Charter Vanguard

Cursed Hammer Inn => The Compass => Ride the Rushing Billows => Started by: Talia on April 08, 2016, 12:45:11 AM

Title: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on April 08, 2016, 12:45:11 AM
SELINA KNOX

It'd been some time since she'd been able to move about freely without the need to answer to a team or a sponsor. And yet within days of her much longed for freedom, she'd only found loneliness, guilt and purposelessness as her closest companions. She didn't anticipate any of this... being alone in this moment... though she supposed she couldn't really consider herself entirely alone. She glanced around at the intrepid young man who now followed her. He caught her glance and returned a smile. She nodded back.

She missed Dahr dreadfully, but she felt she'd done Dahr a disservice by expecting her to wait on her while she carried out her contract with the queen. It was only logical that Dahr would eventually tire of living with humans... nobles at that, and want to stretch her travel legs. She was after all, alive or revived from the dead, still Dahr. And the Dahr she'd known, always had an itching to experience the rest of the world. As much as it pained her, she knew would have to let her best friend go, and live on the hope that she would one day see her again.

The other great gap in her life belonged to Kovenito, who had disappeared a few weeks ago to work on a project that Aidan knew about, but had his lips sealed to her. He had said it was meant to be a surprise, but this response alone did not satisfy her - didn't Kovenito know that it was his companionship she treasured the most? And yet she felt so deprived of it lately she was beginning to wonder if he would ever come back. And if he did, whether he would look the same.

She stopped, and so did her companion. They gazed from the peak of a slope, down at Lake Delavan that sparkled from the reflections of the setting sun.
Title: Re: The Story
Post by: Mokuren on April 09, 2016, 06:05:25 PM
Caden Mullins

He'd been hanging around in the city for some days staying in a cheap inn when his attention was drawn by a girl who sat at the bar crying. After paying the barkeeper to offer her a drink he sat back down at his table only to see her fall from her chair moments later after a man had bumped into her. Jumping to his feet without thinking he dashed over to help her. A few tense moments had ensued as he established she'd been poisoned and rummaged through his belongings to find an antidote. After it seemed her plight was over he could not help but be intrigued, even more when it seemed she knew perfectly well who was behind the attack on her life after finding a small vial.

She answered some of his questions, but after finding the vial she seemed keen on leaving right away. Eager for a new adventure after hanging around for so long he immediately offered to come. The girl, who'd introduced herself as Sellie did not seem to trust him however and questioned his readiness to travel with a girl he never met. Though after pointing out he had just saved her life he was allowed to come.

While following her out of the city he studied her closely. She seemed rather closed off to him and mostly kept to herself. As they neared the lake he proposed to make camp since it would not be light much longer.
Title: Re: The Story
Post by: Kaino on April 09, 2016, 07:02:26 PM
Nahiri

Walking through the dark but cleared underbrush of the forest, the lone teen proceeded to tread carefully as to not alert herself to any nearby hostile threats. She meditated on her training and lessons long enough to realize when she was being followed and 'this' had the signs of an ambush all over it. With a sharp swipe she brandished her golden blade and leaped outwards, leaves and brambles coated the Human's vision before her target was in sight- a Sylvari known only as the Knight of Sorrows. Her blade met against not his bark-like flesh but that of something softer, more supple and fragile. In response to this a sharp howl pierced the midnight air, a howl that could only be described as creatureous and primal, one of the many Sylvari's hounds fell onto the ground with a soft thud.

"Well...well, the girl wants to play games with my pets!" The hissing Sylvari retaliated with a hex of his own design, one that could pustulate the skin and rot bones to their very core, and he swung that rotted cane he used at her. In an instant she was gone and the surrounding clearing was empty with all but the Necromancer and the feral undead hounds that he alone conjured up with that sickly magic of his, anger rose in the Knight's voice now.

"Little girl, oh little girl! Where are you my sweet songbird?! Let the big bad Knight rip you to pieces and make you like my pets!" His threats grew more and more insane, drool began to drip from his salivating mouth as he proceeded to lay hex after hex around his skinny form. In an instant reaction the hounds circled around him and began to convulse rapidly- their forms gaining a bloated and vile mass as they did so -until they looked near to burst with rot or other forms of sickness.
And so, the young Mesmer waited for an opening...
Title: Re: The Story
Post by: Talia on April 10, 2016, 10:43:49 AM
SELINA KNOX and CADEN MULLINS

Selina took a final blow at the flames as they crackled excitedly over the thin woodpile they had collected just minutes before. The fire would die down in several hours, but that would be sufficient to keep them warm through the more chilly part of the night.

Caden rummaged through his belongings until his hands closed around a tightly wrapped pack. Sitting down near the small fire he opened it up offering Sellie some of the dried meatstrips that were inside. He half regretted not getting more supplies but his new travel companion had been so eager to leave the city he had not dared suggest visiting the marketplace. "Would you like some?" He asked as he held them up.

She grinned coyly at him, and accepted a strip, planting it between her lips and letting it dangle out like a bird with a freshly caught worm. "You come well prepared," she complimented him, and dug into her own pack, only to retrieve a steel lined drinking bottle filled halfway with rum. "This is all I would've had for my supper. But you're welcome to some of it if you'd like." She tilted the bottle his way.

He accepted the bottle with a grin sniffing it's contents slightly.  "I won't complain" He said right before taking a large swing from the bottle and handing it back to her. "As to my preparations, I travel a lot, after a few cold hungry nights you learn to always keep some supplies at hand" He continued chewing on his strip of meat after that.

Selina leaned back onto the side of a rock, extruding from the slightly damp soil, and extended her arms behind her head. They were seated just a few paces before the hidden entrance to the Solaris Tundra, but there was the problem of her new companion... Bess would completely not approve of her bringing a stranger in - and Selina would not fault her for it. The only way she could see to get around this would be to tire him out, wait for him to go to sleep, then slip in and hope that Bess had not been called away at the last minute.

She quietly watched him chew on his meet, looking rather contented and she smirked. He seemed to be somewhat of a simple nature... perhaps a little unassuming, a little too idealistic... untainted by the world. A true sight to be marveled at. But maybe there was more to him than met the eye. She kicked a little dirt in his direction to get his attention. "So hey... tell me about yourself. Do you work? Or are you an apprentice?"

Having not expected the sudden straightforwardness the question made him nearly choke on his meat, and he coughed several times while slamming his chest with his fist to get rid of the piece of meat. Realising his error he gave her an apologetic look. "I uh" he cleared his throat. "I was an apprentice, didn't go down so well though. Now I mainly travel, do some simple jobs along the way to pay for food and lodgings."

"Simple jobs eh... what would be an example of that?"

"Well during harvesting season I help out whoever needs extra hands. Plenty of farmers taking on extra folks then. I also run errands for whoever needs it. And I make some small money from selling medicinal herbs" He gestured at his pack. "I collect them during my travels. What about you?"

"I don't suppose you're planning to charge me for that herb you stuck down my throat?" she teased.

He laughed cheerfully at that. "Aie I would never let a pretty lass pay me for saving her life. Mum would have my head"

"Mum.." she looked at him with interest. "So where is Mum? And would she approve of you following a strange woman into Queensdale?"

"I doubt she approves of most of my decisions these days. I'm afraid I'm a bit of a disappointment to my family" He said after some quiet consideration. "My folks live in Claypool though it's been a while since I went to visit'

Her brow lifted in surprise, and a part of her couldn't help but feel a little more invested in this strange young man.  "A bit of a rebel, are you?" she purred.

He shrugged lightly and glanced wistfully at the bottle by her side. "I was expected to take over the family business but I don't think it's for me really. There's too many things to see and do to sit inside surrounded by books"

She noticed his longing glance, and raised the bottle towards him. "What kind of business is your family in?"

"Thanks" he said as he took the bottle. "Gran is Claypool's herbalist" He said after taking a small sip from the bottle. He stared into the embers for a while before continuing. "From the day I was born she was adamant I would be her successor."

"And I assume your parents are running the shop?"

"Yeah" He kicked one of the embers that had rolled away from the fire back in with his boot. "It's not that I'm not at all interested. I like to be able to help people who're sick. But I just cannot live out my life knowing only one small town. I want to travel, see Tyria"

She shrugged, "Parents want to live out their lives through their children, often as an extension to what they could not achieve in their own lifetime. I doubt they care much about their children's personal dreams, nor acknowledge the fact that their kids aren't tools for manipulation. Sometimes I think it's better for children not to have parents so they would avoid the sheer disappointment."

Unsure how to react to her sudden bitter statement he merely gave her a surprised glance as he took another swig from the bottle. He mutely handed it back to her deciding to change the subject. "So.. are we travelling to friends of yours?" He asked after some time.

"Well..." she discreetly cast a glance towards the entrance to Solaris Tundra as she retrieved the bottle. "I need to have a chat with someone I know. But today's excitement has exhausted me." She faked a loud yawn, stretching her arms into the sky to emphasize her point. "I might have an early night." She pulled a short cloak out of her satchel and placed it over her face to shield her from moonlight.

Recognising her obvious need for sleep he nodded as he started to make himself comfortable by the fire. Folding his arms under his head he stared up, spotting some stars while he listened to the sounds of their surroundings. Eventually found himself drifting off into a light sleep.

As silence dragged on, Selina kept a hand tucked under her back to pinch at her flesh each time she felt herself drifting off.  She kept her focus on the glow of the moon, visible through the woolen fabric, and the image of the shards of glass on the floor of the inn, glowing under the candlelight with the sparkle of many crystals, lying patiently in wait for the next ignorant fool to come along and split his foot apart on their jagged edges. Her mind drifted to her killer, and she ran through every possible scenario of this plot coming to fruition on the end of her conspirator.

She gripped a fist around the edge of her cloak and pulled it off her face. Her travel companion had fallen asleep. She leaned a little closer, just to make sure. She only let her guard down the moment she was certain, and picked herself off the ground. It was finally time to do what she'd come here to do. And she would have to get it done before dawn.
Title: Re: The Story
Post by: Talia on April 11, 2016, 11:35:34 PM
SELINA KNOX

She resist smiling as she stepped into the familiar den after being let through several layers of security, including a recently installed iron door that came equipped with a peephole. Bess sure wasn't playing around. And judging from the increased number of members she'd gained over the past few months, as well as the myriad of silk tapestries hanging from the stone wall-faces, certainly not doing too shabbily. It was the same dank hole Selina remembered from back in the day, but somehow that pool of water now looked all the more inviting, the reflections of candlelight dancing on ceiling a lot more mystical, and even just the smell of it... while it once smelled like mud and mold, now smelled like barbecue and fragrant incense.

"Sellie!" The leggy brunette stood upon her rocky pedestal, arms outstretched, ready to receive her old friend. Wrinkles wrapped around the corner of her eyes, and her lips were stretched upon rosy cheeks. Her hug was warm and welcoming as Selina fell into it, grateful to be in familiar company. As she let loose, Selina caught a glimpse of rumpled and charred skin around Bess' left shoulder before the woman instinctively tugged at her sleeve to conceal old wounds. "What an honor to have you here again!" She moved towards a nearby table with three wooden chairs, pulled two out and patted one of them while sitting in the other. "Come, sit with me. Let's talk," she offered.

Selina took to the seat, and immediately placed a hand on Bess'. The brunette was slightly taken aback by this gesture. "You're probably wondering why I'm here, Bess," stated Selina.

"Not at all, actually," Bess replied. "I've been waiting for you since your release. You took a while, but I can only assume you meant to tie up some loose ends."

The ex-bandit shot Bess a look of uncertainty. She hadn't anticipated that response. "W... why were you waiting for me? Why did you think I would come here?"

It was Bess' turn to look confused, "Wouldn't you have? I'd assumed we'd be a part of your plan... I mean after all... you and I, and some of these guys we have history together."

Like a spark lit in a dark room, Selina's mind drifted back to that odd conversation she'd had with Bran, just the day before. "Has this anything to do with some rumor going around that I'm attempting to unify the Blades?"

"It's a rumor?" Bess paid special emphasis on the last word, realising she must've made some mistake.

"Of course it is!" Selina blurted out, somewhat in a flabbergasted manner. "Why would I... of all people, want to reunite the Blades?" And as soon as the words left her mouth, she regretted them - realising how insensitive it must sound to both Bess and the people around her. Their expressions changed from gladness to anger and hurt. "I'm sorry..." she harshly whispered. "I didn't mean it like that."

Bess pulled her hand away. A little chill lingered at the corner of her eye. "Then what, pray tell, have you come to speak to me about?"

Guilt hovered over Selina. These were, after all, made up mostly of the exiles from Doc Howler's reformation of their former gang - and it didn't matter how hard they attempted to cover up their disappointment for not being among the selected, she supposed deep inside, they'd always longed for a way back, and now placed their hopes on her. "Look, I've been through a lot. I've made promises... lots of promises, that I intend to keep. All I want is a peaceful life out in the country. And I'm sorry if it sounds selfish, but my time of running from the law is over. I would have as well, except someone slipped me a capsule that I instantly recognized as one of them venom-shells the Blades used to carry all kinds of venom in, back in the day."

"And you think one of us meant to kill you?" The cold in Bess' voice thickened.

"No, not at all!" assured Selina, though feeling a little less assured of her own safety now. "The first person that came in my head was actually the Doc." Bess perked up at mention of this name. "We parted very badly, and I can see motive to see me disposed off. I just can't understand, why now? Why not sooner?"

"Maybe she heard the same rumor that we all heard. After all, there can only be one queen of the hill." The edge in Bess' voice had softened as quickly as it'd come. She picked up a full bottle from beneath the table, and offered it to Selina as a peace offering.

Selina let out a laugh. Stopped. And then she shook her face. "Is the rivalry back, even after all these years?" She accepted the bottle offered to her.

"Maybe she thinks you'll try to steal power away from her. Not that the sow hasn't done anything not to deserve it."

Selina looked around at Bess' group of men and women, enjoying their siesta in the Solaris - a rather ironic name for the cave, she observed. "You really wish I was doing this, don't you?"

Bess nodded. "I would've been completely behind you, as much as your boy, Bran."

"Ah... he got to you too."

"He was the one who brought the news to us," stated Bess a rather matter-of-factly. "I assumed if anyone would know for sure, it'd be him. He seems to have had more interactions with you as of late than the rest of us."

"Hmm..." hummed Selina disapprovingly. "I'll have to speak to him about this. Perhaps to get to the bottom of things. There is one thing I'd like to know though..."

"What is it?"

"Do you know if the... NightHowlers, or whatever they're called now, still use venom-shells?"

"It's been a while, but let's just put it this way... I've never seen them stop using them."

Selina touched the corner of her cheek. This wasn't the confirmation she needed - she would have to dig further to know the truth. That capsule was no accident, at least that much she could be sure of. One thing at a time... the perp would eventually come to be made to regret his actions. But first... she knew she had to quickly return to her camp site before Caden knew she'd been gone.
Title: Re: The Story
Post by: Mokuren on April 13, 2016, 02:00:27 AM
Caden Mullins

Awoken from his light slumber by the sound of howling in the distance he sat up. One look around the small camp showed that their fire had nearly died down and his companion had gone.

He silently cursed under his breath blaming himself for his naivety as he got to his feet. Thankful for the bright moonlight he took a better look around their camp site. From where Sellie had been sleeping he found light footprints leading away. Following them he ended up at the lake's shore. As he peered in the direction they continued in he realised where she'd gone.

Sighing he walked back to the camp and sat back down in his spot. He offered a silent prayer to Dwayna for the safe return of his new companion as he added some wood to the near burnt out embers of their campfire. Blowing softly he worked until the flames returned. Hopefully he thought, Sellie hadn't seen fit to leave him behind after one day and would come back.

After warming himself for a while he laid back down and stared at the sky while he listened for any sounds.
Title: Re: The Story
Post by: Mokuren on April 13, 2016, 01:25:27 PM
Selina Knox and Caden Mullins

At the sound of approaching footsteps Caden quickly glanced over, confirming it was Sellie returning. He let out a sigh of relief as he closed his eyes and pretended to sleep.

As soon as Selina arrived back at camp, she peered silently at Caden, relieved that he had not awoken and possibly did not know that she had gone. She sunk back down on the ground in front of the fading embers, gazing at their faint glow. She let out a huge yawn, and looked up at the first rays of light peering over the horizon. Propping her chin up on her palm, she wondered if she should lay down to get some shut eye, or just stay awake for what was left of the night.

His anxiety for his disappeared traveling companion had made it easy for Caden to stay awake. With the relief of her safe return tiredness set in though and he soon drifted off to sleep.
As Sellie listened to the crackling embers while staring squarely at Caden's back as he slept, her eyes slid shut and before she knew it, she'd fallen asleep on her arched knees.





Title: Re: The Story
Post by: Mokuren on April 13, 2016, 01:33:02 PM
Aidan Thomas Brennan

After Selina left the house he sat back down at his desk with a sigh. Looking at the papers in front of him he instantly grew weary. In his heart he still wanted to disbelieve what had happened. His gorgeous bride who had smiled at him so brightly just hours ago was gone.

Unable to believe her to be so unhappy to commit such an act he had immediately visited the seraph's office upon his return to the city. After telling them everything he knew he went and visited countess Anise. Hoping to set the Shining Blade on the case as well. Anise had sat quietly through his story and promised him to look into it. When he begged her to be allowed to resume active service however she instantly refused and told him to go home and rest.

So gone home he had, with a heavy heart. Then Selina had come home and insisted to stay for him. Though the offer was tempting he could not bring himself to accept it. He knew she would grow restless and unhappy sticking around while he was mourning. A slight smile appeared on his face when he thought back on how hard it had been to convince her to leave him and make her own life. He really was fortunate to have found his sister he told himself.

He picked up his pen and gave the paper a glare. Being as restless as he was he'd set himself to the task of writing Abernathy Casta. He could not understand how the man could so calmly send his son to announce the death of his daughter while he ought not to know about it and no one around her knew her to be missing. He wanted to accuse Abernathy of all sorts of things, yet having completely no proof of his involvement at all he restrained himself and the intended letter ended up being a very short and to the point missive.

Even though he did not like the man he felled compelled to start off with offering his condolences to him, his wife and their children. He then requested more information regarding Makisi and the circumstances that according to them lead up to the dramatic events of that day. He also requested they make their wishes known in the event her body was found though suggested they let him take care of the arrangements. After signing the letter he gave it to Siri to have it posted.

After helping himself to a glass of port he sat down by the fire in his library where he eventually drifted off to a restless sleep.

The next day he packed his belongings and after instructing Siri he set off to his parents place. Having to tell his parents of Makisi's most likely demise was the worst thing he ever had to do and his mother was devastated. He took some comfort in being home though and after settling back into his old room he picked up some form of routine, making the days somewhat easier.

In the mornings he checked his correspondence. He'd written the Lion Guard's office to apprise them of his address and requested them to keep him updated on their progress. In a corner of his mind he still hoped she was somehow magically alive. Yet as the days went by that chance became slimmer and slimmer. At the very least he hoped her body would be retrieved, so he could properly bury her and perhaps find some peace in that. He also received numerous letters from nobles and acquaintances. Though he felt obliged to open them he was not up to the taks of reading them and most were scanned and stacked.

In the afternoons he would sit with his mother, speak to her for as long as she could manage and then read to her until she slept. Though it pained him to see her condition grow worse he found some comfort in being with her. His evenings were mostly spent solitary though on some nights he was able to convince his father to eat dinner with him. 

Since the day of the wedding numerous people had called at the house. Some intending to comfort the family, others well wishers who had not heard the tragic tale yet, others simply curious or perhaps hoping to see if the gossips were right. Neither Aidan nor his father felt much up to the task of receiving them and the house staff had been instructed to not allow any visitors. One day though, Jenny, one of the maids informed Aidan that there was a mr Kovenito to see him and Aidan though dreading to tell the tale again, felt he could not refuse his friend.
Title: Re: The Story
Post by: Mokuren on April 13, 2016, 05:05:55 PM
Kovenito Zeiswielder and Aidan Thomas Brennan

Kov approached Aidan's house after spending months away. Weary from his journeys, he knocked on the door.

After a while Siri opened the door, slightly weary since she expected no visitors with the master gone. "Oh mr Kovenito sir" She uttered surprised at his presence.

"Hi Siri," a little baffled at her surprise. "Have I really been gone that long? Is Aidan around?"

"No sir, everyone's gone sir. Mr Brennan moved in with Mr and Mrs Brennan some days ago." She looked at him awkwardly not entirely sure what to do. "Have you traveled long sir, would you like to come in for a drink and to refresh yourself perhaps?" She said after some time.

Kov was a bit confused. "Aidan's with his parents? What about all the others? My sister, Selina..." He asked.

"I believe your sister returned to the Seraph sir. I'm not entirely sure where miss Selina has gone though."

"Hmm, alright. Thanks for the offer but I think I'll go check in with Aidan." With that, Kovenito turned and headed across town to Aidan's parents.

Approaching the second door, he knocked again.

The door was opened near instantly by one of the Brennan's housemaids "Mr and Mrs Brennan are not receiving any visitors sir, unless you made an appointment with Mr Brennan or the young master I'm afraid I must ask you to leave" She spoke as if she'd already repeated the sentence many times. She gave the visitor a curious look though, not recognizing him as any of the cities nobles.

"I'm sorry, I'm here to see...the young master. I'm a close friend, but have been away awhile..." Kovenito said.

She hesitated slightly. Giving him a look over she eventually decided to give him the benefit of doubt. "Your name sir? I'll inform if he wishes to see you. You may wait in the hallway" She said after opening the door further to allow him to enter.

"Kovenito. I'll be waiting, thanks." Kov answered as he stepped inside.

The maid nodded to him and quickly walked up the stairs to disappear out of sight. After some time she returned. "He'll be right with you sir, please be seated." She gestured towards the sitting room. "May I get you anything to drink in the mean time?"

Sitting down on the couch Kov answered. "A bit of tea if you have it."

"Certainly sir" She said with a nod and scurried off into the kitchen.

After some time footsteps could be heard upstairs and just as the housemaid had placed tea and some snacks on the table Aidan entered the room. His shoulders slumped under his black suit and he looked visibly tired. He bowed to Kovenito as he arrived at the table."Kovenito, I hope you're well"

"Aidan. Good to see you. It's been a busy few months." Kov said and paused "looks like the time has been heavy on you. What's been happening? Why are you alone?"

"I guess you've not heard then" Aidan said with a sigh. "My circumstances are far from happy as you can tell. My wife passed away and my mother is deathly ill. I'm pleased to report the reason for my being alone though. Selina was released from her sentence close to a week ago."

Surprised Kovenito asked "Camilla died? How did that happen?"

"Oh no, no Camilla ..ah. .Miss Prather is fine.. as far as I know at least.. sorry I forgot.... Miss Prather and I broke off our engagement some time ago. I married Makisi Casta." Aidan's shoulders slumped further as he said her name and a look of pain crossed his face.

"Casta?! Things certainly took a shift in my absence. Sorry to hear about that Aidan. So Selina was released from her sentence early? Do you know where she went off to?"

Aidan shook his head. "I think she's spending some time in an inn in the Western Commons. I don't know what her plans are though. I promised to write her, assuming a bird could find her"

"Hmm, guess I'll have a look over there then. See if I can pick up her trail." Hesitant to leave him in this state, "Is there anything I can do for you, Aidan?

Aidan shook his head "No no I'm fine. You go after Selina, you two have been separated for far too long"

Kov got up from his seat. "Well, it was good to see you again. Sorry about your loss. I'll stop by again after I find Selina, let you know how she's getting along."

"Thank you" Aidan said, getting up to see Kovenito off. "Please, when you find her, tell her I'm fine. She wanted to stay here for me, but I could not allow it. She's finally free to go where she pleases. I would not have her feel guilty for leaving me behind"

"I'll let her know." Kovenito paused, "You always did think of others first. Take care my friend."

"You too" Aidan nodded at the man gravely.

Kov put his hand briefly on Aidan's shoulder before he turned and left the house.
Title: Re: The Story
Post by: Talia on April 15, 2016, 12:47:51 PM
ANDREA BRENNAN

The key clicked into place, and she turned the lock in a rotary fashion till the bolt shrunk back into the face plate. The three inch steel door swung on its hinges to reveal the purplish glow of a force field encircling its prize in the design of a hive; one of the most stable of structures, or so she was told. There, within the force field, on a crystal plate, sat the much fabled bloodstone. Bestowed upon her before the untimely demise of Miss Makisi Casta... Andrea couldn't help but grin to herself. Perhaps it wasn't that untimely after all.

The pieces were falling into place. One after another. All that remained was kept tucked in the lap of Henry Brennan, her dear pitiful little brother.

How he atrophied his good fortune of being the Brennan boy. How quickly he had made light of the work of their father and his father before him. In doing so, he had insofar failed to carry the torch of the Brennan legacy to the next generation.

She adored their father, but she had to feel somewhat bitter that he had made a partial decision for a male successor, not taking into account the fact that she was not only the elder of the two, but the more dedicated towards the family legacy. She had married at her father's command, only to be left a widow shortly after, and now an orphan - still living under some of her father's bad decisions.

That is not to say she held no love for her brother, in fact it was quite the contrary. In spite of all his flaws, he remained her only significant relation, and she often found herself thinking of him fondly whenever she reminisced their younger days. She did, however, blame his self-imposed wife partially for corrupting an otherwise purposeful man, and partially for being a barren, unambitious woman. What benefit was she, but a thorn in the side of the Brennans. And now that she'd taken ill, she'd continued to be a source of distraction, and a costly one at that. Initially it infuriated her to know that Henry would not seek a second wife to fill in the many gaps his wife could not fill - but she gradually came to accept the situation, acknowledging that perhaps it might be all for the best.

She took one last look at the bloodstone within her safe, then shut the door on it till the lock clicked into place. Aidan had moved back to his parents' house to be with his mother in her last days. This took some of the load from her, and she was glad. She would continue to sponsor a physician to check on her, and visit once every few days. But as the physician had explained, the woman would not last very much longer - especially with the aid of the drug she had been slipping into her tonic. Hopefully then Henry would have less of a choice, but to be more focused on the family mission.
Title: Re: The Story
Post by: Mokuren on April 17, 2016, 06:04:01 AM
Aidan Thomas Brennan

A week after he'd sent a letter to Abernathy Casta a reply came. Amidst it's lateness the writing was still respectful yet odd. The head of Casta House did not write it himself but an advisor by the name of Juness Valencia.
 
"Dear Citizen of Divinity's Reach,
 All letters addressed to House Casta and their company are being fowarded to me during the time of their grieving. Although the death of said individual is not of noble blood it still pains the Casta family to lose out on such an aspiring young flame, nevertheless your requests are denied and will furthermore be rejected if you do not go through the proper Ministry channel process.
-Signed, J. Valencia.
"

Shocked by such a rude refusal he reread the letter. He knew Abernathy to be unscrupulous but he'd never expected such a lack of consideration. He slammed his fist onto his desk. This would not do. He dropped the offending piece of paper on his desk and paced through his room as he tried to come up with a plan of action. His first inclination was to contact Minister Wi. He'd always been a good friend to family and his involvement might convince the Casta's to cooperate. Yet the very idea of using his connections for this was disgusting to him. Neither did he want to involve more people then necessary. He walked to his window and stared out over the city. Perhaps it would be best to stick to those already involved for now. In the end he made up his mind and decided to schedule an appointment with Anise, hoping she would be able to offer advice on the matter. He sat back down and wrote her a letter requesting an audience and explaining the situation. After he'd finished it and sent out the bird he picked up his book and made his way to his mother's room.
Title: Re: The Story
Post by: Talia on April 18, 2016, 08:34:45 AM
SELINA KNOX and CADEN MULLINS

With the first light of dawn Caden shocked awake. He immediately sat up and glanced over to where Sellie was sleeping as if to make certain she was still there. Upon seeing her sleeping form he breathed a sigh of relief. Easier now he got up and stretched his body. He took a few steps around the camp before sitting back down and helping himself to a strip of dried meat.

The steps around the camp aroused her, and she lifted up her face, realising that she'd spent what was left of the night bent over her knees. Her back felt as stiff as a board. She moaned as she stretched widely.

"Morning sunshine," He said with a chuckle upon hearing her moan. "Looks comfortable sleeping like that"

"Ohhh goddess...." she grumbled, rubbing her calves to wake them up.

He chuckled even louder at that and quickly finished his meat. After that he got up and with a long branch spread the remnants of their fire out to prevent it from catching flame again. "Are you gonna be alright to walk today? Not sure what destination you had in mind."

She looked up at the sky. The sun was already overhead. "What time is it?"

"Should be around nine I think" he said with a shrug.

She rose to her feet suddenly as she grabbed her satchel and swung it around her shoulder. "We need to head south before he leaves," she declared, not describing the where or the who.

He gave her a confused look but got to his feet none the less. He stuffed the meat back into his pack and hung it over his shoulder. "Lets go then."

She started walking, half expecting him to keep up.  When she sensed he was close enough to hear her, she told him offhandedly without turning around, "You'll have to think twice about following me around. I'm not here to see the sights."

"I gathered as much when someone attempted to kill you. I can't help being curious though."

She grit her teeth and tugged on her pack. "I have to admit that I'm less curious as I am mad."

"Who wouldn't be when someone pulled something like that" He picked up his pace somewhat and moved to walk next to her. "Are you alright by the way? No funny feeling in your stomach or light headedness?"

She turned to him for a second, and looked him in the eyes. "I erm... I felt a little sore - like the after effects of having cramps. But I assume that's normal."

He nodded "Make sure you drink plenty to be on the safe side though"

She chortled as she turned back to the road. "What luck. I have a private physician with me."

"Careful or I may get so full of myself that I reconsider my free services and charge you" He said with a chuckle. "So uh, who are we going to see anyway?" He asked after a while.

"Uh... It might be better that you not know," she stated simply, still a little awkward about towing a stranger around while she went in search of her old contacts.

"Or what, you'll have to kill me?" He asked with a raised eyebrow. Looking at her he spotted a small shrub past her. "Sorry, wait up" He said as he dashed past her, pulling a small knife from his belt. With Well practiced movements he cut a few stems from the plant and as he walked back to Sellie he tied them together with a piece of string.

She watched with interest. "And what might that be?" she asked, pointing to the shrub.

"Salvia, or you might more commonly know it as sage" He answered as he tied the bundle to the side of his pack to dry.

She carried on the road. And by then they were past the Godlost swamp, heading into Kessex. "I used to know someone who'd refuse to brew a stew if there was no sage present." She smiled in recollection. "And his stew really was the best... just the right amount of salty with just the right amount of sweet. Everyone loved it. So we'd take it upon ourselves to make a moderately long trek to the market, just to get the sage, so that this guy would make the stew."

"What happened to your travel companions?" He asked. "They sound like a fun group."

"Well I... I made a blunder. And I was made to leave," she blurted out, surprised at her own frankness. She hadn't revealed this to anyone else, if not for anything else, but purely out of shame. And here, she had admitted it wholly to a stranger.

"They did not allow you to make up for it?" Half surprised she even answered his question he gave her a concerned look.

She returned a slightly bashful glance. "Well to be honest, I wouldn't forgive me either. I was brash, hot-headed and emotional. And I was wrong. I should be thankful they didn't do worse. I deserved a lot worse."

He shrugged lightly. "Everyone deserves a second chance. You may have made a mistake, but the fact that you're able to admit all that means you're not the same person you were then."

"I haven't always been able to admit that it was my fault. I've learnt a lot since then..." her voice trailed as she approached a cave, deep in the woods of Kessex. It was dark and quiet, but the interior was clearly huge. Smoldered embers on a former pile as well as stacks of crates against the wall gave hint that someone, or a group of people had been there. It just remained unclear whether they were still around. "Bran?" Selina yelled into the depths of cave, and listened as her voice echoed back. "Is anyone there?"

Realising they had arrived at her intended destination he was immediately on his guard. As she approached the cave he scanned the surrounding forest for any signs of movement.

A gust of wind emerged from within the cave and buffeted both Sellie and Caden. Sprinkles of chilly liquid flowed with the stream of wind and made little trickling lines across their face. Selina touched the liquid and brought it in front of her eyes. It was dark... a rusty shade. Suddenly a loud booming voice erupted from nowhere, "Yoooou don't belong here! Leave nnnnnowwww!"

"Uh Sellie, you sure these people know you?" He said while taking a few steps back while wiping the liquid from his face.

She took two steps forward, and yelled into the cave. "Veeerrry funny, Bran and friends. Give it up. I've got something serious to talk to you about, and don't have time for foolish frolics." The booming voice piped down, wind wound down, and all that was left was a series of giggles, echoing through the cave. A rope dropped down from above Selina, and her attention snapped upwards, just as Bran came sliding down from a perch right above. He landed gracefully before the two, a large grin spread over his face.

"Tada!" he applauded himself, giving a wave to his cohorts, Jess and Ron who still remained above, their legs swinging freely from the edge of the perch.

"What in the bloody heck are you doing?!" snapped Selina, rapidly losing her patience.

Bran's expression soured into a pout. "What? You didn't like it? All that wind and the big voice..." He turned to Caden, and his eyebrow lifted at one end. "And you are...?"

"Caden" he stated simply.

Bran pointed to Caden and looked questioningly at Selina, waiting for a slightly more lengthy explanation.

"He's just..." she started, and stopped short. Then she pulled Bran at the collar to a short distance from Caden. "Nevermind who he is! What've you been doing, spreading all kinds of false rumors about me?"

"What false rumors?" Bran exclaimed, genuinely confused.

Her eyes widened, "About the Blades and... everything you told me in the tavern. You didn't even check with me first."

"OHHH that. Yeah you mean Bess... and John. But I didn't know it was a false rumor till you told me yesterday."

"Do you know I nearly got killed?!"

"Whaa... what?"

"Someone tried to poison my drink. I don't know if this is connected, but it stinks.. it stinks to high heavens like a dead fish."

Unsure of what to do Caden just silently observed the two, paying close attention to what was being said.

"Hey... are you saying you think... you-know-who, is involved?"

Selina shook Bran at the shoulders. "If she is then it's your fault."

"I swear, she can't have known. I didn't tell her."

"You told John," she growled at him. "That's as good as letting her know."

Bran's arms went limp. "Oh..."

Selina slapped a hand over her face, and let it slide down her eyes and her nose. She turned to Caden. "I may have to go to Brisban. But you'd probably not want to follow."

"What are you gonna do in Brisban?" Caden asked.

"But you can't go to them," declared Bran. "If they tried once and failed, they'll surely try again. This is my fault... what if I told John the truth, and made him pass the message to her?"

"That'll take too long, Bran. But you're right, it is your fault. You need to come and explain yourself to her."

His face suddenly paled. "Oh no.. no no no. She's scary when she's angry."

Selina grabbed Bran by the throat. "I'm scary when I'm angry!" she yelled into his ear, making him quiver.

His companions slid down the rope as well. "What's going on?" asked Ron, stepping into the conflict.

Bran told him to stand down. "Alright, I will fix this," he told Selina. And to his mates, "Guys, I'm going to be away for the next few days. Hold the fort for me." Ron and Jess didn't look all too pleased, but they didn't protest. Selina supposed Bran had been getting into so much trouble, they'd gotten numb to it. She eased off on his throat, and he straightened his collar, laughing awkwardly.

"So, you're heading to Brisban to visit whoever you think ordered you dead? Sounds like you could use an extra pair of eyes then. I'll come along." He stated matter of factly.

"My new travel mate!" exclaimed Bran, offering his hand to Caden. "I'm Brandon Turner, some call me Bran... the Bull."

Selina shook her face in aghast.

"The bull eh.... well met" He said while shaking the offered hand enthusiastically "Caden Mullins, at your service."

"And there's a mighty fine tale behind that name as well," promised Bran, snapping his fingers cheerily. "I'll tell you over a campfire sometime. But first.." he gave Selina and Caden a curious look. "You've got to tell me how the two of you met."

"I'd love to hear it some time. Never quite did earn a fancy nickname myself." He pondered a while trying to decide how to word their odd meeting. He glanced at Sellie to see if she'd answer but when she stayed quiet he opened his mouth. "I met Sellie yesterday while I was having a beer and someone saw fit to poison hers."

"Oooh," Bran spoke in delight. "So you met just yesterday. That seems rather... quick that stone-cold Sellie would choose to trust you enough to bring you all the way out here. She must take a real fancy to you, Caden."

"Just shut up, Bran," snapped Selina, and she began walking away from the cave.

Undeterred, Bran gave Caden a wink with the click of his tongue before he hurried off after her.

"Sellie, I don't mean to be a nuisance, but all you're packing is a few drops of rum. If we're heading out to Brisban shouldn't we pack some supplies somewhere?" He said catching up to the two.

Selina stopped in her tracks, and Bran offered, "I know all the best inns markets around this area. I'll bring you to the nearest one, and we can all load up before we leave." He poked her. "Would that be alright?"

"Fine," she responded.

He grinned, like a child with a new toy. "You're going to love this place. I know the owner as well... we might be able to get a discount."

Chuckling lightly Caden pulled his pack a little higher on his back. "Well, lead the way Bran," he said, clearly amused.
Title: Re: The Story
Post by: Mokuren on April 22, 2016, 04:22:34 PM
Caden Mullins, Selina Knox & Brandon Turner

Another hazelnut sailed through the air, and popped directly into Bran's mouth. With a loud crunch, he chewed on his prize. Holding the bag to Caden, he offered the nuts to him as the trio headed in the direction of Fort Salma.

"Thanks" Caden said as he gratefully took a small handfull from the bag.

Bran offered it also to Selina, but she politely declined. She'd been more than usually silent since they had left the cave. Bran decided quite quickly not to speak too much, and to instead put on a sort of thoughtful air to ponder what they would soon encounter. He went back to popping nuts in his mouth while strutting along at a comfortable pace, enjoying the sun upon his back, and breeze in his face.

Finding both his companions rather quiet Caden happily walked along, chewing on a nut every so often while he took in his surroundings. He'd quickly realised they were headed in the direction of Fort Salma but he didn't want to seem too curious by asking. His mood was not to be spoiled though and eventually he started to whistle a tune.

"Say... What is that tune?" asked Bran, poking a little at Caden.

"Eh just something Grandma used to sing, though I don't remember the words" Caden replied.

"Ride the Rushing Billows," answered Selina, quite suddenly. She looked sharply at the two men. "It is a beautiful song."

"You know of it?" Caden asked rather suprised while raising his eyebrows.

She nodded. There was a subtle hint of joy on her face. "It was quite sometime ago... I chanced upon a woman and her little child. It was night, and the lady sat in a rocking chair in her humble abode with her tiny baby wrapped safely in her arms. She sang this lullaby with such warmth, I could not help but be mesmerized. Her eyes, full of love for her child, glowed under the flickering candlelight. I peered from a corner of her window, and she never once noticed my presence. I was thankful just to be there.. and over the next few months, would spend a considerable amount of time trying to learn that song, just to relive the moment."

Unsure of what to say he pondered about this new side to Sellie. "I don't suppose we can convince you to sing it?" Caden asked half jesting after some time, to break the tension.

