Closed You wouldn't understand(Taln)

Interrogation

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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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You wouldn't understand(Taln)

Postby Mittle on November 28th, 2022, 1:46 am

"Ya know I honestly thought that when all you magicky types were immediately looking at me, were right away thinking, I could probably end him or kill him right now." Mitt confided in him.

"Anyone who instantly thinks like that when meeting someone new for the very first time should never even have magic." Taln answered firmly. "Quit stalling. The clean up job you were saying."

"Right." he nodded, continuing on. "So it's cold as hells out there and one boy's flapping his gums all macho, but pukes not ten chimes in! There was a girl there that seemed all snotty princess type but she ended up working as hard as me and finishing the job."

Stu arrived with a large platter of food and again it was enough for a regular four people to eat.

"Thanks." Taln gave the briefest word possible before mounding his plate high and tearing into it, but his yellow eyes didn't stop watching Mitt. Not to be outdone, Mitt heaped his own meal with a large enough portion and spoke between bites as he ate heartily.

"So I was thirteen but the tallest of us three, so the Executioner's telling me to hop up on the chopping block with the five swinging bodies. Well I was scared, lemme tell ya. I saw a lever to pull, so of course, I did. All five dropped like stones in water and I was scared witless!"

He dug in for another couple of large bites, chewed and swallowed.

"So then the guy's all Ok you cut the heads off and throw them to the cookers and I was-"

"Cookers? Cut the heads off?" Taln asked, barely pausing between bites to ask.

"Cookers were a bunch a tough lookin' women that boil up the heads with salt and Cumin to preserve them. Then the heads are put on spikes as warnings. Oh and man does it stink! It wasn't guts or brains stinking or even the dead bodies--it was those half a dozen women right in front of the platform boiling the gods damn heads." Mitt finally slowed down his eating as his plate emptied. He shoved it toward Taln to finish it off and carried on.

"So there I am trying to untie them first and got yelled at. Then I'm hacking away at this head that I got wedged facing down between my knees right? One of the cookers is like, ya take it off like a pig! So I'm thinking back to being a kitchen spit boy helping out my mom and it clicks. So I wedged in the knife and the sucker popped up into my chest and face! Talk about terrified. Then to make it suck more, the other boy starts puking his guts out and runs away! Which made me wanna hurl too."

Taln had cleared the platter and both plates while the young smith talked.

"So one of 'em puts something under my nose that smelled exactly like male cat spray! No joke! Nausea was instantly gone. So anyways, it was cold as balls out there but the bodies were starting to stick to the wooden platform."

Mitt paused to fill his glass.

"So's I start trying to lift the body to the ground, while I was up there-"

"No! You don't do that or-"

"Or it falls directly on me. Yeah yea, now I know. The hard way. But that sound when you're peeling it from the ice. Yech!"

Taln nodded in full agreement. "It's vile. You never forget that sound."

"Now I know there's the expression deadweight and all, but they're not kidding! I found out later that carrying the cold half frozen bodies were actually lighter than in summer and heat. I get to trek back and forth five times with them and by the time that's done, the cookers finally finished. So I thought wouldn't leftover boiling hot water clean up some of that frozen mess? Sure enough me and the girl finally got things scrubbed up in sections, even with doing the other boy's work."

The tawny haired young man drank down the beer and poured another refill.

"So the next day, I'm helping out my mother in the kitchens. They said they needed another spit boy and she volunteered me because that was three golds for a day's work."

The redhead's face gave evidence of knowing exactly what that was but he remained silent.

"So we're talking about six cuts of meat at about seven kilos for each spit rack. I was lucky enough to get the good side at least."

"The wall." Taln confirmed, nodding.

"Yep. So we got to heft those things to the rack, turn them for four to ten bells each. We moved six on a rack at a time between us so that total was about forty-two kilos that day. I was used to working around fire at the forge and blast smelter so.." Mitt paused and made a face, "I could guess better by the color of the flames when the fire was hot enough to make the meat spatter and cause burns. I got a few among the blacksmithing scars, but I can't even tell which one is which now. Besides, leaning against the wall was the safest place in every way. There had to be about two hundred people in the kitchen that day and the heat was murderous!"

He paused and drank down a few swallows. "So by night's end, I was covered head to toe in animal grease and fat!"

"Oh yea, it takes more than a few tries to wash it all off." Taln replied.




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You wouldn't understand(Taln)

Postby Taln on November 28th, 2022, 8:27 pm



"Speaking of which, I noticed you completely avoided and neatly side stepped my question about what's a Meat Mover. I'm pretty good at guessing what that might be, especially considering your guilty look."

Taln took a long drink from his water skin and looked at the young man with what seemed like no expression. But a single muscle ticced in his jaw, belying the strong and barely contained emotions beneath. His eyes flared up briefly as he said,

"Tell me about you being a.. meat mover."




