24 pm

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The lights of consciousness flickered, the darkness pulling back and replaces with a slight thumping in his head and the sensation that he had been drinking…enough that he didn’t remember that he had been. Memory surged next, the brawl and his attempts at intervening in it thrusting itself to the front of his mind and caused his eyes to flare open, to make sure he was alright, and that Lys was safe. Had he been knocked out? He didn’t remember that he had been and there were no pains large enough in his skull to suggest it. What his gaze found instead, once it had lost its groggy edges, gave him more troubles than Ruby’s ever had.

He was nowhere he recognised, the light faded enough to tell him that it was many bells later than he last remembered, shadows clinging to the corners of a rotten room with old, battered furniture. The light of a small lantern caught his eye and he twisted his head, taking in a man he had never met, nor remember ever seeing before. He didn’t even get the chance to push himself up from his sprawl before the stranger spoke, directing his attention towards the third figure in the room – Lys – and he felt his anger rise despite the lethargy that blanketed him. He bit it back, his jaw setting and his tongue held for now, taking in the situation in silence, mind frantically trying to catch up with the changed circumstances.

He didn’t immediately answer, instead slowly and carefully moving to check on Lys, not waking her, but making sure she was still breathing and had no obvious injuries. He did this all whilst remaining upon the sofa he had been dumped upon, before shifting back with a glare for the man, so at ease after kidnapping the pair of them and privately tell himself that he had better not have done anything to her whilst they had been out of it or ‘shitfest’ wouldn’t quite cover what would happen. The few chimes spent on checking her, though, once he had calmed and seen she was okay in so far as he could see, bought him some time to think upon the man’s questions, and what they meant.

Both the Mortanis and Arcadius are here? Petch what the…what am I going to do? I can barely fend off one of them! If that! were generally the thoughts rippling through his mind, his eyes going distant as they played out and the fear started to eat away at his insides, his legs feeling heavier and his breathing becoming shallower. A cleared throat brought him back to the present and he snapped out of it, concentrating his attention upon the kidnapper, leaving the panicking for if they survived this meeting.

“Let it burn, I hope they all kill each other. Would make my life a lot easier overnight,” he said bitterly, leaning back and wondering if he might be able to fight the man, perhaps hook the table up into him and get a surprise advantage, but only if the time felt right, “and whether it’s wasted or not depends upon your perspective…or what you want. Just because I don’t tumble into the first sheets that are offered doesn’t mean I don’t get something out of it. I get to see lots of nice things, and the girls like to try and seduce me…which boost the ego. Maybe I just like being a simple guard that women like to chat up?” he continued, eyes taking in the room, and the man in it, in more detail, searching for a way out.

“As for the first two of your questions…you took me,” he made no mention of Lys, seeking to leave her out of his attention for as long as possible, “so that means you probably know already, as I’ve not told anyone anything about what would make them want me. So, the only way to know to take me would be if you knew…so why ask me? Unless you want to know if I know?”

“Arcadius has come…sooner than I thought…but he has come. Or his people have. Either way it looks like I’m out of time,” he sighed, “as for the Mortanis…I didn’t know they were after me too. But it probably has something to do with my father. And here we are…in the middle. Unless you work for one of them, in which case I suppose this will be a…what did you say…shitfest eventually. But then…you’ve taken me here instead of to them…why? I don’t think it was for my company”

He was calmer on the outside than he was internally, though his attempts at clearing his mind and finding that calm place within as his meditations had shown him was helping. Still his fists were balled, if loosely, to hide the shaking fingers. His back was slightly damp, and his heartrate was higher than normal. It was strange, though, he had thought he might have fallen to his knees and wailed when the day had come…he didn’t credit himself with much courage. Instead he felt strangely…manic…and then empty alternately…there was a sort of freedom in no longer being hunted…but found instead.

“Who are you?”
~ Thanks to Gossamer/Shiress for post Boxcodes ~
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Latvian Gambit (Alric Please)

Postby Gossamer on March 18th, 2022, 6:38 pm

Alric must have missed the part where he was supposed to answer questions before he asked his own. Croix frowned, lifted an eyebrow, and folded his arms across his chest as he watched his new captive check on the girl and then turn to study him. The man was astute at reading expressions and he grasped the minute it hit Alric about what he’d said. There wasn’t a single flicker of fear across the man’s face, but Croix knew fear when he saw it in all its various forms. He also watched the man pick up the pieces of his slowly fraying nerves, as if not allowing himself to fall apart – not then not there – in the heat of the moment.

“Sunberth is full of a lot of innocent people. Poverty, disease, enslavement… all sorts of things exist here that people have trouble moving past. They don’t deserve to burn, at least not all of them.” Croix said thoughtfully. Then he laughed and shook his head. “You aren’t the type to let a pretty girl stroke your ego by making a pass at you. You get far more out of outsmarting a clever opponent in a game of strategy be it real or on a game board than you’d ever get out of a beautiful girl’s hand on your dick.” He mused, glancing at the teenager a moment, thoughtful. “She’d be yours already if any of that were true. Young, yes, but beautiful too. And as smart or smarter than you.” Croix added, shaking his head a moment.