She broke out of her wistful reminisce and looked upon Caden and Bran with a measure of embarrassment. "Well I... I've never sung it out loud to anyone before." She cleared her throat. "I probably wouldn't do it justice."

A wide grin appeared on Bran's face. "Now that you've invoked our curiosities, you best satisfy them" he said.

"Yeah comon Sellie," Caden added with a wide grin of his own on his face.

She hesitated for a moment. Her face flushed. "Promise me you won't laugh."

"I'll promise to try?" Caden said half laughing already.

She smiled in spite of the threat of Caden falling apart in laughter. The cool breeze blowing in from Viathan Lake, gently swaying foliage and the fact that she no longer had an enslaving bracelet on her wrist, had put her in a good mood. It was one of those moments that made her feel invincible, and just that bit braver to make a fool of herself in front of her companions.

Starting out quiet and slow, she gradually gained confidence and was soon enough belting out the entire song with her full voice... every word, not forgotten.

"Hush, hush, my tiny child,
Too soon you’ll know the world so wild,
Yes all too soon, you will be grown,
And I’ll bide here, alone, alone.
The rushing billows you shall ride,
And the light of the North Star will be your guide,
But yet awhile, I’ll have you stay,
Hush my sweet one, my child hush.
For you shall run in meadows green,
And sport with otters all in the stream,
And you shall chase the dappled deer,
And swim with salmon in waters clear.
To pluck the small birds from the sky,
On the tail of the South Wind you shall fly,
And take the high hills for your.."


A thin whistle of something flying across the sky made Selina crouch to her knees abruptly. It missed her, just barely. Bran whipped around, reaching for his pistol. There was someone in the trees... perhaps more than just one.

Half in awe of Selina's singing Caden followed along. The singing had him so distracted that he was a little slow in pulling his own gun when he saw Bran's movement.

Everything went in slow motion as Bran's pistols fired upon the foliage above, hitting one of the three bandits leaping down from the branches. The one with the injury landed clumsily on his side, his hands pressed over his thigh. The other two came down hard on Selina, knocking her to the ground. She rolled over to the right, just in time to avoid being hacked to death by a one-handed axe and a sword.

Caden's instinct finally kicked in and after quickly surveying the situation he drew his sword as well. With one quick motion his mirror image appeared behind Sellie's attackers and drew their attention as Caden aimed his gun at the nearest attacker, hitting him in the chest.

The attacker who was hit in the chest, crumbled to the ground. The other still hovered above Selina. From her experience in battle,, she knew he would soon make a second attempt to drive that axe through her skull if she did not act quickly. She reached down for her own weapon, only to be hit by the sharp end of his boot as he swiftly kicked her hand away. She rolled again, this time directed towards his calves. The bandit fell over. A second shot rang out from Bran's pistol, narrowly missing the injured bandit who lunged towards him, slamming a plated iron fistguard at his cheek. He spun around to the side, spit flying from his lips.

As the clone attacked Sellies's attacker Caden switched places with him. He stepped on the mans wrist forcing the weapon out of his hand as he aimed the gun at his head. He glanced over to make sure Sellie was alright as he growled "Don't move a finger or you're dead" at the man below him.

A third shot ran out, and this time Bran got the injured attacker right in the stomach. He staggered backwards, his vest staining red. The man dropped to his knees.

Selina rose to her feet and wiped a hand over her frazzled hair, glaring at her attacker. "Try to kill me, will you?" She kicked the man square in the face. The man winced, and recovered. She flung that foot in his direction again. "Bastard!"

Taking the man's weapons Caden left the downed attacker for Selina to deal with has he looked over at Bran now. "You okay?" He asked.

Bran moved his jaw about, holding the side of his face that was rapidly swelling from the impact of the fistguards. "Ow..." he complained, throwing a disgusted glance at the dying bandit.

Behind Selina Caden's clone disappeared into thin air as Caden set his pack down. "I have something to keep that swelling down if you want," he said to Bran.

Bran nodded to accept the help, and moved towards Caden, just as Selina snagged the only perp who was not dead or dying, and dragged him crudely across the grass. Initially the guy struggled, but eventually began to go limp as Selina softened him up with the battering of her fists upon his temples each time she felt any resistance. He had showed no mercy for her, she decided he only deserved the same. Finally, she pulled him right up to inches of her face, and glared directly into his eyes. "Did Doc Howler send you? Tell me!" she yelled, her expression aflame. The man, who did not respond, appeared to be torpid ensuing the injuries to his temples. "Did she send you?!" she yelled again, shaking the man. His head flopped around, almost as though he was nodding - that response was good enough for her. "Perfect!" she snapped, and let go of him. He too, like his compatriots, crumbled to the ground.

After throwing Sellie a concerned look he started to rummage through his pack until his hands closed around an oiled paper wrapped package. He pulled it out and took some gauze out too. He sat down and unfolded the gauze and the package. Inside were slightly glistening green leaves. He arranged a few on the gauze to equal the size of Bran's cheek and then folded it to keep the leaves safely tucked inside. After re-wrapping the remaining leaves he handed the makeshift poultice to Bran. "Keep that pressed gently against your cheek, it should help with the swelling and prevent bruising"

"Mm... thanks," responded Bran, a little more dully than he had been earlier. He looked at Selina, who had on her an expression that he recognized all too well, "What're you going to do when you get to Brisban?"

She answered quietly as she left his side to retrace their footsteps. "I will do what needs to be done." Stopping shortly, she bent down to pick up the axe that sat in the dirt where it was embedded with its handle sticking up in the air. So it was an axe that had been flung at her while she sang... lucky for her, her instincts had narrowly saved her life. She turned around to the barely coherent bandit, who sat with his back to a mature gummo tree. And with a quick fling of her wrist, sent the axe to split his skull in half.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on April 27, 2016, 01:37:22 PM
SELINA KNOX, CADEN MULLINS AND BRANDON TURNER

They stepped into Fort Salma, a little weary and worse for wear. Selina had not taken her hand off the hilt of her blade, and swung around in apprehension at any sound, no matter how quiet. Bran pressed the poultice to his darkening cheek, and only really cheered up when they arrived at the Dewberry Inn. "This is the place," he declared, stepping in front of the group. The inn was a modest place, full of the scent of lavender and smoking meat. It wasn't too crowded, but considering the size of Fort Salma, attended to majority of the population there.

"I daresay I could use a drink or two" Caden said with a small smile as he looked around.

"Shir-leeeeee!" yelled Bran into the cosy establishment, and a voice rang out in reply.

"Is that my sweets? Is he here?" it called out. A rounded lady came out the back, her hands on her apron, rosy cheeks lighted her face, hair tied neatly into a bun. But her smile turned upside down the moment she laid eyes on him. "Oh baby, what happened to your face?" Hurrying over, the lady took no time at all to fuss over him like a devoted mother.

Caden snickered quietly over the scene before he returned to looking around, giving the guests a lookover, hoping they'd be safe from any more attacks here. "You okay?" He asked Selina, as he glanced past her.

Selina was still surveying the environment when Caden spoke to her. She never stopped eyeing every single patron of the inn with high suspicion, glaring at them unspoken threats. Her hand still wove around and slowly moved about her hilt. "What do we know of these people?" she directed the question at no one in particular.

Bran's lady friend noticed all the attention Selina was gathering. The casual crowd at the inn had quickly shifted to unease, with several of the more outspoken customers looking to do something about it. "Why don't we get you all into a room?" she suggested. "I have several lovely ones that are still vacant. I will serve your meal in there, and you can tell me all about whoever gave you that horrible bump."

Bran pouted like an injured child. "I love you Shirlee, you are the best."

"Anything for my sweets!" she cajoled, and started upstairs.

"Can we trust her?" Selina whispered to Bran, still looking as though she would jump out of boots at any given moment.

Bran threw her a concerned look. "Of course we can. I've known this woman for... I can't remember how long. But she's trustworthy, believe me."

"Let's at least follow her for now, Sellie," He said while gently pushing her in the direction of the stairs. "Standing around here will only draw more attention to us."

"Okay... okay..." replied Selina, trying her best to calm down. She removed her hand from her blade for the first time since the attack, only to find it stiff, and clenched in its former pose. "How could she..." she muttered under her breath. "How could she.."

He followed Bran and Sellie, glancing at he commonroom one last time before disappearing upstairs.

Shirlee was a fairly quick and efficient worker. Before long, she had a table all set up and laid out with three bowls of lamb stew together with a fairly large loaf of bread to accompany the stew. As he had his dinner, Bran explained in sufficient detail to Shirlee what had happened on the road to Fort Salma, as well as the false rumor that he had unknowingly circulated. She remained very sympathetic towards him.

Selina had spent a long time staring at her food before she even began to eat it, and remained silent for most of the meal. When Bran and Shirlee began discussing other things than their current situation, Selina stood up from her seat and walked to the window to get a whiff of the evening air.

Caden was much more eager to finish his dinner and before long his bowl was empty. He complimented Shirlee on the stew heartilly, half hoping for seconds. He remained mostly quiet though, content to listen to the conversation Bran and Shirlee where having. When Sellie got up he glanced over. "Careful at that window Sellie, you don't know who's outside."

She stepped back almost immediately and looked at him with surprise. "Caden," she acknowledged, as though just seeing him for the first time. Then as she allowed herself to take a breath, "How are you?"

"A lot better than you I'd say" He said with an apologetic smile. "Why don't you sit down and have a drink, try to relax a little."

She nodded and sat, taking a mug into her hands and sniffed soberly. "To tell you the truth... I'm not even sure this was a good idea. We've just been lucky so far. It's only going to get worse, and it's clear that they're not interested to talk."

"If talking doesn't help, we'll have to shut them down by force. What else are you going to do, run away? You'll never be able to stop running." He took a large swig from his own mug after speaking.

"We?" she managed an awkward smile. "This was never your fight. I'm surprised you came as far as you did."

"You clearly need help with this, even with three we'll most likely be largely outnumbered."

She nodded appreciatively. "I never wanted to start or even be a part of a war. I've had my share of trouble, and all I've wanted's only to live a quiet life somewhere in the country. But I can't see that happening till all this is dealt with." She heaved a large sigh, then continued, "I was offered men. I refused. Perhaps it was wrong of me."

"You were offered men?" Surprised he looked at her.

"There are some who'd see the gang that Bran and I were previously from, reunited and brought back to its former roots. Currently they hold the majority in Brisban, but some think that I could make a difference... bring some home... perhaps. Obviously, that won't sit well with the reigning leader. I think this is the way she's responding to that suggestion."

"So basically she's defending her turf based on some rumors. Seems a bit hotheaded to me."

"When we parted ways, she told me she'd kill me if she ever saw me again. Seems like she's stepping up that threat. Maybe her members are doubting her leadership," she chuckled to herself. "The loudest vessels are sometimes the most hollow."

He drank from his mug again. "Who offered you men though, you only found out about this yesterday."

"Ah..." she said. "Well let's just say word goes around quickly."

"You still don't trust me do you." He sighed "Well I guess I understand, with that many people out for your head."

"I..." her eyes dipped apologetically, and suddenly reached for his hand. "I can't thank you enough, for all you've done. I can't understand why, since you have no investment in me whatsoever... but somehow you still haven't run. It can't just be curiosity fueling your interest in this. Tell me if I'm wrong."

"I cannot be Idle, at least helping someone will give me a purpose." He gave her a warm smile. "Besides that, I shall not be known as a man who ran from a fight, leaving a lady behind in danger" A hint of a blush appeared on his cheeks which he was quick to hide by downing the remaining contents of his mug.

She noticed the blush on Caden's cheeks and smiled. "You've not been with a woman before, have you?" she teased.

Nearly spitting out his ale again he swallowed hard "B-beg your pardon" he said, his face colouring red even further now.

"All these valiant, knight-in-shining-armor routines, tend to only be opinion of the most idealistic of them all... " she leaned in his direction and tapped him gently on the chest. "The untouched."

Regretting the lack of ale now he gave his mug a sad look. "I just haven't met the right girl, I once thought I had, but in the end she favoured the butchers boy" He rolled his eyes and sighed placing the mug back on the table with a loud clang.

She laughed aloud. For a moment, forgetting her woes. "Well she certainly loss out on a prized catch," she declared, taking a swig out of her mug and winked at him. "Like they say... there are many fish in the sea..."

"Maybe" Was all he said keeping his gaze steadily on the table.

"Hey guys," said Bran, grinning widely. All that fussing had given him a good mood. "Shirlee's inviting me out for an evening stroll. I trust that the two of you will be fine while I'm away?"

He shrugged lightly, thankful for the interruption "I suppose so." He glanced over at Sellie though, trying to guess her reaction.

"Alright!" Bran turned his attention back to Shirlee who giggled joyously. They departed together, and soon the room was silent.

Selina pointed vaguely at the door. "Now that is a prime example of a man who's gotten around a tad too much. The complete opposite of you."

"Will you stop teasing me about this already" He let his shoulders hang in defeat. "I'm not sure I like the fact that our group has now separated. Perhaps I am being paranoid, but it's probably a good idea to stay alert."

She took a gulp of the contents of her mug and set it down. "They are after me," she pointed to herself. "And nobody else. They want my head, they have to come in here. Bran is of no interest to them. You, are no interest to them." She moved her hand onto the hilt of her sword once more. "They come after me again, I'll be ready this time."

"Even so, with Bran gone, it would be a perfect time to attack. If you prefer to rest I'll keep watch, to be on the safe side. I told you before, even if they are after you, I cannot stand by and let it happen. Besides, I doubt they'll leave me alone since I'm traveling with you."

Her expression turned heavy and responsible. After some hesitation, she leaned towards him and put a hand on his cheek. "Caden..."

"You know I'm right." He said, turning his face away from her.

"I know that," she said softly. And then landed the side of her palm sharply into the side of his throat to render him unconscious. "I'm sorry."

"Wha-.." She'd hit him before he realised what she was up to. Unable to respond in time he slumped back into his chair, his head rolling to the side.

Spending a final moment in regret, Selina quickly composed herself, grabbed her items and left the inn.

KOVENITO

Kovenito headed toward the inn Aidan had mentioned, still in a state of shock at just how much things had changed in the months he was gone.

Entering the inn, he approached the bar and began to enquire about Selina. "Has a woman in her early twenties, black hair, with a strong disposition come through here lately?"

The barkeep responded to Kovenito's queries, giving him the full picture of Selina entering the bar on her own, the hooded stranger appearing, bumping into her, and a full description of her poisoning. Adding that she had departed the bar with another man.

Suddenly quite alarmed about the danger Selina seemed to face, Kovenito asked details about whether the person she left with seemed to be friendly and the direction they seemed to head.

The barkeep apologised and said he didn't know who that person was, although he seemed to be a nice chap. He said that they left in quite a hurry, he assumed to lodge a complaint.

Kovenito was frustrated by the turn of events and the sparse information to go. Being more than a day behind, it would not be easy to pick up Selina's trail.

Leaving the inn, Kovenito decided to look for clues heading out of town, assuming the attack would send Selina on the run.

Since Bran's departure, Jess had gone into Shaemoor to shop around for trinkets. No point having two people babysit a huge cave, she told herself. Besides, she had a craving for a certain pie that was only baked in Shaemoor, one that she had satisfied, and now walked through the marketplace, crunching an apple in hand.

Approaching the marketplace, Kovenito began asking certain alert looking people if they had seen Selina.

Jess noticed the frantic man who was not foreign to her, for she had sat with him for a night while Bran figured out what to do with both him and his girlfriend. He seemed genuinely nervous then, and she wondered if he'd be as nervous seeing her again. She moved in his direction, waiting to be recognized.

Spotting someone in the distance that looked familiar, Kovenito began to cautiously approach. Recognizing the bandit lady, he weighed his options. Since she was connected to the underworld, he decided it was worth the risk to see if she might have any info. "Jess, hold up. We aren't exactly amiable but I'd like to ask you some questions."

She knew he would have questions, and likely about the girlfriend that he had left behind. She nodded with a brow raised, "Uh huh..."

"Selina was poisoned yesterday and ran off with somebody. Would you happen to know anything about that?"

"He's some eager beaver called Caden," she shrugged. "Are you two no longer a thing?"

"Caden? Wait, what? Of course we are. I've been away making preparations for our future."

"Oooooh..." she cooed with girlish charm. "How romantic. Well perhaps you could still catch up with them. They headed on the road to Brisban to deal with Doc Howler and the Nighthowlers."

"Doc Howler? Is that some bandit?"

She chuckled. "I'm surprised Sellie never mentioned Doc Howler to you. If I were you, and I were thinking of settling, I would demand to know everything about the life of my partner. Everything to the last detail. But that's just me."

"She generally doesn’t like to talk about the past, though it seems to be coming up more often lately."

Nodding, Jess finished her apple and tossed the core aside. "Doc Howler is an old nemesis of Sellie's. She was second in command to Two-Blade Pete when he was arrested, and conveniently took over when he died. Sellie never got over the fact, said she had evidence that the Doc was responsible for Pete's demise - except the evidence turned out to be moot. And she was sent away in shame. Nonetheless, some among the gang, like Bran for example, continue to believe in her." She chuckled. "I don't care either way. I do care, however, when Bran is getting affected by all this nonsense."

"Ah, I did hear a bit about that actually. Bran is involved too? It sounds like everyone is gearing up for a showdown."

"Your girlfriend literally dragged Bran along with her to face an angry Doc Howler. If anything happens to him you can be sure she'll be feeling my wrath," Jess grumbled.

"I can understand your concern. I'll do my best to get there before Selina dives into this head first."

"You best do that. See if you can wrangle Bran away from her as well."

"Indeed. You have been... surprisingly helpful. I should head out quickly before I fall too far behind."

Jess waved him off. She'd secretly hoped that the boyfriend would lure Sellie away from her plans of revenge, and thus getting Bran off the hook. All this talk of the unification of the Blades had perplexed her. She didn't care for them to be united. She just wanted to have her fun with Bran and Ron.... Jaq also, while he was alive. Nothing in the world would hold a candle to the world they had created for themselves. And she would not sacrifice a thing.

Kovenito walked off, glad to know that Selina traveled with people she knew, but he couldn't help worrying that she was about to get in over her head in the coming conflict.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on April 28, 2016, 02:42:41 AM
Caden Mullins & Brandon Turner

The evening with Shirlee had been pleasant. She wasn't Bran's typical kind of woman, but she was enough to keep him satisfied. Besides, what wouldn't a man do for a good home cooked lamb stew? He'd left her asleep and tip-toed back to the rooms assigned to them, only to find one of the bedrooms empty. It first occurred to him that Caden might be an early riser, and had gone out. On checking the second room, he found Caden slumped into his chair with his face turned to one side. He looked about and noticed that Sellie was not there. He decided to enter and give Caden a shake.

"W-w-what.... Sellie!" Caden shot up from his seat in alarm frantically looking around. "W-who.." Spotting Bran he paled. "How long have you been gone?" he asked as he rubbed his painful neck with his left hand.

Hearing Caden yell her name made Bran apprehensive for the first time. "I was gone for the night. It's morning now, Caden. What happened?"

"After you left she knocked me out' Caden said as he busied himself with strapping on his bracers. He gave Bran an apologetic look before hurriedly stuffing his belongings into his pack.

"Whoa whoa whoa..." Bran took a hold of Caden's pack. "Where do you think you're going?"

"To find her of course" He gave Bran a confused look "What, you wanna let her go alone?" He pulled back his pack and finished what he was doing.

"But do you even know where she's gone? Give me a clue. What happened before she knocked you out?" Bran insisted.

Caden sighed and sat down on the chair, rubbing his neck again. "We talked a little. I felt slightly anxious splitting up, told her she could rest and I'd keep watch to be on the safe side. I pointed out to her that if someone was planning to attack again, then would be the perfect time, with you separated from us. She said you were not in any danger since she is the only target, and that i would be safe too. After I told her that they would not leave us alone because we were with her she knocked me out."........"I can only assume she left by herself after that" he concluded after some time.

"Oh rot..." Bran lowered himself onto the floor, and sat with his legs crossed. "If I knew all this would happen, I wouldn't have left."

"Do you know which road she would've taken?" Caden asked slightly hopeful.

"If she's gone where we think she's gone, then yeah. She's taken the western road into Brisban. But after what we just went through, it would probably be suicide for her to go alone. Would she... geez... I don't know."

"We have to do something though, We can't just let her march of to her death" Caden said, anxiously.

"Urgh..." Bran rubbed the top of his head as he considered the suggestion. "I guess. This wasn't the way I thought it was going to go down." He stood up.

"Nor did I plan on being knocked out" Caden spat, as he stood and swung is pack on his back. "Lets track, she can't have gone too far without at least another short rest."

"Fine," Bran responded, grabbing his items. "It's just odd that she would try to go there herself. She hasn't been to the Nightwolves' hideout, I assumed she intended for me to lead her there. What I can do is to take us directly to Doc Howler, hopefully we'll find her there..." He stopped, and backtracked. "Erm... on second thoughts, maybe it's better we don't find her there."

"Lets hope we'll find her before she gets there, I also hope your lovely lady will have some breakfast to go, cus I'm starving" Caden gestured towards the door. "If you're ready" He said.

"She has muffins downstairs. I know where the jar is. Would that be adequate?" asked Bran, walking towards the door.

"Yeah thanks" Caden said as he followed after Bran
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on April 28, 2016, 12:52:55 PM
SELINA KNOX

The serenity of night rested lightly upon the land as she pressed on the way ahead, dagger ready in hand, ever watchful of her surroundings. The last two attacks had come in bright daylight - for that, she remained assured to some degree that she would not be taken by surprise at this late hour. As she scanned the environment, her mind began to wander to the axe that had narrowly missed its target; the sharpness of the blade, the weight of the belly... the mind of the killer, who thought to maim a stranger in blissful ignorance. Even bandits had their code of honor - this went far beyond. No. They weren't ordinary bandits, they were professional assassins. She had decided not to mention this particular observation to Bran and Caden, thinking it might create more alarm than necessary. What started as a sheer insult had quickly escalated into a dangerous game of bullets and axes. It became abundantly clear that all negotiations were out of the window; the Doc had only one intention, and that was to see her dead, regardless if the rumor was true or not.

Her footfall slowed as her mind wandered further... "Caden..." his name whispered in the wind. The spark of determination in his eyes. That boyish smile. He had come out of nowhere, and yet had managed to save her life, twice over. It wouldn't be a stretch to think of him as a guardian angel of sorts... and yet she had completely left him behind. She just couldn't bear the thought of him being hurt in this entire struggle when he had still so much to live for. She thought about him avoiding her glance in that final moment... almost as though he knew what was to come.

The oncoming grind of hooves on gravel brought her to attention. She made a quick dash into the bushes, and up a tree, into a thick canopy of leaves - remaining absolutely still so as not to give away her position. The thudding came closer still, till three centaurs and a large black caravan with a barred door were brought into view. With the solemness of a procession, they went along their way; two in the front and one at the back, all three armed with rifles. Selina looked ahead in the direction from where they had come, and swung around to monitor where they were headed. When they had almost disappeared around the bend, she removed herself from her tree and followed the procession, never once being conspicuous enough to be noticed - and only till she was satiated.

A bulb went on in her head when she guessed where they were headed. Turning her attention to the path headed back to Queensdale, she started a brisk walk back to where she had come from. Her plan... if it should work, might end this. Once and for all. The mere inspiration urged her walk to transition into a jog. And a jog into a sprint. There was no one in sight. No one foolish enough to come out for a stroll in the dead of night.

She would allow herself to indulge just for a moment...
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Kovenito on May 06, 2016, 06:38:32 AM
Kovenito

As Kovenito rushes to join Selina to help her through this latest predicament, he thinks back on what caused his delay in reuniting with her, conflicted about how he could have prevented it all if he had been able to return sooner.

Kovenito had been in the final stages of setting up the small farmhouse when an old contact in the Whispers approached him about a situation they would like him to look into.

Kovenito nearly turned down the job, having been away from the order for nearly two years, but then the details of the task stopped him short.

Apparently, Bob, one of Selina's old contacts, had possible involvement in a dragon-worshiping sect called the Order of the Six.

Kovenito had to know if it was true, and he didn't want Selina to know about it until he was certain of the validity of the claim.

With that, he rushed off to Lion's Arch to look into Bob's last known whereabouts...

Knowing Bob's description well, having run into him several times in the past and having had a rivalry of sorts, Kovenito inquired with several people about his activities in the city. His questioning led him to one of the wealthier districts and to a ritzy gentleman's club in particular.

It seemed an odd place for a potential dragon-worshiper to frequent, but he had to followup on any lead he was given...

Kovenito entered the club and scanned the interior, suddenly feeling out of place in his rough leather coat and ranger gear.

Meeting Kovenito at the entrance was a Charr decked in fine linens and an eye glass pressed upon his cheek. "Sir, do you have an invite?" He asked.

"Ah, yes, I'm here to see an old friend, Bob..."

"Bob?" The Charr appeared disinterested. "How common. You ought to be more specific. Besides..." He looked through a pile of papers. "There was no notice of a guest this afternoon."

Kovenito gave a brief description of Bob, hoping it would be enough to jog the charr's memory, since he assumed the man didn't go by the old moniker 'Dirt Bob' within this new circle and not having any alternative names to clarify his identity.

The charr's patience grew thin, and would soon turn Kovenito out if he didn’t seem to know who he was talking about.

Kovenito racked his brain, then suddenly remembered Selina mentioning his full name at one point. "You might know him as Robert Brown?"

The Charr finally showed some acknowledgement. "Yes, Mr Robert Brown has come in today. Who should I say has come to visit?"

"Kovenito, thank you."

The Charr bowed respectfully and disappeared into the room. A few moments later, a gentleman in long flowing hair, cigar between teeth and dressed in a leather bound trench coat appeared where the Charr had been. He eyed Kovenito for a bit, and remarked, "Well... I never thought I would ever see you again. Much less without Sel."

"Selina has been on parole and can't travel on her own right now. She'll be free in a few months, so I thought I would set up a house for us to live in to celebrate. I came to LA to stock up on supplies for the house. Heard you were around, so I figured I'd look you up and see how you've been fairing."

Bob laughed. "So much in that to react to. But let's skip the niceties shall we? I doubt I was an easy man to find, and there certainly isn't enough affection in your heart to try this hard. So why are you really here?"

"Selina needs some encouragement at times, and hearing that you've moved up in the world might do her some good. But telling her rumors wouldn't be good enough..."

Bob shot Kovenito a look of doubt. "You're saying Sellie Knox is sentimental and asking you to check on me? Are you sure that's the story you want to run with?"

"She's not the girl you remember, and as you said, I wouldn't be here for my own sake..."

"Fine," he responded. "I will play along for old times sake. What do you want to know? I'm all out of favours in regards to the Widowmakers, just so you know. I doubt there's very much of them left anyway."

"Yeah, I hear there was a bandit war that hit all sides rather hard. Glad to see you came out on top. How did you go from fugitive to all this?," Kovenito said as he motioned his hand around the room.

Bob scoffed. "You say fugitive as though they're the law. They're nothing more than a bunch of gangsters. As for the small fortune that has piqued your curiosity," he waved around as Kovenito had. "I have found gainful employment, thank you for your concern."

"That's great to hear. Might your employer be someone I am familiar with?"

He straightens up defensively. "So full of questions, are you? If Sellie is asking, that's all she needs to know."

"She just wants to make sure you won't be getting yourself into trouble again any time soon..."

Bob motions to the room full of pleasures and luxury. "Does it look like I'm in trouble?"

"No, it certainly doesn't. It appears quite the establishment. But appearances aren't always what they seem. Disreputable people can acquire wealth just as easily as virtuous ones. It's good to see you've found the right kind of employer..."

Unfazed by the subtle insult, Bob smiles. "Of course. And should I assume that you are still among the unemployed?"

"As a hunter, I can sustain myself well enough without employment. But you are correct, the house and Selina are my focus at this point."

"A house..." He ponders. "My, you've certainly domesticated dear Sellie."

"All her idea actually. She could do with a little less excitement for a while. But you've settled down into a proper establishment, so you are thinking in a similar vein it seems."

Bob shrugs nonchalantly. "We could all do with a little less threat to our lives." He looks directly at him. "Would that be all, Kovenito?"

"Indeed, thanks for helping to put Selina's heart at ease." With that, Kovenito stands up to shake Bob's hand and gives him a pat on the shoulder.

Bob takes in Kovenito’s hand and gives it a good shake. "I hope you haven't forgotten that conversation we had in Lornar's Pass, ol' pal."

"I haven't, you can be sure of that."

"Good. Till we meet again... " Bob spins around to leave.

Kovenito exits the club and heads down a nearby alleyway to meet up with an asuran. "Well, I managed to slip that small device within the folds of his clothing. Are you sure it will work?"

Ukan scoffs at his remark. "Undoubtedly. I have upgraded my golem to be able to track the unique signature that the device emits. We will be able to pinpoint Bob's location regardless of where he travels."

"Maybe you're right, but I still prefer the tried-and-true approach of tracking in the wild."

"That's precisely the point. We are not in the wild. Within these urban environs, it would prove difficult to track someone indoors. But my invention will make that a simple task."

"True... This Priory/Whispers joint mission will take some getting used to though..."
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on May 06, 2016, 02:25:45 PM
After taking a small supply of muffins from the jar Caden made his way outside. Taking in the fresh air he stretched and readjusted the pack on his back. "Which way?" He asked turning his head to look at Bran questioningly.

Bran gazed out the inn, towards the western exit. He performed a quick flip of his head in the direction. "You seem awfully invested for a guy who just met Sliptail Sel three days ago," he observed.

Kovenito had been reminiscing partly due to regret and partly to keep himself awake as he journeyed through the night. He cut off his train of thought as he approached a local inn.

"Sliptail sel?" He asked while heading off westwards, ignoring the rest of the statement.

Brandon chuckled. "The name kinda caught on when she eluded the law for about five years. She's quite the legend now."

"Bran, is that you?" Kovenito stopped to catch his breath.

Caden stopped and turned to look at Kovenito, shooting Bran a questioning glance afterwards.

Kov continued, "Whew, I managed to catch up to you guys. Wait, where's Selina, and who is this guy?"

Bran spun around in surprise to see someone he didn't expect to meet, bent over his knees in exhaustion. Obviously he'd been running a long way, and probably through the night. "Ooooooh," he remarked when it occurred to him that Kov would probably not like the answers to his questions. He decided to go with the better answer of the two. "Well erm..." he motioned to his travel mate. "This is Caden. He's a friend of Selina's."

"Caden... Haven't heard of you before. Old friend or new?"

"I met her three days ago"

"Ah, interesting. You were the one with Selina when she was poisoned? Why are you two not with her when her life is obviously in danger?"

"Because she decided to sneak off in the middle of the night. We were going after her, I suggest you come with us now if we want to have any hope of catching up."

"Hmm, stubborn girl... You guys aren't off the hook yet, but let's get going."

He made a face and leaned towards Bran. "What does he mean, off the hook" He whispered.

"Whoa... define 'we'," insisted Bran, deciding not to address what Caden had asked him. "I'm going to show you guys the way then I'm going to get out of your hair."

"Bran, we need to make sure she's safe. I know you must be deeper involved in all this than you are letting on."

"Look, I would've come, guns blazing, if Sellie had chosen back herself up with everyone else in Queensdale like I thought she'd planned. How would I know she would be so foolish to walk into Brisban solo?"

"Get running, we'll talk along the way." Kovenito began to pick up the pace. "What exactly happened in the last two days? She must have her reasons... Selina is not beyond making the dramatic sacrifice."

Bran hesitantly increased his pace to keep up with the hunter. "We can't even be sure she's gone to Brisban. She could be anywhere!" he said, exasperated. He pointed to Caden, "He was with her last, if you wanted to ask about last night, ask him."

He had walked along quietly so far but rolled his eyes at Bran now. "Ya haven't even bothered to tell me who he is." He said grumpily.

"Oh," Bran turned his attention to Caden, realising what he'd said was true. Introductions had been lost in all the urgency of what was going on. "This is Sellie's.." he couldn't hide a sneaky smile, "Well let's just say what they do behind closed doors, you and I don't need to know."

Kovenito turned to Caden. "She's headed to this Doc Howler, right? Between your information and my tracking skills, we'll pick up her trail. I'm Selina's boyfriend. Now, what happened last night?"

Caden rolled his eyes at Bran again and turned his attention back to Kovenito. "She knocked me out and left, that's what happened."

"There must have been some developments leading to that moment... Something you guys discussed, an event that occurred..."

"Bran left the room. I told her I was concerned for the party's safety and told her I'd keep watch since we had already been attacked once that day. She said we were quite safe, they were only after her. When I told her we were targets too because we traveled with her she knocked me out."

Kovenito shook his head. "Were you trying to push her away? Saying that she puts you all in danger is exactly what drove her off. Now she's off nobly sacrificing herself. You'll have a lot to answer for if she is injured when we find her."

"If you ask me," muttered Bran offhandedly. "She would've been injured either way, if not killed. And she would've dragged us all with her."

Kovenito turns and points a finger at Bran. "Not helping!"

"Oi now, I was not trying to upset her. Besides that, I saved her life twice in the past three days, where were you then. You have no right," He spat the words at Kov before realising what he was saying.

Bran turned to Caden with surprise, and discreetly, he grinned.

Facing Caden again, Kovenito expounded, "I was taking care of some... business. And I had left Selina in the care of my sister and a friend. Everything came crashing down in my absence..." As soon as he was done, the team fell into darkness as they entered the cave linking Thunder Ridge to the Wendon Steps.

"She was alone when I came across her," Caden said quietly.

Bran lit a torch and turned the side of his face with the poultice to Kov. "How did you think I got this? We just barely escaped getting randomly attacked on the road. Maybe that shook her up and got her running."

"Yeah, I know... circumstances drove everyone apart... Thanks for being there for Selina, but don't you dare give up on her now."

"I won't," Caden said softly and stared off in the distance, as they walked along.

"Thanks, then let's catch her before she gets herself into even more trouble."

As they neared the end of the tunnel, they were approached by an armed seraph guard, decked out in armor lined in slash marks. He had his sword drawn, and sweat poured down the corner of his chin. "State your purpose!" he yelled, his voice cracking under pressure.

"We are going to meet up with a friend... You look like you are in trouble, what is happening here?"

"Are you sure..." he squinted at Kov. "Step into the light!" he demanded.

Bran raised his arms in surrender, so as not to alarm the obviously tense guard. He took a step forward.

Kovenito stepped into the light and began to describe Selina. "Have you seen anyone like that come through here?"

"We haven't quite had the time to guard the gate into Brisban while being threatened to an inch of our lives!" he said, angrily. "Two days ago those bandits... they approached the encampment from the north. Took out our guards, raided our supplies." He lowered his sword in dismay. "We don't know when they'll be coming back."

"Wow, the hornets' nest has really been stirred up this time. We need to catch up with our friend Selina before these bandits get to her."

"Sir," the guard stepped in front of Kov. "If you value your life, I would suggest you take your friends back to Queensdale and wait for news. Brisban is unsafe for peasants to come through."

"Our friend could die if we don't meet up with her. We must go on, please."

The guard crumpled his hand into a fist and gave out a sigh. "I was sent on the road back to Divinity's Reach with two others. I'm the only survivor. I won't stop you if you're insistent to go on ahead, but beware that you're marking your graves."

"The responsibility lies with us regarding our fates. I hope you are able to join back up with other Seraphs."

"Godspeed..." wished the guard, and continued on his way, disappearing into the cave.

Bran lowered his arms and turned around to watch the guard leave. "Something big's up. We knew that something was building, but if they had the courage to go head to head with the seraphs, then they're much larger and more vicious than I'd anticipated."

Kovenito looked over at his companions. "We're running out of time. It's open warfare now and we are already targets."

"Unless..." said Bran, and hesitated.

"Unless what?" asked Caden.

"Unless we head north to the bandits who attacked the seraph camp, and swear allegiance to whoever owns Brisban right now. It's clear that we are in territory where we don't belong, we need to clear ourselves from the target on our backs."

"Who attacked the Seraphs? If it was the Nighthowlers, then that would be a very bad idea. If not, it could give us more freedom to travel, but we'd lose ground on Selina in the meantime."

"You're suggesting we join the bandits?" Caden stopped in his tracks giving Bran a hard stare.

He shrugged. "If a fully armed seraph encampment couldn't last the night against the bandits, what hope do we three fellas have? It's the only logical choice."

"Except we are not stationary as the Seraph were. Sneaking around would also slow us down though."

"This is where my former connection to Doc Howler is going to come in handy," suggested Bran. "We could tell the leader of that group that we've come to work for Doc Howler. That I brought two additional recruits along.... yeah... you can leave me to do the talking. I'm pretty sure I can convince whoever's in charge to let us continue west in peace."

"This is your territory. If you think it might actually work..."

"I think it's our only option," Bran pointed out. "The other one being we join the guard headed back to Divinity's Reach."

Caden shrugged, "Just try not to get us killed."

"Fine, let's get this over with, so we can get back on the road as quickly as possible," Kov responded, taking the cue to hit the road north.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on May 10, 2016, 11:47:37 PM
SELINA KNOX

She reached the Solaris Tundra the next morning, just before it hit noon. Out of breath, and exhausted, she barged through the entrance, and stumbled through the cave while yelling "Elizabeth!" Perhaps she had made herself too at ease with Bess and her troop of men and women that she barely noticed the crowd beginning to surround her, some of them with weapons bared. "Elizabeth!" she yelled again, and only stopped when a young man with rugged blonde hair stepped in front of her, a dagger in his hand.

"Stay right where you are," he demanded. Pointing his blade at her.

She stared at its pointed tip in surprise. Not because it presented any threat in itself, but as she gazed about her, she wondered what had changed within the last day. Something had made her their enemy.

Bess emerged from her quarters, a lavish pirate hat on her head in velvet and feathers. Often enough she donned it with pride, for it marked the day she'd triumphed continuously in stud poker against one of the baddest pirates to have sailed around the Black Sea and back. It was his rot luck to have wagered his precious hat, right at the end, and lost it to her skillful hand. This alone had earned her the name "Lucky Bess" around local bars and among her men. Others called her "Poker-faced Bess", because once she entered a game, there was no way in Kralkatorrik's name anyone could guess what she was thinking.

This was one of those moments. And Selina didn't like being on the receiving end of it. "Bess, what's going on? Are we not friends anymore?" she asked.

Bess looked nonchalantly at her men, and then at the young man in front of Selina. "I don't suppose you have met Matt Bone," she began, descending the rocks to where Selina was. She didn't wait for a response to continue, "He takes on human bounties, every now and then, just to supplement his income. And there was a recent bounty that caught his eye." She turned to him, "Show her the missive, Matt."

He lowered his blade, unfolded a piece of paper pressed into his front jacket, and presented it to her. It had a name written on it, unmistakably hers, gold bounty offered and the stamp of the Nighthowlers. It was also written in bright red - which meant that the bounty would be eligible for collection on the confirmation of the marked victim's death. "And I suppose Matt wanted to take on this bounty..." guessed Selina.

Bess nodded. "Acknowledging our prior connection though, he had to come here to seek my blessing."