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You wouldn't understand(Taln)

Postby Mittle on November 28th, 2022, 11:57 pm

"Just moving prisoners and stuff." Mitt answered swiftly, his mouth clamping down with distaste on the answer.

"Then why the guilty look at me specifically?"

The tawny haired young man shrugged, obstinately refusing to speak on it.

"Now who's being vague and using doublespeak?"
"Well I dunno. I don't really know you."
"You're evading me."
"You do the same damn thing."

Taln pinned him with a molten gaze.
"Why and how do you bring up the subject of Meat Mover and me together? What are you implying?"

Mitt's eyes drifted to linger uneasily on the redhead's scars but he stayed quiet with a guilty, secretive expression.

"I was a Dek. There are a few differences. Not everyone with scars has the same story to tell."

"Yeah, exactly. And it's not my story to ask or tell." snapped Mitt. "I'm not making -that- mistake again."

The kid had actually starting growing a brain. And he was using it! Will wonders never cease?

The young blacksmith cleared his throat uncomfortably, trying to keep the pity from his face.

"I uh.. I think.. maybe it's your turn to talk now."

The redhead looked surprised at how the bells had passed and the ball was now in his court. With the worst subject possible. But he'd made a promise.

"Not here." Taln got up in a smooth motion and started walking away.

Mitt took that as his cue to pay, leave the Tidepool and follow to wherever the guy was headed off to. But now he wasn't all that sure he wanted to know.


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You wouldn't understand(Taln)

Postby Taln on November 30th, 2022, 3:56 am



"Excellent. So now that I've stopped your drinking at sixteen mugs. Tell me about your Sheep Run and resurrectionist now." Taln said sounding satisfied he sat in his usual comfortable spot with no one else around but the two of them to hear.



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You wouldn't understand(Taln)

Postby Mittle on December 1st, 2022, 2:20 am

...

"Nice transition ya dick."
"I thought it was pretty smooth and did the job effectively." Taln replied calmly. "Besides, it's not even sunset. How aren't even in a blind puking stupor?"

"I.. uh.. well. Ever since there was a weird repeat day, I've been eating and sleeping less. Stuff heals faster and I never ever get drunk now." Mitt answered, a bit uncertainly.

"Maybe Artik can't get drunk now either..."

There was no sign of the tall blond blacksmith so maybe he was at the Tenday. Mitt shrugged.

"So more details?" he hedged, sitting in the sand. The redhead only nodded, not needing to speak.

With a long sigh, he continued his story though he couldn't honestly see why the guy would even care. Maybe like a payback for answering his questions? That had to be it.

"Damn. My first Sheep Run I ran left flank and almost got killed. Several times. Then I had to substitute Bull coz of what happened." Mitt dug his hands in the sand and let it sift through as he tried to find the words to keep going.

"I was fourteen and tall for my age. Most of the teens had their obvious errands unless they were still new like me. The first year you get all sorts of jobs to find the so called best place for you.

Me and one other tall kid were given some heavy boots, helmets, shield, gloves and chest armor. I swear the shield itself could've been a ninety pound anvil alone with the solid weight of it! And the armor and shit was pure metal so with hot summer sun, it sucked bad."


Taln offered his water skin to share and Mitt took him up on it.

"So it was mid summer and I was enjoying a rare day off from work. Then these three guys grab me and drag me off a block from my house and tell me they're on Rat's orders. For a Sheep Run. They hand me all that gear to just put on right there. Imagine wearing close to two hundred pounds of armor and full length body shield in midsummer. At noon! Yea, that was me."

He half smiled ironically and took a few long swallows of water as if remembering the immense heat before he spoke again.

"So's we're all geared up but everybody knows there's always the Five to Sheep Run right?"

"No. What is a Sheep Run?" Taln asked

"It's when the rich asses demand the streets be cleared of people so they can drive their horses and carriages through the roads clearly. The roads are narrow though so even two people could block it in some spots. In Sunberth, there's lots a people so we need to be 'cleared out' by any means necessary for the rich."

"Sounds ominous."

'You bet yer ass it is! Anyway, so's we're off to meet up with the fifth. There's a Bull, who's job is to take the lead out in front because he's the biggest and tallest. It's so the other guys can see him above the crowds no matter what."

Taln nodded.

"Now we find the fifth guy and he totally makes me look short. He had to be easily over six feet and looked over seven feet with the damn helmet on! I ask him how old he was and turned out he was only two years older than me. But he was tallest and biggest so that automatically made him the Bull. We only know the stuff we got trapped in most of our lives. We two didn't know anything about running it from the inside."

His eyes turned dark blue and Mitt drank some more water, though he seemed like he was more caught up back in Sunberth.