“I actually don’t know, and yes I do want to know if you know. That’s two questions. You only had one.” The blonde man said, a hint of mirth in his voice. “I have some ideas, but no clear facts. It’s unusual that these two groups would descend on a location like this together with their eyes on the same prize. They don’t even have the same motivations or drives.” Green eyes sparkled as he met Alric’s gaze. “Who am I?” Croix shook his head. “That’s your third question. You answered my questions with questions which didn’t help your tally.” The man said, then rose and strode over to Lys. He waved his hand over her and she vanished.

“She’s a distraction. We’ll deal with her later.” He added, then glanced at Alric. “You’d better get talking. What has your father to do with the Mortanis?” He asked, tilting his head thoughtfully. Then, he paused, resumed his seat on the broken-down chair, and stretched his legs and crossed his arms over his chest once more.

“We only have so much time and I only have so much patience. When they both decide something’s amiss and they don’t’ have eyes on you anymore, they are going to blame each other and the city will be in a… what do you humans call this? Ahh yes…. Sunberth will be in a pickle.” He added, then managed to shake his head. “Also, we are waiting for a third party to join us… so don’t spook if he arrives suddenly. It seems the interest is spreading, but he’s not involved. Not really. I just need a couple of skills he has available and he owes me a solid or ten.” The man explained, then glanced around as if he expected someone to be here that was not actually present.

Green eyes swiveled back to Alric. “Well? Start talking…” He urged.


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Latvian Gambit (Alric Please)

Postby Alric Lysane on March 18th, 2022, 8:01 pm

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His gaze changed from anger, hiding his fear, and into puzzlement at the words of the man. He tensed briefly as he walked up to Lys, muscles getting ready to move him into an attack if he did anything, but then shock dashed him with icy water as she vanished at a wave of his hand and he jumped up to his feet. He took one step before a look the man gave him stopped him in his tracks and the yell he was about to give died on his lips. This…person…had just broken laws of reality he had no idea were even breakable. His jaw opened and closed as his gaze lingered upon the now empty chair before he collapsed back to the couch, unsure of what to even do.

What the shyke is he?! He talks like a man and vanishes people as if it were nothing! He talks about innocents in Sunberth…but kidnaps us without knowing the whole story…why? For…curiosity? He doesn’t know… he thought, trying to wrap his head around it before chuckling at the madness of it all. It was only the sound of the tapping of a foot that brought him somewhat back to…well not normality as nothing was normal about this meeting, but to the moment, at least. He raked his fingers back through his hair, licked his lips and then sighed as he gave up any pretence of pretending anything made sense anymore.

“You really don’t know? That’s…” he sighed, noting the man’s look shift slightly more towards the impatient and put his hands up, “alright…alright…I am a Nymkarta. My mother’s side – Serana. Kalas was my father…he was a Mortanis, sent to kidnap…or kill…her. I don’t know all of the details. He fell in love with her, decided to not follow his orders…and here I am” he started in a dulled tone, as if simply recounting history and not the tattered remnants of his families’ lives, but pressed on doggedly, his gaze distant and somewhat defeated.

“They went on the run…for years. I don’t know how long. I don’t remember much, my memory was…wiped somehow and I was dumped at the Sunberth orphanage when I was about eight. I only remember some things now because of magic and some Dreamwalker person. Caves, ruins…some taverns too, I think. Always moving, not staying long in one place. Then they were found…I remember it was a very big fight…but they lost. Sent to Florentin Arcadius…the bastard used my mother to try to breed children, children with the Djed pool of a Nymkarta mixed with what he has…accrued”

“I don’t know what he is…but apparently he is older than the Valterrian…can switch bodies, take hosts. He wants me for my…magical power. If he gets me, he tries to break me. If he succeeds then he takes over me. He does that…well I’d imagine he then stops playing games with specific regions and goes for the whole…or at least that’s what has been suggested at. I don’t know what to think anymore”

“I imagine if he and the Mortanis aren’t working together then they’ve had a falling out since I was lost to him. Doesn’t surprise…monsters always turn on each other in the end. And as for the Mortanis…I guess they can’t find my father…or they’ve already killed him…and now wants to exact vengeance upon the last of his blood too. And you’ve just landed yourself in the middle of it all by grabbing me”

“Mortanis,” he said, raising one hand to his left and following it with the other out to his right, “Arcadius. And then you” he said, clapping them both together. “And me and her now too I suppose. Is that satisfying enough of an answer for you? If I were you, I’d think about just dumping us somewhere you’ll never visit again…after bringing Lys back please…and getting out of here before the two sides start hacking at each other in their trying to find me. You don’t want to be in that heap of shyke…I know I don’t. I sometimes wish I weren’t even born at all”

With the story told in as much detail as he could when given a short window of time he leaned back properly, watching the other man carefully to see how he’d react to everything. His bloodline wasn’t particularly liked, he wouldn’t be surprised if he’d try to kill him after knowing. It would be the simple solution after all, leave him here in this rotting building and let his trail go cold as everyone took forever to find him. He honestly couldn’t decide if it wouldn’t be better than getting nabbed by either side.