"Our 'prior'?" Selina replied with some disappointment, trying desperately to read what Bess really meant and failing. She understood that she had upset Bess to some degree the last time she'd paid a visit, but she didn't expect her to turn a 180.

"You've got to admit, that's a lot of gold that they're offering," she remarked. "If Matt takes you in, he's promised the rest of us a cut."

"Elizabeth Langley, forgoes friendship for a bag of gold." Selina shook her face. "Somehow I've always thought that would be beneath you."

"Is it?" A gleam cut through her face, up to her cheeks.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on May 12, 2016, 04:02:04 AM
Caden Mullins, Brandon Turner & Kovenito

The travelers noticed a fort constructed of oak some distance away. Flags hung from banisters, and patrols marched to and fro on its walls. These patrols did not resemble seraph guards, and the flags were certainly foreign.

"I guess that's where we're headed," Caden said while pointing at the structure.

Before they could make a move, two guards swung down from the trees above, and landed nimbly before them. They were equipped with steel tipped arrows, and their bows were drawn. "Well, look who we have here..." said one.

"Lurkers... snoopers... do you know what we do to the lot of you?" said the other.

Kov silently raised his hands and let Bran take the lead in the conversation.

Slightly nervous Caden followed Kovenito's example and raised his own hands.

Taking the hint Bran raised his voice. "Lurkers? We were merely passing by. But since you've found us, perhaps you would be so kind as to show us to where the Nighthowlers reside?"

The first raised his brow and looked to the other, "Nobody just 'passes by'. Don't you know? The bandits now own Brisban. If you wish to enter, you have to pay toll."

Bran took the threat in stride, and laughed. "Why do you think we would be looking for the Nighthowlers? If for no other reason, I have previous association with Doc Howler, and these two men with me are new recruits."

"You know Doc Howler?" asked the second.

"Of course I do. I was part of the Blades when it was operational."

"There's a reason you weren't selected for the work in Brisban. Don't try to fool us. How do we know you're not spies?"

"Don't be silly. Why in the world would I work for the seraphs? I run my own team in Queensdale. Perhaps your boss has heard of us. We've caused quite the ruckus," Bran retorted proudly.

The first lowered his bow. "What is the name of your team?"

"The Fearsome Four."

The second burst out laughing, and so did the first. "Aye, I've heard of you guys," second said. "But you best come by our boss and explain to him what you're doing here."

As they got on their way, Bran turned to his companions and winked, assuring them that he had things under control with a thumbs up.

Relieved Caden let his hands drop then and made to follow the two.

Kov gave Bran a questioning glance for the laughs, but left it at that.

As they entered the fort, they're immediately assailed with the scents of iron. There're heaps of iron ore stacked in a corner, as well as planks of wood, and chickens in cages. Men and women roamed within with no particular uniform, though they were certainly fighters, and they wore their battle faces splashed with blue ink, and their eyes lined with black. They gazed at the travelers curiously, and carried on their business.

"Who is your boss?" Bran asked the two guards, as they began to ascend a wooden ladder leading up to a treehouse.

"His name is Willem the Terrible," answered one, and he chuckled. "I'll leave you to ask him how he got his nickname."

Caden observed the camp curiously and closely, making sure to memorize exits and buildings as he followed along. He made sure to not look suspicious though, figuring the bandits did not like curiosity very much.

---

They reached the top of a canopy of trees which was quite a sight to behold as it overlooked some part of Brisban, and the cave from whence they had come. A breeze lapped gently at them as they wait upon a large wooden platform, leading into three treetop houses. A brazier of fire burned right in the center to keep the area warm.

The second guard emerged from the center house and beckons them in. They take his lead, entering into a cosy nook, with surprising comforts of pillows, downy sheets and decorated with flowers. A large man with a slash across his face sat upon a plush seat, right at the end of the room. "Welcome!" he bellowed. "Take a seat."

Cautiously and quietly, Kov sat down in the indicated seat as Caden did the same.

After taking his place, Bran decided to break the ice. "So, is it appropriate to call you Willem, sir?"

The man smiled. He had a warm smile in spite of his threatening size. "Yes, that is what I am known as. My men say that you are looking for Doc Howler. For what purpose?"

"My name is Bran the Bull, and I am from Queensdale. Formerly of the Blades. When Doc Howler moved to Brisban, those who were left behind had to pick up the slack that was left. What made it worse was the seraph pressing down hard on us. Perhaps you have heard of the breaking into of my home, and the death of my comrade? This was by the hands of the Shining Blade."

Willem pressed a knuckle into his chin. "I had the impression the Shining Blade aren't interested with minor bandit business."

"Perhaps it's the vacuum that was left that has given them more time to handle the... less important issues. The point is, my comrade perished at their hands. I'm about done roaming about Queensdale with such danger on my heels. I'm going to search for Doc Howler and see if she'll accept a few extra hands." Bran motioned to the two men next to him.

Williem glanced at them cautiously. "These are your friends?"

"They are," answered Bran quite soon. "Trusted... may I add."

Willem remained cautious. "Cat got their tongues? You are the only one who has spoken thus far."

"Bran is the one most familiar with former members of the Blades, so I figured we'd let him take the lead in these discussions." Kovenito answered.

"After all he's the one that lead us out here" Caden added.

"Tell me about yourself then, since you have spoken. From where do you hail? And why do you want to take part in the business here in Brisban?" Willem asked.

"I am a hunter by trade, from the forests near Beetletun. In my travels, I have gotten to know Bran here and he mentioned the potential for steady work, so I took him up on the offer." Kovenito answered.

"Ha, a hunter. You could be quite out of your comfort zone over here. Do you know exactly what we do?"

"Not the full particulars, no. But I am under the impression that my skills with a bow could come in handy."

Willem then turned to Caden, "And what about you? You seem rather young to be traipsing in these woods with men like these."

"I came across Bran in Queensdale, mum and dad wanted me to take over the family business but sitting around in a shop is so very dull. Following Bran seemed a lot more interesting" Caden replied with a slight shrug.

With a shot of disapproval in his eyes, Willem turned to Bran, "You've brought two complete greenhorns with you, and you expect the Doc to take you seriously?"

"I expect to speak with her."

"Let me be candid, I don't think she's going to want to spend her time interviewing these two at all," he responded, giving little heed if he were to be offending. "You know her standards. You know how many who had to be left behind." He trailed slightly and then spoke thoughtfully. "I will be generous, and offer you spots in my camp if you so wish. We still have to deal with that seraph camp down south. We hit them before, but they're being obstinate. Still unwilling to leave. We could use some extra men."

Though Kov didn't let it show on his face, he now began to worry about the proposition of attacking Seraph.

"I may not look it sir, but I know how to handle a weapon." He spoke confidently seemingly unfazed by the thought of attacking seraph. "I uh.. I trained herbalism before leaving home, perhaps I may be useful to you still" Caden spoke defensively.

Bran turned to his companions, reading from their expressions that they weren't exactly into the idea. "What say we take our chances with Doc?"

Willem leaned back in his seat, a little insulted that his offer was not taken. "Need I remind you whose house you are in. Who's to say that you aren't spies?" He looked directly at Kovenito. "How can I know for sure you aren't working for the Shining Blade? You barely have any credentials to begin with."

"True, it's not easy to garner 'credentials' when you roam solo through the wilds taking out big game, but I can assure you that I have no interest in the cloak and dagger methods of the Shining Blade." Kovenito answered calmly.

"Then prove it. All of you. Help us get rid of the seraph camp down south, and I'll not only let you go on your way but even put in a good word myself."

Kovenito turned to Bran. "What do you think Bran?"

Bran shrugged and turned to Caden. "I'm up for it if you are."

"Better than sitting around on our asses bickering I guess" Caden replied with a slight shrug.

A smile flashed on Willem's face. "Then may I bid you welcome to the family!" He rises from his seat. "Let us dine together, and tomorrow we will raid the camp for a second time... hopefully this time for good!"

Chiming in, Bran rose as well. "I will drink to that!"

"Lead on." Kovenito really began to wonder about Bran's plan. He had no intention of killing any Seraph tomorrow.

"I'll drink to just about anything after the walk we had" Caden joked to Bran elbowing him in the side.

Bran took the elbow in his side, a little surprised at Caden's sudden mood to kid around.

"Make yourselves at home in the fort. The dining hall is down the stairs towards the large structure with a shield above the door. Dinner will be served in an hour," Willem announced.

The travelers left the company of the bandit leader, and headed down the ladder, finding themselves alone for the first time since that afternoon.

---

"Well then" Caden said while looking around once more.

Once they were alone, Kov spoke up. "Killing Seraph? That's your big plan Bran?"

"Slow down, that wasn't part of the plan. But maybe we can make the best of this. Judging from what was said, Willem's men are going to attack, whether we're a part of it or not. At least now we know when and where they're going to hit. If you want to save the seraph, find a way to clear them out before they get clobbered."

"Fine, I'll send word to my sister and try to get her to convince those Seraph to clear out before the morning. She has more influence with them than I ever could. I'm sure she can get them to think of it as regrouping for a counter-offensive." Kov said after some consideration.

"Your sister?" Caden asked curiously.

"I remember your sister," recalled Bran. "Hard woman, that one."

"Ha, no doubt about it." Kov looked at Caden. "Long story." he said in answer to Caden's implied question.

"Are you sure she can persuade them to leave? I assume she's still back in Divinity's Reach." Bran asked doubtful.

"Since her reintegration into the Seraph, she has gained much more clout. They will likely heed a directive from her, if she properly explains it in a way that they aren't giving up." Kov explained.

Caden shifted on his feet uneasily. "They may get suspicious of us if we stick around here isolated from everyone else" He said while looking at the dining hall.

Bran nodded in agreement. "Let's head towards the hall, and hope this plan of yours work. Otherwise as much as the two of you are going to hate it, we will have to kill ourselves some seraph."

"Good point, head into the hall, I'll head onto the balcony. I'll be in shortly. My hawk, Havok, has some flying to do." With that, Kov quickly scribbled out a note in a short-hand he knew his sister will be able to interpret and sent his hawk toward Divinity Reach.

---

Shrugging slightly at Bran's comment Caden headed towards the dining assuming Bran would be following along.

As assumed, Bran was soon right behind him, nudging him back. "Hey Caden," he whispered.

"Hmm?" he replied questioningly.

"I might have misread, but you seemed awfully defensive towards Kovenito this morning. Were you actually thinking of..." he made a leaping motion with his hand, hoping Caden would catch his drift.

Not catching his drift Caden stared at Bran blankly "Sorry?"

Bran shifted his eyes quickly. "Taking the leap. Coming in between Kov and his girl."

"I just noticed how Sel never once mentioned him even though her life was in danger. Seems some neglect is going on there, then who is he to lecture us. -- Let's find ourselves some beer eh?" He added changing the subject.

Bran laughed and pat Caden on the back. "For what it's worth, I'm glad we're finally at ease and won't be needing to look over our shoulders tonight. That alone is worthy of round of drinks."

"Ah, I could use a proper night's sleep. Somehow being knocked out just isn't very restful" Caden said with a grin.

Nodding, Bran wrapped his arm around Caden's shoulder. "Let me tell you man. Nothing says love more than a woman knocking you out in order to keep you safe... not that I've had that happen to me before."

Caden snickered as they made their way over to where the promised ale could be found. "You don't seem to be doing too badly with the ladies yourself sir."

Bran laid himself out, half on a stool and half on the bar counter, dripping in self love. "Let me tell you something. Women can't take their hands off me. That can be both a blessing and a curse."

Sitting down on a chair himself he took a large swig from a tankard of Ale. Chuckling he looked around at the bandits present going about their business.

After a few moments Kovenito rejoined them, sitting down on a chair next to Bran.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on May 13, 2016, 11:25:27 AM
ELIZABETH LANGLEY, MATT BONE AND SELINA KNOX

The rumbling of the wagon upon uneven ground shook the barrel and the stacks of corn that lay above her. Crouched beneath it all, bundled in sheaves of wheat, Selina peered through a bullet-sized hole on the side and observed the sky turning dark.

"We are nearing the escarpments, you best remain as silent as a mouse," warned Bess, slowing the yak to a trot.

"Before any of that, I'd like to have a word with my captors," replied the voice from the barrel.

Bess halted the yak then winked at her male companion, Matt Bone. "Well bless my heart!" she exclaimed, "Am I haunted? Or did the corn just speak?"

"Come on, I'm being serious," responded the voice flatly.

"No, my dear lady!" Matt whispered harshly with a hand to his ear. "Methinks you must be corn-ned!" The bandits burst into bouts of laughter, tamed only by the palms pressed firmly upon their lips.

"My goodness..." heaved Bess between heaps of laughter. "Corn my ears!"

"Perfect..." said the voice. "Just perfect... Tell me again how this is an appropriate time to crack jokes?"

Still reeling from laughter, Bess got herself fully caught up with breath before speaking. "You'll have to excuse us. This was much too huge a temptation to pass up. How often can we get the great Sliptail Sel to willingly surrender herself into a barrel of vegetables?"

"It'd better be the one and only time - it's hot, claustrophobic and smelly in here. And this will probably carry on for hours through the night. I'm starting to second guess the genius of my plan."

"If it makes you feel any better," answered Matt. "I would've sent you to Doc Howler in a less... closeted way."

"No thank you, Matt," came the response without delay. "I prefer my limbs attached." Matt grinned.

Bess rapped the side of the barrel gently. "Are you sure you don't want us coming along?"

"I'm sure." A momentary silence fell between the two women, before Selina broke the ice, "Look... I just want to thank you for what you're doing, Bess. I couldn't ask for a better friend."

Matt nodded his head in agreement, and Bess continued speaking, "I really had you going for a while there, didn't I?"

"Let's just say, you've impressed me where few have."

"If you ever get into a fix," suggested Bess, suddenly feeling a little sense of sentimentality. "We're just a bird away. Send word and we'll try our best to extract you."

"I won't need help, and won't expect any," Selina replied. "An inter-bandit war is the last thing we need right now."

Bess shrugged. "I guess you're right. I hope you work things out for yourself."

"I will. Now let's get this show on the road."
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on May 16, 2016, 11:00:30 AM
ELIZABETH LANGLEY, MATT BONE AND SELINA KNOX

A shrill whistle rang across the cliffs of Orlaf Enscarpments, and the centaurs that dwelled within emerged in curiosity. "Human, you have a lot of nerve showing up here alone," said the one that came closest to her. One of the other centaurs behind him held onto a net. Bess took special care to keep away from that one.

She leaned over the edge, her dark hair let loose and flapping in the wind. "Ah! So you are the pony men. I've never seen any up close before. How odd you look!" she feigned a gasp as they glared on, knowing full well that her statements would infuriate them beyond reason. It was bad enough that she had referred to them as men, and even worse to call them ponies.

The leader waved to the one with the net, as the others understood immediately what he intended to do. "You have a loud mouth for one so little. Perhaps you'd like to come down here and have a closer look."

The centaurs surrounded the little knoll she was on in no time and she knew then it was her time to move. "Perhaps another time!" she yelled and waved, cutting loose a rope that clung to a taut branch, readily prepared before this entire encounter had occurred. As the branch was let lose, the rope swung her high above the heads of the centaurs, just as they were readying their bows, and their heads spun around in unison. Catching the ground with light footing, she landed on an adjacent knoll where her mount stood in wait for her return.

"Get her!" yelled the leader. And all the others responded in time, galloping ahead with fury, just as she ascended her moa and bidded it into a hasty departure. Inflamed by the thrill of the chase, the camp quickly emptied of centaurs in their attempt to capture the single female human, foolish enough to stray away from her pack, together with its protective guns and swords.

Carrot-sized bones swung from the log roofs, clanging upon each other excitedly while the dust just began to settle. A large chunk of meat still sizzled from an iron platter that sat comfortably upon a smoking woodpile, lonely and unattended to. Flies hovered a distance above the meat, torn between their desire to taste the succulent fat that oozed out of the centaur's dinner, and the surrounding heat that would potentially be their demise.

Through the smoke that lifted from the fire and drifted lazily across the camp, Matt Bone arrived, rolling the barrel on its side. He only stopped when he found the dark carriage described to him by Selina. The door of the carriage was ajar, and aside from a scattered few other barrels of supplies, there was plenty of room to add his barrel to the others. He turned the barrel on its side, and heard the sound of grumbling from within. "Hold 'yer hat, we're here," he whispered. And with a heave, placed the barrel at an extreme corner of the carriage, then tapped its side. "Yer in place. Good luck."

Without waiting for a response, he quickly slipped out of the carriage, and departed the camp as silently as he could. The last thing any human would want, would be to be found loitering in the dwelling of centaurs. Considering the typical ill relationship between man and centaur, it's a wonder they would even entertain a deal with the bandits in Brisban. It was likely that the bandits offered something of high value to the centaurs, but Matt wouldn't stay to find out.

As he returned to the yak and the wagon they had hidden in the bushes some distance away, he wondered if Bess had managed to get away. But he soon shook his doubt away. As the old wives say, there ain't nuthin' that can outrun a centaur better than a moa. They hadn't exactly put the theory to the test, but there really wasn't any reason to question the logic. It'd just be a pity that he wouldn't be able to see the faces on the centaurs the moment they realise they'd been bested.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on May 18, 2016, 03:47:42 PM
Aidan Brennan

A week after mailing Anise he finally received a reply. Anise notified him that she would not be meeting with him herself. Instead she advised him to meet a contact in the inn closest to his house at 3pm the next day. Relieved he continued on to read the rest of his mail, though he encountered little of interest.

When he went to see his mother that afternoon he was shocked to find her visibly worse than before. She struggled to breathe and her face was even paler than it had been before. A doctor was immediately sent for though sadly there was little the man could do for her. He told them to boil water over the fire in her room so the steam may help her breathe easier. but there was nothing he could do about her paleness or her shivering. In the hallway he left them with a warning that she would not have much longer.

Dinner was eaten in solitude that evening. Henry refused to see anyone and his mother had fallen back asleep not long after the doctor had left them. After eating very little of his food Aidan sat down to pen a note to his aunt to notify her of his mother's situation taking a turn for the worse.
Feeling tired he went to bed after sending a servant out with the letter, yet sleep would not come. Visions of Makisi flashed through his head and he found himself going over the events again and again still trying to make sense of them. Realising he would not sleep like this he hauled himself out of bed and took a bottle of brandy and a glass from the cabinet in his room. After pouring himself a drink he sat down in the large chair by the fireplace poking the embers to reawaken the fire that had burned there.

He placed a new log on the small flames the fire now produced and sat back in his chair sipping from his drink. He frowned at the glass as he mulled on his thoughts. Finding himself feeling unusually down he grumbled at himself as he suddenly realised he wished he had someone to talk to. Not his parents our aunt, but a friend. Begrudgingly he had to admit to himself that he missed his sister and part of him now regretted having sent her away. She deserved her freedom however he, chided himself for the thought.
Suddenly sitting up and downing the last of his drink he made up his mind. He would write her. Kovenito was with her now after all and he would be able to help her with the letters. He sat down at his desk and lit the candle. Completely disregarding the hour he put pen to paper.


Dear Selina,

How have you been these past few weeks? I hope you and Kovenito are both well. Life here has had little excitement. I dread to admit that most of my days pass in exactly the same manner, though being able to spend time with my mother puts my heart at ease at least a little. I spend most of my afternoons by her side to read to her.
I know you're fond of neither reading nor writing so I'll keep this letter short. Please let me know how you're getting on. If you write me please address the letter to my home address.

Kind regards,
Thomas



Carefully he folded the letter and sealed it after addressing it to the small farmhouse Kovenito had arranged during his absence.
He sighed as he put it down on his desk. He hoped his sister would forgive him for using his birthname, he could not risk their bond being discovered however. As he wondered if they would be hiding this secret forever he put himself back to bed and after some time finally dozed off.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on May 22, 2016, 08:42:16 PM
KOVENITO, CADEN MULLENS AND BRANDON TURNER

Dawn filtered through the trees at the bandit fort as several members walked about, prepping their weapons for the fight ahead.

Bran sat on a bridge, his legs free swinging over the edge, hunched over an empty bottle.

Koventio walked up to Bran. "I sure hope Havok made it safely..."

Bran turned to him, his face shrouded by shadow. "What concerns me more are the instructions your sister gave to the seraphs. One wrong move, and it's the end of us."

"She's cunning and she's knows battle strategy. We can trust her to give them proper orders."

Bran pulled himself up to a standing position. "Excuse me if I'm a little less trusting. She wasn't exactly accommodating the last time I was with her."

After checking his gear and double checking his pistol Caden strapped it to his belt. Looking around he spotted his new friends nearby and made his way over to them. "Morning gents," He said upon approaching them.

Turning to Caden, Bran simply gave him a nod of acknowledgement. "We best prepare for battle... or a battle that's not to be."

"All I need is a proper breakfast and I'll be good to go," Caden said with a nervous smile as he patted the gun on his hip.

Kov mumbled, "You weren't exactly accommodating yourself...", then more audibly, "Doubt there will be much of a battle to ready for."

This gave Bran pause. He frowned. "Then perhaps we should start looking for some quick exits."

Kov said, "This is your plan, I trust you can get us through it in one piece."

Willem descended the ladder, and entered to the center of the camp. There was something commanding about his presence, right from the overall largeness of the man, to the cunning look in his eye. "Men!" his voice boomed throughout the camp. "In just a moment, we will make our final attack on the seraph camp, hopefully for the last time and clear them out of our hair for good. The intel I've received this morning is favorable. The seraph are cowering in their bunkers with just two visible guards on the wall. Bear in mind that we will have to break down that door before any of the action occurs. But it's all for the best. There will be no escape from their little nook. They will be ours before long."

The men roared in delight, raising their weapons in the air.

"Let's go claim what's ours!" Willem exclaimed and turned to leave.

The guard from the previous day walked up behind the three travelers. "Get your arses moving. Make sure that you're still under probation, and will be watched at all times."

Kov replied, "We'll stay in line..."

"Yes sir"  *nodding at the guard Caden hastily sprung to action and made to follow the bandits who were preparing to leave the camp*

The travelers trotted through the woods, that guard an uncomfortably close distance from them. Bran turned a few times to look at him, opening his mouth to make a comment, then shutting it quickly in the fear that any wrong word might get them into trouble.

They soon arrived at the fort, and as the scouts had said, two guards stood on the wall, but none at the door - which was odd in itself. One of the two guards seemed rather apprehensive. "Please turn away!" he said, although sounding more like a plea than a command.

Willem laughed boisterously at this weak attempt to turn them away. "Look at my army," he motioned to the vast number of men behind him. "Do you really think any of you are a match? Surrender now, save yourselves some pain."

Frowning Caden looked at the men on the wall as he tried to make out what plan Kovenito's sister had come up with.

Courageously, the two guards drew their bows. "Leave now, or prepare to be assaulted."

This amused Willem even more. He gave them two loud claps, before he waved a hand and sent arrows from his own men sailing over the wall. The two guards began to return fire, but one was downed in the fight, and the other decided to duck behind the wall than to continue his meager effort to turn the bandits away.

"Take down the door!" Commanded Willem, and the bandits raised a ram they had brought with them, sending it crashing into the solid wood door. Splinters were sent flying to the ground. The ram slammed in again. It was just a matter of time before it cracked the wood and let the bandits into the camp.

The guard who was with them poked Caden in his side. "No running, boy. I want to see you fight like a man."

"Oi oi now don't mistake me for a chicken" *he said with a grin as he pulled his pistol making his way into the fort.*

The guard followed closely, and so did Bran as he pulled out a dagger, unsure what was to come.

The bandits were a little taken aback by what they found in that fort. Aside from the guard they had just injured, there were only about four others, their weapons shed and arms raised. One of them spoke for the others. "We realise we don't have a chance at defeating the likes of your army. Please accept our surrender."

"Where are the rest of you?" asked Willem, a little disappointed at the lack of a fight.

"They... they chickened out. Ran away over the past few nights. Our morale has been degrading since that first attack destroyed many of our supplies."

"Hmmph..." grumbled Willem, turning to the three travelers and looking them square in the eye.

Still having his gun raised Caden lowered it as he realised Willem was looking right at them. A hint of shock at the situation still on his face he returned Willem's gaze without flinching, unsure of what went on in the man's head.

"Can we kill them anyway?" asked Bran in disappointment, waving his dagger in front of his face. "We came here all ready for a fight, don't tell me we're not getting one."

Kov replied, "Not much sport in killing scared defenseless soldiers who have had their spirits broken. Hunters prefer to be challenged by their quarry."

In no time, Willem took his eyes off Caden and laughed at Kov and Bran's reaction to the situation. "There will be another time, I'm certain. But as for this lot... we were instructed to send any prisoners we manage to capture, to the western camps. Take them away," he instructed his men, who immediately went to work, tying up their wrists with rope. "We can, however, have fun scavenging the camp... assuming those cowards didn't run away with all their items."

The guard who had been watching the travelers approached the lead bandit, and Willem waved him off, signifying the start of trust. "Look over the items in the camp, but take nothing for yourself. Everything must and should be accounted for," Willem instructed, leaving the men to explore the camp.

Bran put a hand on Kov's shoulder when attention was finally taken off them. "I'm surprised your sister told some of them to stay behind," he whispered.

Putting his gun away Caden put himself to work. He went into one of the tents that was set up against the wall and started to go through the barrels that were there. Most of them were empty, probably stored to return to the city at some point. Upon closer inspection he found some barrels that he suspected held ale in the opposite corner of the tent.

Kovenito began scavenging among the supplies and handing various items to the bandits, signing in relief that the plan worked.

Bran watched on as they forced the prisoners to a corner of the camp. "Don't pity them, they don't deserve it," said a fellow bandit, who had a handful of documents he had found in a tent.

"I don't pity them," answered Bran. "I'm just curious what will happen to the lot of them. What happens in the western camps?"

The bandit grinned. "Well... wouldn't you like to know. Isn't that where you're headed?"

Bran nodded, and then he suddenly stood up with a bright smile on his face.

A few boxes in the tent held dried meats and fruits Caden found out upon opening them. He stuck his head out of the tent and yelled out to a nearby bandit. "Oi I found their food supply, do we want this?"

He started to haul one of the barrels out of the tent to demonstrate his statement.

One of the bandits stopped Caden from rolling the barrel. "How much do they have in there?"

"A few barrels of what I guess is ale, haven't opened them and a few boxes of dried meat and fruit. If this is all they have here it looks like they'd be going hungry soon"

"This was a waste of time," grumbled the bandit, tossing a fire starter on the ground. Willem watched on with his hands upon his hips, kicking dust into the air in disappointment.

"Sir?" came a voice.

"What is it?!" boomed Willem, realising that it was one of the travelers called Bran.

"I hope this isn't a bad time," Bran said apprehensively.

"Just spit it out!"

"Well you see... I hear that you're sending the prisoners west... that's kinda where we were headed too."

"After all this time, you're still planning on talking to Doc Howler?" said Willem in disbelief.

"Yeah... well, that's why we're here."

"I told you she's not going to listen."

"I'd still, we'd still like to try, sir. You said you'd let us go... and you'd even recommend us if we helped you with the seraph problem. The fact is that we have helped you, and now that the seraph are out of your hair, will you do as you've said?"

Willem sighed, acknowledging that Bran had a point. "You've all had it easy. There wasn't a fight at all."

"Yeah... but your word..."

"Fine, fine, fine... you want to follow the troops west, is that your request?"

"Yes, if you don't mind."

Willem looked around, and then waved for one of the bandits to approach. It was a woman with a sharp face. "This is Cassie," Willem introduced. "She will be heading up the journey west. You want to go that way, you follow her."

Cassie was moderately short, in comparison to the other men, but she had a sheer confidence upon her face that made her ten feet tall. "There are two others with you?" she asked Bran.
"Yes, they are over this way," he brought her with him to meet Caden and Kov.

Kov turned to meet them, "What's up Bran?"

Caden looked up as Bran and the woman approached him* "Hey" *He said while giving bran a questioning look, not having caught the conversation with Willem earlier.

"This is Cassie," and he motioned to his friends, "Caden and Kovenito." Then he proceeded to describe his conversation with Willem to the other two. "... and that's why we should follow Cassie west when she transports them to the western camps."

"Ah, that works. When are we heading out Cassie?' replied Kov.

Another bandit brought a covered stack to Cassie, he unveiled several rifles beneath. "We should leave right after we get the prisoners chained in a line. I don't like waiting around too much, gives the prisoners more of an inkling of an idea that they might be able to escape." She picked up one rifle, and fired a test shot into the air. "It's good that Willem is sending you with me. Two of you will be in charge of taking the prisoners on pee breaks, and the other will wait with me, one with a rifle aimed at their front and the other at their rear."

Kov answered, "We can do that well enough, though I am better with a bow than with a rifle..."

"Use whatever is most effective. For myself, I'd rather just fire one direct shot to the leg. It tends to stop the runner immediately," she stopped to point at a large bag belonging to the bandits. "Make yourselves useful, ya? There's a coil of chains in that bag. Pull it out and start going round the prisoners till they're chained in a line so we can start moving them."

Bran picked up a rifle himself. "What say I be your eyes? I'll stay here and make sure the chains are placed properly."

Cassie raised a brow at him. "Go help with the chains, you dolt!" she snapped.

Bran looked a little surprised, but he put down the rifle and immediately got to work.

Kov put on the chains according to the instructions.

After nodding at Cassie he hurried over and helped Kovenito with the chains until all prisoners were securely shackled in.

The prisoner who was shot by the arrow moaned. The arrow was still lodged in his shoulder, although the second seraph had broken the rest of the arrow off, leaving just the head.

"What do we do with this one?" asked Bran.

"He will have to follow. We don't have time to stop for a healer," replied Cassie rather coldly.

"I am skilled in various healing arts, I could quickly patch him up," offered Kov.

"He's going to slow us down if we don't repair him soon," added Bran.

Cassie glanced Kov over. "I'm going to go fill up my drink bottle. When I'm back, you should be done. Otherwise we'll just leave in whatever condition he's in."

"That should be enough time to do the most essential work."

Shrugging slightly at the exchange Caden opened his pack and took out a few rolls of bandage and some paste to prevent infections "Here" he said as he handed them to Kovenito.

She left him to his work and walked away with her empty bottle.

The injured seraph looked up with teary eyes. "Thank you..." he said.

Another of the seraphs looked sharply at Kovenito. "You're he... aren't you?"

It turned out that Caden and Kov's skills complemented each other and they were able to silently get the job done quickly. Looking up, Kov replied, "He who?"

"Whatever he has to say is probably better left unsaid. This is not the place to be recognizing people," reminded Caden.

Kov leaned in close, "I assume you got the letter? We'll make sure you are alright."

The man breathed heavily as though he too was close to tears. "My name is Lieutenant Harps. My men and I thank you."

Kov stood up, leaning on the soldier as he did so, squeezing his shoulder in acknowledgement and as a subtle comfort.

Cassie returned just then. She narrowed her eye at Lieutenant Harps, who went back to his previous position, and turned to the floor to avoid her gaze. "Did the prisoners say something?" she asked the travelers.

"Just observing my healing skills, let them know I learned the craft as a hunter is all."

"Next time, no talking to the prisoners," she wagged a threatening finger at Kov. "I'm leading this team, you listen to me. Get them up. We're leaving."

"Understood" Kov said curtly.

Caden quickly flung his pack back on to his back and picked up one of the rifles.

The prisoners rose, and solemnly followed with Cassie at the head, Caden and Bran at both the sides, and Kov guarding the back. They left the seraph camp with a worded letter from Willem, who did as he'd promised. He had written a letter of recommendation in a short span of time, and had Cassie hold on to it for safekeeping.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on May 24, 2016, 12:15:44 PM
SELINA KNOX

She could see that a tumultuous storm was brewing over the horizon. It crackled with electricity, and occasionally crashed with fiery fervor into the peaks behind the crumbled wall. Terrified screams emerged from beyond - to whom they belonged she was unsure.

A large winged beast swooped way above her. Shrouded in shadows, it circled the sky above her, around and around. She retreated in terror as it began to descend towards her. But terror soon turned to familiarity as Havoc, Kovenito's trusted falcon, came to rest on her outstretched arm. Opening its beak, it offered not the cry of a winged one, but spoke, as plain as day, in the tongue of its human master - "The storm is coming. Are you ready?".



It was then that a jolt woke her from sleep. The musky air of her surroundings pervaded her nostrils all at once. A little disoriented after the troubling dream, she scrambled to gather where she was and what she had intended to do. Somehow the tight constraints were not a hindrance to falling asleep... and from what she could recall, she had herself smuggled onto a carriage pulled by centaurs, headed for the bandit camps in Brisban Wildlands. Except, they weren't moving any longer. Had she been asleep for that long?

Eager for answers, she clamoured to peer out of her peephole. But the truth was there was not much to be seen. The world through the peerhole was dark, possibly obstructed by something placed in front of it. For a while, she toyed with the idea of remaining where she was, or allowing curiosity draw her out of her cramp space. She finally decided that she would risk safety to find out exactly what had happened to the carriage, to the centaurs and to her barrel. With the aid of a narrow nutdriver, she began working to loosen the nails from the inner side of the lid. The nails fell to the floor, one after another. And each time Selina cringed and waited, hoping no one had noticed. There didn't seem to be any movement from outside, and she could only assume that she was alone. Perhaps the centaurs were asleep.

The final nail fell to the ground, and she gently lifted the lid off the barrel and emerged from the stack of corn, careful not to allow anything else to fall to the ground. On surveying the environment, the first thing she noticed was that she was no longer in the carriage, and that the ceiling of a cave loomed over her. Not a soul was anywhere in sight, just barrels upon barrels of supplies, stacks of weapons and unlabeled crates laying in a corner. Emboldened by the fact that she was alone, she stepped out of the barrel, made sure she replaced the corn, the lid and the nails - just so nothing would be out of order.

Creeping around the storage area, she noticed footprints in the dirt - both centaur and human alike, as well as the lengthy grooves cut in by the wheels of the carriage she had ridden in. The carriage was long gone, its goods unloaded. What she wouldn't give to know how much time had passed. Her sight traced the grooves in dirt that led upwards to what would possibly be the exit of the cave. Staying close to the eastern side of the cave, she took note of every nook and crevice, fully prepared to fade into the shadows if so required... except she did not encounter a soul. Not one, all the way up to a large wooden door right at the end of the path. Metal bars spanned a peephole right at eye level. And from it, rays of the moon streamed in like ethereal golden ribbons of light. It did occur to her then that the carriage must've travelled to its location barely within a full night. Much sooner than she'd anticipated. Somehow those centaurs had a found a much quicker method of travel.

Rising on her toes, she cautiously peered beyond the door to the deeply wooded area outside. Flames burnt on their braziers, lighting the myriad of wooden dwellings built upon the arched branches of the massive trees. Canopy top bridges linked each hut to the other, each ladder to each spiral staircase, they even had some kind of a water system spanning the entire compound, wrapping its circumference in steel trunkings and pipes. The inhabitants of this... what could be considered an enviable little city in the woods, were mostly locked away in their huts, though a number of the sleepless sat idly on the bridges, engaged in chatter with each other. She could see why Doc Howler had decided to take up the job in Brisban. Not only were they out of seraph jurisdiction, but the most of them were living as luxuriously as a bandit can possibly hope to enjoy. At least, it certainly was an upgrade from the Solaris Tundra... sorry Bess.

Pressing a hand upon the door, she found it to budge. And she widened it just large enough for her to emerge from the cave. It was then that she noticed a familiar hum. She turned to face a violet glow that flickered brilliantly in the distance. Immediately, her mind began putting the pieces of her journey together. She let out a quiet gasp as she contemplated what it could mean for the bandits here - whoever was in charge, they certainly had everything worked out, right down to a "T". If only she knew what was so important that it would require this amount of dedication.

There was a lot of mystery in the woods, but she wasn't there to investigate or to even give a damn. She was there for one reason, and one reason only. Turning her face to the many huts that hung ay various heights in the higher canopies, she soon realised then that there was one fatal kink in her plan. How in the world would she be able to find Doc Howler among all these? And there was the whole other matter of getting out of Brisban, undetected... But she immediately decided that she would handle one matter at a time. Deal with the Doc first, then decide what to do after. Taking a second glance about the huts surrounding her, she figured she'd best get to it soon. At least before sunlight touched the compound and woke up the entire squadron.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on May 25, 2016, 09:46:40 AM
Aidan Thomas Brennan

The next day Aidan awoke with a headache and a heavy heart. After finishing his breakfast he made his way over to his mother's room whos symptoms had worsed since yesterday. She was very pale and looked barely alive. He sat with her on her bedside and held her hand which barely held any warmth despite the warm fire that was burning in her room. Though both wanted to express many things neither found the words to say them and they sat in silence for most of the morning.

Aidan longed to share with his mother his fears and doubts regarding Makisi's death and to tell her about the incredible sadness that had taken hold of his heart. But he was reluctant to burden the suffering woman further and thus said nothing. Neither did he speak of the fear of losing her. He had to be a loyal and supportive son after all. Complaining like a little boy would not do.

When the time came to leave and meet Anise's contact he was reluctant to leave her side. With regret he told her he had to go. He explained that he hoped to hear some news about Makisi today and as he stood his mother gently squeezed his hand. "Times will be hard my son, but you've grown up a good man and I am so very proud of you." she whispered before letting her arm drop back on the bed.

"I'll be back soon mother" He said while bending over to kiss her forehead. With a clenched fist he left the room and crossed the district making his way towards the appointed inn.


As he entered the inn he immediately spotted a singular man sitting at the bar. He was just ordering as Aidan entered and as Aidan walked up to him he introduced himself as Kai Roan. After offering Aidan his condoleances he offered to find a quieter room upstairs. He paid the barkeep for Aidan's drink and they left the common room via the stairs.

After Kai made sure Aidan was concious of what he was getting himself into they discussed the Casta's. To Aidan's frustration however Kai had very little to offer him in the form of answers. Only more questions arose. Old rumors about the family were discussed and the more he heard the more mysterious the family became.

To add to his confusion Kai left him with a small box containing an amulet and the message to seek out a girl named Nahiri in the inn in the Ossan district. Any news on Makisi he could not give. No one heard anything about her, nor was her body found.

Confused but hopeful that this girl may know more Aidan made his way over to the Ossan District.

Though she served him his drink happily enough she seemed less pleased when he showed her the amulet. She near dragged him downstairs to the cellar where she yelled at him to explain how he got it. After he'd managed to calm her down he told her he'd been given it though he did not tell her about Kai.After some encouraging the girl told him of her history with the casta's and what he heard shocked Aidan considerably. He could not believe her words, yet she had no reason to lie either. After she finished telling her story she told Aidan to leave, which he did.

Thoroughly distracted he wandered the city until his feet found their way home. When he knocked to be let in a distraught Jenny opened the door. Wordlessly she bent her head as she let him in. Aidan was just about to enquire what was wrong when she spoke up. "Your family has gathered upstairs sir". Feeling the blood drain from his face Aidan nodded to her and rushed upstairs. As he rounded the corner to his mother's room he found the door open. Stepping over the doorstep he froze. His mother's eyes were closed and the sound of her laboured breath that had been present for the past few days was quiet. His father sat on his knees next to her bed, holding on to her hand desperately as he sobbed, not even acknowledging his presence. Andrea sat on the other side of the bed. Tears were in her eyes as she turned towards Aidan and sadly shook her head at him. "I'm so sorry my dear boy" She said as she stood to give up her seat to him. Moving over to the other side she stood behind Henry placing a hand on his shoulder.