"It was pay day, it was summer it was lunch time so every person in Sunberth must've been out that day just walkin' around. But when ya do a Sheep Run, you gotta clear out all of them. Like just shove them out of the way so the main road is cleared in under a bell.

We started by the nearest pub to start things off easy. I was on left flank so the people on my side were coming right at me. Horses, carts, whatever-it all needed to be moved outta the way, no exceptions. So the tallest guy just throws up his shield inta the air like and idiot and yells. Not in front of him to shove people outta the way, like the shit we got crushed in since birth. Naturally most of them run right past the idiot and I get about two dozen people running straight at me in a panic."


Mitt looked to be breathing a lot faster now and his large hands clenched in the sand as he spoke.

"The guys behind me know how to do this so they just join in a huge shout and shove their shields forward. I was so busy looking back at them to see what to do, that I was knocked flat and trampled for I don't know how many chimes. Feet, so many fuckin' people everywhere! It was gods damn hot as hells and I got stepped on in more place than I knew I had! I about lost my mind. One of the Five picks me up by the arm and shoves my shield back in my hand."

The tawny haired young man, took a long slug of water, but his eyes were clouded over as he continued on.

" 'Cover the Bull's back so he don't get trampled by all the ones we drive forward!' he screams ta me. I throw up the shield with my right hand and hold out my left hand to try and catch any stragglers. Really bad idea! Almost got my arm ripped out for that! So I put my shield horizontally and use both my arms behind it--that moved about six of 'em at time, so I figured that was the sweet spot to get it done. Now it's blazing hot and the metal I'm wearing is burning any bit of skin it touches. There had to be hundreds o' people next to me, shrieking away from the hot metal that I'm roasting inside of and they're fuckin' on all sides around me."

The tawny haired young man went abruptly quiet, caught up in the moment, as though he were truly reliving it. This was the exact thing that Taln needed most to know about Mitt. This moment.

"So's I dunno if it what was the huge milling crowds or the heat or both, but the Bull went down solid! He was crushed into a wall where it started to bottleneck and all the people behind him shoved him into the stone face so hard, his helmet popped off and he was underfoot! We couldn't find him so what was we supposed to do now? This was a panicked killer crowd of people jamming into the one way to get through-for all of us!

The backers come up behind me and yell 'Take up the front Bull and clear that out NOW or we're all gonna fuckin die!' I could feel skulls and bones breakin' under my feet and I ran with my arms out with the shield fully extended and yelled 'MOVE! NOW OR WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE HERE!' I had to kick all the bodies outta the way to pop the people through the bottle necked buildings. The metal was burning my skin from the inside on everythin' it touched and every person that touched me got burned too. The more they shoved me, the more I got burned so I had to shove 'em harder ya know?"


Mitt panted in the haunting memory, his eyes colorless with terror. The sun was setting and he just sat there. Remembering.

Taln took poured out some of the water into his hand and flicked it onto Mitt's face to help him break through it. He'd had no idea the kind of memories the kid had but he wasn't going to put him through any further. He'd mistakenly thought that Mitt was just a cheerful goofball.


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You wouldn't understand(Taln)

Postby Taln on December 1st, 2022, 11:34 pm



Taln placed a large but gentle soothing hand on Mitt's arm, tapping into the gnosis marks to aid him in calming the young man before him. The fear, trauma and heightened emotions needed a gentle release. The redhead again thanked Ivak for his blessings to bring some emotional control to Mitt in his time of need.

"You're safe now. It's ok. Be calm, be stilled, be at peace." Taln murmured very quietly, his pitch so low it was barely audible, even to the blacksmith sitting in front of him.

The chime that he removed his hand, Mitt looked him around a bit confused and disoriented.

"Did I zone out? Sorry. It was ... uh.. a helluva memory." he said, his voice hesitant.

He gestured for the tawny haired young man to take some water while gkiving him a few chimes of peace and quiet. The ocean's tide came in, lapping at the shore with a reassuring caress and a lone sea bird cried on the wing. A steady and cooling breeze made itself felt and cooled everything it touched. Night insects and animals stirred, beginning their night's hunt and the stars shone brightly in the dark velvety sky.

Mitt exhaled slowly and looked far more relaxed now, his eyes going back to their normal clear shade of grey.

"I think you've answered more than enough for tonight young man." Taln said benignly.

"Yea I couldn't agree more!" Mitt half laughed. "And I'm not -that- much younger than you. Sometimes you act like you're a hundred years old!"

"Well, sometimes I feel like I am." Taln tried to laugh but couldn't quite manage that. It was too much truth to laugh at.

"So now that I'm off the hook..." Mitt drawled, leaning back on his hands to stretch out his long legs in front of him. "Why were -you- trying to interrogate me? Was it just payback? Because if it was, I don't really blame you."