What are you?” he couldn’t resist asking after the display he had made, the comments muttered.

He didn’t realise it at first, but he was tapping his own fingers idly in a rhythm, his nerves getting the better of him as what little control of his frayed mind he had was slowly vanishing. He could feel his concern for Lys eating away at him in ways that he still found surprising, he eyes flicking back to the seat every so often as if she’d reappear at random. He wanted to grab the man and wring his neck until she was back but he doubted he’d have any chance in a fight now he had seen what he could do…and so he simply felt lost about the whole thing. Another reason to tell him why he was doomed to fail at winning in the end – he couldn’t even protect her, let alone himself.
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Latvian Gambit (Alric Please)

Postby Gossamer on March 18th, 2022, 10:00 pm

“No, I really didn’t know.” The blonde looked thoughtful and remained silent as Alric talked. He nodded periodically to what Alric said, then narrowed his eyes once or twice at the things Alric said. If Alric was watching closely, he’d note a flicker of something in the man’s eyes when he mentioned Kalas’ name. He let Alric talk though, and listened throughout until the kidnapped guard had seemingly said all he wanted to for the moment.

“My name is Croix.” He said thoughtfully, figuring he owed Alric some answers since the answers to his questions had come pouring out of the man finally painting a vivid enough picture and filling in enough of the gaps for Croix to figure out what was going on. Croix stepped forward and gestured with both hands. Between himself and Alric, a giant map materialized out of nowhere. It depicted Mizahar, with a noted lack of The Suvan and slightly misshapen. “This was before the world died.” He gestured, and the side of the map facing Alric lit up on the lower right hand side with a thousand pinpoints of stars. The stars were concentrated around a few areas and the glowing name of Treval lit up. Alric would notice the map faced him, though he could see Croix right through it. The name Suva lit up as well, high and to the left of Treval. Two empires glowed into existence, with a boarder in between them showing. The pinpoints of lights were scattered all the way throughout both empires, though far fewer in the north and west than the numerous lights in the south and east.

Croix gestured again, and the continent slowly changed, lights winking off and on throughout until the whole scene changed into a new map in seemingly an instant. Most of the lights all across its surface winked out and only a few clusters remained then scattered as the water in the center of the continent grew and divided the place. They headed all directions as the two capital’s names blinked out of existence and the smaller scattered names of the current cities flanking the center of the world winked into existence. Every place was represented. And the lights were less than twenty. Oddly, glowing in Sunberth were two lights, all but side by side. “This is your family.” Croix said softly. “What they were and what they are now.” One light was skipping across the continent, first in Riverfall then in a few moments later Syliras where it seemed to be holding steady.

The blonde gestured again. “That would be Ivak’s Champion. Leo. He’s your cousin.” He said, then tapped on the point on the glowing glittering transparent floating map at Sunberth. “You and the girl. Another set of cousins, you are.” He said. “Not your daughter after all.” He mused, then glanced at Alric. “Do you even know what it means to be Nymkarta? Once, before the Valterrian, it was the proudest bloodline alive. There were no finer scholars, warriors or mages. A great many of them were priests and councilors too. Sharp minds, solid ethics, and strong hearts. All you know about them today is from the stories about Kova and the ancient empire of Alahea. Treval was their stronghold. Do you know it was a city that knew very little poverty? It had sewers and jobs and people could expect a good living there with a fair wage. Why? Because your family was in charge.” He added, then shook his head.

“You shame your line by enunciating Nymkarta the way you do.” Croix said softly, shaking his head.

It was about then that a man stepped out of the shadows. He was huge, deeply tanned, with strong features. Flanked on either side of him were creatures that were equally as tall with wings almost like bats and strong alien features that were more bestial than human. They resembled gargoyles that were sometimes carved on the tops of buildings in places like Zeltiva and Syliras. The pair of creatures folded their wings around themselves, waiting, as the newcomer stepped forward with a nod to Croix. “Sorry I’m late.” He said thoughtfully then glanced both at the couch where Alric was, and at the spot where Lys had been sleeping. He quirked an eyebrow at Croix.

“What are you up too, old friend?” He asked curiously.

Croix just grinned. “Meet Alric… son of Kalas, Krysus’ only ex-Mortanis. He’s also, according to him, being chased by that Kois imposter, the body snatcher. I suspect he wants Alric here for the bloodline he’s inherited. Alric, this is Vas.” Croix said gesturing between the two men. “Where have you been?” Croix added, looking suspiciously at the newcomer.

“Presently or in the last few centuries? I took refuge in a mortal bloodline for about five hundred years… then I’ve been acquainting myself with some of my favorite haunts and rebuilding the priesthood.” He said with a smile. “Have you toured The Suvan? It’s beautiful. Pavena is in ruins though… gone as if she never existed.” He muttered, then looked closer at Alric and the glittering map on the wall. He studied the map for a few moments, then glanced at Croix. “Your work? That looks like the recements of the Nymkarta. I’m surprised. There are a few still about.” He commented, then glanced at Alric and then at Sunberth on the map.