After some time Aidan sat down on the chair and took his mothers hand in his. Fighting back tears he silently prayed for her soul. It was all he could do in his current state of shock.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Kovenito on May 27, 2016, 10:37:21 AM
Kovenito, Caden, Bran

They had traveled into late noon when Cassie decided it was time for a break. After strapping the prisoners to the trunk of a large tree, she opened her pack and pulled out a sandwich. "I hope you have your own, because I'm not sharing," she muttered to the others, then took several steps away from her travel companions to enjoy her lunch in solitude.

"Don't worry, I have some jerky and other items from my hunts..." Kov started to explain until he noticed Cassie didn't seem to pay attention.

"Not much of a team player," commented Bran, taking a seat near the prisoners.

"Not that it much matters anyhow, we won't be around that long."

"Shhh..." hissed Bran. "She doesn't know that, and doesn't have to know it."

"Fine, fine..."

Bran sunk his teeth into a rice crisp as he stared at the prisoners, who returned a much beleaguered gaze. "Don't suppose you bought food for these guys," he raised his voice and looked questioningly at Cassie. She waved a hand to dismiss his query. He frowned, taking the rice crisp out of his mouth. "What the heck kind of kidnappers are these people?"

"Here" Kov said as he handed the prisoners some food. "Can easily get more in the forest where that came from."

With a sigh, Bran passed along his rice crisp as well. "So much for lunch! Can't have a bunch of dead prisoners though." He waved a thumb at Cassie, and whispered to the rest, "I don't know what her boss would think of that."

Kov whispers back, "Seems having prisoners is just an afterthought to them..."

While Kovenito and Bran gave up their food Caden was eyeing a rather large plant not too far from them. It had the most beautiful flowers. After he walked over he turned over a leaf or two to check them and then with one move uprooted the entire plant. While the rest ate he sat himself and gathered the leaves in a neat bundle which he hung from the side of his pack. The root was cut from the stem and hung next to it. While he worked he listened in on the conversation though he did not particularly feel the need to add to it.

Bran nodded. Lieutenant Harps held onto a morsel of food, observing the conversation between Kov and Bran quite intently. He snuck a glance at Cassie before he decided to speak, "Do you know where they're taking us?"

"Not precisely, but it seems we head to the main bandit camp..." Kov replied.

Harps acknowledged what was suggested. "About a week ago, three of our men were snatched from their posts and disappeared into the thicket. If I were to guess, we're headed in the same direction."

Since no one made a move to leave yet he took the now dried bundle he'd collected days before from the side of his pack and inspected the leaves individually to ensure they had completely dried. After replacing those that had not he wrapped the dried leaves into a piece of fabric he'd taken out of his pack and tied it close.

"That doesn't bode well, but we shouldn't talk anymore. We'll keep an eye out though..." Kov said.

Cassie stood up from where she'd been seated, spent a little time adjusting her gauntlets, and returned to the team. She freshly noticed that the prisoners were finishing up the food they'd been given. "Charity will make you weak," she admonished the three men. "I hear you're looking to be recruited?" "Aye we are," responded Bran. She let out a laugh. "I'd tell you that you're wasting your time, but I need the three of you to help me move these prisoners."

"We just wanted to ensure that the prisoners survived the journey..." Kov added.

Caden shrugged and took a large swig from his water skin before standing and swinging his pack on his back. He observed Cassie closely as she spoke.

Bran began untying the men from the tree. "It would seem that if we are trusted enough to transport prisoners to the main camp, then surely we stand a shot at being a part of your elite club." Cassie smirked. "Why do you think they put a woman in charge of this task? Toot your horn all you'd like, there is no prestige in transporting prisoners." She pointed to the men, one by one. "You, you and you are bottom of the barrel. The slime beneath someone's boots. Nobody cares about these prisoners. They're as good as dead."

Kov responded, ”If that were the case, then why bother transporting them across the wilderness?"

"The answer to that is way above your status," retorted Cassie. "This is my fifth batch and I still don't know the answer to that question."

"Rather secretive band of bandits... a step above the usual lot I'd say..." responded Kov in an effort to coax her to talk more.

Cassie looked at Kovenito a little oddly. "Do you think a single band of bandits could've done all this?" She shook her face. "We are under a much larger banner now. A single, unified force." Bran nodded thoughtfully. "That's rather admirable..." he commented as he got the men to their feet, so they could continue their journey west. "I've always wondered what life would be like without the law of Divinity's Reach."

"Seems you got things well sorted out then" Caden said, finally speaking up.

Kov praised her, saying, ”Such unification is indeed a worthy achievement."

Cassie seemed somewhat pleased with herself, sharing in the praise. "I may remain bottom of the ranks, but at least I was accepted in. That's more than I can say for so many others." "Cassie," said Bran, "If you don't mind me learning from you - what exact qualities are they looking for? I ask so that we might be able to impress the bosses for a job like yours." Flattered by the remarks, Cassie started counting on her fingers, "Well first, you've gotta be real sharp, skilled with a weapon, connected... if you have connections, and you've gotta prove loyalty." "How do you prove loyalty?" "There're a couple of tests they run you through... that's after you get through a thorough background check."

"Do these tests vary or is there a typical process to them?” Kov queried.

"Sure hope they're not about to ask my parents about my ability to behave" Caden said with a half grin.

She shrugged. "I can only speak for myself and the people that I know. It's varied to some degree, but I can only assume it will be different for the higher ups. Don't worry though, none of you will be witnessing anything beyond what I went through... if you even get that far. And to be honest, it wasn't all that bad."

"So what would prevent us from getting in then?" Kov countered.

She raised a brow. "You'll likely be disqualified, purely based on the fact that aside from him..." she pointed to Bran. "Neither of the two of you have had any experience in this line of work. There's all the reason not to trust in your trustworthiness or your skills."

"Lady, I'll be happy to show you my skill with a gun any day. Just because I didn't use to aim it at people doesn't mean I don't know how to use it."

She laughed, "And here'in lies the crux. Any fool can aim a gun, but do you have what it takes to shoot down a man if needed?"

"I guess we'll find out if I have to. If I don't, I suppose I stop being a problem because I doubt my opponent will hesitate. "

"That's 'if' you even get through the initial process. Don't be too optimistic." Cassie walked alongside the prisoners, shoving them forward to get them to hurry up. "From what you've said, it sounds like I have reason to be optimistic," Bran pointed out. "You said they would discount the other two guys because of their inexperience, but you never said that they would discount myself." She turned around to look at him fully. "I didn't. Because there's a chance that..." Cassie stopped mid-sentence when she found the chains from Harp's wrists, stretched tightly around her own throat. She gagged.

Bran raised his rifle towards Harps, but he hesitated at once, looking to the others questioningly.

Pulling his pistol rather than the rifle he'd been given he aimed at the man's head. "I need you to let her go" He said calmly. "We don't want anyone dying now do we"

"Let myself and my men go," urged Lieutanent Harps. "I know you are good people, and that you'll do the right thing. Let us go, and you'll never see us again."

"Can't do that sir, now release her" He said while cocking his gun. There was not a single sign of doubt on his face as he looked straight at he lieutenant.

Kov spoke up. "This will end badly if can't peacefully bring you to the bandit camp."

As Cassie gasped and struggled with the chains, she managed a hoarse whisper, "Shoot him!" Harps looked to Bran and Kov. "Have mercy on my men and I. All we want to do is to leave Brisban and never come back. The moment I let go of these chains, I'm a dead man anyway." Tears welled up in his eyes. "I was responsible for the three men that disappeared... they never came back. I'm responsible for the men you see here... I can't... I won't let the same thing happen to them."

As Cassie spoke Caden concentrated a short while and fired his gun. The bulled from it dodged between the prisoners after hitting Harps. The man froze though his grip on Cassie loosened and she was able to release herself. Panicked another of the prisoners started to shout after being hit. The world had gone dark to his eyes.

Two of the others stood in place looking around them awkwardly.
Harps fell down to his knees, completely stunned, the prisoner next to him slumped down as well, and the third cried, holding his hands to his face. Cassie crouched over, still gasping, turning her eyes to Caden.

Bran lowered his rifle, glad that the stand off had ended. He admired the shot that Caden had fired. It was clear that magic had been used - he saw the sparks of violet within the second the bullet exploded from its case.

Putting his gun away he took a step towards Cassie offering her a hand to help her up. "You okay?" He said as he lead her a few steps away from the prisoners.

Kov told Caden, "Quick thinking with the ricocheting bullet" even though internally he hated the whole situation.

She nodded. And as soon as she recovered, she picked up her own rifle that had fallen by the wayside, and aimed it directly at Harps, cocking the bullet into place.

"He's already subdued ma'am." Kov pointed out.

"Let's just shorten their chains and get them to wherever they need to be. I'm sure they serve a purpose if they're being hauled halfway across Brisban."
"Or better yet, get rid of the trouble makers." Cassie's eyes were fiery, angered by the attack. She aimed the rifle at the other prisoners. "Are you going to try that too?" They shrunk in fear, shaking their heads violently - even the one that had been blinded. "Anyone want to give it a shot?" she thundered. They continued to say no. "Good. Don't share his fate," she said, and pressed the trigger. Taking a direct hit to the middle of his forehead, Harps fell backwards and landed with a dull thud.
The prisoners gasped in horror, some began wailing over their fallen comrade. Bran's eyes were saucer wide. He stared at Cassie, uttering not a word. "Get rid of him and let's be on our way," she said coldly. Bran stuttered, "But... but..." "Do it!" she yelled at him. "And you thought that you could be one of us? Think again..." Even as she turned away, she spent a moment's glance at Caden - expressing her appreciation, even though she would not speak it with her mouth.
He clapped Bran on the shoulder and moved towards Harps to get him out of the chains. Checking to see Cassie had her back turned he carefully closed the man's eyes. "I"m sorry" He mouthed silently before gesturing to Bran directing him to take the man's feet.

Bran was still shell-shocked by the entire incident. Not just of how Harps had fatally met his end, but how Caden had taken it all in stride, entirely absent of even a flinch. Wasn't he the bandit, and Caden the... Bran gave it a little thought. He realised he wasn't actually sure what Caden was... apart from his tale of running away from home. He grabbed Harp's legs, and together they carried him in the direction of a bush. "Leave him behind the bush?" asked Bran, looking over to Cassie, who was already tapping her feet impatiently. "I don't think we'll have time to dig him a grave."

"Digging this man a grave would probably mean our own as well." He said regretfully. "Bran.. I did not think she's actually shoot, I.."

He gave him a sympathetic look. "We came here to save Selina, and ended up deeper into this dung hole than we'd care to admit. You know... it could've all been over if we'd let Harps finish the job. We could've all gone home. But I don't think that's on your agenda."

"We'd abandon Selina, and though I don't know her well I did not get the impression that she gives up easily"

"Well, you've got a stubborn head between those ears," commented Bran as they laid Harps out behind the bushes as respectfully as they were able to. "If you were to do the same for every girl you met..." he whistled.

"Hate to point this out, but we can still finish off Cassie and make a run for it with the remaining seraph. Your choice"

"Nah," said Bran, dusting himself off. "We're in too deep now. Besides, I don't know about you, but all this secrecy is making me horribly curious. I had ideas before about what they were up to, but now I'm pretty sure all my theories are wrong. Even if we don't get Selina back, maybe we could just get a peek... just a tiny little glimpse of what's really going on."

"You're right, something is definitely going on here. Lets get back to the road though, before Cassie overheats again"

"Right..." agreed Bran. "And for the record, I'm real glad that you had something else to say about Harps' death. For a moment, you looked exactly like a stone,cold killer to me. Turns out, it was nothing short of a stunning performance. Rave, rave."

"I just hope she'll be less skeptical about us now"

Bran laughed as they started heading back towards Cassie. "I know one thing's for sure. She'll be less skeptical about YOU. That girl's just asking for you now. I may be the master of many ladies, but you've got this one down pat. Good job." He gave a gratuitous bow to Caden.

"Not sure how praiseworthy that is" He said with a chuckle as the arrived back at the road.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on May 31, 2016, 10:53:09 PM
A hand clasped over her mouth abruptly woke the Doc from her restful sleep. As she opened her eyes, she noted that it was still dark, though the rising rays of dawn gave hint to the time, and the shadow looming over her gave hint to the danger. Initially, she trashed about in her bed, and frantically attempted to rip off the iron grip upon her face. But a whisper in her ear quickly made her recognize the situation a little more clearly.

"Doesn't feel as good on this end, does it?"

The Doc would recognize that voice from anywhere. She stopped trashing about and instead, attempted to turn around. Her attacker made it easier for her by stepping on her bed, and sitting on her legs, covered over with yak leather.

"I'm not going to kill you, although I have all the reason to. I just want to talk."

After some hesitation, the Doc nodded.

"Are you going to scream if I take my hand off your face?"

She shook her head to signify compliance. Her attacker smiled, then removed her hand. "Sellie Knox, it's been a while."

"Not long enough, I suppose."

"I said I would kill you if I ever laid eyes on you again."

Selina jabbed two fingers into the Doc's chest. "You didn't, and still you tried."

"You were attempting to come back. Call it preemptive."

"Don't flatter yourself. I was done with this life till you dragged me back into it."

"And why would you admit anything to me? We were never exactly honest with each other."

"Look into my eyes," Selina grabbed the Doc by the collars and pulled her to an inch of her face. "And tell me I'm not being honest. I don't want anything to do with you, the rest of the Blades or being constantly against the law. I am finished with this life. Call off your bounty on me. We'll call it even."

She narrowed her eyes at her. "And what about your obsession with Two-Blade Pete's mission? Didn't you dedicate yourself to his cause?"

Selina gave pause, and then replied, "That's all behind me now."

The two women glared intently at each other, trying to guess each other's thoughts... till at last the Doc muttered under her breath, "Liar." And at the top of her lungs yelled, "Intruder!"

Flustered and enraged, Selina slapped her across the cheek. At which time, Doc Howler screeched and sunk her glassy black nails into Selina's thigh, weaving her poison into her veins. Kicking off her grip, Selina stumbled off the bed, and dragged the Doc off as well, slamming her face into the floor. The Doc grasped a corner of Selina's left boot, and a chilly sensation shot up into her chest. "Intruder!" she screamed again. The chill slowed her movements, but it didn't stop Selina from giving her opponent a firm kick to the stomach. This made the Doc let go of the boot, rolling instead with the impact.

Selina drew out her dagger, pulled the Doc to her feet, and placed the blade squarely against her throat. "Enough games! Don't make me end your life!"

The Doc began to laugh, as she backed up against a wall, "Ten years... and we find ourselves back where we left off."

"My knife at your throat, just like before."

"Win the battle, lose the war..." replied the Doc, as bandit guards opened the door to the room, aiming their rifles at Selina. "You'll never learn."

Dragging the Doc in front of her, her blade still at her throat, she slowly backed away from the guards. "Oh, I think I've learnt a thing or two."

"Let her go," demanded a guard, preparing the trigger. "There's no place to go."

"I beg to differ," she replied, feeling the edge of an open window with the side of her hip. And with a huge heave, sent the Doc sprawling onto the guards, just as she leapt out of the window and free fell down the massive tree that Doc Howler's home was perched onto. Within only a second's instinct, she stretched out her arm and grabbed onto the rope that she had prepared for herself. Her descent ended speedily with a jolt, and for a moment, she sailed through the bandit camp with the wind racing past her.

The loud toll of a bell rang through the air as a group of bandits began gathering beneath her, bullets whizzing past and shouts ringing to the sound of the word, "Intruder!" She let go of the rope, and gravity soon caught up with her, sending her spiraling into a huge branch. She maneuvered her arms into position to catch the branch at the right angle in order to slide down its side. Its rough bark cut into her hands, and her landing was a little less desirable than she'd planned. But she rolled back into a standing position, and began fleeing the scene in an entirely new direction from whence she'd come, darting yet more bullets, making a leap onto a portion of the wall surrounding the camp that she had hastily cut nodes into.

Vertical ascent was much slower than her horizontal escapade, and much more limiting. A bullet was lucky enough to plummet into her side and tear her from the wall. She tumbled to the ground, and struggled to get up when a tall figure with a dark hood stepped in front of her, and flung something in her direction. It pierced her flesh, just below her shoulder bone, lodged itself there, and dragged her forward, right into his grasp. With his other hand, he pressed against her temples - and from it, a mystical spell traveled down her spine, stiffening her bones, turning her flesh into a bright green shade, turning her to stone.

And just like that, her great escape had ended.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on June 01, 2016, 03:46:30 PM
CADEN MULLENS, BRANDON TURNER, KOVENITO

After a few more hours dusk set in and Caden picked up his pace to walk next to Cassie. "How much longer? Or do we have to camp out here with those guys?" He asked while glancing over his shoulder at the prisoners.

Kov walked silently with his head bowed, still distraught over what happened earlier.

Cassie tugged on her pack as she took occasional glances behind her to make sure that the prisoners were all still there. "We should arrive tomorrow morning, if we set off in time."

"So, I guess we should make camp soon then?" He asked, still slightly apprehensive of Cassie after the earlier events.

"We should," she replied, and with a thoughtful glance. "Perhaps you can suggest where you'd like us to set up camp?"

"Well do we need to worry about anything or anyone attacking us or do we just need to worry about our prisoners? I figured you'd have a camping spot since you've done this several times before."

She smiled. "Of course I do. I was merely being polite. And you can put your mind off attackers - although escapees are quite another thing." She playfully prodded him in the chest. "That's what we're here for."

"Sightseeing hmm? Can't say I've been to Brisban before. I'd like to see some more of the area."

Cassie grabbed a corner of Caden's hand and dragged him up to where she had pointed. "Then you'll have to see this." They got to the top of the slope, just as the moon was beginning to ascend. Its glow fragmented and danced in reflected ripples of moving water from the wide lake below, like twinkling jewels under the stars. "We call this the Hidden Lake." She shrugged. "It's just a name. The lake is not that hidden."

He followed after Cassie as she led him up the slope. "It's certainly gorgeous" He said as he looked out over the sparkling water.

There was a smug look on her face as she put a hand on her hip and did a backtrace on his glance. "One would think you're referring to the lake," she teased.

He laughed at her comment as he glanced back down the slope, we should return before we're missed.

She grabbed his arm before he could leave. With a loud whistle, she brought attention to herself, as the prisoners headed in her direction. "Problem solved," she told him. "No need to trouble yourself."

Bran moved over to Kov, and spoke so Cassie would not be able to hear. "Since we're nearing the site, we might have to consider ditching the wench and going our own way. I don't think we actually intend to interview for jobs with these guys."

Kov looked distractedly at Bran, "Hmm? Ah, Ilterendiel's plans aren't panning out as expected... this whole mission has gotten off track. Selina is the only thing I care about at this point."

Bran pushed Kov aside, "Look man. We can't do anything for her if we land ourselves in trouble."

"I know that. But we did take a high risk path to get to her. I just hope it's all worth it..." Kov replied.

"It was high risk to come in here uninvited, from the very beginning. It's not like I didn't warn you guys."

"You did, but I had my hesitations. If it actually gets us to Selina, then I guess that's as much as we can hope for," answered Kov.

Bran shook his face. "We've had our look. She isn't here. We can't hope to comb the entire jungle just for one person."

"I'm not giving up. Her original trail has gone cold by now, but there are other ways to find someone. If you've lost hope, I'll search on my own," responded Kov.

"Don't tempt me," Bran responded curtly. "I would've left long ago, but that would reflect badly on both you and Caden, and then I would have to bear the burden of you two's deaths. But I tell you, if this carries on, and the two of you want to extend yourselves above and beyond the search mission, I'm going to leave and not regret it."

"Your confidence is inspiring... we just have to stay focused on why we're here," Kov said.

Bran headed up the slope to where Cassie and Caden stood. "You can stay focused all you want. I'm going to try to keep us alive."

Kov walked up behind Bran toward the others, shaking his head as he went.

Caden turned back towards the lake. "So, whereabouts is this camp we're headed to?"

"West," she responded. "And they won't let us through the first gates.We will drop them off, as I have always drop them off - at the first gates, near the mines. There will be people to take it from there."

"So what do we do then?"

She looked at Caden, a little apologetically. "We go back."

"Ah, so, that letter of recommendation?"

She put a hand down the inner side of her jacket, and pulled out a letter, signed and sealed by Willem. "You can hand it to the guard... but honestly, don't expect anything to come of it."

"Think your boss will still hire us? I mean, personally I don't particularly care who I work for, 's longs I got a roof over my head and food in my stomach. It's just, Bran knew the Doc so he wanted to work for her."

"Willem will take you. He's already accepted you into his fold," she shook the letter in front of Caden's face to remind him. "Quite another thing to try to get to Doc Howler though. She's under the leadership of Auberon, and some say Auberon has direct connections to... well... powerful people."

"Sounds fishy if you ask me, I prefer knowing who my boss is I think."

"Which is why," she leaned closer to him. "If I were you, I'd settle to work for Willem. He might be boorish, but he makes for a good employer. Also... we could make working together... something a little more permanent."

"Just don't expect me to go around saving your life all the time" He said with a grin as Bran approached them. "Oi now slowpoke, thought you'd fallen asleep" he said.

The expression on Bran's face was strained. "Can I speak to you alone, Caden?"

"Aye" "Excuse me Cassie" He said nodding to her apologetically as he walked over to Bran. "You don't look too happy"

There was frustration bubbling just beneath the surface. "Speaking to Kovenito is just... just... Okay let's just say I'm not getting anywhere. I told him that we can't stick to the wench, she's not going to get us where we need to go. The moment we find that gate, we need to go our own way." Desperation spilled onto his face. "I need you to understand what I'm saying here."

"We're not getting through that gate anyway if Cassie is to be believed. She likes me well enough so I don't think she speaks out of spite or ill will, but she doesn't seem to think we've got any chance of getting to the Doc. I think we need to stick around until after the prisoners are dropped off though. It'll give us a chance to see if there's any whisper of Selina going round there. She may have gotten there ahead of us. So far I have her thinking I'm interested in returning with her to work for Willem."

"Don't we have that letter? Will that letter get us in the gate?"

"She seems to highly doubt it, and I see no reason not to believe her on this. We can still try of course, but Bran. She mentioned the Doc working for someone higher up, a man named Auberon, does that name ring a bell to you? It seems rather fishy to me"

Bran shrugged. "I all but lost touch with the entire group when they moved to Brisban. All I knew was that it was a hush hush deal. No names, no details. It makes sense that Doc Howler is working for someone else though. Someone dangled a carrot deep in the jungles of Brisban, and Doc took the bait. If you ask me," he subtly pointed to the prisoners. "The prisoners will be going directly to this guy... Auberon, and not to Doc Howler."

"I think you're right.What do we do though, got a plan in mind?"

"I think that we should ask Cassie to go back to Willem on her own. It will take a while for that letter to get somewhere beyond the gate, so we could tell her that we'll be waiting for a response - for good or for ill. Then when night falls, we could try to find a spot to peer over the gate to see what's going on inside - or if Sellie is in there."

"Sounds solid. I'm not sure Cassie would readily agree to leave us behind however."

Bran chuckled. "You mean you're not sure if she would readily agree to leave YOU behind. I'm sure she'd be more than pleased to let the rest of us go."

He sighed. "Laugh all you want, but please, don't leave me alone with her"

"Are you being serious?" He peered at Caden just to be sure. "Wow... you're a bonafide clean bill. You should be so proud of yourself."

"She creeps me out man."

Bran grinned widely. "Want to get rid of her? Let me teach you the perfect way. Women love men that they can't get. If you get all over her, like an obsessive amount, and throw in a few horrible bed habits, farting, nose digging, burping... And right after that, threaten her with a lifetime commitment. Trust me, she's going to be gone with the wind in no time."

"I'd rather be rid of her before we get to bedhabits" He said rolling his eyes at Bran. Besides, we'll reach the camp early in the morning.

He laughed. "Clean bill, all the way across. So when we get to the gate, I'll tell Cassie our plan. You deal with her heartbreak, and don't shirk the responsibility." He wagged his finger.

"Aye sir" He said, rolling his eyes again.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on June 03, 2016, 11:20:54 AM
SELINA KNOX

She awoke, her body screaming in pain, yet completely unable to move. Arms and legs strapped with iron clasps to a wooden structure in the shape of a "T", armor removed and in its place, scant fabric cover over her chest and hips. Panic set in and her breath came in short spurts as her mind tried to gather where she was and what was going on. This proved to be a greater challenge with the blinding ray of sunlight cascading over her through a circular gap in the roof - but the little that was visible told her that she was wedged in the middle of a octagonal stone platform with wooden trimmings, eight sturdy pillars to hold up a high ceiling, before each pillar, a guard in what seemed to be a mix of white fabric and steel armor and on the eastern side of her scope of vision, a slender figure in flowing robes, a scepter in his right hand. The figure stirred the moment it realised she was awake. She figured it would be the one to speak to about her predicament.

"My clothes..." was the first thing she uttered. Addressing not exactly the most pressing matter at hand, but she didn't feel like addressing anything in the vulnerable state she'd found herself in.

"My apologies," replied the figure, crossing the platform in slow and quiet steps. The voice was calm and soothing, and appeared to belong to a man although as he came closer, she could see that he had beautiful dark hair of silk that caressed his shoulders and upper back, flawless fair porcelain skin and blushing pencil sized lips. She would've certainly mistaken him for a woman if he had not spoken first. "What you were wearing was filthy and stained... undeserving of you. I've had it washed and put aside - and in its place, a brand new set of armor that I'm certain you will approve of."

She had prepared a smug retort, but instead stared at the stranger in confusion. Never in her years would've she anticipated that her captor would give a damn about her sense of fashion. Much less attempt to get her a replacement.

His lips curled in a smile, and gracefully moved closer. For the first time, she took notice of the luscious lashes upon his eyelids, and the crystal glow within his eyes. She'd never called a man beautiful before - she never really felt the term fit, but he was certainly one of the most beautiful specimens she'd ever seen. "You have many questions," he continued. "Perhaps we should begin with an introduction?"

She nodded. Sheer curiosity had distracted her from her ills.

"My name is Auberon, and you are in the depths of Verdant Brink. Perhaps you already knew that?"

Her eyes widened. "I had no idea. I thought I was in Brisban Wildlands."

He laughed, a light and melodic laugh. "Perhaps we should not be surprised that you managed to smuggle yourself through our highly guarded portal... after all, you are the woman who made a fool of the Seraphs, and evaded them for the next five years."

She continued to stare into his eyes, initially out of disbelief... then finding herself completely sucked in like a hormonal teenager with a crush. She couldn't put a finger on what it was that made him so enchanting, she could barely take her attention off him. "Right, I did..." she replied, a little dazed.

"You have a rare skillset that could be useful to us, should you be keen."

"Wha..." she blinked, trying at best to pull herself from his gaze and focus on the issue at hand. She'd found it unusually difficult to concentrate the longer she'd been in his presence. "I came here for one reason only, to get Doc Howler to drop the bounty she'd put on my head. I'm sorry I had to intrude on your camp in order to do that, but there was no other way to get to her. I was informed previously that birds weren't making it past your first gate."

He dropped his glance, and moved to pace around the structure. "Doc Howler informed me of a rumor that had been passing around certain circles. I told her that I would look into the matter, but she decided to take the rumor personally, act rashly, and she did so entirely outside of my will. I am most displeased with her, and will see that she will be punished for her actions." He came back to face her directly, looked down at the gunshot wound on her side that still bled, and gently touched the bare flesh beside it. She felt warmth pulsing from his touch. It made her weaker than she'd ever felt, and she had to shut her eyes to bear with the discomfort as he continued to speak, "You are hurt. You need to be healed soon or you will bleed out. I could be generous and let you go out into the woods on your own, but I really don't think you'd survive."

"I can't imagine why you would be concerned. The moment you revealed your name and the location of your secret camp to me, I knew my demise had been signed and sealed. So why delay the inevitable?"

He took his hand off her side, and tucked a finger beneath her chin, lifting her face up slightly. She re-opened her eyes and right then, noticed something odd. His eyes, which she had distinctly remembered to be crystal blue, had turned a shade of violet. She wondered then whether her memory couldn't be trusted. Perhaps the anxiety of the situation had muddled her mind. Another thing she noticed then, was the red stone he wore around his neck, set in a golden frame, and joined together with a golden chain. "I'm afraid you mistake my intent. I want nothing more than to save you. To give you the life that you've always wanted."

"How can..." the world began to seep away as she narrowed in on his voice. It became harder to remember what she meant to say. "...you... you know what I've always wanted? I... don't..."

"Shhhh..." he chided. "You were magnificent once, like an untouched wyvern, wild and free... but the Seraphs, they broke your spirit. They put you in chains... so much that even when your chains are removed, they are still imagined. You poor, poor creature."

"Th... that's... not..." Images raced through her mind - the slamming of the iron doors of the dungeon beneath the Seraph headquarters, the deriding remarks of the guards, the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness in captivity.

"Doc Howler told me of the man who found and raised you, and the vow you made upon receiving news of his death. It sounds all... all so tragic. Perhaps you might make good on that promise."

"But.." The alluring nature of his voice made her susceptible to his suggestion, but two faces continued to haunt her - two faces... and oddly she'd lost any recollection of their names or why they would disapprove.

"Something is still holding you back," he noted. His hand grasped fully onto her jaw, searching for that final link that she hid.

She shut her eyes tightly, her face wrecked with the battle it fought within. Everything in her told her to give up those two faces to the all consuming feeling. But a still, small voice insisted that they were important... whatever and whoever they were. "Don't forget..." it cautioned. "You must never forget."

After an intense moment, her eyes flew open, and she looked upon the world with a completely new perspective. Everything seemed brighter, more optimistic, more hopeful.

"Tell me, who are you?" Auberon asked.

"I am Sellie Knox. Some people know me as Sliptail Sel."

"Good. Now who am I?"

"Auberon... you never told me your last name. You offered me a job... I..." she struggled to recall what the job entailed.

He nodded approvingly. "I offered you the chance to work for me, and in return, I would grant you great power and riches. You were just about to accept my offer."

She smiled, "Yes, I'm very keen to take up your offer."

"Before taking the job, you should know that we will be in opposition to Queen Jennah. How do you feel about her?"

She rolled her fists into balls. "She is a mortal enemy to me. A long time ago, she took someone special from me. A long torturous death would be too good for her."

Clasping his hands together, he approved of her sentiments. "Very good, very good. I trust that you will be loyal to the cause and that nothing will distract you from your mission."

"I'm of one mind..." she gave pause. "I have just one question. What will my position be in relation to Doc Howler's?"

"You will hold a very important job. I cannot deny that there may be occasional interactions with Doc Howler, but I assure you that she will no longer be able to hurt you. Does that give you comfort?"

"You plan everything perfectly... my master. I cannot be more grateful."

The title she'd bestowed upon him pleased him very much, and he beamed with satisfaction. Reaching into a small pouch tucked into his sleeve, he pulled out a blue tablet. "I believe you're finally ready for this."

"Ready for what?"

"Open your mouth, and you'll see."

Obediently, she opened her mouth, and he dropped the tablet down her throat. A cool sensation immediately spread from her middle, all the way to her fingers and toes, followed by a great burst of warmth from within. It was then that she noticed the bullet that had embedded in her side, backing out of her flesh and falling to the floor. The torn flesh knit itself together till there was not a scar to be seen. Her shredded palms sealed themselves up perfectly, and the small hole in her shoulder that had been staked by the grapple, faded to nothingness. Her body was in perfect working condition within just moments of ingesting that pill and she couldn't help but be awed by the entire process.

"There's more where that came from, and even greater wonders," Auberon promised, as he summoned the guards to free her from her restraints. "Serve me faithfully and be greater than you've ever been. All power is just waiting to be tapped into, and we're only at the frontier."

She fell to her knees the moment the clasps were taken off her. "Grant me this power you speak of, master. And I promise that I will not let you down."
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on June 08, 2016, 01:06:01 PM
DOC HOWLER

Doc Howler had assumed that she had finally won. She was informed of the harlot's injuries and capture. As disappointed as she was that Sellie Knox had not perished on the spot, even more was she to learn that she'd not only survived captivity, but that Auberon, of all people, had decided to take her under his wing. When it was announced that the scamp had been hired as a security consultant, she almost flipped her lid. Auberon had never been so quick to trust. Every title bestowed had to be earned only through arduous periods of hard work. It had always been the way. And yet Sellie Knox, the famed betrayer, had weaseled her way into a position not in the least befitting of her. Moreso, Auberon had shown disdain in her own... spontaneity... to rid the clan of this nuisance before it festered. As such, she had been delivered a stern warning to remove the bounty she had placed, never to disobey her superiors again - or be branded with treachery, then the final insult, to be stripped from her canopy-top home, and supplied a less desirable one in a common place. To add salt to wound, she discovered shortly after she had moved into her new place, that her mortal enemy had taken her home among the top of the branches. Reeling with anger, the necromancer was quick to consult the eyes she had meticulously placed within camp to supply her insider information. Apparently her frustration at the situation was reflected in some circles, especially with the higher ups who had worked hard to achieve everything they had. Some questioned Auberon's judgement, and others, Sliptail Sel's ability to re-integrate into life in the clan - they questioned her loyalty and overall state of mind ensuing incarceration. But none were brave enough to speak up, knowing in part of what Auberon and his superiors were truly capable of. They understood that signs of dissent could be misconstrued as treachery, and that would lead them to only one place. Unfortunately, Doc Howler's intent to do something about this disgrace among their ranks was hampered by the same fears as her comrades. And she decided to fall back to a safer plan to wait it out and see what could be done. Removing Sel this time around would not be as straight forward as before, but she was certain that only patience would bring about the prime moment for such an event.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on June 10, 2016, 11:15:41 PM
CADEN MULLENS, KOVENITO AND BRANDON TURNER

Bran had taken the final shift that allowed him to watch the sun rise. Every now and then, he would glance over at the prisoners. And one in particular, a kind of stout and hairy guy, would be glaring at him. He had been awake since the start of Bran's shift, and they'd repeatedly exchanged glances, though neither spoke.

After wrestling with the idea for a while, Bran finally walked over to the man, and squatted in front of him. "You either have a crush on me, or you have something to tell me."

The man shook his face.

"So you don't have something to tell me?"

"I..." the man began. "I don't know if I can trust you."

Intuitively, Bran turned around to make sure that Cassie was still sound asleep. "You might be better off talking to that one," he suggested, motioning in Kov's direction.

The man's eyes shifted. "Don't you guys have a plan?"

"A plan for?"

"To get us out of here."

"Is there supposed to be such a plan?"

The guy glanced at Kov. "The letter..."

Kov stirred slightly in the early light and heard light whispering.

Bran scratched the back of his neck uncomfortably. "Well... I think you guys were to help us get further into Brisban."

Anger welled up in the man's eyes. "We should never have heeded the letter. I can't believe you have the heart to use us as pawns and discard of us when we have no use to you."

"Hey... whoa there..." Bran looked about hastily. The man's emotions were getting a little too loud for comfort.

Waking early Caden lay on his back staring up at the sky while he wondered what the day would bring. This trip was certainly not turning out like he thought it would. Hearing the nearby voices get louder he glanced over at Cassie to make sure she was still sleeping. He then sat up and motioned to the other two to quiet down.

Bran nodded at Caden's signal, and spoke in hushed words to the agitated man, "We need to know where these guys are taking you first. We don't know the first thing about what's going on in Brisban. Do you?"

The man bit his tongue, and quietened down. "A little."

"And...?"

The man shifted again. "They're... digging..."

"Digging? For what?"

"Looking for something. All I know is they need bodies. Lots of bodies."

"To help with the digging?"

"Maybe."

Raising an eyebrow in question Caden carefully got up and moved over to the pair, making sure not to rouse Cassie. "What else do you know?" He asked whispering.

Kov opened his eyes and looked toward the others.

"I know..." as the man spoke, beads of sweat rolled down his temples. "That there've been experiments..."

"Experiments? what sort?"

The man shrunk backwards when he noticed Cassie's arm move over her forehead. He directed his gaze at Kovenito. "You have to get us out. You owe it to us.."

"It was always my intention to get you all to safety," Kov replied.

Bran grabbed Caden and pulled him backwards, just as Cassie rolled lazily on her side, and rubbed her eyes. "Who's talking?" she yawned.

"Ah sorry Cassie, I hope we didn't wake you. Bran and I were sharing stories" Caden said casually as he turned to look at her.

"Yeah stories..." Bran quickly backed up what Caden was saying.

Cassie took a look at Kov who didn't argue with what was being said, and she ate up what she was being told, and sat up. "Get the rest of the prisoners up. The sun is going up. We should be off."

Bran leapt to his feet and immediately got to waking the prisoners.

"Yes ma'am" Caden said, immediately jumping into action.

The prisoners woke, a little groggy, and dismayed. The man who had spoken cast a specific glance at Bran, and discreetly Bran nodded - although deep within he wasn't particularly certain it was a promise he could keep.

Before long, they were headed back down the path as the light in the sky strengthened in shades of red and yellow to a single brightness. That was when they found themselves at the gate at long last. It was high, and appeared to be very sturdy. Iron framed gaps lay embedded into the sides of the gates, each fitted with defensive mechanisms and weaponry, all aimed and ready to go. The scent of dirt was strong in the air, and so was the light clinking of iron picks against rock. Bran assumed it was as Cassie had said, that the gate would be near a mine. Perhaps that too reflected the imprisoned soldier's report.

"Halt there!" demanded the guard.

"I have more prisoners," offered Cassie. "We're just here to drop them off."

"Hmmm.... where from?"

"The camp down south. Your superiors will be glad to hear that we've overtaken the seraph camp, and now occupy it."

The guard consulted another, then nodded in her direction. "Stay there, we're sending a man down."

Glancing at Bran Caden shifted on his feet waiting to see what would happen.

The prisoners murmured among each other as the guards on the wall pointed arrows and guns in their direction. With a loud creak, the massive gate inched open till it was wide enough to fit a man.

Sure enough, one of the guards, a man with a scarf around his neck and a greatsword at his side, stepped out. He spent a moment looking over the prisoners, and seemed satisfied. "Good job Cassie. The bosses will be pleased." Then he pulled out a bag of coins from his pocket, and plunked it in the middle of her palm.

"And..." Bran stepped forward, thinking that Cassie would conveniently forget to mention the letter.

The guard seemed curious. "Who are these men?"

"Ah..." said Cassie, a little reluctantly. She pulled out the letter from her pocket and handed it to the guard. "They're looking for work."

The guard took the letter, a little confused as to its purpose. "I assume this is from Willem?" he asked. She nodded. "You know we don't work like this."

"I do. But they were insistent. And they did help us with the camp."

The guard raised a brow. "How long have they been with Willem?"