"I just had no idea you were such a Dek, that's all."
"Why do you keep saying that anyway?"
"Because you were. You still are."
"You know that's pretty much why I wasn't keen to talk about Meat Movers."

Taln put up both eyebrows and thought that this issue needed clearing up as he didn't think that Mitt fully realized what he was saying. True to his Inarta nature, he wasn't one to shy away from hard topics or worry about being too blunt.

"Mitt your meat movers are slavers yes?"
Mitt looked ashamed, put his head down and nodded, mumbling a very hushed affirmative.

"Deks are NOT slaves. We're- they're not the same thing."
"But with the whip scars I thought-"
"You thought wrong."
"Ok. So aside from kicking me around on the sand, what's the difference? I don't see it."

The redhead looked him in the eyes and attempted to explain it better.

"It's a caste system based on merit. If you're not of sound mind or body, you're a laborer, a Dek. Someone that will work for the community as unskilled labor. We are NOT bought and sold for money in markets. A Dek of pure Inarta blood is still considered a higher caste and rank than any outsider so called nobility."

"But that's still a sla-"
"No. It is not. Having the lowest rank assures that if you live to see another day, it means you're successful. You can fail at a day's work as a blacksmith and still go home fine. If you suck at being a Dek, they'll kill you."

He paused and sipped from the water skin before continuing.

"So remember me explaining how each rank does things within Wind Reach that has value? Well that's how we Deks contribute. We have no valuable skills and are usually damaged in some way. So we work hard every day and night so we can still be a working and important part of that community too. Caste, while it was enforced, was something that was accepted by all. It's a huge difference Mitt."

Mitt looked dubiously at him, still clearly doubtful of that much of a difference, if any.

"So you didn't get paid for your work then."

The redhead looked frustrated at trying to get his message across but so far, he hadn't yet gotten the whole concept across. Taln pinned him a with vehement and fiery gaze as his hands moved as he spoke now, gesturing and motioning with each word.

"if something vile, gross, demeaning, sexual, heavy, boring, anything to do with cleaning up body parts or fluids, disgusting, smelly or seemingly impossible needed doing, they would send a Dek in to do it. You want to know why? Because failure wasn't an option for us. We get the orders and we get it done, no matter what it takes. Period. That's why I said -you're- a Dek."

At long last, full comprehension dawned on him and Mitt answered,
"Ooooh I get it. Then yea, I guess I've kinda been a deck too. Although I still feel like you're leaving out a lot. Just saying."

"I wasn't quite under the same conditions as you, I don't think. I mean Wind Reach sounds like a really small isolated place. Sunberth is huge. Everyone there is just a tiny cog in a huge machine among thousands of other people."

Taln nodded.
"Yea it was very small and we all pretty much knew each other. It wasn't easy to keep out of sight when you wanted to escape notice when you're taller too."

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You wouldn't understand(Taln)

Postby Mittle on December 2nd, 2022, 2:55 am

...
Mitt looked very thoughtful for about fifteen chimes, seeming to count on his fingers.

'Now I can ask anything and everything I wanted to ask. And he has an eidetic memory so he can't say he forgot either. Asking about the scars wouldn't be a good idea though so not that. Should I ask what his hardest things to do as a kid- a Yahsee was? Like he did with me? That could be one.' Mitt thought, the ideas began tumbling over each other as he tried to keep them straight.

"So what about that comment about to be a deck you have to be of sound mind and body? I don't see anything wrong with you-physically. Mentally you're nuts but why were you just a deck? What was the hardest thing you ever did as a kid and how old where you? Why do you act like an Entull when you're a deck?"

He breathed in an out and rushed out the next series of questions,

"What made you stop bein' human anymore? Oh and explain that armor comment minus the metaphors. And why did you flip out about the Djed storm question? How and when did you get those gnosis marks? When I asked you if Wind Reach was magical-how IS it magical? In what ways?" He finished in a rush to get it out so he could breathe.

Taln's face went entirely expressionless as he responded in a tightly controlled voice,
"Anything else you want to add or does that cover it?"

"That's it."


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Now we understand(Taln)

Postby Taln on December 3rd, 2022, 6:13 pm


The two spoke for many hours and came to a mutual decision. Taln had explained how all the other original founders and staff of Mizahar were driven off by an angry relentless snake. He'd looked around now at Mizahar, gasping on its death bed as Jörmungandr starved, trying to feed little by little on the few remaining mice left. Quite soon it would have only itself to blame.
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Mitt grabbed his anvil as he and Taln gathered their resources together. They got a Wind Eagle and left that very same night. No one saw them leave but at least they were safely away. Taln was aggrieved at the destroyed and poisoned ruins the once mighty and magnificent Mizahar had become. It hurt to look at even more because it wasn't any mighty god or goddess or Valterian that had destroyed Mizahar. The greedy Jörmungandr attacked everything until there was only itself left to be consumed.





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