“This one of them? I’m surprised he’s unclaimed.” Vas said, then studied Alric closer. He gave a shake of his head. “Eyris has marked him. Only just one mark though. Interesting.” He said, then glanced at Croix. “You claiming him?” Vas asked, curiosity sparking in his gaze. He turned and gave Alric another longer look and then smiled. “I can see his branch as well. And his djedline. Do you see it?” The big man asked the smaller blonde.

Croix shook his head.

“Westfall’s line, Zantani djedline… pure Nymkarta. The younger one has no djedline yet, but she’s Westfall’s too. Also unclaimed, with the younger unmarked. She even looks like Westfall. How have they kept off the stage?” He asked Croix, who simply laughed at Vas’ question.

“They’ve been living in Sunberth… abandoned by parents and guardians… raised in an Orphanage.” Croix responded causing Vas to flinch. “Westfall would be livid… his descendants living like street rats. But you have to admit, it was a clever tactic. Dumping them in the shadow of Treval is the last place someone would look.” He said, shaking his head.

“I’m not surprised,” Vas added, shaking his head. “And what did you do to him to get him so angry and scared?” The big man asked the blonde.

“Kidnaped him from a brothel where he was playing at being a guard. Sunberth is flooded with Kois and Mortanis. I was trying to figure out why.” Croix explained.

“Using maps of living Nymkarta?” Vas asked, crooking an eyebrow and swiping a hand through the hanging transparent bit of magic, dissipating it. “They are after the pair, aren’t they? I bet they don’t even know each other are here. That body snatcher has no idea what he’s getting himself in to.” Vas commented dryly.

“And Krysus… well she just keeps driving her Mortanis’ insane. They’ve been worse than ever since Kalas escaped her. I didn’t know it was possible to shed three gnosis marks once they were given, but he did it. She’s still furious about it.” Croix said, then gestured at Alric. “I suspect they want a replacement. If they get ahold of him, he’ll be wearing three marks and killing everyone in sight to relieve his own pain.” The blonde said, then shook his head, glancing back at Alric.

“He’s strong, but is he his father?” Vas shrugged. “Leave it to Westfall’s bloodline to find a man to reproduce with that could sluff off Krysus’ attention.” He said with a somewhat affectionate grin. “I still miss him.” He added, and Croix nodded. “So what are you going to do?” Vas added.

“I’m going to give him a fighting chance, if he wants it, and do a little payback on that bitch.” Croix said with a grin. Then he turned to Alric and smiled slowly. It was a predatory smile, and one that wasn’t pleasant. “I can’t answer that question, Alric…. the ‘what are you’ part. We are all questing to find that answer, our whole entire lives. That would be like asking you what you are. You have no clue either, do you? It’s part of the journey. I can tell you that you and the girl are closer to me and mine than you are to these humans you live among. Your family is a long-lived one that in the prime of their power were some of the best of the best. And I don’t mean in terms of power. Power is power and ultimately depends on how one wields it whether its useful or not. Your kin were masters of it and stable sane people. They ruled in a just and fair manner… and all that you know of them today is not the truth. It is the result of a smear campaign that has been ongoing from the Valterrian on down driven by jealousy and lies. Rhysol was behind that a hundred precent.” He said, then glanced at Vas.

“I’m going to make you an offer. And Vas here is going to help you decide. He has… you might say… a unique ability to see possibilities… to see what could be in the future. I want him to show you what will happen to you if you get captured by the Mortanis. I also want you to see what would happen if you get captured by the Kois. And finally, I want you to sit down and have a face to face with Florentin Arcadius… the real one. Not the creature that wears his body like a cloak. Then I want you to make a decision on my offer.” He added, without revealing the offer at all.

“What do you think? Will you let Vas show you a few things?” He asked, curious.

Vas quirked an eyebrow too, but didn't say much as if he was equally curious what Alric would say.


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Latvian Gambit (Alric Please)

Postby Alric Lysane on March 19th, 2022, 8:43 am

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“You knew Kalas,” he said, it wasn’t a question, he had noticed the flicker of recognition in the man’s emerald eyes though it had been masked after the initial surprise. He couldn’t understand any of this, none of this meeting made sense from the Sunberth perspective…so this Croix wasn’t a mercenary then, he was beginning to think. Otherwise they’d already have handed at least him over to one side and got the pay off, “none of this makes sense…why do you even care about my story if you didn’t know?"

Things were not going as he had expected them to at all, Sunberth had taught him through bitter experience that when you ended up in a situation like this then you were probably having a terrible day…one that would probably be your last, or one of them. His muscles were looser now, but only because they had begun to ache with their being tensed and no fight seemed to be manifesting. Neither was Lys, he noted, concern still coursing through him. He was having difficulty keeping his footing in this strange new reality where he was between two predatory factions…and this Croix and his friends, whom he suspected weren’t having this meeting for the sake of his safety, despite his generally amiable demeanour.