"We've been with him long enough to pick up a few things. We're passionate about the cause, and have always aspired to work... well... for the main camp that we've heard so much about. Let me tell you sir, we are willing to do just about anything. We learn quickly, we work hard, and we are loyal. Just give us a chance, and we'll prove it to you."

Slightly unimpressed, the guard sent a look Cassie's way. "Eager to climb the ladder eh?"

Cassie shrugged, and frowned in disapproval.

Catching Cassie's look Caden spoke up "Oh comon Cass, you know we've proven our worth"

"I'm not the one that you need to impress," responded Cassie, a little coldly.

Chuckling at the stranger's enthusiasm, the guard spoke, "All positions have been filled. You're welcome to wait, but you may have to wait a long time."

"We will wait!" snapped Bran, before anyone else could get a word in.

"A long time," the guard emphasized, and looked also at Caden and Kov. "Don't expect us to feed you out here."

"Good thing we're perfectly capable to feed ourselves then" Caden said with a grin before he turned to Cassie. "Sorry lass, looks like I won't be coming back with you" He said on a lower tone.

She glared grumpily at him, hating the fact that he had even supported the idea of waiting. "See if I care!" she snapped, clutched the coins tightly, and stormed off alone.

"Well don't I feel rejected" Caden said with a smirk as he shrugged at Cassie's response.

About then, a few other guards armed with rifles arrived to retrieve the prisoners. They had to widen the gate just a little bit more. Bran and Caden quickly snuck a peek in, and found a dirt road leading from the gate, to what seemed to be a huge pit on the ground. And aside from a few living quarters and a well, the pit was surrounded by steep mountains that seemed entirely unpassable.

"Don't get any ideas," warned the guard, shoving a hand in their face to block the view. "Good luck waiting out here. Watch out for raptors." he said, before he left the group and ordered the door shut.

Bran looked up at the guards, and said in a rather loud voice, "Hmm... I guess we'd better set up a camp site further into the woods. We'll be back to check on our application status later." Then he put his arms around Caden and Kov's shoulders, leading them a distance back down the path till at last he decided to stop, just out of view of the gate.

"So, what do we do now?" Caden asked after they stopped.

Looking relieved that he could finally speak his mind, Bran gushed his thoughts, "Experiments? And that large gate set up to hide a hole in the ground? What in the name of Tyria are they doing in there? Wait... I don't want to know. I don't want to know what is going to happen to those men. I don't care about getting a job. But at least one thing's for certain now... with that gate and the number of guards patrolling it, Sellie couldn't have possibly got through there, not in her life. If you were smart enough, you would agree. That's the end of our journey."

"If she didn't get through, then where the hell is she?"

"Maybe she's chilling back in Queensdale. What say we go back and take a look see... maybe visit a pub while we're there. Have a few drinks."

Caden gave Kovenito an uncertain glance. "It can't hurt to stick around for a few days. If she was here she might've been captured. Maybe we could try to sneak closer to the wall and listen in on the guards to see if we can pick up on anything."

"I guess we scout the area for alternate entrances while we wait. But I'm worried that will take to long to be able to assist Selina and the prisoners," said Kov.

A little frustrated with the two men, Bran switched his attention between Caden and Kov. "Just my luck to be stuck with you two. You can stay on if you'd like, but I'm only just spending one night here. ONE!" he held out his finger. "And then if no news comes, I'm heading home. I've wasted enough time on this wild goose chase."

"Whatever's going on in there really has you spooked hasn't it?"

"You two do what you will. I'm not stopping until I see Selina again in person," declared Kov.

"I just don't see... why is it necessary to incur any more risk. I've been working on... the fringes of law for a while now. We tend to work in smallish groups, or just slightly more organized groups. Hide in little nooks, drink wine and be merry. None of this... fortress-like empire full of secrets, lengthy job applications, prisoners pushed down a hole... this is way way waaaay out of our league."

"It's not about their secret pit, but about the people held there. We need to find a way to help them, especially if Selina's really there," observed Kov.

"Whatever... I still stand with one night. We will investigate thoroughly, listen to everything being said and do that till morning. If there is no news, I will assume she never came here," insisted Bran. He moved into the sight of the guards with his flint, then began lighting a campfire. "Till then," he continued. "We must behave completely non-suspicious. I'm going to sit here till night and look like I'm actively waiting."

"How do you actively wait?" Caden joked to get rid of the tension in their little group.

Bran continued to work on starting a spark. "Start a fire, for one. Catch a wild hare perhaps. Have a barbecue. Look like you're doing anything other than trying to find out what's going on in there."

"Ahh pity we don't have any cold ale," Caden said with a longing look in his eyes. "Oh well, a hot meal would be good" He said, setting his pack down on the floor a few feet away from the fire.

A spark landed and began greedily consuming the dried leaves beneath it. Grabbing a few twigs nearby, Bran hastily built a teepee to house the flames. "Maybe the hunter can make himself useful and get us something to cook," he said, casting a sly glance at Kov.

The first drops of rain woke Bran from a peaceful afternoon nap that he had taken. As he looked up, he noticed that it had already turned dark. The woods behind them and all around their campfire was pitch black, except for the torches that were lit upon the wall that they looked upon. He stuck out his hand, and allowed the rain droplets to form pools in the palm of his hand. The rain was light, but it was heavy enough to be annoying.

On the other side of the fire, which was burning low, but still burning Caden sat with his legs crossed. "Morning sunshine" He said as he saw Bran was awake.

Bran looked at the bleak weather. "Really?" he joked. "I dozed off. What happened while I was asleep?"

"Well, I paid a visit to the wall. Seems they've been having skritt issues lately" Caden said as he placed some more wood on the fire.

Bran displayed a look of surprise. "Al.... right? I didn't know skritt were involved. Anything on Selina?"

"I heard no news on her so far. It seems the guards are afraid their management will think they're not doing their jobs though, since their skritt problems remain unresolved" Caden shrugged. "Maybe Kovenito has more news, he went to check for alternative entrances"

Gazing out into the darkness, and barely even seeing a shadow of Kov's, Bran commented, "You know, I bet with the darkness and the rain, they can't see us at all."

"Well, by now they'll have changed the guards most likely, if you're up for it we could try again" Caden said, throwing some more wood on the fire to make sure it would last through the rain.

Bran nodded, and got up to follow Caden. "Heck... I'm game for anything tonight."

Grinning Caden silently made his way towards the wall again, making sure to approach it away from the torches as he listened closely.

The rain helped to mask their footsteps, and they stopped just under the guard's post, where their voices could be heard most vividly. Two guards, in particular, were holding a conversation that could be heard by Bran and Caden.

"... I told him to bring some coins... or pots... or basically anything shiny he could carry."

"Did he?"

"He returned, after a few days of being gone, and he said he'd completely forgotten about the request I'd put in."

"Blimey! How could he forget something like that?"

"He said everyone was too much in shock over the drama that happened over the weekend. They were discussing it over drinks till the wee hours in the morning, before he got back."

Listening intently Caden hoped the other guard was as curious as he was about the mentioned drama.

"What kind of drama are we talking about?"

There was a pause. "Are you familiar with the name, Sliptail Sel?"

"You mean the female bandit who managed to get out of the seraph dungeons?"

"Yeah that one. Last I heard, she got recaptured and went back to the dungeons. But like two days ago, people say Doc Howler was attacked in her sleep, and that Sliptail Sel was the attacker."

Caden glanced at Bran trying to gauge his reaction to the information they just heard. Although eager to discuss the possibilities Caden remained motionless suddenly dreading the unmentioned outcome of the attack.

Bran's face had turned pale at the mention of Selina's name. Woodenly, he stared into an imagined space, of the thought of fleeing home and far away from all this, and the ridiculous promise he had made to Caden and Kovenito.

"What? Why?" the guard continued.

"Yeah, that was my reaction too. Initially I thought he was pulling my leg, trying to make up excuses for not putting in my request. But I tell you, he sounded dead serious. Do you know what else he told me?"

"What?"
"There was a big scuttle, and they brought her to Auberon. It was assumed that she would then disappear with the rest of them, but I suppose that name she had was worth something. The next thing we know, he's taken her on and demanded that everyone accept her as part of the clan."

Another pause. "Well... I can see why he forgot the request."

"It's not really fair, but what the bosses do... what is that to us eh? It isn't our money they're spending."

"Yeah."

"Which still brings us back to square one. What do we do about the skritt?"

As the guards turned back to their skritt problem Caden gestured in the direction of the forest hoping Bran would snap out of it and return with him.

Bran noticed the motions Caden was making, and followed him, while still not speaking a word. A hundred questions were rolling about his head. The largest of them all... how did Selina even get through that massive gate without being detected?

When they arrived back at their fire the rain seemed to be letting up. With a sigh Caden let himself drop to the floor. "Well" was all he said before sighing again.

"I know I told you all to follow my lead. But at this point... honestly, I'm out of ideas. She broke in... and somehow she's now running with them. What does that mean for us?"

"I have no clue." Caden said in a depressed manner. "I really could use a drink now" he sighed kicking a stray ember back into the fire.

Nervously, Bran gnawed on the corner of his sleeve as he tried to make sense of what they had heard. "No..." he finally said. "She can't really be running with them. She must be pretending - you know... just so they don't kill her for trespassing. She must be biding her time to escape. Like us, except we're trying to get in."

"Are we?" Caden looked at Bran sternly.

Bran turned his eyes to Caden. "Hey, I may be many things, but I did say one day. And now we have news of Sellie, alive and in the camp. It doesn't mean I like the idea of getting in any better. But at least we now know she isn't letting her hair loose in some bar in Queensdale."

He nodded at the other man in approval. "Well then I suppose we wait" he said while he looked around their small camp. He pulled his pack close and took out a few supplies. Aided by the light of the fire he carefully started to clean his gun.

Managing a hint of a chuckle, Bran responded, "Perhaps you'd like the honor of giving Kovenito the news."

"No thank you very much" He said with a scowl.

He shrugged. "I figured."

"Say" Caden said a short while later. "d'you think we should be worried about these skritt?"

"They're talking rats," Bran pointed out rather lightly. "How much of a problem can they be?"

"They're talking rats with knives"

"Yeah, they aren't really our concern right now. Let Auberon... or whoever is in charge in there, handle the skritt."

"I was more worried about getting stabbed in my sleep"

"Oh well, we can always sleep in shifts like we did last night. Would that be better?"

"Aye, mind taking the first? You already got some sleep in."

"Fine. Go get yourself some shut eye while I keep a watch for killer mice." He smirked.

He rolled his eyes at Bran before making himself as comfortable as he could on the wet floor. He closed his eyes and before long sleep found him.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on June 12, 2016, 12:08:06 PM
DOC HOWLER

The thick scent of boiling tar finally tore her away from the concoction in the alchemist's lab that she had tediously been working on since the morning. It had bothered her just slightly before, but right then, the stench became unbearable. Stepping into the open, she followed her nose and soon spotted a large cauldron of the offending material bubbling over a burning stack of logs. Splotches of tar lined the grassy undergrowth of the wooded camp, leading right up to one of its massive log lined walls. Three individuals stood at its base armed with mops soaked in the gunk, applying it vigorously onto the bottom half of the encapsulating walls.

Pressing hard upon her nostrils to seal out the smell, she just had to ask, "What is going on?"

One of them turned around, and wiped the sweat off his brow with the back of his arm. It made a little black streak across his face as he did that. "Improving security, strengthening the walls," he replied. "A bunch of guys are digging a long ditch on the other side of the wall."

"Why do we need a ditch?"

The guy shot her a look of disapproval that suddenly made her feel a little embarrassed, "To use as a rampart, what else?"

"We've never built ramparts before... and what does boiling tar do to help that wall?"

"For one," came a voice behind her. She turned to see a woman resting comfortably upon a banister on an elevated platform. Decked in a form-fitting pearl accented illustrious armor that glowed in the sunlight, she could've mistaken her for anyone else, if not for that all-too-familiar self-righteous look on her face. It was Sellie, back from the scuttle, cleaned up and cocky. "It will block out the rain, mold and mildew that will eventually degrade the wood on that fence, and cause it to crumble to bits. Secondly, it will prevent flames from catching onto the wood, should a fire break out in camp. Thirdly, it will act as an adhesive to ensure those logs stay in place."

"I suppose you picked all that up while rotting in the Seraph dungeons," scorn rang clear in her voice, and she didn't care to hide any of it.

Sel smiled. She took to the spiral stairs as she continued to speak. "When someone goes to prison, he can allow the situation to deflate him, take away his pride and dignity, drive him to surrender. Conform... that is what is expected. OR -" She stopped just two feet before Doc Howler, her face alight with mischief. "Observe. Listen. Learn. Grow... till you're smart enough to beat the system."

"Big talk for someone who was sent back to the dungeons just a year ago," she beamed with the victory of a winning move.

Bursting into laughter, Sel retorted, "My my my... Doc. How delusional you are."

Miffed by her response, Doc replied, "Except it actually happened."

Sel gave her an odd look. "I've always known you to be a liar, but this is bold, even for you."

Dumbfounded by the strange accusation, the Doc could only gawk in surprise.

"Cat got your tongue, Doc?" Selina taunted. And after receiving no answer, continued, "I know it's just killing you to have me come back into your life, and are probably pissed that you're completely unable to do anything about it. Not only that... for the first time, I'm in a higher post than you. And I did it within just the first day of joining your little jungle group, knowing full well that you've been here long before, toiling and laboring to get into Auberon's pants."

Fuming with insult, she swung a hand at Selina's cheek, but Sel caught it by the wrist, mid-air, and brought it down. "Tsk tsk tsk," Sel chided. "Don't want to be branded with treachery, do you?"

"Bitch..." Doc growled under her breath. "You haven't changed at all."

"And neither have you. It's been abundantly clear since way before, that there isn't enough room for the two of us."

"Are you suggesting what I think you're suggesting?"

Selina shrugged. "We shall see, won't we?"

"Don't be so sure of yourself," she snapped. "I don't know what Auberon sees in you, but it's not going to last. I've been nothing but faithful to this outfit, building up my reputation within this clan, while you... you snuck yourself in here in a barrel of corn and now expect to lead." She pointed to the three men still applying tar to the walls. "You think this means anything? You skipped lines. People in here hate you. They will not listen to you. And if they don't listen to you, you will fail as a leader. If anyone's leaving, it's not I."

"Corn?" Selina blinked, then touched her temple with the tip of her fingers. "I walked in here like the rest of you. I took my interview, and was found qualified enough for the post."

"Don't you deny it! The men found a barrel that did not belong, filled just halfway with corn and sheaves of wheat, iron nails in the base, removed carefully from the lid on the inside. And what..." she stopped when a hand touched her on her shoulder.

Auberon stood at her side, an expression on his face that spelt his displeasure. "You've said quite enough," he said. For a while, Doc Howler froze completely, her mind rife with the conversation that had just taken place, wondering when it was that Auberon had entered the scene and what he had overheard. She pondered if any of it was a basis for being labelled a traitor, and as she scrambled in her mind, braced herself for the worst news. However, he held up a letter instead. "I have a job for you. According to this note, there're problems in the tunnels, and we need you to handle them personally."

The response wasn't quite what she was expecting, and she was glad that it wasn't a reprimand. But she was curious at the same time - that he would send her on a task set aside for other men. "I am an alchemist, I don't know if I would be of much use over there. Wouldn't it be more apt to send an engineer to handle tunnel problems?"

He looked sternly at her. It became clear to her that he had set his mind on the matter and wasn't looking for suggestions. "It involves negotiation. I want you to go down there, and negotiate. Come back only after it's been resolved."

The certainty in his voice impelled her to accept the task, no matter how much she fought the thought of it in her mind. She didn't like the tunnels. They were dank and often stank of skritt dung. Besides, she felt she had, with much effort, climbed to a much higher station than one deserving of such a task. Yet, she didn't want to upset Auberon, and she knew she couldn't change his mind, so she had little option but to agree. Sel still had her fingers on her temples. The Doc had noticed before that while she was speaking about the barrel, Sel was cringing more and more, as though something pained her about the matter. But that smile that presently curled into her lips on the delivering of that news from Auberon, made her second guess the entire chain of events. She recalled what Sel had said about there not being enough room for the two of them, and began wondering if she had orchestrated the entire exchange, from start to end. Its climax, this moment with Auberon, sending her down into the darkness. Perhaps she had really learnt a thing or two from her time away.

If she had somehow planned each anticipated event and the ensuing response to rid her of her post and replace her completely... then she had done it twice now, and succeeded. But the Doc would never in her life admit that to anyone.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on June 16, 2016, 05:12:45 AM
Caden Mullins, Brandon Turner & Doc Howler

With a loud yawn, Bran prodded Caden in the cheek. Nothing much had happened on the wall during his watch, other than what they'd heard. Kov hadn't returned yet, but Bran assumed he would be back soon enough. The grass was drying, and the moon was high.

Waking suddenly from the prodding he swatted at Bran's hand before sitting up. "Kovenito back yet?" He asked as he looked around scratching the back of his head.

"Nah," said Bran, laying down to sleep. "Maybe he decided to chase a deer in the dark... who knows. It's certainly been quiet out there."

"Sure hope he didn't rush in by himself if he heard the same as us" Caden said while digging up some dried meat from his pack to chew on.

Bran paused to think. "Well... I bet he might've done just that. I guess if he did, we might just be here to watch him get kicked out."

"If they let him live" Caden said darkly.

Shrugging, Bran continued, even as he shut his eyes, "You know if they kill him, we'll likely be next."

"Sweet dreams" Caden said with a chuckle as he got to his feet and stretched a few times. He peered into the dark in the direction of the wall, watching the distant torches and dark figures lit by it.

Tired out by the long day, Bran drifted right off to sleep - if his snores weren't any indication.

He silently observed their surroundings until Bran's snores sounded around the campsite. Satisfied no one was approaching he knelt next to his pack and took out a small satchel. He took three small beadlike grains from it and placed it back. He moved over to the fire, dropping the grains in one by one, each burning up with a small bright flare, as if the fire found resin pockets in the wood. Not long after a shadow appeared at the edge of the fire light. "Nothing like a fire to keep one warm" Caden whispered. "Except Eda's pies" was the whispered answer. Keeping in a relieved sigh Caden got to his feet and moved out of the circle of light, placing some distance between themselves and Bran the men looked around warily as they kept out of sight.
In a low whisper they spoke for some time, until eventually the other man handed Caden a letter, while Caden clearly displeased tucked it into his shirt for safekeeping. "Stay Safe" The other man whispered before disappearing in the dark again. Shrugging Caden made his way back to the campsite, relieved to hear Bran still snoring.
He sat himself back down by the fire and after another look around took the letter from his shirt, quickly scanning the contents. With a sigh he set himself to reading it more thoroughly a second time before tossing the thing into the fire. Letting his head hang back he listened to the sounds of the night as the flames consumed the thin paper.
As the first shades of orange started to push away the dark night from the horizon Caden got up and prodded Bran in his side with a foot. "Rise and shine princess."

Bran opened his eyes, and shuddered the night away, looking about him with a dream-like glare. "Wha... why am I getting up this early? Isn't it Kov's shift?"

"Kov didn't return."

Taking Caden's word a little more seriously, Bran turned to the massive gate anxiously. "You think he's in there now?"

"I don't know, but I don't like it."

Noticing for the first time that the guards had disappeared from the top of the gate, Bran pointed it out. "When did that happen?"

"I'd say just now? They were there before I woke you."

Bran got to his feet. "If they're putting Kov down on the inside, I don't think we want to stay to see what happens to us."

"Aye, lets eats first though, can't do anything on an empty stomach" Caden said, holding up another rabbit."

Just as he spoke, the doors of the fort began to swing open. Bran grabbed his satchel, as quick as a fox, ready to retreat... till he noticed one of the bandit guards, who was formerly on the wall, stepping out on his own. He held no weapons, but clutched his forearm tightly. It seemed to be injured.

Raising an eyebrow Caden nearly dropped the rabbit he'd been holding by it's ears. His other hand immediately grabbed for his gun.

"Umm... guys," said the guard. "This is a little unconventional, but we need a little help in here. And I know you're looking for a job, in-camp. We're not exactly offering you one... yet, but I'm sure if you help us manage the situation, there'll be a few good words put in for you."

"What the hell is going on in there?" Caden asked, noticing the man's injuries.

Still a little tense, Bran took cautious steps towards the guard. "What kind of help do you need?"

"Well.. I can't explain till you accept the condition that you not utter a word of what's going on in there to anyone. We can't interview you, or make you sign a contract, but will just have to take your word on it. The moment you step through these doors, we assume that you're agreed."

"We came looking for a job, we wouldn't go yapping around about your business."

"Fine fine... come in then." He offered his hand to both Bran and Caden. "My name is Andy. Just watch your step as you come in." He walked them to the huge hole in the ground, just as they had glimpsed earlier, except on close up, it was much larger than either had imagined. Make-shift wooden platforms were planted into the walls, spiraling down to play the role of a staircase. Lamps lighted the walls, all the way down. But it was so deep that one could barely see the bottom of the well from where they were standing. "What happened," explained Andy. "Is that this well is connected to skritt tunnels. In order to continue to use them, there was an agreement for magnetite shards to be paid. The problem is... the skritt... tend to be a bit fickle."

Caden tossed the rabbit in his pack and slung it onto his back before accepting the mans hand. "Well met Andy, name's Caden" he said before following the man and peering down the hole. So, fickle means they stabbed you with shinies yes?"

He lifted up the hand that clamped down his wound, and showed them the skin-deep slash cut into the thinner part of his armor. "They attacked me, but only after about a week of complaining that the shards aren't good anymore. They want something else. Something shinier. We didn't know what to do, so we put in word to the main camp, but the guy forgot and then the skritt began to grow restless. We sent someone else with a message, but there's something going on in the main camp that's delaying stuff and now the skritt think we're trying to cheat them. We need you guys to help keep them in order till help arrives."

"So... crowd control," reasoned Bran.

Andy nodded as he started his trek down the stairs. "They are a little rowdy... just a forewarning."

"Wouldn't expect it any other way" Caden said, pulling his gun again.

As they descended, the sounds of pick axes clashing on rock got louder, as the sunlight from above began to fade, and the base of what seemed to be the entrance to a long stretch of tunnel, got closer. All around lay heaps of copper ore, mined from the tunnel. Andy reached the bottom, and headed west through several forks in the network of tunnels. Miners lined the walls, shirtless and sweaty, chains around their ankles, held tight to each other, heaving copper into wheelbarrows. They gazed at the two men with deadpan eyes.

"That's a lot of copper," commented Bran, fanning out the dust in the mines from his nostrils.

"There's a lot of copper in these tunnels," replied Andy. "But it's more like a product of the mining. We need to ship all this out."

Caden pulled his scarf up to where it covered his mouth and nose as he silently observed the goings on in the mine while Andy explained.

They finally made a right turn that took them into a deeper part of the tunnel... a larger, inner cavern that even had a stream running through it. About four bandit guards stood within before a multitude of angry skritt who were spitting at them and threatening them with knives. "You humans are unreliable!" screamed one of the skritt. "We want our shinies and we want them now!"

"You've got your magnetite shards," argued a guard. "All of you agreed to it."

"We were tricked!" they yelled in response.

"Urgh" Caden said softly as they came upon the groups. "So, now what?"

"Support these guys. We don't know when they're going to be violent again," replied Andy.

Bran pulled out his pistols and aimed.

"Don't kill even one though," warned Andy. "That's certainly going to start a riot. They have enough of them to trample us underfoot, even if we were to go wild with bullets."

"Why not just block the entrance to their tunnels?'

Andy shook his face, "That won't hold them for long. Don't you know that... aside from the dredge... skritt dig really quickly? Look at their numbers... and they have the tools with them too."

One of the skritt noticed the three men enter. He pointed to them and in a sharp voice, asked rather loudly, "Do you have our shinies? Have you brought it to us?"

"Say Bran, you got anything shiny on you?" Caden asked elbowing him in the side.

A little annoyed about not being able to kill even one skritt, Bran put away his pistols, and took out his tankard of ale instead. "Yak spit..." he cursed. Downed the last of his ale, replaced the cap, then waved it at the skritt.

"Shiney enough for you?" he asked, sarcastically.

"Give to us, give to us!" they yelled. And stumbled upon each other as he tossed it to the crowd, each eager to get their claws on it first. Because of the distraction, the other guards were able to heave a sigh of relief for a bit.

"Have you been doing this since they started their uproar?" asked Bran curiously.

Andy nodded. "Everything we had on us has gone to them, even my father's ring," he mentioned sourly.

"So, why are they saying they were tricked?"

"Apparently the magnetite shards don't do as well in black markets. Some people don't recognize the value. I suppose the skritt agreed to the deal without checking it out properly first - now everyone's suffering for it."
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on June 16, 2016, 05:13:26 AM
Caden Mullins, Brandon Turner & Doc Howler

"So this is what all the fuss has been about..." came a female voice behind them. They spun around and found Doc Howler standing right at the entrance to the skritt's portion of the tunnels.

"Doc! I can't believe they sent you... in-person," gasped Andy delightedly.

"I can't believe it myself," said the Doc, a little peeved.

Bran practically leapt right in front of her. "Doc! Do you remember me? It's Brandon... little Bran. I used to belong to the Blades."

She arched a brow at him. "I think I remember a Bran."

"We've had the most challenging time getting to you!" Bran exclaimed.

"Why?"

Caden turned around towards Doc Howler, giving the woman a thorough lookover without speaking, letting Bran ramble.

"Look... that entire rumor you heard from John. I'm so sorry, that was my mistake. My source was wrong. I take full responsibility. You don't have to worry about Selina."

"You were responsible for starting the rumor?" Her voice hardened against him.

"It was an innocent mistake, I didn't expect it to get as far as it did."

"So it was untrue?"

"Because I'm finding that hard to believe. Sellie is now sitting in MY HOME, trying to cut me out of the picture. It was because of her that I was sent down here. Seems like she's planned this all along."

"No no," insisted Bran. "That's impossible. We were with her when.."

"You were with her?" noticing that Bran had mentioned 'we' instead of 'I', she looked also at Caden. "You in on this too?"

Caden shrugged "If she planned on doing that, she played us both for fools"

"So you came all this way to tell me this?" she asked Bran doubtfully.

"In truth, it was Sellie who told me to come to explain it to you. The attempts on her life were getting too vicious, so she split off from us... thinking she would protect us by doing this solo." He glanced at Caden. "We kinda felt like we should come anyway... just in case, you know... the message didn't get through or something."

"I'm sorry to interrupt," said Andy. "Can we focus on the task at hand? The skritt are losing interest in your flask." He pointed to glaring eyes, as the skritt darted their attention from one human to another.

Doc Howler stepped forward. "If you don't want magnetite shards, what do you want?"

"We want shinies!" they cried in unison. One speaking louder than the rest. "Shinies that we can exchange for other goodies, not your magna-trash!" The others chattered angrily.

"Shinies," repeated the Doc. She glanced around, then bent down to pick up a copper ore. "What if I told you I could conjure up all the shinies you could want, out of this little rock? Would that satisfy you?"

The one who had spoken loudest seemed most interested. "Is it temporary or permanent magic? We don't want any more tricks."

"No more tricks," assured the Doc. "I can demonstrate for you right now if you'd like."

The skritt turned around to his kin, and the others nodded greedily. "You perform for us now," it demanded.

Doc Howler held out a hand in front of the skritt. "Every delicate process needs time. You will get your shinies, and it will be more beautiful than you can imagine. Settle down first, have a seat. I shall begin shortly." She turned to Andy, Bran and Caden and spoke softly to them. "Alright, listen up. I need a bowl... and I need strong acid. I know you must have some of that in this cave."

Andy nodded, and hurried to get both the bowl and the acid.

To Bran, the Doc said, "I hope you have some water on you." And to Caden, "I need you to find me a jar."

"I have small flasks in my pack, if you need anything bigger I'll have to look around the camp to find one?"

"A glass jar, in particular," said the Doc rather specifically. "They need to be able to see this. I had plenty in my lab, but I didn't think we'd be doing this now."

"I'll have a look upstairs then" Caden said with a nod and rushed off.

Andy returned first with the bowl and the acid, then Bran with a flask of water from one of the guards. Doc found a rock with a flat top and used it as the surface of a table. She placed the bowl on the rock, put a piece of copper ore in the center, and began pouring acid on it. The ore melted gradually into a thick liquid.
The skritt were getting a little restless, and mumbles were heard about wasting time. But the Doc put a stop to all that. "There are two parts to this magic. As you can see, the copper is now melted."

Some time later Caden came running back with a glass jar, placing it on the table near the Doc, careful not to knock anything over.

"Hope this will do" Caden said after catching his breath.

"Excellent!" She quickly built a fire, placed the water and the liquid copper into the jar and heated it over the flames. When the entire concoction began to bubble, she took it off the fire. It had turned into a curious shade of aquamarine. Retrieving a little bottle from her pocket, she held a drop over the jar. "What you have in this jar, is your precious jewel. It just needs to stew for a while. But since we're pressed on time, I shall add a catalyst for you to see exactly what you're getting." With that, she added a drop to the formula. And the liquid started turning within the jar, till it moved upwards and hardened into a translucent stone as quickly as steam from a kettle.

The skritt gasped, and clamored to get a closer look at the beautiful blue crystal. Turning the jar over and shaking it, the palm sized crystal fell into her hand and she held it up for them to see. "Beautiful isn't it?" They gawked happily. "And we can have plenty! As long as we have copper, you will always have blue crystals."

The lead skritt took the crystal from her and examined it, found it flawless and showed it to the others. They passed it from one skritt to another, marveling at its beauty.

Doc Howler told Andy and the other guards, "Just repeat that same process with more copper till every skritt goes back with something and leaves the tunnels alone."

"You've just saved us Doc," said Andy gratefully.

The Doc nodded, and to Bran and Caden, "Let's finish our conversation. I want to hear how the both of you got involved." She moved them to a corner.

"Nice cooking" Caden remarked as they moved to the corner.

Doc Howler nodded gratefully. "I didn't catch your name?"

"Caden" He said, offering Doc a hand.

She shook his hand, and he could see the black glossy fingernails she kept on each finger, extending about two inches off her fingertips. A generous smile upon her face kept her pale complexion bright. "If you did indeed come to tell me this... rather short piece of news, then what will you do now?"

Bran looked at Caden, "We um..."

"Something is not right" Caden's statement cut Bran's sentence short.

"What do you mean, Caden?" asked the Doc.

"I met Sel when she nearly died because of an assassin you'd sent after her. I helped her, and eventually she told me what was going on. Together we traveled to Bran, to see what he knew. All this time though.. she never gave the impression of wanting to be part of this. She said she just wanted to live peacefully."

"So why the big turn around, something must've happened"

Doc Howler frowned. "I've known Selina Knox for years, and she's always been a greedy backstabbing slut. Anything I've had, she's yearned for. This seems completely up her alley and in-character for her."

"Except you haven't seen how she's mellowed in the past year." Bran said. "I could nearly not recognize her. She told me she was thinking about farming. I think it was the influence of her boyfriend, who's a humble hunter. He spent a lot of time with her, and I think it all just rubbed off. She said on multiple occasions that she was done with the life of a bandit. She wanted to abide by the law so she wouldn't need to keep running."

Still doubtful, Doc Howler continued, "You haven't just seen her in camp though. She's nothing like what you're saying."

"I can't believe her capable of such a turn around sorry. I am very curious to know how she managed to get in though"

A thought entered Doc Howler's mind. "That's another thing that confused me. We found exactly how she'd entered the camp, and I'm beyond certain that she did just that. But she didn't seem to remember any of it. In fact... she acted a little oddly when I described it."

Caden raised an eyebrow at this, a sneaking suspicion rose in the back of his mind. "Oddly how exactly?" He asked eagerly.

"I don't know... she seemed a little dazed? Looked like she was coming down with a migraine or something."

"Like she didn't want to hear what you were saying?"

Doc Howler laughed. "I don't think she ever wants to hear what I'm saying. That, in itself, isn't abnormal."

Caden chuckled lightly. "Say, any chance we could meet her?"

She shifted her glance between Caden and Bran. "I would be taking a very huge chance if I were to do that. And even if I could, I would probably only be able to take one of you, not both. We would have to do it at a late hour. And you would need to be very certain that you'd be able to convince her to leave with you, or at least to remain silent about the visit. Surely you understand the risk I would be taking if I were to even consider such a proposal. You're not vetted at all."

He glanced at Bran. "You've been awfully quiet mate, these are your friends, what do you think?"

He shrugged. "I did what she wanted. I explained it all to Doc Howler. She wants to join up with Doc's crew, I can't see why I would be discouraging her at all. These are the big leagues. She's running with the big guns. I can't see why she would come home now."

Doc Howler responded, "Didn't you just say you didn't think she'd actually want to join up? Something about being done with this life?"

"Yeah, but people change their minds. I'm starting to think that I might've been wrong. It's her life."

"What about kov?" Caden gave Bran a hard look"

Bran propped his chin on his fist. "He really should be the one making this trip. Goodness knows where's he got to this time."

"There's a third guy?" asked the Doc.

"Yeah her boyfriend came along. But he disappeared in the middle of the night."

"Is he in the tunnels?"

"I don't know. It doesn't look like. Maybe he's still outside, or he got lost."

"We've not seen him since yesterday afternoon" Caden corrected Bran. "The man's a hunter Bran how would he get lost"

Bran thinks back, "Oh yeah, I suppose it's been yesterday afternoon. He was looking for a way through that gate."

Doc replies, "If he was wandering near the gate, we can be fairly certain that he was nabbed by the guards and taken as a prisoner. You might find him there."

Andy returns and hovers close to the trio. "Umm Doc, we need to learn how to make the stuff. They're asking for more."

Doc Howler nodded. "Perhaps the two of you can discuss this matter. I'm going to teach Andy how to make the blue crystals, then I have to get back. There's a good chance that I'm not coming back. If you do wish to follow, it will just be one of you, and for the length of one night. The other will remain here and wait for the one who went to return. During the duration of that night, you must convince Sellie to leave with you, or you must be certain she doesn't talk. Alternatively you don't make the trip, and I will get rid of her myself."

Caden nodded and turned to Bran. "Well then..."

"A bit dramatic, isn't it?" commented Bran."Well I'm not going, if you're looking at me to do it. I may have known her from before, and a bit after, but I don't think I have the powers of persuasion needed for the situation... and just for one night, phew.... it's impossible. You can have the job if you want it. But I'm not going. I'll wait for you if needed."

"I sure hope trying won't kill me. While you wait though, look to see if kov is among the prisoners"

Brightened up by the removal of peer pressure, Bran smiled. "I will. Good luck out there Caden! I'll be here when you get back."

"If I get back" he rolled his eyes at Bran. Don't suppose you got any more ale hidden away anywhere do you?"

"Sorry, fresh out. The skritt took it all."

Doc Howler returned just then. "Alright, I think I've got things in order. Have we decided?"

"Aye, I will go." Caden said.

"Alright Caden," said Doc Howler putting an arm around his shoulder and guiding him in down a particular branch of a tunnel. "I hope I don't need to remind you that you are not to breathe a word of where you're about to go or what you're about to see to anyone, or..." she placed the edges of two of her nails onto his voice box, "I will scratch your throat out. And that will be the least of it. Get into Sellie's room, I will hold the door shut. Say what you need to convince her, then we get out before the daylight hits. The moment we come back, you forget everything you've seen. Go running home at top speed. Are we clear?"

"Aye, you are"

"Good." She slid her hand over his eyes. "Don't look for just a moment." She clicked a hidden piece of mechanism in the rocky wall. Something shifted, and she moved him into what seemed to be an inner room... while that, whatever it was, shifted back into place. She lifted her hand off his eyes, and he found himself in front of a portal, all glowing in sparkly violet hues. "Are you ready?" She took his hand.

Looking at the portal in surprise he gulped. "Ready as I'll ever be. A portal, really?"

"Fastest way to travel," she smiled, stepped into the portal, and pulled him into it with her.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on June 18, 2016, 01:01:11 PM
AUBERON AND SELLIE KNOX

They stood upon the upper canopy, watching as Doc Howler's men put in the final touches to the timber walls. The inner walls had been completely covered in tar, while the ditch on the outside was lined with sharp spikes, driven deep into the ground.  To add to that, two officers were sent to patrol the supply chambers through the night, and mirrors positioned in vital spots to expose areas otherwise hidden to the eyes. Auberon was well pleased with the improvements, and he made sure to commend her for the fine work. The task of improving security was a welcome effort, but only the beginning of his plans for her. He decided then that it was about time she went on to phase two.

"Come with me," he beckoned her towards the privacy of his office, and she followed obediently. Shutting the door behind them, he glided to her side and took hold of her hand. Captivated by the moment, she waited expectantly for him to speak. "Sellie," he began.

"Yes?" she replied eagerly.

"How much do you value what you do?"

She put her other hand assuredly on his. "I value it very much. I appreciate the chance you've given me."

"Do you value this camp?"

"I do. My heart is in this."

"How would you like to be a part of furthering our efforts against the Seraphs?"

"Of course. Whatever you need me to do, I will."

"Even if it means going back to Divinity's Reach - to the place that once held you captive?"

She lowered her eyes, but responded nonetheless, "Yes, I will go back if you ask me to."

"Even if it means breaking into the Seraph dungeons?"

Sellie hesitated. "Auberon, I want to do what you want but I need to know why I would be breaking into the Seraph dungeons."

He put a finger under her chin, and lifted up her face. She gasped, her expression frozen. "I need someone freed from the dungeons. If you once found a way out, then you know a way in."

"Y... yes..."

"Can I count on you to do this job?"

"Mmm," she nodded readily, shuddering.

He smiled at her, then pulled out a curved dagger with a silver hilt and presented it before her. "If at any time you find yourself compromised, remember that your priority mission is your target. His life, before yours. Do you understand me?"

She nodded again. "I will do everything I can to protect him."

"You will travel there with an asura, and two other trusted fighters. Work together to take control of the portal in Rurikton. While you break the target out of the dungeons, the asura will reconfigure the portal. Bring your target back to the portal, and for the span of one minute, that portal will direct all travelers here instead of to Ebonhawke. Time will be very tight, I need you not to delay." He moved closer to her, his eyes blazing with color. "Don't just understand what I'm saying, I need you to swear your dedication to this mission. There must not be any room for mistakes."

She grunted under the weight of his suggestion. "I swear, master," she muttered, her hands pressed together in plea. "I will do exactly as you say, or die trying."

Color faded from his eyes, and he gazed at her with satisfaction as she staggered back away from him, her expression pallid. "Excellent. Have a good rest then," he said, opening the door for her. "You have much to prepare for."
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on June 22, 2016, 04:17:04 PM
CADEN MULLENS AND SELINA KNOX

As soon as they stepped out of the portal, and into the camp, Doc Howler dragged Caden up a path and around a spiral staircase towards the upper canopy. Night had fallen, and the camp was mostly silent aside from the buzzing of insects, and crackling of camp fire.

He followed after Doc quietly as he carefully observed his surroundings. "I suppose we're not in Brisban anymore are we" he whispered.

"It doesn't matter where we are. And the less questions you have, the better," she remarked, paying him little heed otherwise.