I must’ve had the entire Sanctum picked up and smashed over my head…because none of this makes sense. I’m probably dreaming, or dead and this is some joke for…whatever comes after’s amusement… he thought to himself, blinking in surprise as the map shimmered into existence between them.

He watched it shift and change, the lights grow in number and diminish, almost in cycles it seemed. Sometimes there were thousands and then others there seemed to be less. The two empires had Nymkarta, that was a surprise to him given the thousands of years of warfare. Perhaps, he reasoned, that was why the lights seemed to surge and dim in some rough rhythm, like the beating of a heart. War broke out, people died, then the war stopped, and people bred. He listened to Croix speak words with a tone that suggested something missed. He saw the name Treval and remembered the book he still hadn’t found a copy of yet. Suvan was there also, a few other names that were either - one’s he didn’t recognize or were old names he had only read of. Almost in the blink of an eye the Suvan Sea, missing before, appeared and the names started to become recognisable, the lights all but gone.

“The Valterrian,” he muttered, his head in his hands as he absently tried to massage out the headache that was persistently growing now, for some reason there was also that tingling feeling he always seemed to get when finding a path of curiosity, knowledge dangling just behind a curtain, “put an end to all of that. You think I wouldn’t want at least the good parts back? What do you want me to do? Wave a hand like you do and just…make it so? It’s impossible, I’m not even sure people today would even accept getting it back, let alone embrace and endure it. You say I shame the Nymkarta, and you sound as if you miss them. Well, all I’ve ever got out of being one was to be hunted and abandoned in this city I’m lucky to be alive in. I never had power, or lack of poverty…or anything. And neither did Lys, if what you say is true. We had dirty streets, hovels that were cold and then a life where she ended up in a hole that she'd have died in if I hadn’t been there by chance to find her. Pride doesn't matter anymore, they're all gone...and we remain. I don't hate them much anymore, but it's difficult to care much about people who have no meaning to you” he sighed in frustration.

“Doesn’t look like there’s enough of us left to make a difference anyway. Even if all…what…fifteen or so…were supercharged mages of old, what were we supposed to do? Start another war to bring back old glories lost to madness? I notice you don’t mention my mother either…so she is dead, then? And how in the name of all shyke piles is Lys my cousin? I knew about Leo...but Lys? Bullshyke, that makes no sense! Why would two Nymkarta randomly be found in a city that hates them?” he whispered, feeling another piece of himself fray and unravel slightly at the thoughts, before closing his eyes and pushing it aside, refusing to crumble before a stranger.

“Maybe…maybe there’s a reason we almost died out. Everything has its time, and its endin-“ he didn’t get to finish his tired words, instead all but rolling over the back of the couch to bring it between him and whatever…creatures…had materialized alongside a larger man – the one Croix had been waiting for, it became apparent.

What the petch are those…things?” he half-hissed and half whispered, eyeing them warily as his fingers gripped the back of the couch, knuckles white as things took another lurch into further unknown, and unstable, territory.

Then the pair of them – Croix and Vas – simply began talking to each other, almost as if Alric weren't there at times, though they occasionally looked at him as if he were something they were assessing, a horse for purchase, and making the odd comment upon him. All of their observations were true, in so far as he understood some of them – they could see he was marked by Eyris even through his glove. He balked at the idea of being claimed but said nothing, noting that he was decidedly outmatched and at their mercy. Vas was clearly looking at, and describing, Lys even though she was vanished as far as he could see, his gaze flicking back to the chair to check, just in case. They spoke of centuries and old haunts and it started to make sense in his head, his mind casting back to the letters of correspondence and his own notes, alongside fragmented memories. What sense could be made. Only a few things lasted that long, and Arcadius was something rare and monstrous. But other beings...well they liked to meddle in mortal affairs by all accounts.

He would have been angry at the fact they simply ignored him as they discussed his father and his life if the whole thing hadn’t been almost a big joke at his expense, and if he had not been too tired to summon up the emotion itself. He felt…thin…like not enough butter across toast...scraped to cover what one could. Tiredness at everything had started to become common over the last season or so, despite the joyous moments he had experienced. He could only ever remember wanting a simple life, simple things like a full belly and a good pipe of an evening. He had never had ambitions, not really. His life was becoming the opposite of what he had wanted – complicated, dangerous, high stakes and now…these two. He snorted to himself in desperate amusement, forehead coming to rest upon the back of the couch, there to press the cold, hard wood into it, the pressure helping to ease his headache for a few moments.

“Gods…” he sighed to himself, if they could forget his presence for a while then he could take a few moments to try to center himself, breathing deeply a few times, catching the fraying edges of himself and gathering them up, promising his nerves a massive drink and the biggest pipe he could find, if he got out of this alive, “who…is Westfall? Who is Rhysol, and why is he responsible for the fall of the Nymkarta? It was Kova that bedded Ivak and then married the Suvan leader, wasn't it?” he asked, noticing as he looked at them both again that Croix’s demeanour had changed from the amiable one to one with a bit more of the hunter about it, wishing he had left things unsaid.