They finally stopped at one of the larger treetop huts, overlooking much of the jungle beneath. But Doc Howler had no time to appreciate the scenery. She rapped upon the door as she scattered her attention around the camp, making sure she was not spotted. There wasn't a response. The Doc knocked on the door again.

He nodded at her and kept quiet as he followed along. As Doc Howler knocked on the door he waited to see what would happen with some trepidation.

After a while, the knob on the door finally clicked, and the door opened a few inches wide, just wide enough for a tired face to pop out. It was Selina's. She squinted at Doc Howler, then at Caden, and back at Doc. "What is this?" she grumbled.

"Sel" He said in a low voice. "Can we talk?"

She focused directly on him. "Who are you?"

"What do you mean?" For the first time, Doc Howler started feeling a little less sure of her plan. "Don't you recognize him?"

"No. Isn't he with you?" answered Selina.

"I'm rather hurt you forgot about me Sel, may I come in perhaps?" Caden said with a half smile.

Selina looked at Doc questioningly.

"Just open up and listen to what he has to say," insisted the Doc, pushing the door open. Selina stepped back, just a little bit curious as to what the late night intrusion was about.

Doc Howler was sure to shut the door tight behind her.

"This better be good. I've got a busy day tomorrow," said Selina, moving to the seating room, and plunked herself down on the plushy couch - Doc Howler's plushy couch... the Doc had not forgotten.

"Are they treating you well here Sel? We were travelling together when you disappeared, had me rather worried" He said while observing her reaction closely.

She narrowed an eye and looked carefully at him. "I don't remember ever traveling with you. What's your name?"

"Caden" He said calmly while his mind raced to piece the situation together. He'd had his suspicion back in the tunnel when the Doc first mentioned Sel's strange behaviour and her current reaction only added to that suspicion.

"Ca.." Selina attempted to repeat that name, but instead, she found a mild spike in her head. She bent down and pressed her forehead into her palm.

In two strides he was at her side, placing a hand on her shoulder. "Are you alright?" He asked with a concerned look on his face.

She jerked backwards, a little surprised at his touch. "Enough of this," she said through her teeth, looking directly at Doc Howler. "You planned this, didn't you?"

"He's your friend," Doc answered.

"I don't know who he is. Why are the two of you insisting that I've met him?"

He stepped back at her sudden movement. "Sel, I know you don't trust Doc, please, don't let her presence here upset you, I merely used her to get to you. We do know each other Sel, but I fear someone's tampered with your memories."

There was an audible amused sound from Doc. Selina shot her a dirty look.

"Nothing's the matter with me," she insisted.

"I know it would feel that way, that's kind of the point of tampering, if someone knew it was going on it would be rather pointless would it not" Caden said with a kind smile. "You'll notice though when you try to think back, you'll find you can't really remember any specific events that took place lately. You'll also feel highly uncomfortable when events you forgot are mentioned.... like hearing my name"

The spike went off again her head, it felt more piercing now - it hindered her from any thought on the matter. "Stop it!" she gasped, grabbing her temples.

"Sorry, I will mention it no further, but this reaction should tell you that something is wrong. You should not be experiencing pain just because someone says something." He said calmly. "Take a few deep breaths he said" Placing a hand on her shoulder again. "It should ease when you calm down."

She took a few breaths as she looked away from him, and as she calmed, she said, "I'm not sure what's wrong, but headaches aren't necessarily the cause of mind tampering. And mind you, I know I came into this camp seeking a place with Auberon. And.... and... I remember leaving the Blades because of what happened with Doc Howler."

"You didn't just walk in here," reminded Doc. "Remember how you snuck into my home... this very home that you're living in now. And you told me to take the bounty off your head." She saw Sellie cringing again. Secretly, this whole episode was beginning to delight her very much. "When I called for the guards, you leapt out my window, swung all the way down on... I guess it was a rope, and you were..."

Before she could finish, Selina had leapt onto her and pushed her to the ground. Her face was twisted in a mixture of rage and agony. Her hand outstretched as though she would scratch the flesh off Doc's face if she wasn't stopped, except her hand remained suspended in the air.

Doc turned to Caden for help, "Get her off me!"

Taking hold of Sel's wrist Caden pulled her back. "Don't Sel. Doc, stop it, you're not helping." He said while placing himself between the two girls. "You said you had a busy day tomorrow Sel, I presume you don't want to be doing whatever you have planned with injuries." He said hoping to soothe her.

Selina groaned as she sunk back onto the couch and pointed to the door. "I need to rest, I have a busy day tomorrow," she repeated. "Please get out."

"Doc would you wait outside please?" He threw her a pleading look.

Doc dusted herself off haughtily, and then offered him a warning. "Time is ticking. I'll be just outside." She let herself out of the hut.

"Thank you" He said before she closed the door. "I'm sorry about her Sel, I know she gets on your nerves, frankly, I can't say I like her either. I work for her though, so I'm afraid I got little choice but to deal with her" He said with a short chuckle. How's your head?" He inquired after giving her another concerned look.

She eyed him for a bit as her headache eased up once more. "So you admit it, you're her employee. Tell me, what's she been using? I know those red stones enhance certain spells. I just didn't think she'd have the guts to use it on me."

"She's not using anything on you Sel, and trust me, I'd rather be working for you than that piece of work. I'm stuck managing skritt in Brisban" He said with an eyeroll. "No doubt you're getting all the exciting jobs"

"Ha..." chuckled Selina. "Well she pretty much did that to herself."

"What did she do?"

"Did.... whatever she did to cause my head to spike. Auberon witnessed the entire thing and sent her into the tunnels."

"Well at least she can deal with the skritt now, those things are nuts I tell you. Screaming for their bloody shinies. We're not even allowed to kill the rats either. Say, I don't suppose you need a hand with your busy work?"

A look of mischief washed over her face. "I see what you're trying to do. Shame on you, looking for work from someone else when your employer is right behind that door."

He grinned "Can ya blame me? I mean honestly Sel, you know her."

She nodded, "So be honest with me. How much did she pay you to whip out all that nonsense about me losing my memory? If it was a prank, it was one of her worst. Honestly, I'm still considering whether to report it."

"You won't like it Sel, but I honestly think it happened, I don't know who did, but you are missing memories. I will not push the subject, but I felt I had to say it. Don't report it just think on it Sel."

Her smile tapered down. "So you really do think that we've traveled together. If that were true, how did you end up the employee of Doc Howler?"

"Auberon immediately promoted you. Us lot aren't important enough though. Bran travelled along as well you know"

"Who's Bran?"

"You don't even remember Bran? He used to be in the blades before you left. Started his own gang when Doc took over"

"Brandon Turner? The little boy? He can't be more than.... he can't be... " she stuttered for a bit. "He can't be more than twelve now."

"I'm afraid a little more time passed Sel" Caden said with a chuckle. "Got no clue how old he is, but he certainly ain't 12"

She frowned and pressed on her temple. "I don't... I don't know what to think about that."

"Don't let it bother you. Why don't you tell me about what you got planned for tomorrow instead, you seemed rather excited about it"

"Auberon is trusting me with a large plan. I have a key role in it, and I don't want to let him down."

"I'm sure you won't. Auberon has a keen eye for people. If he says you're the person for the job, he's probably right." Caden smiled at her. "Tell me, how big is it?"

She hesitated, trying to suss in that moment how much she could trust Caden. "I will have to leave the camp, and rescue someone. Someone important," she finally said. "I'm afraid that doesn't include anyone from the tunnels."

"So you won't be rescuing me from the skritt then? And here I thought I was important too" He said with a mock sad face.

She laughed in response. "Aww.. the skritt worker wants to be saved from his chores." As she spoke, she put a hand on his cheek to sympathize with him. But as she did, her expression froze and she glared at him in shock. "Ca.. Caden..." she muttered to herself.

"You alright Sel?" He frowned as he took her hand from his cheek and held it in his own.

She grimaced as she spoke. "Do I owe you for a herb?"

"You owe me nothing, but yes, I gave you some herbs when you were in need."

"You did? How could I forget?" Another spike struck as she tried to recall the event, and instinctively, she crushed the hand that held hers within her own.

He flinched but did not pull back his hand. Instead he placed his other hand on her shoulder. "Sel, calm down" He said softly.

A rap came on the door. "We have to leave now, the hour is hastening and morning will be here soon," cautioned Doc Howler from the outside.

"Coming" He called before turning his attention back to Selina. "Think about something else, it'll make the pain go away."

She nodded, easing up on his hand. "Will I see you again?"

He nodded "I have no doubt you will. You can always find me in the tunnels" He said with a wink. "Say, you didn't tell me where you're going tomorrow"

A little smile cut into the corner of her mouth. "I'm creeping back into the Seraph dungeons," she chuckled soberly. "What an irony."

He frowned at her before taking her hand in both of his. "Promise me you'll be careful Sel."

She blinked at him in surprise, and looked at the way he was holding her hand. "I'm always careful," she responded, though a little quieter this time.

He glanced at the door and back at Selina. "I should go, or Doc will hang me. Good luck tomorrow Sel" He said, as he slowly pulled his hands from hers and got to his feet.

She nodded, "Thank you. Goodnight."

Another knock came on the door.

"Good night" He said and opened the door.

Doc Howler grabbed his arm as soon as he was in sight, and started dragging him away before he could even shut the door behind him. "People are starting to wake up. You need to get out of here."

"Sorry about that, lets hurry." He said while rushing after her.

"So have you convinced her to leave?" she asked as they hurried back down the stairs.

"Not quite, I have a plan, I'll tell you when we're through the portal and safe from discovery"

"Good," she replied, and with a leap, sent them back through the portal.

After they arrived back in the Brisban camp Caden quietly informed Doc of his plan and a bird was dispatched soon after. Satisfied she'd soon be rid of Selina, Doc retired for some rest while Caden sought out Bran to bring him up to date.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on June 24, 2016, 09:15:51 AM
SELINA KNOX

She never went back to bed. Instead, she transitioned from staring blankly at her still outstretched hand, to trying to recall, for the life of her, the journey that had taken her to this camp. However, all that she could draw on remained a complete blank - apart from that flash of what seemed to be a forgotten memory, of being in a room with the stranger who had identified himself simply as "Caden", and an even earlier moment where he had given her some herbs to eat. She could even hear the echo of his voice, "Chew on this, you will feel better soon." Was he a healer of some sort? She began to regret not asking before. In fact, she was beginning to regret wasting so much of the night being skeptical. Towards the end of his visit, he had managed to convince her that she was suffering from missing memory - and based on those two actual memories he had awoken, she could tell that he was speaking the truth about knowing her from before. She struggled hard to pick up any evidence of what or who had caused this ailment, or why... but the terrible mind spikes made recalling anything in the past few weeks practically impossible. Yet, she couldn't say that everything had been erased, for memories of her father, Two-Blade Pete, Dirt Bob, Mogu and Nicky, Doc Howler, and especially her great escape from the dungeons remained vividly clear. She could recall up to a point, several months after leaving the Blades for good, drinking heavily in a bar in Kessex, getting into a fight with a man twice her size, getting tossed out in the rain and... and... anything beyond that point seemed to be a blur. By then, the frustration of her state of helplessness could rival the agony ringing from the sides of her head, but she wasn't keen to stop yet. Before she had earned the title of Sliptail Sel, the name Stubborn Sel caught on among some circles. People knew that if she set her mind on something, there'd be little they could do to dissuade her from it. She had now set her mind on figuring out this mystery - and after her own efforts had failed, she recognized that her only hope lay in the man named Caden. Surely he could help to fill in the gaps - even though he remained a stranger, he seemed to be so familiar with her. She laid her eyes once more upon the hand that he had held and she widened it slowly. Aside from the answers that she sought, there was something assuring about his presence that she'd begun to appreciate. Perhaps that was evidence in itself of their preceding friendship.

A knock on the door drew her attention. The first rays of morning shone on the floor as she passed through their golden beams and opened the door. An ashen skinned warrior with a bandana wrapped around his eyes, and a hood over the top of his head stood just outside her hut. She had seen him following Auberon on his walk-abouts, but they had never spoken before. "I assume Auberon has prepared you?" his voice was slithery, and resonated with deeper undertone that made her flesh crawl.

She put all other thoughts aside and replied, "Yes. Have you come to introduce me to the rest of the team?"

"I am to follow your two trusted fighters, and one inquest agent," he displayed the number of fighters with his fingers like a teacher instructing a child in mathematics.

She was a little perturbed by the thought of another being added to their company. "I wasn't informed of this."

He poked a finger onto her flesh right beneath her shoulder blade, and smirked. "You are informed now. I will be with you as you enter the dungeons."

"Doesn't Auberon trust me to do the job?" she replied, gently pushing his finger away.

"Oh he does. Let's just say... I'm a backup if anything goes wrong."

She let the words sink in. "I assume you have a name?"

"Rannulf Thiawind," he replied. And as he turned to leave, "You should douse that face in water. It's pretty evident that you haven't been sleeping. Auberon will not like that."
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on June 28, 2016, 06:37:52 AM
Aidan Thomas Brennan

The next few days went by in a daze. Arranging his mother's funeral took up most of his time. His father did not seem to have the will to take on the task, and his aunt had matters of business to attend to.

The evenings were the hardest for Aidan. His father kept mostly to his room and the quiet only served to remind Aidan of all he had lost. He often found himself restless as his mind wandered back to the same dark places over and over. Refusing to allow himself to idly sulk Aidan decided to set himself to various tasks around the house after all arrangements were prepared.

Realising he'd run out of things to do soon he wrote again to Anise. He formally appraised her of the passing of his other and invited her to attend the funeral service should she be so inclined. In a second letter he requested to be allowed back into active service a week after the funeral, requesting a few days to settle down after a no doubt emotional affair. He could not help but inquire after an update on Makisi's case and expressed his sincere hope that some of the mystery had at least been unravelled.

When finally the day of the funeral had arrived it seemed as though even the gods wept. Wearing their mourning colours the Brennan family made their way out of the city in procession. The skies above them grey and looming. At the front of the procession walked several priests of Grenth clad in dark robes. Behind them six guards of the Brennan house walked, carrying Eleanor Brennan's coffin.

Aidan glanced quickly at this father as they followed after the coffin. He looked as though his spirit had gone with Eleanor, his face pale in the filtered light and his eyes hollow and dark. Next to Henry walked Andrea. She walked along solemnly, her gaze ahead and her expression grave.
Behind them he knew walked nobles who came to show their respect for the high-standing family and as their procession slowly made it's way through the city even some of their tenants joined to follow. When they reached the city gates a light rain started to drizzle down on the somber group of people who continued onward to the cemetery. In the higher levels the procession halted at the large tomb that held the remains of generations of Brennans safe during their eternal rest.

As he watched the priests unlock the tomb Aidan's thoughts were back on Makisi and the hole left in his heart by her disappearance. How he longed for her support now. He watched solemnly as the priests performed their rituals and as the guards carried the coffin into the tomb he silently offered his own prayer to Grenth. After the heavy stone door closed shut Aidan set himself to thanking the people that had shown up to support them. The drizzle made sure most people left immediately after conveying their sympathies to the family and soon the Brennans found themselves alone.

Walking up to the tomb Aidan rested his hand against the cold stone, memories flooded his mind as his fingers pressed against the coarse texture softly. Vaguely he heard his aunt call out to him. "I'll be along shortly" he said, dismissing her question. When he turned around to look his aunt and father had already left. With a sigh Aidan sat down on the wet grass, his head resting back against the cold stone. Closing his eyes he sat there for a long time while the rain soaked through his clothes.

Eventually by the time the horizon was growing dark he forced himself back on his feet. Making his way slowly through the city his feet eventually found their way home. After knocking on the door several times Siri hesitatingly opened the door, quickly opening it further upon recognising Aidan. "Dwayna have mercy.. Come in sir, I'll get a fire going directly" She exclaimed upon observing his soaked state. Nodding absent mindedly Aidan made his way upstairs, leaving a trail of rain on the floor. After putting on some dry clothes he made his way to the library where Siri had started a fire. He took a bottle of brandy from a cabinet and a glass he sat himself down in his chair where he lost himself staring at the flames.

The morning light found him asleep, still in his chair, with an empty bottle beside him. He woke up later to a headache. After a brief moment of disorientation he remembered yesterday's events. Thoroughly ashamed of his behaviour he dragged himself to his bedroom where he sat down on his bed, hands covering his face. This would not do, he chastised himself. After mulling over things in this fashion for some time he got to his feet, to change out of his wrinkled clothes. His mother may be gone the throught, but his father was not, and he could surely use his help with the family business. After a quick breakfast he thanked Siri and made his way over to his parents house. Upon arrival the maid admitting him to the house told him his aunt was currently not present and his father still abed. He asked her to have some tea brought up to his father's study. Not wishing to wait for his father to wake up he went to his study to look over the business books. Taking out the records of the past few weeks Aidan started to look over them. From what he could see at first glance his father had been neglectful in his administration and from where his mother had been getting worse business had gone downhill. Not only that, but the handwriting had changed, suggesting that his father had not been the one doing the administration.

After several hours his father came into the study dragging his feet over the floor. Eager for some answers Aidan asked him about a specific deal that had cost the family a great deal. His father however dismissed it, saying there was no point in getting involved any more, his aunt would continue the business from now on. Incensed Aidan questioned him further, unable to comprehend how his father could be so dismissive of the family's future. Eventually Henry left the room telling him to do whatever he wanted. With a sigh Aidan returned to the books. Over the next few days he combed through figures and visited warehouses and farmers, sometimes to clear up gaps in the administration, sometimes to talk about how to move forward. He poured in all his time, getting up early and sleeping late, not allowing any free time. His mind allowed him no peace however. The little sleep he did get was often interrupted and filled with sorrowful dreams.
 
His aunt had come in once over the course of his investigations, urging him to rest more and leave the business to her. Aidan would not be deterred however. The longer he looked at the facts before him, the more he found that something was off. After thorough examination he found more and more discrepancies. Somehow, it seemed stock was disappearing. At first he thought that perhaps one of their employees was making a personal profit on their stock. But after some consideration he realised his aunt was way too keen to overlook it. Which could only mean, she knew about it.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on June 30, 2016, 05:45:22 AM
SELINA KNOX

They had taken the portal into Kessex, arriving at what seemed to be a centaur camp. The centaurs were well armed, and protected by body-hugging customized armor. She looked down at the pearl markings upon her own armor, and noted the subtle similarities between the two. They moved aside the moment Rannulf came through the portal, all except for one. Rannulf approached the centaur as it extended a hand and accepted what seemed to be an envelope from her travel companion. The centaur that had stepped forward shook the envelope and put it to its ear before stepping aside and letting the entire group through.

From the camp, they proceeded on towards Queensdale in silence. Aside from two breaks, one of which involved Rannulf going over the general strategy again, and Selina explaining her bit of it, no one tried to get to know the next guy, no one asked the reasons why. There was something about the professionalism of this team that Selina appreciated - something that was absent in the teams she had previously worked with, and that never occurred to her until now.

She had left the whole matter of missing memory back in the camp. She had decided to look into it after the conclusion of the current mission, as it would probably involve a discreet trip to the tunnels - for which she had not developed a plan to overcome the lack of permissions on the part of the portal yet. There would be time in the future... she was certain. One thing at a time.

The sun was already setting as they reached the gates of Divinity's Reach. "Remember our story," reminded Rannulf, pulling the hood over his head. The two fighters nodded, checking that their weapons were well concealed, tucked away into their clothing.

"Are you sure you are up for the task?" asked the asura, waving his finger at the hilt of her secondary weapon, protruding out of the back of her boot.

"Uh yes," she replied bending down quickly to correct her mistake, a little embarassed at the show.

"For a new member, Auberon has tasked you with an important role. I hope you don't disappoint," he noted.

"I won't," she said with as much confidence as she could muster - but in truth, she was horrendously nervous and it was really beginning to get to her the closer they got to Seraph headquarters. The dungeons were a hellhole for her, and she had sworn never to return. She supposed it was different this time, but the fear of reliving her capture made her really uncomfortable.

As though he could read her thoughts, Rannulf said to the group, "Do I need to remind you what is to happen if any of you are unable to make it through the portal?"

The fighters exchanged sullen glances. "We've sworn an oath," one of them said, and pointed at Selina, "Has she?"

A little offended at the sentiment, she tapped her side where she had hidden her blade. "What do you think? I know what I'm to do."

"Good," said Rannulf. "Then it's time to go."
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on July 01, 2016, 11:22:23 AM
Caden Mullins & Brandon Turner

Bran arrived back at the place Caden had departed, from his expedition through the mines, and found that both had returned. It would seem that it had been for a while, and he could guess from the look on Caden's face that there was much to say.

Looking around to make sure they were alone Caden gave a short and to the point report of his meeting with Selina. He told Bran that she would leave soon to head to the city. It would be their optimal chance to keep her from returning.
"We'll need your help though Doc" He said after his explanation to Bran.

Doc Howler had been standing aside, watching the two men talk rather quietly. She was as keen, perhaps keener even, to see Sellie leave, but concern was always whether she would get into trouble for any of this. She had to protect her back, first of all. "What kind of help are we talking about?"

"We need to get out of the camp and to Divinity's Reach as soon as possible, and I do really mean soon. Come sunrise Sellie will leave for the city on some mission Auberon sent her on. If we subtly interrupt the mission to incapacitate her, she won't be able to complete it. With any luck Auberon will just figure her mission went bad and you'll be rid off Sel and any suspicion of involvement."

"I should also prefer to send out a bird before we leave, provided it will be able to reach the city rather than be shot down by your men"

"Hmm... you need use of the portals," suggested Doc. "But the bird... I don't know about that."

"If the bird is not possible we have all the more reason to leave as soon as possible. My plan requires some preparation."

Doc Howler gripped Caden by the shoulder. "So let me get this straight. I send you to the portal that will bring you closest to Divinity's Reach. In exchange, you're going to do everything in your power to stop her. Am I hearing you correctly?"

"Aye, if I succeed she will not return here to be a bandit" Caden replied seriously.

Doc Howler looked intensely into Caden's eyes, and eventually she released him. "I suppose I shall have to take your word on it. Come with me," she beckoned the two men, and began walking away.

Caden picked up a fast pace to catch up with Doc Howler. "Are you sure there's no way we can send out a bird?"

She frowned, but she stopped anyway. "And where would this bird be going?"

"The city, like I said, preparations need to be made."

She leaned in closer. "To whom. Need I say more about discretion?"

"A friend of mine. I'll need him to gather up some people. You don't honestly think Bran and I can take on Auberon's best by ourselves?"

She considered the thought. "You write a letter, tell me who to send it to. Get into the portal, and I'll make sure your letter gets through the lines."

"I'd much prefer to see it sent if it's alright with you."

"Aren't you in a hurry? Isn't there a portal you need to get to?"

"Where does this portal take us anyway?"

"To Kessex, just a stone's throw away from Queensdale."

"In that case, nevermind the bird, lets go"

She raised a brow. "Alright. I'll need the both of you to shut your eyes while I bring you through the portals. I'm going to bring you into Kessex and then you are on your own. Is that understood?"

"Aye, as long as we don't end up in a camp full of hostiles that would rather not let us pass we'll be fine"

"I'll be there with you. I have to make sure that nothing seems amiss. There will be guards on the other side. Don't say a word, I will speak for you."

He smiled at her and nodded. "Doc, even though you're doing this for entirely different reasons. Thank you for your help. I don't know how we would get Selina back without your aid."

She smirked. "She should be grateful to have friends like you. She just saved herself death by my hands. And mind you, if you fail, that's what I have in store for her. I'm sure you already knew that."

They stepped out into a centaur camp, and the beasts crowded around them in an aggressive fashion, ready with their spears. "Calm down," suggested Doc Howler. "Surely you recognize me?"

The centaurs looked at her, and the two men behind her. "We recognize you, but we do not recognize them."

"They are new. Been working in the tunnels with the skritt. There was an uprising, and we need more materials to satiate the skritt. You know how it is."

The centaurs began to relax, some even laughed.

"I'm sending these two off to purchase supplies. That's the only reason we're using the portals, because of the urgency. If we don't please them soon, it's likely they'll be murdering all the guards in the tunnels."

"Let them go," commanded one of the centaurs. And the others moved aside. "Hurry it up," he said. "Just don't make this a habit."

"You seriously think I want to make it a habit?" asked Doc Howler unbelievably.

The centaur just laughed in response, and gave way to them.

Caden nodded at Doc and quickly made his way out of the camp, assuming Bran would follow him.

Bran ran ahead and kept in step with Caden. He let out a big sigh. "So, we're finally done with all that!"

"Not quite I'm afraid, we still have to get Sellie away from her team"

He put his hands on his hips, and looked very sullen. "Hmm... I overheard you telling Doc that you'll be having friends come in to lend a hand."

"Aye, and you'll be wishing to return home now I suppose?"

His eyes widened. "Can I? I mean... I've seen you through, haven't I? We got to meet Sellie. On the way we lost Kov but... yeah I mean... maybe he'll pop up along the way. Or Doc will send him back."

"I'll send em by to visit if Sel manages to regain her memory and kov gets unlost" He said with a smirk.

A smile dawned on his face. "You sure about this? You'll be fine, right? I'm sure you will. You have your buddies."

"Aye, and yours will surely be missing you"

"I'm certain of it, and I'm missing them," he answered, stepping away from Caden. "Well... thank you for all the adventures, and maybe we'll meet again."

He offered Bran a hand. "Thanks for sticking with us and helping Sellie where you could"

Bran shook it firmly, did a casual salute for Caden, and went on his way.

After Bran took his leave Caden quickly made his way towards Swamplost Haven. There he requested to be allowed to send out a bird immediately. Sitting down upon the desk he began a swift letter.

"There have been complications. Our lead has lost her memory and is set on a mission to break a target from the seraph prison today. She will have help of a small team, presumably highly trained. Please replace some seraph with our own agents in seraph guise so we may intercept their mission and prevent the prisoners escape without letting our targets know we were involved. I will travel with haste to join the agents in the Seraph headquarters.
CM"


After sending the bird out with haste Caden settled himself by the fire inside the camp. Taking a small copper pot from his pack he put it on the fire. He took several packets from his pack, dropping small seeds, dried leaves, some dried flowers and slices of a rather thick root in it. A few drops from a vial were added and a good portion of vinegar. As it simmered Caden helped himself to a quick breakfast while he stirred the pot every so often. Not long after the mix had simmered down to a thick liquid. After taking the pot off the fire Caden sealed it with a piece of hide and some rope and attached it to the side of his pack. After a wave at the guard who'd helped him with the bird he quickly took to the road and made his way to the city.

A forced hike later Caden found himself entering the seraphs office. As soon as he was inside he was waved over by a man in seraph armor. After following the man to a small office he closed the door behind him. The man introduced himself as Mehid. He explained to Caden he had five agents stationed and explained the precautions taken after which Caden told him all he knew about Sel and her mission.
The two quickly went over the plan Mehid had concocted after Caden's letter. After working out a few more details on where exactly the men would be stationed Mehid pointed Caden towards a stack of armor while he left to instruct his men.
Together they'd agreed for the men to be as invisible as possible. The prison had to appear badly guarded to lure Sel and her team in. Caden went over the plan in his head one more time while he set down his pack and donned the seraph armor that had been left for him. After finishing he strapped on his dagger before unsheathing it.
Carefully he took the copper pot from his pack and opened the lid. He dipped the blade of his dagger into the liquid and spread it with a piece of cloth. After he was satisfied the blade was sufficiently coated he replaced the lid and sheathed his dagger. He then left the office and silently walked down the stairs until he was nearly at the level which housed the prisons. Nodding at the man already there he took up position, listening carefully for any sounds coming from the cells.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on July 01, 2016, 11:53:51 AM
SELINA KNOX

They had taken down the two guards at the Rurikton portal in a discreet synchronized move, and had them moved behind a pile of boxes. The fighters that had been brought with the team took the uniforms, and replaced the guards - all within a matter of minutes as though it had been rehearsed. The inquest agent got to work almost immediately, removing part of the plate to reconfigure the portal.

As soon as that was done phase two was put into effect. Selina guided Rannulf to the sewers, and they crawled through lengths of waste and excrement, taking lefts and rights in calculated movements, Selina stopping ever so often to recall her escape. One bad move might land them in a very different place.

Their journey finally reached an end when they came to a gap in a limestone wall, covered to the waist in wastewater. "It's through here," she muttered, pressing her way through the gap to the other side. He followed suit, nearly being trapped between, but managing to make it through in the end. "I found a loose grate," she explained. "But was hindered by this wall. So I scraped it with a piece of broken metal and a rod that I managed to secure... every day for six months till I made that hole you're looking at."

"How do we get to that grate from here?" Rannulf asked, for there was nothing but darkness in that tunnel.

"Up," she replied, and wedged her hands and feet onto the stone walls of the dungeons. Moving her limbs up and down, she managed to scale the walls up till where single flickering lights cut through grills, and danced on her face. She gazed through the grills and looked within. Nothing had changed about the dungeon - not in all those years. And apart from the prisoners sleeping and pacing their cells, there wasn't a guard in sight. Perhaps they were upstairs, like they were before, that allowed her time to carve that wall. If they were, then the mission would prove to be a lot smoother than anticipated. Placing her hands on the grills, she looked down to see that Rannulf was still behind her - he was... or rather in this case, beneath. "Should I break in now? There doesn't seem to be any guards."

"Get it done. We need to be gone from here shortly," he replied.

The prisoners were rather energized when they noticed a woman coming out of one of the grates, her finger over her lips to request silence. They roused each other discreetly, and waited in anticipation as she dropped to the floor and another man came up behind her. They couldn't imagine this was anything other than a rescue effort - the hunger of freedom soon built up within the dungeons that housed eighteen men and one woman, indicted for various crimes.

Selina smiled at the man with a receding hairline who had taken up her old cell, she opened her mouth to speak, but stopped when she noticed that he was pointing to a cell on the opposite side of the row, three units away. "Looking for Zane?" he asked.

"Uh yeah..." A little surprised that he knew exactly what she wanted, she figured she could only chalk it up to him knowing that Zane was a bigwig, and assuming that someone would come for him. She pulled a concealed lock pick out of her glove, and began working on getting them out into the corridor. Rannulf waited quietly behind her, unsheathing a mace as he did.

Before long, the door popped open and they entered into the corridor. The prisoner whose cell they had entered, followed along curiously as they stopped only in front of the cell belonging to Zane. The other prisoners were pressed against the bars of their own cells, eager to witness what was about to unfold.

The prisoner was of medium built, auburn hair, tanned skin and a knife scar down the side of his face. He had been sitting coolly on the edge of his dingy bed as though he didn't have a care in the world. "Do you have my pistols?" he asked Rannulf, and Rannulf nodded. Zane rose from the bed and approached Rannulf to collect everything that had been prepared. He removed the covering that had kept his weapons dry, loaded the bullets, and had a play of them with his hands. At that point, Selina, had already begun working on cracking the lock, but stopped when she noticed Zane pointing one of his pistols at her. "Move away, lass. I've got a quicker way of getting us out."

A little unsure of Zane, whom she had only just met, she took a few steps back. "You aren't going to shoot your way out, are you?" she surmised, but before she could continue, his pistol moved a few inches away from her, aimed at the lock that she had been working on, and with a small explosion and sparks, the lock split apart. The thunder of the shot made her heart skip a beat. "What? Are you trying to get caught?" she said in exasperation as he stepped out of his enclosure. She realised that she was losing control of this mission... from Rannulf's arrival, to Zane's unexpected actions. That shot would certainly be heard from a distance away, and by her estimate, the seraphs would be walking through the door at any time.

Zane paid her absolutely no heed. With three other well directed hits, three other cells popped open. Stepping confidently into the center of the corridor, he fired more shots, each one landing in a perfect hit, popping the doors open as quickly as flipping switches. "Prepare yourselves," Zane said to the newly freed prisoners, stepping further down the corridor and freeing even more. Rannulf moved in the opposite direction and swiftly slammed his mace onto the locks of the remaining cells, thereby cracking them open.

It was then that it dawned on Selina that this was no rescue mission, it was a revolt. Zane knew exactly what he was doing when he fired those shots, and so did Rannulf. She had expected a fight, but not like this. Not in this place.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on July 06, 2016, 10:04:30 AM
Aidan Thomas Brennan and Andrea Brennan

Having isolated all discrepancies in the books and double checked them Aidan decided to talk to his aunt about his findings as he was now convinced that she was somehow related to these issues or even responsible for them.
He packed the books and his notes into a neat stack and made his way over to his aunts house where he asked the servant opening the door to let his aunt know he needed to see her.

The servant went ahead into the house to inform Andrea Brennan of Aidan's presence. While this occurred, she let Aidan into the sitting room and told him to wait for a while. It took Andrea several moments to respond to Aidan, and when she entered into the room where Aidan was, she seemed rather surprised by his visit.

When his aunt entered the room he turned to face her and bowed politely. "I hope you are well aunt Andrea" he addressed her.

She bowed politely to him, "To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"As you know father has not been very diligent in keeping the business going since mother had taken ill. Since her passing he's not been himself and I've been occupying myself with these matters. I decided to start by taking stock and looking into the books to get a clear idea of the current state of the business. I've been coming across a lot of discrepancies however and I was hoping you could shed some light on them."

She seemed slightly miffed by the idea, but entertained it nonetheless. "Perhaps you can pose an example?"

"Certainly" he said, placing his books down on the table nearby and opening the first where he'd marked a page. "This is one of the warehouses in queensdale. According to the books Wade delivered 35 barrels. They were sold on in smaller amounts but if I add up all these sales they only amount to 28 barrels. Occurrences like this happen consistently for the past few months for all kinds of goods not just corn. Lamp oil, torches, fabric, food items they're all disappearing in small amounts."

"My boy," she said somewhat deridingly, crossing the room to stand just a foot from him. "You may have dealt with Brennan business on the lower level, but you are yet a cub when it comes to upper level business management. You may not understand yet how a portion of goods must be sacrificed in order to move the larger number. Ultimately if a profit is gained, then we would have succeeded at keeping the business cost-effective and competitive."

"Aunt, goods do not just disappear. Besides that, if we look at the monthly sales total it list 35 barrels again, with a profit that is too low to have come from 35 barrels." He spoke defensively, agitated by her manner.

"Of course it lists thirty five barrels, because thirty five were moved. I've attempted to explain as simply as I can, but it seems this is way over your grasp, so perhaps you might leave the management to me, and just do what you're good at, alright?"

"Do not take me for a fool aunt, I may be a lot younger than you but I'm by now means unintelligent."

She smirked. "I had not intended to insult, but you do present yourself as such the harder you push the issue. Anyway, I do not wish to pursue this any longer. It is a waste of my time, and frankly, of yours as well." She waved to a servant to get his attention. "See my nephew out the door please," she said, and turned to walk away.

Silently he gathered the books re-stacking them neatly before following the servant out of the house. Inside he was fuming at his aunts rude dismissal. However he realized perfectly well that her dismissive and deriding behaviour was most likely a confirmation that she was indeed responsible for the disappearing goods. With her unwilling to admit to it and his father unwilling to be involved he had no clue how to prove it however. As he made his way home he pondered on how to go about finding more proof.

Andrea moved to the upstairs level, glided to a window, pressed on the curtain and watched her nephew storming off down the street. She recognized then that with the passing of his mother, the youth had become idle. An idle mind and idle hands could pose a problem to her plans, moving on. Out of respect for her brother, she had mostly left the boy alone. But no one should doubt that she would hesitate for a moment to commit to firmer action if he continued in his pursuit of missing goods. For his sake, and his father's, she would hope that he would drop the issue and never go near it again.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on July 06, 2016, 12:19:52 PM
CADEN MULLINS AND SELINA KNOX

Upon hearing muffled sounds in the dungeon Caden pulled his gun. He nodded to Mehid who signalled to the men further up the stairs. Everyone on high alert they waited until the sound of a gunshot echoed through the lower levels of the prison. His pistol aimed in front of him he stepped around the corner to asses the situation, just as more shots followed the first. A quick look around showed the prisoners all leaving their cells. One of them seemed to be holding guns. He had shot the locks Caden presumed. Amidst the chaos he spotted Selina and another man. Stepping back around the corner he looked to Mehid. "Three armed and the prisoners are set free." he said in a low voice. Mehid nodded and gestured again. On his signal, Caden, Mehid and the rest of their little team rushed into the room with raised weapons.

Rannulf had prepared solely for this moment. As a battle cry burst forth from his lips, tormenting all who stood before him, his form began to expand in exponential ways as glowing purple veins protruded from what used to be his skin, and a hard exo-skeleton replaced some part of his head and arms. His fingers were replaced by razor-sharp claws, and feet, powerful trunks of protective bone.

Taken aback for a short moment Caden glanced at Mehid. There was only determination on his face which strenghtened Caden's own resolve. He trusted Mehid to go ahead with the plan regardles of the circumstances. His eyes fell on Selina just as Mehid spoke up. "Return to your cells and you will not be harmed" His voice rang clear through the prisons.

Selina hadn't expected Rannulf's change of form, in fact there were many things about this mission she hadn't expected. But the authorities had stormed in, and if there was anything that terrified her more... Her decision to fight alongside whatever Rannulf had become, wasn't a difficult one. She pulled out her sheathed daggers, just as Zane fired a shot into one of the guards, and with a loud cry, Zane ordered the prisoners to attack. The room burst into a flurry of action. Rannulf at the forefront, slashing away at the front row of agents who were yet crouching in torment, Zane letting his bullets fly accurately at targets, one at a time, and Selina, leaping at an agent who was attempting to slip past the defenses. The other prisoners came down with fists, though less effective, did their part to distract and clobber where they could, quickly gaining the weapons of the downed.

Chaos erupted around Caden as the prisoners attacked, during the fight he observed the man with the guns closely for a while after he knocked the prisoner that attacked him over the head. From the way he commanded the prisoners it seemed like he was familiar with them. His lack of armor would suggest he was in fact the prisoner Selina had come to release. After observing the battle closely he carefully picked out a path towards Selina, which avoided confrontation with the transformed man as well as the gunwielder. He fought his way through attacking prisoners slowly.

The creature that was Rannulf continued to push forward up the stairs, taking out gates, agents and guards at every turn while the chaos continued to reign in the dungeons between the remaining agents and the prisoners that had been newly equipped with weapons. Among the fallen, both agents and prisoners alike, some dead, some badly injured. Zane followed Rannulf towards the upper room, and noticed Selina in the midst of two agents, nimbly avoiding blows, and dishing out her own hits. He whistled to get her attention, and her eyes rose to him. He motioned silently for her to follow, and she nodded, sending a firm kick into the underbelly of one of the agents, sending him sprawling to the ground.

Seeing the unspoken communication before the gunwielder moved upstairs Caden realised he had to act now. He drew the poisoned dagger careful not the hit anyone else around him with it before charging at Selina who was still fighting one of his team members. Not wanting to do any lethal harm he hit her square across the chest with elbow causing her to stagger backwards. With one swift motion he brought his blade down towards her exposed arm just slicing through the skin. As a thin red line appeared where his blade had cut her he dodged backwards raising the blade in front of him defensively.

She had felt the blade slicing through her flesh, and it made her mad. Someone had gotten lucky. He would not again. The agent whom she'd been fighting, took the chance to swing his sword in her direction. She rolled quickly, slicing through his legs, causing him to howl in agony and crumble to the ground. She had lost interest in her extended duel with him. She now narrowed in on her new target, standing just a couple of feet from her, holding up his blade as if it would do him any good. She rose to her feet with a sadistic grin on her face, surprised he didn't think to flee, nor to attack her while she was in a more vulnerable position. She figured he must be new. The whistle came again, a little more urgently this time. Just when she was beginning to have fun. "Some guts you've got," she said, raising her blade to him.

Caden swallowed while in his head he continued counting, she should beginning to feel the effects soon. The look in her eyes told him she was furious and he could only hope she would go down quick enough. He would not stand a chance against her he knew. The heavy armor which he was not used to wearing had tired him out and he found it hard to move around in it. To make matters worse he did not want to harm her any further while she seemed to have no qualms about killing him.

With Zane getting impatient, Selina made the split second's decision to play out her signature two-step move to end this foe quickly. One to blind, one to kill. With lightning reflexes, she swung her blade directly at his face. The impact tore off the helm from his head, sending it clattering to the ground. She made a second swing at his throat; her end-it-all lethal move, but instead of landing the punch, her arm faltered and fell limply under the weight of her weapon. Her heart was next to be seized as she felt it slow as all sounds around her began to drown in her own horror. Her jaw had fallen open, and she was sinking, slowly. Reaching out with her only working hand, she angrily snagged a portion of the agent's blood splattered armor, attempting at best to take him down with her.

The short dagger was insufficient to block her sword. To his horror he felt the sword cut into the skin of his face before it continued it's journey upward and knocked his helmet off. Blood flowed freely from the cut and with a low grunt he pressed his free hand against his face to try and stop it. He staggered as she pulled on his armor. Still disoriented from the blow to his head he nearly lost his balance. Releasing his face he tried to pry her hand free from his armor with both hands, knowing there might still be prisoners around who would gladly use this moment to put an end to him.

Her eyes flew wide the moment she laid them on the familiar face. "Caden..." she whispered, almost afraid to hear her own voice, because that would admit the intense feeling of betrayal creeping up upon her as her hand came loose from his armor and she slumped to the ground like a rag doll. It soon became clear that she had been poisoned, and the man she had believed to be a friend... the man who now stood above her with a bloodied face... that same man was solely responsible for her demise. With the freezing numbness of her body, as well as the increasing weight of her eyes, she could only ask, "Why... Caden... why..."

Zane witnessed all this from the stairs. As much as he was grateful to the female for bringing Rannulf to the dungeons, and originally intended to bring her away with them, her reluctance to leave the first moment he had called had made her too much of a liability to the team. Besides, it seemed that she had succumbed to the blade of one of the agents, and her death would only determine one thing - that she had perished in the duty of the Mantle, and would be undoubtedly be featured in his report. "She's dead," he yelled up the staircase. "We can continue." And he too, headed towards street level. Time was sparse, and they would need to arrive at the portal in no time.

When he heard the gunwielder shout upstairs to move on he waited for the echo of footsteps to disappear before kneeling next to Selina. Half blinded by blood flowing into his eyes he placed her on her side. He carefully placed two fingers on her neck. Holding his breath until he finally felt a weak pulse. "Sorry for this Selina" he said softly. He tried to wipe the blood out of his eyes as best as he could before getting back to his feet to assess the situation.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on July 14, 2016, 08:35:49 AM
Caden Mullins and Selina Knox

Looking around he found himself the only one left standing in the prison level. On the floor were prisoners, agents and seraph alike either dead or wounded. He cursed as blood filled his eyes again. Blinking he slowly made his way to the stairs and ascended. As he climbed higher the smell of fire started to fill his nose. When he reached groundlevel he found the headquarters half filled with smoke. In the middle Groban stood shouting out orders to seraph who rushed to put out the fire that had by now consumed most of the large desk and the cabinet which held files. With no sign of the escaped criminals or Mehid Caden assumed he gave chase. Just as Caden wanted to make his way over to Groban a team from the hospital rushed inside. Several seraph accompanied by priests and priestesses entered upon which Groban sent them downstairs.

Knowing Selina would require some extra explanation Caden rushed to the side office to retrieve his pack as fast as he could in the heavy armor. Taking his supplies along he made his way back to the prison level, ignoring a priest who tried to stop him to look at his forehead. Downstairs he found the priests sorting the wounded from the dead. He sat himself down besides Selina and set his pack down before pulling a long piece of cloth from it. Unable to see his own head he tied it around his forehead as well as he could before checking Selina over again. With the progress of the priests being slow he set himself to rinsing the wound on her arm with water. By the time he was bandaging it a priest approached him. Explaining as little as possible Caden requested for her to be transported to the hospital. After some frowning and discussion the priest convinced Caden to allow himself to be taken there as well after he took a peek under the bandage around his head.

Some time later Caden sat on a chair besides Selina's bed while a priestess cleaned out the wound on his head. Just as the priestess was applying a bandage someone spoke up behind him. "I hope you'll be able to file your report in time even with one eye". Cringing as he recognised Anises voice Caden followed her with his eye as she strode into his field of vision. "Mehid was unable to capture the escapees. They fled through the portal in Rurikton" She said. The priestess finished bandaging Caden's head and left them. Sighing Caden looked at his bloodied hands before looking back up to Anise. "I'll take full responsibility for today's disaster m'am, I clearly underestimated them. Anise placed a hand on his shouler and shook her head."Mehid told me what happened down there, anyone would've been ill prepared for that. What about the girl" She asked with a nod in Selina's direction. "Sleeping poison m'am" Caden answered. "She'll be out for at least another day orso unless I wake her up earlier. "Your letter said someone tampered with her memories?" she inquired.
"Yes m'am. When I found her in the camp she did not recognise me, though I saved her life when we met. She also suffered severe headaches whenever someone mentioned something she did not recall. The person who did it must've been a powerful mesmer. Sel was convinced she was supposed to be there and believed in their cause."

Anise gave the sleeping Selina a thoughtful look. "Will you wake her up for me?"

“I’m afraid she’s immediately attempt to flee m’am, given her fear for authorities. She’ll also believe I betrayed her. I’m not sure she’ll even listen to what we have to say.” Caden said, giving Anise a doubtful look.

“Well” Anise said. “I’m sure you’ll be able to restrain her if she does try to run. I assume she won’t be feeling her best when you wake her up?”

Caden nodded before turning to his pack. He took out a small flask and some finely ground white powder. He mixed a few drops of the liquid and a bit of the powder in a small bowl before holding it under Sellie’s nose, allowing her to breathe in the scent. “She ought to be slowly coming around soon m’am” He said before setting the bowl down beside the bed all the while keeping a close eye on Selina.

Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on July 14, 2016, 01:26:54 PM
SELINA KNOX AND CADEN MULLINS

The piercing fumes drove through her nostrils and invaded her lungs with a rancid odor that tickled her insides - though all she knew then was darkness. Complete, stark darkness, and murmurs from above. A blanket of frost cradled her as the voices got louder. She was swimming... swimming to the surface of that inky blackness, though she knew not where it would take her.

Caden waited anxiously, unsure of what Sellie would do when she woke up. He doubted she'd be in a good mood however. He threw a quick glance at Anise who stood next to him waiting calmly and patiently.

The first light broke through the slids of her eyes, and she shut them quickly. It was then that the frost upon her skin felt more present - that her entire body was in a frigid state, and the chill was causing her to quiver involuntarily.

"Sellie?" Caden asked carefully as he saw movement in her face.

She heard a voice calling a name. But it didn't matter to her while she continued to be stirred around in the waves of her mind. Her eyes rolled in their sockets and her fingers began twitching.

"Sellie, can you hear me?" He asked her again. Concerned he took her twitching hand in his own as he sat down on the edge of the bed. Silently he prayed that he had not messed up the poison. He'd only seen it used once and he'd never observed waking someone before they awoke naturally.

Her eyes opened again and stayed open this time, though the stare remained vacant. Her teeth chattered, and her breath was raggered.

"This may take some time ma'm" Caden said, looking at sellie with concern. Anise nodded. "I will see how the wounded are faring and check back in a few minutes" she said before walking off.

She turned her head to face the stream of light coming through the windows, her mind still swimming in circles.

Picking up the bowl he held it under her nose again, wondering if she'd not breathed in enough. "Selina?" He nearly begged her to wake.

The piercing scent pervaded her nostrils again. It stung her eyes, and she willed her hands as much as they would move to push that bowl away, except they just moved over her stomach and slumped there. She groaned to show her disapproval.

Satisfied he removed the bowl again. "Can you hear me Sellie?" He asked again.

She turned her eyes to him as the confusion finally started to lift, and she began to recall glimpses of what had happened before. She saw Caden standing over her with a bloodied face as she lost her grip on him. He was standing over her again, except his face had been cleaned up and the wound bandaged up. She must have had lost time... a considerable amount perhaps. She looked around. She could not remember coming in.

Speaking proved to be a challenge, as she finally managed to blurt out, "Where... am..."

"You're in the hospital. Sel, if you promise me to remain calm I will try my best to explain what happened. I'm sure you have questions." He gave her an apologetic look, wondering how much of the attack she actually remembered.

She wasn't sure what he was talking about, though he seemed rather stoic, and perhaps a bit nervous. She decided to wait to hear what he had to say, as long as it didn't involve her speaking.

"Let me first assure you that you're not under any form of arrest, nor are you blamed or any events that transpired. Since you are awake I should warn Anise, she'll want to be here. Please excuse me." He said almost stumbling over his words. He glanced in the direction which Anise had walked in and spotted her not too far off. A quick wave caught her attention and Caden turned back to Selina.

He spoke of this person... "Anise" as though she should be familiar. But that name did not ring a bell at all - not that she had really tried. Any thought at all hurt her head, not to mention the world continually moving about as though it were in a spinner on a slow cycle.

Anise came over and stood beside the bed again. "Is she lucid?" She asked.
"Somewhat" Caden replied before sitting down on the edge of the bed again. "Do you remember why you came to Divinity's Reach Sellie?" He asked kindly.

The question he asked brought up some memories of a man who looked like her father, drinking alone and smashing bottles. There was a glimpse of prison bars... was that why she was in Divinity's Reach? No... there was something bigger at stake. Some kind of a secret. She looked again at Caden, and now she narrowed her eyes. He had something to do with her being here, she was certain of it. "You.." she said.

Frowning slightly he thought for a moment. "Do you remember who I am?"

Blood... and the feeling of sinking. It was her blade that had sliced his face. Poison... she remembered being poisoned. She saw him holding his blade up to protect himself. Protect himself from her. She deduced then that he was the one who had poisoned her. She recalled the feeling of despair. "Betray..." she spoke sharply.

"I'm sorry I had to do that" he said, pained to see his suspicions come to life. "I had to make it look like you died. Do you remember we spoke before you came to the city?"

His explanation made no sense to her, and even though she couldn't remember the entire sequence of events, the mere thought of being betrayed set a fire of defiance within her. She ignored his question and turned to the woman he had named Anise. She wondered what part she had to play in this - and if she was a friend or a foe.

Anise gave her a calculating look. "Do you know who I am?" She asked.

Selina shook her head. "Tell me."

"Does the name Aidan mean anything to you?" She asked without supplying an answer.

She heard the name spoken, but before she could even try to dig into her memories, her mind seized up and she gasped, her fingers clutching into fists.

"I see" She stepped closer and placed a cool hand on Selina's forehead. Closing her eyes to concentrate she did not have to look far to notice the magic that blocked out large parts of her memory. "I cannot remove these without risking to harm her, Caden. Whoever was responsible for this certainly knew what they were doing." She let go of Selina's forehead and looked at her. "I'm sorry this is all so confusing for you. Someone blocked out part of your memory, I'm afraid I cannot undo it for you, you will have to slowly regain them."

Lost memory... it resounded in her head as she recalled sitting in a room with this man Anise had named Caden, and he had told her the exact same thing... just before... Just before the big mission to Divinity's Reach. "The dungeons..." she muttered to herself. There was a big fight in the dungeons. And while she could not follow, the man she had rescued had managed to get away.

Caden nodded solemly while Anise seemed to be lost in thought. "Do you remember anything else?" Caden asked.

"You met me the night before," she replied.

"I did. I told you about your memories then as well. I had hoped Anise could help though." He said with a sad expression.

She looked at him thoughtfully. Just moments ago she had been against the idea of speaking with him again, but it would seem that she would need to depend on him to gain her bearings. "What memory am I missing?"

"You forgot about quite a few events, your brother, your boyfriend and presumably other people. You also did not know who Anise is, while you're supposed to know her." Caden answered slowly.

She looked at Caden most curiously. "Even if I had a boyfriend that I forgot about, I'm pretty sure I would know if I had a brother."

"It's not widely known you two are related but Aidan Thomas Brennan is your half brother"

Another spike hit her, though less severe this time. She moved her hand to touch her forehead. When her finger tips were upon her skin, she noticed that her limbs were beginning to soften up, they were beginning to respond to her.

"It would seem these headaches you feel occur each time someone mentions something that is related to a blocked memory" He explained. When he finished speaking Anise spoke. "I think it's time we alert Aidan to the situation. He will not be pleased but hopefully he'll offer her a home while she recovers."

She considered the possibility that Anise and Caden had malicious motives for their interest in her. It weighed equally as much as the concern that what they'd said could be true. "Who are you working for?"

"The queen" was Anise's short answer.

"The Shining Blade," noted Selina, and she turned to Caden. "You snuck into the camp."

"I did"

She hesitated. "You don't mean that I was working for the Shining Blade as well?"

"You were not. You were headed to the camp to talk to someone. Your intention was to leave immediately afterwards. Someone decided they could use you however and toyed with your mind"

Selina looked suspiciously at Anise. "I kind of see the Shining Blade standing to benefit... who's to say I should believe anything you say?"

"How would we benefit from this situation in your opinion?" Anise raised an eyebrow at her while she spoke.

"You could've messed with my mind beforehand, sent me into that camp, then smuggled an operative after me with a cover story in the hope that I would shed some light as to the plans of the bandits in Brisban. That is what you are after, isn't it? Intel. And the reason that you are here now is for more of this... intel."

"If you do not trust us, I will make a deal with you. Go home with your brother and do not speak to me again until you're certain you remember and you trust us. No one is pressuring you, or restraining you. I am worried for you however."

Caden held himself to the side while Anise spoke with Selina, carefully repackaging his supplies.

"I'm certain I don't have a brother. If I am not a prisoner, then I suppose you can't hold me back from leaving."

"I cannot, but I urge you to remain until Aidan arrives." She turned to Caden. "Make sure Mr Brennan gets here as soon as possible." Caden nodded and took himself off quickly swinging his pack on his back.

Looking back at Selina, Anise continued. "I'm also told that you should rest before trying to move around, the poison has not quite left your body and you may experience after effects."

Angrily, she retorted, "Nice way to convince me that you're being completely honest. Feed me a bunch of lies then poison me."

"I understand your anger, however I see no point in arguing over this while you're not able to remember the facts. The poison was a necessary evil, I approved it because I saw now other way to separate you from the rest of your group."

She glared at Anise, her suspicions of Anise being the culprit who had messed with her head, growing rapidly. The swimming within her head had steadied, leaving only the conspiracies to fester. She turned to the light streaming through the window again. Perhaps if she looked out the window, she would be able to recognize where she was, and perhaps get an idea of where she should head. Moving her hand over the sheet that was draped over her, she sluggishly picked up a corner, and moved it over her feet.

Anise did nothing but wait by her bedside while she moved.

Labouring for the next few minutes to right herself, she finally got herself into a seating position, her muscles quivering from the effort, sweat pouring down her cheeks. Nonetheless, she shot Anise a look of victory.

Not long after quick steps were heard approaching until Aidan stopped in front of Anise. "What have you done" he demanded angrily.

Aidan's arrival had coincided with the moment Selina decided to take a "leap of faith" and try the strength in her legs. She slipped from the edge of the bed as a massive spike exploded in her head, and she fell to the floor. She cried out loud, helplessly pressing her fists against the sides of her face as hidden memories burst through their confines, each piercing her skull in the most agonizing way.

Reacting immediately Aidan moved to catch Selina before she hit the floor. Holding her while she was clearly in a lot of pain he felt his anger rise and he glared at Anise while he tried to comfort his sister.

The spikes lasted for a while, and finally slowed to a stop. Selina remained curled in a foetal position, exhausted from the ordeal, resting in Aidan's arms.

Caden nervously had kept his distance, not sure he wanted to be anywhere near the group right now while Anise had calmly observed the scene before her.

Feeling Selina relax after some time Aidan carefully picked her up and placed her back on the bed.

Selina wrapped two fingers around Aidan's arm as he lowered her on the bed. "Aidan..." she whispered. "Aidan."

He gave her a sad smile. "You remember me then?" He said in a hopeful tone.

She nodded slowly, a tired smile upon her face.

"I am glad" He said with a concerned look. "Perhaps you should rest."

That was something she could easily do for the moment. There were still gaps in her memory, but it felt as though a huge chunk had returned by some random chance. She was much too tired to sort out what it all meant, and how it related to the appearance of Caden and Anise, but for the moment, she was glad that she remembered her brother, and she was glad that he was here for her.

Turning to Anise and Caden he glared at Anise again. "Perhaps it's better if you both left." He spoke harshly. "I'll make sure to visit soon for an explanation"

Anise nodded and strode towards the exit while Caden hesitatingly lingered. "I'm so sorry about all of this Aidan." he eventually said.

Aidan only nodded in reply. Feeling that was all he would get for now Caden quickly left and headed for the shining blade's headquarters to report about his mission.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on July 22, 2016, 11:50:49 AM
Aidan Thomas Brennan & Selina Knox

Her sleep had been peaceful, even though she had not dreamt of much, she felt a calm about her - an assurance of security, and that she was loved. When she opened her eyes, she found daylight pooling onto her lap. She remembered she had fallen asleep when it was day. Time had either not moved, or she had been asleep for the rest of that day, through the night, and up to the next day.

After Caden left Aidan had taken a chair and sat himself besides Selina's bed. By nightfall one of the priests came to offer him a bowl of soup which he gladly accepted. Not long after Caden carefully approached to check in on Selina. Still suspicious of the young man and his involvement with Selina Aidan all but interrogated him, not allowing him to leave before he told him everything that had happened to Selina. Though Anise had told him not to discuss the mission Caden felt that at least Aidan deserved to know what happened to his sister. By the time Caden finally left they were both rather exhausted. Aidan had leaned back in his chair intending to close his eyes for just a short while. However his recent stress and exhaustion caused him to slip into a deep sleep. By the time Selina woke up he still sat sleeping in his chair.

Selina looked at her tired brother, sleeping deeply, slumped in a chair drawn next to her bed. If there was any consolation to the entire string of events, she was glad that she had regained the memories of him. With little effort, she could recall him at his study desk, busy with his letters. Talking with him over breakfast and tea. Even a trip that she vaguely remembered, up to the north. She wasn't sure why they were there, but she recalled embracing him after a long fight, and feeling that all was right with the world. It was that same feeling that encircled her now, watching him in that corner. It urged her to reach out to him, but she hesitated, for she was certain that he deserved the little rest that he was getting.

Instead, she pulled the sheets off, and moved to the edge of the bed. Her motorskills were much improved, though just a slight dizzyness remained. One that she could easily cope with. With less effort than before, she found her footing on the stone cold floor of the hospital room, crossed over to where Aidan was, and placed the sheets gently over him.

Despite his exhaustion this movement woke him up immediately and he cracked open his eyes with a frown. His memory returning instantly he sat up straight in his chair and rubbed his eyes before looking at Selina. "Good morning" he said, rather embarrassed at her finding him in this state.

"Oh no no... go back to bed," she whispered, feeling guilty about waking him up. "Or better yet, use my bed."

"I'm fine Selina" he said stretching as he got up from the chair. "How're you feeling?"

"I'm good," she said, genuinely feeling so. "I'm just perfect. How are you?"

"Keen to get my hands on some breakfast, if you feel well enough we could perhaps head over to the inn for a bite."

She wasn't sure if she was hungry. The lower part of her body remained a little numb, but she was pretty sure she would be needing food soon if not now. "That sounds good." Absently, she pulled at the thin hospital robes she was given to wear. "Is this appropriate?"

"Let me ask what they did with your armor and belongings. I will be right back" he said, and stalked off to address the nearest priest.

Not long after he came back, the priest trailing after him with a neatly stacked pile of clothes and armor in his hands. He placed them on the bed. "We washed these for you miss" he said with a kind smile. After nodding respectfully to Aidan he left them to continue his duties.

She walked to the bed, placed a hand on the embroided illustrious armor, and a thought struck her. "This isn't the armor I wore when I was last with you, is it?"

"No it's not. It's probably still back in the bandit camp. We can order new armor for you to replace this, but I'm afraid I don't have anything else for you to wear right now.

"I'll wait for you by the entrance so you can get dressed" he said before giving her some privacy.

"Oh," she called out to Aidan as he walked off. "I didn't mean to complain. I just..." She stopped speaking when she realised that she probably wasn't going to be heard. It just hadn't occurred to her till now that perhaps the armor was significant towards... she wasn't sure what. She shrugged as she placed it on herself, and tucked in every corner. She could not remember how she had come by this armor, as seemingly intricate its detail would hint towards a hefty fare, and it didn't seem to have been provided by Aidan. Perhaps it was Auberon who had dressed her in it. But why... if the memories of Aidan had come before those of Auberon's, did she end up in the middle of the jungle with a bunch of bandits? There seemed to be more questions than she had answers for.

She turned around and joined Aidan at the door.

He nodded at her as she approached him. "I informed them that I will be taking you with me. You're welcome to your old room in my home if you want. You'll be stuck with me, but I think it's better than sitting around in a hospital while being perfectly well."

She nodded, and pressed gently on her forehead. "Can you... can you tell me, Aidan. Why did I leave your home? I remember staying there for a while."

"Are you quite sure you're well?" He asked with concern as she pressed her hand to her forehead.

"I am well," she insisted, and repeated her question. "Why did I leave? How did I end up in the jungle?"

"Let us sit down for some food first, then I will tell you what I know." He said, gesturing in the direction of the inn.

There was more she wanted to ask, but she accepted his request, and tried to keep up to pace with him.

When they arrived at the inn they sat down in a quiet corner. There weren't many people present and the innkeeper came over almost instantly taking their orders. Aidan asked for a breakfast to be served for them both. After the man left them he gave Selina a thoughtful look. "Do you remember being wanted by the Seraph?"

She leaned back in her seat. "Yeah, of course. I remember going to the dungeons, remaining there for about a year till I got out again." As it came back to her, she began looking around a little nervously. "Wait... are you about to tell me that they're waiting for me?"

"No, please, be at peace." He said. "but you don't remember being arrested by the seraph in more recent years?"

"I..." she pressed her forehead again, wincing as she did. "I have to admit, I'm a bit blurry on the timeline. I think I left the dungeons recently, so they would be looking for me. But I have all this memory of the time I spent with you... how many years am I missing?"

"You escaped from prison 12years ago Selina"  He said right before the innkeeper approached them with a tray of all kinds of breakfast dishes.

A look of surprise washed over her face, and she continued to stare blankly at Aidan, unsure of how she should take the news. "A... and when did I go to live at your house?"

Aidan waited for the innkeeper to leave them again before he answered. "You were arrested little over a year ago. Rather than sit out your sentence in prison you were allowed to live with me under certain conditions"

Instinctively, she placed a hand on her wrist. "A wristband..." she remembered. "You were my sponsor. And..." her mind wandered back to the day before when he had spoken harshly to Anise and Caden. She lowered her voice, but it took a sterner tone. "You're with the Shining Blade. You're with 'them'."

"I am" he said calmly. "It does not follow that I agree with their methods at all times however."

She calmed herself, noting that since she had woken the first time after the fight, she had been somewhat emotional. Perhaps a symptom of the poison given to her. "I take it that you knew nothing of their plans?"

"I've been unable to work much while I had you in my custody. Then after you were free to leave circumstances prevented me from returning to active duty." Pain flashed across his features while he paused shortly to collect his thoughts. "They released you early, telling me it was because of your good behaviour. I was not informed of their plans with you, your wellbeing or your whereabouts. As far as I knew you were finally enjoying your freedom together with Kovenito."

"Ko..." there was a stab of pain in the back of her head, and she braced herself to ride it out. She had become a tad better at handling the headaches, but they remained unpleasant, to say the least.

"You two seemed to be planning to spend the rest of your lives together. You seemed rather well suited for each other."

She remained silent  with her eyes downcast as Aidan spoke of the person she assumed was the boyfriend that she had forgotten about. It hurt her head to even think about the name, and she didn't want to consider anything about him till she had good reason to. Desperate to change the subject, she searched through her memories of Aidan, and managed to recall something. "Aidan, were you investigating something... or someone?"

"I was" was all he said.

A little curious at the short reply, she continued her line of questioning. "What happened with it? Do you need any help?"

"I've been busy with other things lately" He said before taking a piece of bread and taking a bite.

Selina widened her eyes, waiting for him to continue only to realise that's all he was going to offer her. "Aidan, I know my memories are kind of all over the place, but I'm not a fool. And regardless, I'm not as weak as you think. You don't have to protect me..."

"My wife as well as my mother have recently passed away" he said after some time.

"Oh.." Selina hands went over her mouth. Whatever she thought he was going to say, she didn't think it was this. Without another word, she left her seat and walked over to his side, reaching out her arms to offer him a hug.

He accepted the hug with a sad smile. "thank you" he said when he trusted his voice again.

"How could I leave? How could I have let you be alone?" There were tears in her eyes.

"I told you to leave, and my mother passed after you left."

"I'm sorry Aidan. I can't imagine what the Shining Blade could've done to drive me into the jungle. I must've been out of my mind."

"They told Doc Howler you were planning on taking command of the remnants of the Blades. She, as they suspected responded violently, causing you to travel there to face her."

She pressed a fist under her chin. "To save my own life," she reasoned. "Your colleague... Caden, he managed to get into the camp, and told me that he had travelled to Brisban with me. He also tried to tell me that I had lost memories. The second time I met him, he poisoned and landed me here. I can't really tell what intent he has - I tend to think he meant it all for good, it just got messed up along the way. What do you think?"

"He was sent by the shining blade to accompany you, and to use you to infiltrate the camp. His primary objective was to obtain information. Your safety was secondary to that. Your mission to come here forced him to act. He deemed it the safest way to extract you from the bandits while not letting them know they were infiltrated. By poisoning you, your team left you for dead, rather than traitor."

Selina agreed. "Indeed, dead in the eye of the bandits, is better than to be branded a traitor. There is nothing worse." She leaned forward. "Would it be a lot of trouble to arrange for me to meet him again? I'd like to ask him a few questions."

"He already crossed Anise by meeting me last night and explaining. I'm sure there will be repercussions for him, but I will see what I can arrange. Perhaps I can convince Anise that sparking your memory could be beneficial for her."

For the first time since she had woken up, Selina felt a tinge of pity for Caden. "Do you think he'll get into a lot of trouble?"

"Anise will not be pleased. He'll probably be demoted at least."

She frowned. "Anise sounds like some kind of a bitch. Especially if this was her idea in the first place."

"She has a kingdom to protect. Sometimes the safety of many outweighs the safety of one person. And with an organization as important as this one it's especially important to be able to trust who works for you."

"Pfft... it's just power play for her. She wants to exert that kind of authority because she thinks fear will grant her respect. If you ask me, there isn't much difference between herself and the people she's fighting."

"I'm glad we do not have to agree on everything."

Selina smiled politely. Aidan certainly had a lot of respect for his boss, respect that she did not share. And what she didn't want to tell him, was that as glad as she was to be with him again, there were moments she flashed back to the great prison escape. Even though those events had not panned out the way she would've liked, the sheer exhilaration of the mission, and working covertly as a group to make fools of the Seraphs and the Shining Blade made her look upon the group that Auberon had put together, fondly.

She didn't know if she was meant to shun such sentiment, now that she had memories of her brother. She supposed the obvious choice was to side with the people he worked for. But they'd never treated her well, and to add to that, they were indirectly responsible for Two-Blade Pete's death. The only interest they currently had in her, was purely out of self interest.

But out of respect to her brother, she supposed she would bear with it, for the moment - and see what clicks. That was yet another reason to speak to Caden. If for nothing else, but to fill in the rest of the gaps.

He raised an eyebrow trying to make out what she was thinking. He knew she would probably never look favourably on who he worked for and what he did. And he couldn't fully disagree given what he'd most recently found out. "So, have you decided what you'll do?" he asked. "Where you'll stay I mean."

She put a piece of meat in her mouth, and spoke as she chewed. "I was thinking that I would stay with you, if your offer still stands. I should stay with you till you find someone else who can watch over you."

"Watch over me?" He frowned. "I think it's important you're around someone who knows you well. So they can answer any questions you may have. It's also important that you can trust them or they might try to abuse your lack of memory. Of course my offer will always stand Selina. You will always be welcome in my home."

"With the gaps in my memory, you're just about the only person right now that I think I can trust. I'm not even sure if the rest are still around anymore."

"The rest?"

"Everyone else that I remember," she clarified. "Although according to Caden, someone I used to know followed us to Brisban, but I never got to see him in the end. Maybe he knows something."

"Brandon I think, he used to be in the blades, Caden told me you went to him for information and made him come with you when it turned out he had spread the rumors about you wanting to retake the blades further"

"He did? Is he with the Shining Blade as well?"

"He is a bandit"

She looked confused. "Then I can't get why he helped Anise's agenda."

"He didn't know he was helping it. He was actually excited about the rumor, considering it true"

A curious expression crept onto her face. "Interesting. Perhaps it's time to reforge old bonds."

"I'm sure he'll want to know you're safe. Perhaps we could visit him. Sel..." he paused. "I have no right to ask anything of you, but, before you left me, you were decided on living peacefully and within the law..."

She let out a laugh. "Well of course. You were my sponsor, weren't you? How could I say any differently?"

"I do not think you made that choice simply to please or fool me"

"Well... you've said it yourself. I'm glad we don't have to agree on everything."

"I cannot expect you to understand your own choices if you cannot remember what lead up to them." He gave her a serious look. "But I do ask that you at least abide by the law while you remain under my roof"

She nodded. "I'll behave. Don't you worry. I hear what you say."

"Thank you, that is all I ask. Have you eaten enough?"

"I have. I'm ready to go if you are."

"Yes, lets stop by the armorers on our way back however, I think it's better if you did not continue wearing this."

She looked down at the pearly shaded armor. She had almost forgotten that she was curious about it earlier on. "Shouts 'bandit' a little too much, doesn't it?"

"Perhaps" he said with a smile before getting up and paying the innkeeper. "Well then, lets be on our way. I'm sure Siri will want to know she has to take care of dinner tonight"

She stood up as he did. But she did not tell him how her mind had finally made the connection as to what the armor signified. It signified her connection to the rebellion of the system. It signified everything Anise was trying so desperately to shut down, and she was the key. Wearing that armor in the midst of Shining Blade operatives, having the trust of both. She could see that Aidan was nervous about what she was wearing. Thinking that perhaps removing that armor would solidify her loyalty to the seraphs and the Shining Blade. Silently she smirked to herself. As much as she loved him, there was a much larger war on the brink. A war that could possibly remove the powers that she despised so greatly. It was true when she said that death was better than turning a traitor. It just didn't dawn on her till now, standing in the middle, that she would be a traitor, regardless.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on July 27, 2016, 12:26:56 PM
SELINA KNOX AND CADEN MULLINS

Selina and Aidan took a slow stroll through Divinity's Reach, headed back to his home in Rurikton. Several heads turned as they passed, a few whispers spread among onlookers. Aidan had to keep in mind that Selina was still prohibited from entering Ossan Quarters because of that prior altercation with several nobles before she left him, but he decided not to bring up the issue till she had regained more of her memories. He observed her quietly, and noted that there was some consternation in regards to the negative attention she was gaining. It was typical of the wealthier elites, unfortunately many of them spent most of their time in gossip and speculation. For that he was certain that the otherwise insignificant incident with Josephine and Jeffrey Goddard had now steamrolled into a fictional mountain of exaggerated fact and a hugely bloated sense of injustice. There was no way around it, it was just unfortunate that it had occurred at all.

By the time they had arrived at his doorstep, they were already exhausted - sheer out of concern that something might escalate from the situation, and less to do with the walk itself. Selina paused at the entrance, running a hand over the door frame, looking over every detail of the hall before her. Flashes of memory of a previous time in Aidan's home reinforced the sense of security and familiarity with the place.

"Well, welcome home I suppose" Aidan said with a sad smile as he turned to Selina.

She snapped out of her thoughts. "Thank you," she replied, and followed him up the stairs. Every curve of cornice, every picture frame, every creak of the hardwood floor was indescribably present in her mind. What she had done there though, and with whom, remained vague and uncertain. She saw blurred faces and muffled voices everywhere, moving through those halls with her, interacting with her. It was the most astounding feeling - knowing and yet not knowing. As though her own mind was working to expel her from a forbidden area she had accidentally stumbled upon.

He stopped in front of her room and turned to look at her again. "Are you alright?" he inquired.

"I... I am. I just seem to be recalling several things... but forgetting others."

"I'm told it'll take time for you to adjust and should be experiencing things like this frequently. If it helps I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have for me." He gestured towards the door of her room. "I've not had the opportunity to let Siri prepare the room, so things are much as they were when you left. Please make yourself at home, if you require anything it will be arranged."

She nodded gratefully. "Thank you Aidan. I guess I have many questions, but I am somewhat overwhelmed now. Give me time to figure things out on my own as well."

"Of course" He nodded.

She looked at the door of her room. "I suppose this is where I go?"

He nodded."If there's nothing else you need I'd like to refresh myself a little and put on some clean clothes"

"Alright," she put a hand on the knob and turned it. As the door widened, a wide smile appeared on her face. A large bouquet of colorful flowers sat by her bedside with a white card propped up like a teepee, standing neatly on the side. "Aidan! It's beautiful," she exclaimed.

"I did not arrange that" he said curtly.

Her smile faded to curiosity as she picked up the card and took a good hard look at it.

"Shall I read it to you?" He asked, almost equally curious.

She handed the card to him, and waited expectantly.

He took the card and gave it a quick look over, raising an eyebrow before he read it out loud. "Dear Sellie, I'm sorry I couldn't visit you at the hospital, but trust me when I say my heart was with you all the way through. I'm also sorry things turned out the way they did, it was never my intention to let it escalate to this point. But know that I did my best to get Kovenito and Caden into the camp to get you out of danger, and think that we received a modest success - apart from Kovenito disappearing into the jungle (it really wasn't my fault). I don't know what Aidan thinks of the entire thing, or whether you're ready for a visitor, so I'm just going to leave you with some flowers, and my sincere hope that you will be better soon. I will visit again. Till then. Your friend, Bran"

"Bran..." she repeated. "Brandon." And she looked at the flowers again.

"Yes, and I'd prefer him not breaking into my house in the future" Aidan said with an eyeroll.

"Is this..." she pointed to the flowers, "Normal for him?"

"He's a bandit, how often do you gift flowers to each other. Doesn't seem like typical behaviour to me"

She shrugged. "I only remember getting flowers once, and it was from a female."

"Then I reckon this isn't normal behaviour."

She walked to her bed and sat down. "Well I'll get out of your hair. I'm sure you have better things to do."

He nodded. "Let me know if you need anything" He said before leaving her and retiring to his own room.

After a while of just staring at nothingness, alone with her thoughts, she stood up and walked over to the dresser, which had a fresh bowl of water. Dousing her hands in the cleansing fluid, she washed it over her face and peered into the mirror just in front of her. There was something different about her. She touched the sides of her eyes. She was visibly older... more weathered and worn. She hadn't even noticed till then. How many years... Aidan told her her last escape from prison was twelve years ago. Adding the years she returned to the Blades, and then departed. She stared deep into her eyes. Seven years... give or take. Seven years of shadows.

After Aidan had refreshed himself and changed he sat himself in a chair in the library and poured himself a drink after which he stared at the spines of the books across him.

She thought about the blurry images of people, walking through Aidan's home. She could not hear their voices clearly, nor see their faces - and could not make sense of their relevance to Aidan or to herself. But she did think about young Bran. She remembered a particular interaction with him when he marveled at the diamond she had taken from a particularly wealthy household with high security - one which had been her ticket for the major leagues. He had asked her how she'd done it, and she had simply answered, "Determination and hard work."
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on July 28, 2016, 02:44:33 PM
SELINA KNOX AND CADEN MULLINS

Selina had been with her thoughts, struck with the urge to take a walk, yet feeling beholden to stay put. She looked out the window quite a number of times, tempted to slip out to the nearest inn for a pint, and yet resisted then. She knew it wouldn't be long before the inclination became a full blown urge.

Noticing the sky going dark through the window Aidan kept a careful eye on the clock. He downed the contents of his glass before getting up and walking downstairs. As he opened his front door a cloaked figure slipped in and he quickly closed it. "Welcome Caden" He said with a polite nod. "Please follow me to the library". Caden pulled back the hood of his cloak and nodded following after the other man. When they arrived in the library Aidan offered him a  seat and a drink before leaving him to call Selina. He knocked on her door several times. "Selina?" He asked.

"Yes?" she replied, opening the door. She was glad for distraction. She didn't want to slip out the back, but the temptation was growing too strong even for her to resist.

"Caden is here"

She nodded. "That was quick."

"He was eager to see you when we spoke, but since you were sleeping we agreed he would visit us here"

"I'm surprised he attempted to see me again. I wasn't very kind to him when I first woke."

"I'll leave it to him to explain himself. Will you join us in the library?"

"Yeah, why not," she followed Aidan.

As they entered the library Aidan again offered everyone a drink, after which he retreated to the corner of the room, granting Caden and Selina some space. Upon their entering Caden had immediately jumped to his feet, his eyes anxiously following Selina as she walked in.

She examined his bandages from across the room. "How are you doing?"

"Don't worry about me, how're you Sel, please you have to accept my apologies for deceiving you and poisoning you" He looked at her quite desperate with one eye.

She smiled at him, and shrugged. "It's been done before. I'm not beyond forgiveness. I do have to ask you several questions though."

"Of course" He said, still clearly uneasy.

She sat down beside him, and looked him square in the one uncovered eye. "Caden... how long have you been following me?"

"Since you left Aidan's custody"

"And you knew about Anise's false rumor?"

"I had my instructions"

"What did you know of me then? When you were first given instructions."

"I was told of your history, your brushes with the law and about the history of the blades. What the shining blade knows of them anyway"

"Did you understand the position it would put me in?"

He hesitated. "I was not personally familiar with Doc Howler and could not estimate how vehement her response would be. But I was aware you would be placed in some danger. No one considered the turn of events that has happened however" he followed

She nodded. "And now you are risking your career to speak to me."

"Not even sure I still have a career" He said quietly while pointing at his eye.

She reached forward and took his hand in hers. "You don't need them. You can do better."

He didn't respond to that.

Judging from the lack of response she let his hand go and let out a sigh. "I suppose Anise will pay me a second visit... or have one of her goons do it for her."