He stayed where he was behind the sofa for a few moments, listening to Croix’s offer and noticing it for what it really was, an ultimatum. For all the smoothed over words and smiles Alric had very little choice left, it was just pretending to suggest otherwise. He was alone, with two clearly old and powerful beings – divines if he had his guesses right – and Lys was vanished…and a bloody Nymkartan cousin…and he was stuck between Mortanis and Arcadius, even if he managed to get Lys back and get out of the room without the two…men…and the two beast things attacking him. He turned it all over in his mind for a while, watching them as they watched him, fancying they could probably see his mind work and read the thoughts from the way they looked at him.

“Do I have a choice?” he asked the room in a rhetorical manner before sighing and coming to sit upon the couch once more, it was comfortable at least, “you speak of an offer but don’t tell me what it is. So, you want me to agree without terms…because you already know my only choices are to say yes…see what happens…or to say no. But you could both just do it anyway even if I said no, I suspect. Just like Eyris. And even if you didn’t, and let me go…where does that leave me? Between a rock and a hard place…with nothing” he looked at them both, looked at the empty chair where Lys had been and feeling a flash of pain at the idea of not being able to protect her, to keep her out of all of this. He had hoped that he’d have had more time, time to spend with her in simpler things, to do something positive before the inevitable.

“Fine…show me what you want to show me. Who doesn’t want to know the future anyway? What do I do?” he said, raking his fingers back through his hair and pinching his brow before leaning back to look at Vas.
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Latvian Gambit (Alric Please)

Postby Gossamer on March 19th, 2022, 5:22 pm

The two men nodded to Alric’s question. “Everyone knows Kalas. He shrugged off three marks of the Goddess of Murder to be free of her. Do you know what kind of power that takes? Krysus isn’t an easy bitch to deal with.” Croix said thoughtfully. “It’s unheard of and something of a legend. No one has ever done that before or since.” He added.

“It’s not your story, exactly. You are missing pieces of a larger tale that I didn’t have all the context to. Sometimes the story changes drastically as the perspective changes. You are part of a far bigger story, Alric. But you are the son of Kalas and that’s no little thing. And he sired you on one of the last Nymkarta females. She is on the map and she’s still alive. So is he. But they’ve been through a whole lot… more than any mortals should be put through. And they deserve the semblance of peace they’ve found. We leave them to it.” He said thoughtfully. “… and protect them from Krysus’ wrath.” He added though he did explain that a bit. “Krysus has all caused us a great deal of trouble. If we can vex her in any small way and bleed her like she’s bled us, then we will do so every time.” He added.

Vas looked thoughtful at Alric’s going off about his family. “The Nymkarta were part of our family too. Like Kova whom Ivak fell in love with, many of their kind and our kind mingled and were quite happy. Kova and Ivak were together long before Galifor came into the picture. They even had a child. Leo is a direct descendant of Ivak and Kova’s son. She’d birthed before her wedding and the child survived. Her brother, Westfall, also had a surviving family. He was the one that escaped the Valterrian with most of the Nymkarta that survived. He sacrificed his own life to keep his family safe. The Nymkarta weren’t all good. No group is. But they were strong and wise and ruled Alahea with fairness and balance that caused nothing but prosperity. They sacrificed their happiness and comfort continuously for the good of the people. It’s one of the reasons Kova agreed to the marriage with Galifor. It was his mistake that he thought a woman in her thirties was still a virgin and had no other loves. And they did it without divine help. The Suvan Empire cannot say the same thing and their leadership was rife with madness and greed. Many of the Pantheon took advantage of that. Rhysol, the God of Evil and Chaos was one of them. He was the one that set Galifor off and drove him to madness so that he killed Kova on their wedding night. That was just one example. The Suvan Empire even closed down their borders because too many of their people were fleeing to Alahea for sanctuary and were welcomed. We do miss the Nymkarta. The world and its population are fragmented in a way that is hard to even remotely comprehend compared to what it used to be. There used to be united under one rule, cooperation, trade, roads everywhere… if they were here today in any numbers, this fragmentation would change.” He said firmly.

The creatures still standing in the shadows shifted restlessly, and Vas moved over to them for a moment and laid a hand on each of their cheeks, soothing them. “These two were alive when it all happened. They don’t like those times.” He explained quietly then went back to soothing them. It was a long moment before he spoke again.

“Kalas put you where you could survive. He put you where you would grow up strong and smart, and right under the nose of the people that hunt your kind and under the nose of the Mortanis who frankly don’t frequent Sunberth because even though there are quantity victims here, there are no quality ones. Luck has nothing to do with it. Kalas knew what you were when he left you here. He had no doubts you’d thrive. And being what you are, I suspect you’ve made a difference in a lot of people’s lives. Lys here… being one.” Vas said thoughtfully.

“There’s more than one divine hand at work here too. Someone else put you in a mage's path or put you in a place you could learn. There’s no way you could have accumulated as much knowledge as you have to be in Sunberth. And truthfully there’s only one person I can think of that could accomplish that.” The big man said, shaking her head. “I half expect her to show up and crow about it any moment, truth be told. He’s rife with magic, both wearing it and internally. And while I’m not surprised, being from Sunberth that shouldn’t be a possibility.” He added to Croix, again speaking as if Alric wasn’t there.

“Oh … I see it now too. Of course, she’s involved. She’s probably somewhere drinking a pint and laughing her ass off.” Croix added to Vas.

Croix agreed with him, adding to that thought. “If the Mortanis are here now its because they want their pound of flesh. Kalas was one of their best and it was a huge shame to them, a total embarrassment, that he walked away. They want you as his replacement and they want you as revenge on him.” He mused, nodding to himself, and for a moment Vas’ eyes flashed and he too agreed.

“Exactly. They can’t get Kalas back, so She’ll want Alric in her ranks as his replacement, and whatever Kalas did to sluff off her marks, she’ll make sure Alric can’t do it. And you’d be all the more fun for her too because you don’t have an ounce of bloodlust in you. That means becoming what they will make you will be torture in itself. That’s another one of her spheres… Murder, Torture, Pain…. all of them are ruled by Krysus. Plus Kalas infused you with Nymkarta from Westfall’s direct line. It seemed walking away from them wasn’t all he was capable of. In you, he’s strengthened the Nymkarta and ensured as far as he was able its survival into the future.” Croix said, chuckling. “Westfall would be particularly proud.” He added, looking slightly bemused.

Vas turned to Alric. “Croix wants me to show you… one of the possibilities of your future. The future as a Mortanis. We always give people choices, Alric… we aren’t on the dark side. But an informed choice is better than a blind choice.” He said and walked to where Alric was sitting. Without saying anything else, he touched Alric’s forehead.

Three marks blazed to life on his shoulder like someone had branded him with a hot iron. Angry blood-red handprints raised on his skin, embossed in that divine way gnosis marks always were. His father had found a way to rid himself of them, but Alric had no such recourse. At that moment after Vas’ touch, he knew the true feeling of pain. It coursed through him, needing an outlet, torturing his body without recourse and without release.

Alric’s hands would grip and make fists, driven with the need to hurt something, someone, anything. It was like a tangible whirlwind of power scooped him up and enveloped him, the desire and need for causing it raw in him. He saw her then, Krysus, as a living being before him. Her red eyes danced with the pleasure of pain and her smile was calculating and devouring as if she somehow savored what the mere hint of being in her thrall would mean for him.

The whirlwind of agony whipped him through decades… years of seeing her face and being gifted with the vision of one target after another that he must hunt and kill for the momentary release from the constant pain her marks inflicted on him. The worse he made the deaths, the better he felt. Short quick deaths gave him virtually no relief. Men, women, even innocent children all fell to his hand.

When the targets were elusive, he had to turn to by standards to hurt, taking a finger of a guitarist here, cutting the eyes out of a painter there… soaking up the pain, the horror, using it to ease the constant onslaught he was under. He lived a thousand lifetimes in that thirty seconds Vas touched his forehead. And when the touch withdrew, so too did the marks and the sensations and the feeling of living one life after another after another.

Then Vas stepped back and reached for Croix. They linked hands and Alric, being what he was, saw the divine power between them flare and interweave until a third man stood before him. He was tall, proud, and had bright blue eyes like the sea. His finely formed bones and golden olive skin reminded Alric of someone else he knew. The man blinked, turned to the two men behind him, and then turned back to Alric. It was then the man studied him, really studied him, then shook his head.

“He’s picked his next vessel, hasn’t he?” The man asked the pair behind him. Alric was still locked in too much pain to respond, even though it was fading fast.

“Yes. Introduce yourself.” Croix encouraged, and the man turned back to Alric. His eyes were gentle as he gave him a little half-bow. “Florentin Arcadius. I’m not sure who you are and why I am here. But… it’s a kindness for a little break from him.” He said softly, then turned to back to Alric when the pair behind him only nodded. Croix and Vas stook facing Alric, with Arcadius between them also facing Alric.

“You must hate me…” Arcadius said softly.


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Latvian Gambit (Alric Please)

Postby Alric Lysane on March 19th, 2022, 6:58 pm

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“Everyone knows my father but me….funny,” he muttered, looking aside and into the middle distance for a few moments before his attention was drawn back to the duo once more, listened and at last smiling a little to hear they were both alive, if out of his grasp, “you make it sound like you’re almost human. Brothers, sisters and distant cousins…I suppose all that sometimes all that changes is the level of abilities used. At least I know…they are alive. A small victory, thank you”

He listened to the words upon the Nymkarta, this other Goddess…or at least he assumed that’s what they meant, of Rhysol and the betrayals, the madness of Suvan, and the talk of survival and smart tactics. It washed over him mostly, he could already feel his head throbbing, as if it were getting heavier the more pieces of information were stuffed into it at once. Their meeting had lasted such a short time and he’d learned as much in that time as he had learned since he discovered his bloodline in some ways. The fact that the two...creatures…seemed to have feelings was a new one on him too. He supposed that they could be sentient, being alongside a god, but that thought hadn’t crossed his mind. Upon a moment’s reflection he wondered whether other assumptions he had made were wrong, too. He repeated his massaging of his temples, blinking dully as he tried to absorb everything being said.

Westfall was my line…my father’s line was something else…a goddess set me upon the path of magic...Alahea…Suvan…Rhysol…Gallifor…Eyris bloody preserve me…I’m going to need another ten books of notes just for a hundredth of what they know he mused to himself, listening until there was a break in the conversation.

“Sounds like a nice time…nicer than these times. I suppose that’s what happens when the world ends…look, I’d bring it back if I could. But as you point out I have more pressing things to deal with. I can’t do anything if I’m dead, or a puppet…or whatever else there is that’s terrible. I survived, maybe made some difference sometimes…but you’re telling me I have…4 divines nudging me in their own ways, one that wants me for torturous vengeance and whatever Arcadius is…I’m not sure I can survive the visit of another of your…extended family…but I could do with a drink if she’s going to show up” he sighed, looking at them tiredly.

“I don’t feel particularly strong, but I suppose we will find out” he watched Vas as he approached, talking of choices and options he didn’t feel that he had, reaching out to touch him upon the shoulder, fire burning his skin but he was unable to recoil.

What he felt there were no words for, nothing he had ever experienced could compare in those first few moments when the brands were made and pure suffering tore through him. His muscles tensed, locked and his fists gripped together so hard that if he hadn’t been wearing gloves then his nails would have gouged bloody slices into his just healed palms. He couldn’t comprehend the level of pain, well beyond the physical and deep into the soul, fracturing him from inside out. He felt like his veins were aflame and his bones were cracking, his skin splitting as he spent what felt like the shortest of times resisting that first, gods awful murder. He had garnered some pride in himself for not falling to be the lowest of Sunberth, but all that died as a flame haired woman – perhaps no older than Lys – appeared before him, a sickening smile lighting up her eyes, watching him howl and drinking in his suffering as he tried to not give in. It lasted maybe a handful of flashing lifetimes, each time being brought back to face her once more and the pain doubling until he drowned in the need for release. She made him beg before he could get it too.

He became lost in the gore after that, no one was sacred and with his gifts and abilities he could do almost anything. Every so often he’d try to not be as awful as she wanted him to be, but each time he found it didn’t work and had to do doubly torturous things after to get the same level of relief – a set of unbreakable shackles and collar…and so eventually he didn’t fight anymore.

Eventually he started to enjoy it, and what had seemed impossible at first came to pass. By then she was growing bored of him, she had made him but another tool. A powerful one, perhaps, but there was no deliciousness to his suffering anymore, it wasn’t the same. And so, he redoubled his efforts, dead inside to everything but the pain and the sweet release, a weaker man than his father and lived out a thousand other lifetimes of suffering, broken and hating himself for becoming what he swore he never would – a worse monster than Arcadius and a shadow of a man, not even human. It burned into him, and he would never forget those lifetimes, even if they weren’t yet real. They felt real…and that was all it took.

He felt the touch upon his forehead, another bolt of flame burning, but this time everything lowered in intensity afterwards, slowly and as if with great effort, but everything began to receded, the experience ebbing away, the real world rippling back into focus even as he fell to his knees off of the couch, coming to all fours with shuddered breaths and sobs, feeling the cold dampness of tears upon his cheeks. How long had he been like that? As his now destroyed mental calm scattered about, he pushed himself up and fell back, the couch sliding back a little until it stopped and he came to rest, leaning against it with shaking hands. Nothing seemed too different, but he felt he would be…forever.

“N-n-n-n-n-no…way…I’m…doing that…oh gooooods, all those...people...children...I did it, did it all...the pain” he stammered, looking up to see that Vas and Croix had linked hands and someone else had joined them, realisation hitting him like a club and stopping his panic in it tracks, replacing it was a rising anger that turned to hatred, the self-loathing pushed aside to be arisen once more at a later time, “oh…you bastard! Hate you doesn’t cover it, you destroyed everything and now I have to live with your failures. Oh gods…you two, that was awful…why would you make me feel that!? No wonder you didn’t explain it fully, anyone sane would’ve told to dump yourselves to the bottom of the Suvan” he glared at Vas, then Croix, before shuddering and shaking himself all over, as if by that simple act he could rid himself of the memories that still burned venomously within. He felt like he was about to snap and lose all control, gulping in deep breaths of air as he pushed himself shakily to his feet.

“No…no I won’t give in,” he muttered, before barking a laugh at the phrase, disproven already in the last chime, then taking a deep breath before tapping his cheek lightly to focus himself, “Arcadius. The real one? My name…is Alric Lysane…and you…you are the one who was used to torture…rape…and all but destroy my parents. Who stole my life. Our lives!. What gives him...you…either of you the right? Why didn’t you resist him? Why can’t you stop him if he is inside you?” losing most of whatever calm he had managed to have before Vas touched him. He didn’t feel frayed, he felt pulled apart and raw, like an exposed nerve, and though he could feel a numbness creeping in it was coming too slowly to shield him from what emotions he usually kept, deep down.
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