"You're not of much interest to be honest if you remember nothing from inside the camp."

She smirked. "You've been in the camp. Have you told them anything about what you've seen?"

"I'm not sure you understand the kind of threat they pose. Sel, these are not just bandits, they are a threat to tyria. The lower ranks may be recruited bandits, but the higher ups are white mantle, and their motives go beyond looting and pillaging. Did you know people have been disappearing?"

"I have disappeared!" she snapped suddenly. "Into their stinking dungeons. And the man who would've been my father, has died by their hands. Would they have cared if I'd been assassinated while they carried out their little experiment? I doubt so. How are they any better than the people out in the jungle?"

"The people out in the jungle relate to an organization that sacrificed a terrible amount of human beings to their fake gods, and their plans this time around will not be better. You're free to hate us all you want, but please do not let it cloud your judgement. Our enemy should not be your ally. Please, think twice about who you sympathize with."

She looked coldly at him. "Have I said that I would make them my ally? Maybe there's a third option."

"Perhaps there is" He got to his feet. "Aidan it's getting late. Perhaps it's time I left you to it."

She stood up. "That's it then?" There was a tinge of disappointment in her voice. "I suppose I was mistaken about you."

"Mistaken about what exactly? Where my allegiance lies? If you have any more questions I will answer them, but I will not sit here and be accused for the wrongdoings of other people"

"You know what they have done, and still you throw yourself completely in with them. I'm not accusing you of the wrong doings of other people, but I am questioning your wisdom in aligning yourself with these people who will, without so much as a blink, abuse even you and discard you like trash when you've lost sight in one eye."

"And I question the wisdom of people stealing from those who worked hard for what they had. Yet I do not sit here and lecture you for your preference for bandits. No one said I would be discarded because of my eye either. The simple truth of the matter is that I am hardly effective with only one eye, so if I do not get my sight back I will be unable to do my job well and it would be better to send another. You are so prejudiced you see everything in a bad light. There is no point in arguing when you view us like this and I will not do it."

"Worked hard?" she smirked. "If you only knew the corruption of the wealthy in Divinity's Reach, you would change your tune. Say what you want about my preferences, but I happen to have a code of morals that I do live by. I do not and will not support all bandits blindly, nor will I support the rich pillaging the poor. What you've said about the sacrifices, I've not personally witnessed, but if what you say is true - and I will find out if this is so, then I will shut the door on going back to them forever."

"Aidan, Thank you for your hospitality. I wish you a good night" He said after Selina fell quiet. "Take care" was all he said to Selina before turning and leaving the library.

She stood in silence, watching him leave.

After Caden left Aidan poured himself another drink and sat himself in the now empty chair downing the glass immediately and refilling it.

Selina looked at the bottle, feeling that urge reach into her throat again. "May I?"

He pointed at a small cabinet door. "There"

She opened the cabinet, helped herself to the bottle closest to her, took out the cork and immediately began pouring it down her throat.

"I hope you had no further questions for him"

She didn't offer a reply but smashed a fist onto the wall behind the cabinet, she swung that fist thrice, then clung to the wall, her face twisted in misery.

"Selina?" Concerned he got up from his chair and placed a hand on her shoulder pulling her away from the wall. "What's going on?'

She slumped instead onto the floor, taking another huge swig out of that bottle.

"Selina" He said more firmly this time, taking the bottle from her hand and kneeling next to her.

She covered her eyes and began to sob quietly. "I'm sorry Aidan, I thought I could live here. But I don't think I can anymore."

"Perhaps you should stop thinking about all these politics and their implications and simply live for a change. Take care of yourself rather than concern yourself with all these things that you cannot change."

"That's precisely why I need to go home..."

"Home?"

"To the streets, to people who understand where I come from... and who I am."

"I will not let you live on the street with no memory. You are my sister.."

"There are things that I remember clearly, and it's the streets that I remember best. But it doesn't change the fact that you are my brother, and I will come and visit you as often as I can. I just need to... I need to find my way in this world."

"Have you considered that it is the lack of memories that now heavily colours your views. I'd rather you stay here where I can provide for you and give you a fair shot at regaining these memories. If you're not confronted with something that sparks them you may never remember"

"Maybe it isn't important to remember. Maybe I'll just go and create new memories."

"It is important to the people you forgot that you remember. You forged some strong bonds in the past few years, please, do not give them up so easily"

"If I did then where are they? Who are they?"

"Well, there's Dahr. She's a norn and you went through a great deal of trouble to get her back. Your wish to get her back was so strong that you went against my warnings and knocked me out to prevent me from intervening."

She grimaced as a stab of pain entered her head when she attempted to recall the face of this norn that Aidan was describing, but could not.

"We traveled the world together Selina, would you discard all those memories simply because we do not agree on one thing? I propose we don't discuss the shining blade, or bandits and simply do things we enjoy. And perhaps, we could finally get to teaching you how to read." He said handing her back the bottle and pulling her to her feet.

She gratefully took the bottle and stood up. "Those other memories haven't been as easy to retrieve as the ones with you involved - and I do have glimpses of being in Frostgorge and Hoelbrak with you. Just not a lot of everything else. I guess I'm just... just tired of not getting a return on trust."

"I trust you, I may not always agree with you, but I trust you. And I'd rather have you living here and avoiding topics like the shining blade and bandits than worry about you constantly. Trust me, I have enough worries on my mind as is. And don't you worry about Anise sending anyone by, I will deal with them"

Looking idly down at her fingers, she finally replied after a pause. "Alright, I will remain here for now. I'm sorry about all this, I know you have more important things on your mind."

"Nothing is more important than family Selina. Though mine sometimes does give me a headache," He tried to laugh but ended up looking rather sad. Forcing thoughts of his aunt out of his mind he walked back to his chair and poured himself another glass.

"Who's giving you a headache?"

"You certainly did when you knocked me over the head" He said before drinking the contents of his glass.

She gave him a half grin. "I don't remember ever doing that, so I guess that gives me a pass?"

He smiled at her "I suppose it does"

She looked at her half filled bottle. "Would you mind if I finished this?"

"By all means" he said as he slowly got up and got himself a full bottle. Starting to feel the effects he carefully sat down in his chair again.

Taking a large gulp of the bitter beverage, she attempted to put aside everything that had happened with Caden and take on Aidan's advise instead. She would think of anything but the Shining Blades - she supposed that would cheer her up then.

"Sel" He said after a while. "I'm glad you're staying" He leaned back into his chair sipping his drink.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on August 03, 2016, 04:17:51 PM
SELINA KNOX AND CADEN MULLINS

Despite the conversation with Selina yesterday the confrontation with his aunt had never been far from his mind and after Selina had gone to bed Aidan had remained in his chair mulling over the issue while he finished the bottle he'd opened earlier. Eventually the drink combined with exhaustion caused him to fall asleep where he was sitting and next mornings sunlight found him still asleep in his chair with two empty bottles beside it.

Selina had woken early. She left her room and paced Aidan's home, peeping in on him several times, fast asleep in his chair, and decided against waking him. Descending to the kitchen, she helped herself to a fruit knife, and began carving a serpent on a carrot. She did that for sometime before she put the vegetable down, and ascended to the upper floors again.

The light failed to wake Aidan up and he continued to sleep in his chair.

Standing for a while in front of Aidan, watching him in blissful rest, she finally decided to pull a seat opposite her brother, and plop herself down on it. The little kitchen knife was still in her hand. She looked it over carefully, then picked up a sharpening stone she had taken from the kitchen, and began to run it up and down the blade.

The scraping sound of stone to metal eventually caused Aidan to stir. Unable to determine what was causing the unusual sound he reluctantly opened his eyes blinking and scowling at the bright light.

Noticing the movement, she looked up - just partially surprised that he had woken. She had become increasingly restless, and wanted nothing more than some human interaction. Her entire purpose of sitting in front of him was to wait for him to wake. "Good morning sunshine," she greeted.

He grumbled something under his breath and rubbed his eyes. "What time is it?" He asked without looking at her.

"It's mid-morning," she replied, and looked at the bottles beside him. "Having some fun to yourself last night?"

"I hope you found yourself some breakfast" He said with a tired voice, completely ignoring her remark.

"I did, and I made statues out of breakfast even," she announced, waving the knife in her hand. "Do you want me to fetch some for you?"

"No thank you, I'll have a bite later" He said as he got up from his chair slowly and stretched to get rid of the stiffness caused by sleeping in the chair.

Observing his stiffness, she commented casually, "You should spend more time sleeping in beds than on chairs."

"I normally do" he said grumpily as he made to leave the room to head over to his bedroom.

"Aidan," she motioned once again to the bottles. "I know my memory is splotchy, but I don't recall you being such a fan of alcohol."

He turned when she addressed him but after she'd spoken he shrugged, turned and continued to leave the room.

She followed after him. "Well we have that in common, at least. I love a strong drink. The stronger the better. Don't like those watered down types."

Ignoring her he entered his bedroom and closed the door behind him, sitting down in a chair with a sigh.

A little surprised at the manner at which she was cut off, she stared a little defiantly at the shut door. "I don't know how you do things in your world, but I don't like doors getting shut in my face," she said loud enough for Aidan to hear.

He sighed again and forced himself to his feet, opening the door again with a dismal expression on his face. "If you don't mind I'd like to change my clothes. I did not think you'd wish to be present for that nor would it be proper."

She backed off, a little unsure of his thoughts. "Hey, I've been around worse. You don't have to be prim and proper with me."

"You're my sister"

"My point exactly."

He rolled his eyes but left the door open and turned his back to her, unbuttoning his wrinkled shirt.

She leaned against the frame of his door, and continued to speak with him. "So what do you do here by yourself on a day to day basis. It must be horribly dull."

"I work for the family business" He said as he let the shirt slide over his shoulders and discarded it in a basket in the corner of the room. He opened his wardrobe and pulled out a clean shirt and put it on.

"The Brennan business," she chuckled to herself. "Property, vineyards and farmland."

"Indeed"

Her eyes widened when the thought occurred to her. "Aren't the Brennans like the second wealthiest noble family in Divinity's Reach?"

"We've done pretty well for ourselves" He said after he finished buttoning up his shirt and started to put on a jacket.

She nodded. "You're heir to the business, aren't you?"

"I am" he said, turning to face her now, fully dressed again.

"I assume your foster dad runs it now."

"Just call him my father please. And no, he's stepped back since my mother's health declined drastically."

"So you're handling it all alone?"

He hesitated before answering. "My aunt is doing a lot as well"

"You have an aunt?" she asked. For some reason, she could only picture the immediate family.

"Yes, Andrea, you've met her a couple of times. You didn't get along quite well to be honest."

She laughed. "That would be likely if she fit the stereotype. Do you get along with her?"

"She can be stubborn, but we both want the best for the family"

He spoke a message, and yet his expression said another. "You don't seem very pleased."

"Like I said, she can be stubborn"

She raised a brow. "Much like yourself?"

"I suppose so" Uncomfortable with the direction the conversation had taken he shifted around. "Let us go downstairs and have some tea" He suggested.

"Fine." She had noted his awkwardness, and wondered if she had been too forward with him. She followed him nonetheless.

He headed downstairs and asked Siri to prepare tea and something to snack on before he gestured to Selina to sit down. After she did he sat down himself as well.

She sat, as suggested. And observed him carefully as she waited for tea. "Is something the matter, Aidan?"

"Regretting the second bottle. Are you surprised?"

She knew she would have to tip toe about the issue. Her brother didn't seem keen to open up his emotions, but she, of all people, understood what pent up emotions can do to a person. "I tend to feel that way after my fifth, so I usually try to stop at four - especially if I have an upcoming job, or something I have to think clearly about. There's only one reason I let myself go over the edge." She looked pointedly at him. "Do you know what that is?"

As he shook his head Siri entered the room with a tea tray and placed it on the table in front of them. "Will that be all sir?" she asked. He nodded at her and she left the room again.

She waited till Siri was gone, and asked again. "Do you know what that is?"

"No, I don't"

"It's when I hit a deadend, and I feel I'm running out of solutions. Getting wasted is a good way to just give up. To surrender to my problems."

"Ah" was his only response while he stared at his teacup very intently.

She waited for him to expound on "ah", but when he didn't, she continued. "I see you in the same way - surrendering to your problems. I know you probably don't think much of my experiences," she shrugged. "Most nobles wouldn't give me the time of day - but if you try me, you may be surprised to find that I have something to offer."

"I have given you a chance, even if you don't remember"

"What about yourself? Have you given yourself a chance?"

"What's that supposed to mean?"

She leaned forward. "Let me help you."

"With what?'

"With whatever burden you've been carrying since we've been together again. There's obviously something that's been bothering you, and badly too."

"You don't want to be involved in that"

She sighed. "How do you expect me to watch you going through this alone, and sit over here, twiddling my thumbs? I'm your sister, as concerned as you are for me, I am for you."

He sighed as he turned his teacup around in his hands. "Fine. I'll tell you" He paused a while to collect his thoughts, trying to figure out the best way but then decided to put it plainly. "My aunt is stealing from the family business"

"Stealing?" she repeated in surprise. "How do you steal from your own business?"

"She's taking stock without paying for it. Basically items are disappearing, the books have been altered so it doesn't stand out"

A wide grin formed on Selina's face. "And you thought you'd keep me out of this," she chided.

"She's told me to drop the issue and I'm unsure how to proceed"

She playfully poked a finger into his shoulder. "That's when you get someone like myself to get you what you need."

He sighed. "I wanna think about this first. I really don't know how to proceed"

"Look, I've done stuff like this for all kinds of nobles for years. Someone wants to check on the fidelity of her husband. Someone wants to steal a peek at a tightly wrapped stock. Someone wants to get to know his client's newer contacts. Stuff like this is second nature to me. I can find out what you need, and get you out of this mess."

"I know she's doing it, the books prove it. But I can't make her stop if she insists on continuing"

"Don't you want to know where the money is going to?"

"There's no money involved, there's goods disappearing"

"Alright... don't you want to know where the goods are going, in this case."

"I have to admit I'm curious, although my main objective is to get her to stop stealing"

"To stop a river from flowing, you've gotta go directly to the source. If she's taking goods out, you have to know for what purpose. Once you do, you can do whatever you want to stop it."

"Are you up for helping me though?" He paused "Considering your memory is far from complete, and most of the evidence is written, how are you going to trace it"

She agreed on the part of the reading. "Weren't you going to get me a tutor?"

"If you really wish to learn how to read I will "

"If it will help you, I will."

"I'll arrange someone later today"

"We're set then?"

He nodded, still playing around with his teacup
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Kovenito on August 14, 2016, 12:29:58 AM
Kovenito

Kovenito had been in the mines for several days now after getting caught trying to find a way around the front gate. Despite the setback of losing contact with Caden and Bran, he was fairly satisfied with having been able to reunite with the Seraph prisoners that he had escorted to the mines. They did everything in their power to remain near each other in the mines as they looked for an opportunity to escape. There was a lot of traffic in the mines with bandits, prisoners, and skritt vying for space within the confines of the narrow tunnels. Kovenito couldn’t understand why the bandits were allowing the skritt to remain in the midst of such an operation as this, but he figured they must have their reasons.

As Kovenito dug within the mines, he heard some nearby bandits start up a conversation as several came to shift the watch.

“So did you guys hear? Doc Howler is celebrating in style now that Sellie just died,” declared one of the newly arrived bandits.

“What?! How did that happen?,” inquired another bandit.

“Apparently Sellie was on some sort of hush-hush mission and she was taken out by some Seraph.”

“Guess that means the Blades will settle down again. Doc Howler is terrifying when she is in one of her moods. One of the reason I didn’t take much stock into Sellie’s potential takeover. Glad I made the right choice…” said the bandit as he began wandering off down the tunnels.

Kovenito stood there in total shock at the news. As the shock began to subside, it was replaced by equal measures of grief and rage. He turned toward the Seraph prisoners. “I am going to make them pay; we are breaking out of here right now!”

With that, Kovenito rushed up to the nearest skritt. “Hey skritt! Those bandits just took all the shinies through the gate. They aren’t going to let you have any more,” he told him.

“Our shinies?! They can’t have our shinies!” yelled out the skritt. Other skritt joined the distraught one and together they began to rush the bandits. A violent fight erupted as skritt, bandits, and prisoners suddenly began to brawl. Before long, the guards were overwhelmed and the gate broken down. The violence spilled out into the fields outside.

Kovenito looked around him at all the dead bodies strewn around him and immediately regretted his rash decision. But not wanting to waste the opportunity, he gathered the Seraph prisoners and ran for the exit. Once free of tunnels below, Kovenito led the Seraph into the nearby woods. From the shadows of the trees and underbrush, they began to make their slow, arduous hike back to Divinity Reach while remaining as hidden as possible from the main roads and thoroughfares.

Once back in Divinity Reach, Kovenito reported to his sister Ilterendiel about everything that had happened, including his grief over the loss of Selina and his failure to protect one of the Seraph and the ensuing bloodshed. Kovenito told Ilterendiel that he was done with adventuring and that he would return to the home he had created for Selina and honor her memory by living the quiet life she had hoped to attain.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on August 24, 2016, 01:10:57 AM
SELINA KNOX

Selina had spent her first week with Graeme Clark, the tutor that Aidan had secured to coach her in reading and writing. It was a slow process, but Sellie cherished the classes, and did her best to learn all she could. Graeme was rather professional with the handling of the lessons, starting promptly on time, making sure she understood everything that was said, and giving her enough time to practice on her own. He was also careful not to let anyone know exactly who he was holding classes for, even though he had been approached on separate occasions by the neighbours about the goings-on in the Brennan household.

At the end of the week, Bran paid another visit through Sellie's window, and this time, he found her in her room. She made him promise not to tell anyone that he knew that she was alive. He assumed that word had not gotten out yet since her companions never did come back for her. The news both put her at ease, and disappointed her at the same time. She supposed she was glad they never came back to look for her, but at the same time, wondered if she really was valuable as Auberon had made her out to be.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on August 31, 2016, 10:38:24 AM
Selina Knox, Aidan Thomas Brennan & Caden Mullins

Selina had been sitting in her room, reading up a storm on a document that was given to her by Graeme. Every now and then she would mark a word in red, if she wasn't sure how to pronounce it, or what it meant.

Aidan was sitting in the library going through his correspondence when a knock on the door was heard. Downstairs he heard Siri open the door and welcome the guest to the house. Not long after footsteps were heard coming upstairs before Siri announced Caden Mullins. Putting his letters down Aidan got up and shook his hand welcoming him heartily.

"I hope you're well Aidan" Caden said in reply to the man's greeting. "Anise has sent me to ask Selina if there's perhaps anything more she remembers from her time in the camp or the people she met there." He seemed uneasy for a while before he continued. "I know she probably hates me after my behaviour when I was here last, but I'm afraid I have to ask her anyway"

Aidan nodded thoughtfully. "I understand, let me fetch her for you" he said before moving through the hall and knocking on Selina's door.

She put down her document and pen. "Yessss?" she yelled through the door, and opened it up to Aidan.

"Caden is here to see you" he said quietly, hoping to not get a door slammed in his face.

Her expression changed, she peered over Aidan's shoulder in the case that Caden had followed him upstairs. "I'm not keen to see him. Tell him I'm not here."

"I don't think he was very keen to come either, but Anise sent him. Please at least hear him out"

She remained hesitant. "Aidan, you promised me that you would keep Anise away. Caden is just her wingman."

"By that definition so am I, yet you're speaking to me. He just has to ask you some questions and he'll be on his way"

She frowned, and crossed her arms over her chest. "You won't take no for an answer, will you?"

"I'm afraid not"

Sighing loudly, she stretched out her arm. "Lead the way then."

"Thank you" he said while stepping backwards and gesturing towards the library expecting her to move that way. "I'll be in my room" he said after she stepped out of hers.

She put her arm down. "Leave me to deal with him on my own. If anything goes awry, I'm blaming you." She walked off without waiting for a response, and stepped into the library.

Aidan shrugged before entering his own room and closing the door behind him.

In the library Selina found Caden waiting for her on the far side of the room, shifting around a bit nervously. The bandages that had been wrapped around his head tightly last time were gone and a large pink scar ran across his face. The look on his face was anxious though he tried not to frown.

Selina shot daggers at him with her eyes, prowling the other end of the room with a fierceness that Caden had never seen before.

"I-I am sorry for coming here" He stammered before collecting himself. "I know you must despise me but please, allow me to apologize for my behaviour last time, I had no right to speak to you like that" He glanced at her face trying to gauge her reaction as he waited anxiously for her to reply.

"What do you want?" was all she said in reply.

"Anise wants me to ask you if there's anything more you remember about the camp or the people there since you've been back." He said, clearly uneasy after her short reply.

She slammed a fist into the wall. "Don't mention that name to me. It's not welcome here."

"Please Sel, anything you remember could help us, even if you don't like us, you must agree that we cannot let the white mantle have their way"

Narrowing her eyes at him, she responded. "I'm not involving myself in this war between the white mantle and shining blade. As far as the world is concerned, I am dead. You do not consult a corpse."

"But you're not dead, and if we fail, it will affect you as well. Please Selina, if there's anything you remember, tell me" He looked at her pleadingly.

"I don't owe you a thing... nor do you owe me a thing. Let's leave it that way," she said coldly.

"So rather than helping us, and possibly saving a lot of lives you'd prefer to keep quiet out of spite. I guess it was stupid of me to expect anything else. Good day to you Selina, even though we seem destined to leave on bad terms, I hope you realise it's not my intent." A sad look flashed across his face every so shortly before he turned to leave the library.

"What is your intent then?" she spoke after a pause, just before he was going to fade out of sight, probably for good this time.

He stopped in his tracks when she spoke up. "It's true I came her because she sent me, but I've been wanting to come back since I left last time, I do not want this animosity between us Selina" He said as he turned to look at her. "I know my behaviour was appalling and you may never trust me again, but I would like for us to be friends." He paused. "I did not come before because I was afraid you would send me away. Please, will you forgive me?"

The intensity faded from her facade. "I will forgive you if you can help me to understand why you shift between such extreme personalities. One moment you're gentle and kind, and the next, you seem to be as cold hearted as the rest of them. Which one are you?"

"Would I have tried to extract you from the white mantle camp if I did not care, risking everything I worked for?" I am passionate about what I do, you may not agree with me but that does not make me cold hearted. Yes, I will grant you that this mission was not right, but I also know the Shining Blade was desperate for a way in. Nothing I can say or do will make up for what happened to you, but please, let us not argue on matters that we will probably never agree on, I cannot bear the thought of arguing with you. That is why I left last time, to prevent either of us from saying worse"

A block of silence cut into their conversation, and finally Selina spoke. "Why does it matter to you how I feel about you? You know you won't change my mind in regards to the Shining Blade and their practices, and it seems I won't change yours. Were we really meant to be friends if our opinions are so different?"

"You may not remember the time we spent together travelling, but I enjoyed it very much, I will not such a stupid disagreement ruin that"

"The disagreement is only stupid if it has little to do with us and we can just brush it aside. But how can we do that if you only show up when you have Shining Blade business to discuss? Who is Caden Mullins apart from the Shining Blade?"

He let his head hang "I should've come sooner, I'm sorry, I am a coward"

She watched him quietly. "I don't like the animosity between us either."

Carefully he managed a smile "So how've you been the past month?"

She shrugged. "I've been studying... and hiding. Basically. Haven't been out of this house."

"Studying?"

"To read," she let out a sheepish smile.

"Sel that is fantastic" he said, allowing his usual cheerful grin to spread across his face "How're you getting along?"

"I suppose I'm as fine as I could be," she pointed to his eye. "How's your injury?"

"It seems I'm lucky, over the past month my sight restored, it started with just a few blotches of light here and there but it's fine now. The scar is still sore though"

She nodded. "You should've left that helmet off. I could've killed you."

"If I had you would've recognised me too early and my plan would've failed. I'm glad you're safe even if I did get a little less handsome in the process" He said with a cheeky grin.

She smiled in response. But just before she opened her mouth to speak, her tutor poked his head out of the door, and knocked three times to get their attention. "I'm sorry to interrupt," said Graeme. "Is this a bad time?"

Caden gave Selina a questioning look but said nothing

"Oh yes," she said to Caden. "Time for my lessons. Graeme is on the clock so our talk will have to wait."

"Of course, will you allow me to return tomorrow?"

She nodded with a smile. "Just don't bring that 'business' side. This is a much better version of you."

"I did not wish to obscure my reason for being here from you, since I hope to rebuild our trust, I hope you understand." He smiled. "Until tomorrow then, good luck with your lessons and give my best to Aidan please"

After a last smile he turned and made his way down the stairs and out the house.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on August 31, 2016, 02:00:14 PM
AIDAN BRENNAN

After giving his files a last lookover Aidan made some notes in a small book that he tucked away in his jacket. He neatly stacked the files spread out on the table and hid them. Before leaving the house he stopped in the library. "Selina, I''ll be out on business. I'll be back before dinner" He told her, after nodding at Graeme in greeting. He then left the house and made his way over to the eastern commons where one of the Brennan's warehouses was located. He knocked on the door and patiently waited for it to be answered

Gregor was in the midst of having his lunch when the knock came. Rolling his eyes at the intrusion, he put down his sandwich, wiped his mouth, and opened the door. Surprised to find Aidan Brennan there, he instinctively straightened up. "Oh Mr Brennan, what a surprise!"

"Good day Gregor, I trust to find you well?" Aidan said with a nod.

"Yeah, yeah." Gregor moved to wipe his right hand on his hips before presenting it to Aidan. "I hope you're having a fine day, sir."

"Excellent, thank you" He said, shaking the offered hand. "I have a few questions though if you have some time for me"

"A few questions?" Gregor hesitated for a moment, before remembering his manners. He quickly moved aside and invited Aidan in. The administrator's office was surrounded by files, and two desks. Gregor offered him a seat at one of the desks.

"Thank you" Aidan said before sitting down. "Gregor, you're responsible for the goings on here, have you encountered any issues with the administration on this locations?" He asked, getting straight to the point.

"Any issues?" It wasn't like him to repeat after every question, that's what nerves will do to him. He took a while to compose himself before replying. "Ah, there are no issues, sir. It's smooth running all the way."

"Still doing all the administration yourself then? I figured with the amount of work you're having to do you'd pass some on"

"Sometimes I get my niece to come in and help out," he chuckled. "She needs the work experience, and yes, I could do with a break now and then. But Miss Andrea hasn't hired anyone else to handle the work, so..." he shrugged. "Got to do what I got to do."

"Does she come in often to check up on you?"

He nodded. "Sometimes."

"Can I ask what these visits precisely entail? What does she do when she's here?"

Gregor looked curiously at Aidan. "Mr Brennan, I don't mean to be rude, but why do you want to know?"

"Since my dear mother took ill Miss Andrea's been doing a lot for the company while it's really not all her responsibility. I'm worried she might be taking on a little too much"

The look of curiosity didn't wipe off Gregor's face. "I see." Pregnant pause. "And I am sorry in regards to the passing of your mother. She will be remembered."

"Thank you, you are very kind. " Aidan said with a sad smile.

"Know that all of us, we all loved the missus."

"Thank you Gregor, she always appreciated all the hard work you all put in" he paused. "I know it always pained her that she could not be more involved"

Gregor laughed. "Naww... there is a place for a classy missus like that. It's not with us working folk."

Smiling Aidan looked at Gregor. "I don't want to keep you from your work any longer. Thank you for being patient with me Gregor. If anything happens please feel free to call on me"

"Of course Mr Brennan. Thank you so much for visiting," Gregor rose to shake Aidan's hand again.

"Thank you for your time Gregor" He said, shaking the man's hand. "If you don't mind, I'd like to go through your administration before I leave, but I wouldn't want to keep you from your work."

"Oh..." Gregor was nervous again. "But Mr Brennan, they are all very boring numbers and lists. Nothing you need to trifle yourself with."

"Gregor, it's no trifle I assure you. I'll let myself out when I'm done so I will not be in your way."

"Are you sure, sir?" Gregor took a step towards Aidan to stop him, then decided against it at the last minute. "Perhaps you need me to explain the numbers?"

"I'll be fine Gregor, I grew up with this business. I may not drop by often, but I know my way around"

Gregor stood in the middle of the room, uncomfortably weaving his fingers into  his palms. Finally he decided to excuse himself. "Mr Brennan, there are some items coming in this afternoon that need verification. I will be waiting just outside if you need me."

"Certainly, thank you Gregor" Aidan said with a nod before standing up to study the various piles of paper that surrounded him.

Taking a bow, Gregor left the office promptly, leaving Aidan to himself.

After Gregor left, Aidan took the notebook from his pocket and looked at his first notation, going through the piles of paper to find the matching administration. He worked from top to bottom through his notes, and the more he checked the less pleased he was. Scribbling extra notes into his book he frowned more and more.

Eventually he sighed and sat back into the chair, leaning his head backwards. After a few moments he sat back up and tucked the notebook away again. Leaving the office he sought out Gregor. "I'll be on my way again Gregor, thank you again for your time and effort."

Gregor wasn't waiting for any shipment, but he was holding a messenger pigeon in his hands. It took off into the air the moment Aidan wished him farewell. Gregor waved, "Goodbye Mr Brennan."

"Take care Gregor," He said before leaving the warehouse and making his way back home.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on September 14, 2016, 10:33:59 AM
KOVENITO AND ILTERENDIEL

Ilterendiel hesitated at the door to the farmhouse. When her brother made that surprise return and spoke with all urgency about Selina's fate, it seemed out of sorts. She had heard about the breakout, but had heard nothing about the death of a certain Selina Knox. She figured that surely her name would be significant to mention among the dead. This spurred Ilterendiel to dig into the matter, to find out what had actually happened. Lo and behold, what she found out turned out to be both good and bad news at the same time. As she contemplated how she would explain to him what exactly had happened to Selina, she wondered how he would take it. Her hand moved to the knob, and once again she hesitated.

"Kovenito?" She called.

"It's open" he replied, not looking up from his work. He sat near the window as he carefully attached fletching to an arrowshaft. Adjusting to life without Selina had not been easy on him and when Ilterendiel opened the door she found her brother looking like he had not been taking care of himself well enough.

"Kov," she said quietly. Watching him in that state made her heart heavy, she debated whether it would've been better if he'd never fallen in love at all. Being with Selina Knox had truly taken a toll on her brother. Perhaps some women weren't meant to be tamed, she reckoned. "I have news..."

He looked up from his work to see his sister. "What is it?"

"I know you believe Selina perished in the struggle when Zane was set free... but the entire matter struck me as odd, and I decided to go do my own digging. Apparently..." she watched him closely as she selected the words as carefully as possible. "Selina is not dead. It was all a rouse to end her association with the white mantle."

The blood drained from his face as the words sunk in. "She's not dead?" Instantly jumping to his feet he grabbed Ilts shoulders "Where is she? what happened?" He begged her as a glimmer of hope shone in his eyes.

She let him shake her around with his newfound zeal. "But," and the word itself felt heavy on her lips. "Her mind's been meddled with. She's lost all memory of anyone or anything preceding her arrival at the camp. That, all the way to seven years ago. I'm not sure if she will remember anything the two of you have shared. Best not get your hopes up."

"Who did this to her?" He let go of her shoulders and opened a nearby chest retrieving a pack from it.

"Nobody knows. It's hard to determine since she can't remember the events leading up to the camp, and she's not willing to speak to anyone about what happened there." She noted him gathering his things, and held onto his shoulder. "Kov, I mean this for your own good, please consider carefully the possibility that she may not remember you."

"I have to see her Ilt" He said as he continued packing.

Reluctantly, she let go of his shoulder as he was about to leave. "It may bring you comfort that there is one person she was able to remember, and that was her brother. Perhaps it's the close association they share, or perhaps the mesmer that damaged her had not been thorough enough. But there is the hope that the memory of you was left untouched."

He nodded. "Is she staying with him then?"

"She is. And has been for the past month or so."

"Will you come with me?" He said, opening the door while looking at her.

Ilterendiel smiled. "Of course I will. I was afraid you wouldn't ask." Following close behind him, she shut the door for both of them.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on September 19, 2016, 02:37:31 AM
Selina Knox & Caden Mullins

After knocking on Aidan's front door Caden greeted Siri as she answered and asked to be admitted to the house. Siri, smiling at him directed him to the library after which she took off to let Aidan know Caden arrived. Aidan in his turn knocked on Selina's door.

Selina had been resting in her room with a book on her lap when she heard the knock. She had been most diligent about her studies, and finally felt she was getting to an acceptable point with them. Words made much more sense to her, and what seemed like jibberish was coming to life. "Yes Aidan?"

He opened the door before speaking. "Caden is here"

She put away her book immediately, rising from her bed. "I was expecting him. Is he downstairs?"

"Siri sent him to the library"

"I'll go down to visit with him." She left her room and headed into the library.

Rather than joining her Aidan returned to his own room to continue what he'd been working on before Siri disturbed him.

Turning the knob to the library, Selina peered in. "Caden?"

He immediately looked up at her as she entered the room and replaced the book he'd been inspecting. "Hello Sellie"

She beamed brightly. As much as she tried to make the best of her lessons, she was lonely. And not being able to get out of the house was heavily weighing on her, more than she would like to admit. Sometimes she would stare out of the window and envy the passerbys. Having a visitor brought that bit of outside world into hers, and she couldn't help being pleased. "How are you?"

"Very well, thank you"  He said with a smile. "What about you? how did your lessons go?"

"They've been good. Graeme has started me on a book of Tyrian history, featuring the escape of the Ascalonians into Kryta. Interesting stuff."

" I'm glad you enjoy it. It must be dull to sit indoors all day"  He said while sitting down in one of the comfortable chairs.

She sighed, loud enough for him to hear as she took a seat close to him. "You don't know the half of it. I don't think I can take it much longer."

" We could always plan a little outing, go our hunting or something"

" Maybe Bran would enjoy a visit"  he said, scratching the back of his neck.

Instinctively she turned around to look in the general direction of the study. "That'd be nice but I don't think my brother would allow it. He's been trying his best to keep the fact that I'm alive, tightly under wraps."

" Maybe he has a hat you can borrow"  Caden said with a laugh.

She smiled politely, but did not laugh. "Caden, do you have siblings?"

"I... I had a little sister once"

"What happened to her?"

"She got sick" He paused for a while after that.
"Mum and Gran tried everything, but her body just couldn't cope"

Selina let a pregnant pause set in as she contemplated Caden's sorrow. "How old was she?"

"She was 4" He put on a smile. "It was all a long time ago though, lets talk about something else."

"I'm sorry..." she apologised. "The only reason I asked is because I realise I know very little about you."

"I guess you forgot a lot hm? Well, I'm happy to tell you anything you want to know"

"Get me up to speed then. What have you told me about you?"

"Well, I told you I grew up in Claypool, where I lived with my parents and grandmother."  He paused. "Grandmother is a herbalist and my family owns a small shop and tries to help out people who need it."

She pointed to her mouth. "That explains the herb you gave me. The life of a shopkeeper not good enough for you eh?"

"Gran wanted me to succeed her, but I found hanging around in a small market town infinitely dull" He grinned.

" I am grateful for what she taught me though, it's helped me our several times already"

"Have you found what you've always wanted to do?" She bristled a little at this, but attempted not to let it show.

" I think my current occupation has lost it's shine a little"

"Really?" She pulled back a little. "Have you given consideration to what else you could do with your life?"

" Maybe travel some more. I've not really thought about it yet'

She smiled and leaned into her palm, "Might be worth a thought."

"Maybe I'll spend my time being your bodyguard"  He said teasingly.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on September 20, 2016, 08:17:55 AM
(continuation of the previous post)

Caden Mullins, Aidan Brennan, Selina Knox, Kovenito & Ilterendiel

Ilterendiel followed her brother closely as he marched to Aidan's home. She knew he was anxious, and she was too, if not more.

Selina grinned and shrugged. "I wouldn't mind having one. Wouldn't have the gold to afford you though."
Right after Selina spoke there was a knocking on the door. Not long after Siri announced Kovenito and Ilterendiel and left to notify Aidan of their arrival.

"Kov..." Selina stopped midway, a grimace on her face. She turned to Caden. "Isn't he?"

Understanding her meaning he nodded. "Kovenito, I'm so pleased to see you're well, we were worried when we couldn't find you in the mines" he said, addressing the man in question.

Selina had her back to the door. She was nervous about this. Everyone had told her Kovenito was the man whom she was supposed to love. It had been to the point that it had converted her behavior from self-destructive to civil and stable. But she had no memory of him, and every time she tried to recall even a nugget, she would develop a headache that threatened not to leave till she gave up thinking of him. She wondered what the cost would be to lay her eyes upon him.

Kovenito barely managed to nod to Caden in reply. His eyes fixed on Selina he stood frozen in place. "Selina...."

She turned slowly at his voice, and had barely a glimpse at him when her mind seized up. Feeling as though a large stake had been plunged through her skull, she buckled at the knees, holding her temples helplessly, hoping the pain would go away.

Immediately jumping into action Caden darted forward, taking hold of her to prevent her from falling over. Meanwhile Kovenito panicked. "What's wrong, what's happening to her?"  He asked frantically, unsure of what to do but desperately wanting to go to her.
Coming into the library now Aidan grabbed Kovenito's shoulder and pulled him into the hallway, assuming Ilterendiel would follow them.

Ilterendiel was taken aback by the severity of Selina's reaction. She had heard that regaining memory might cause some discomfort, but she didn't expect it to look this bad. She followed Aidan into the hallway.

Selina clung desperately to Caden's arm, trying at best to steady herself. She had experienced this amount of pain before, and it was related to the time when her memory of Aidan had returned. But she had also seen candid pictures of both him and the things they had done together. The same could not be said of this encounter.

Once they were out of the room Aidan let go of Kovenito's shoulder and looked at him. "Regaining memories causes her pain. You should've let me know you were coming, I could've warned you"

"How long does it last?" asked Ilterendiel.

"It seems to depend on the amount of memory her brain tries to recover. We've not been able to help her much with it. A skilled mesmer took a look at her but told us it would be better for her to slowly regain her memories rather than try to lift the blockage at once."

"So she's processing... is that what she's doing now?" Ilterendiel assumed, observing the anxious look on her brother's face.

Aidan nodded in reply to Ilterendiel.
"Does it hurt her like this every time she tries to remember?"  Kov asked feeling immensely concerned for Selina. He ached to go back into the room, but having seen her reaction he was afraid to cause her more pain.

"I"m not sure, it seems mostly important recent events and people cause the most pain. I suppose whoever blocked her memories wanted these to be harder to recover." Aidan said, feeling slightly hopeless about the situation Selina was in.

"oh..." said Ilterendiel, placing a comforting hand on Kov shoulder. "Well, if we had to be specific, just on account of how important you are to her, there isn't a doubt that you would've been blocked." She laughed uncomfortably, trying at best to lighten the air.

"I'm sorry it's under such circumstances we meet again Kovenito and Ilterendiel. But I am glad you came back unharmed Kovenito. I was worried when Caden told me they could not find you within the camp."  Hoping to change the subject for now Aidan managed a smile.

"Ah yeah, thanks. Do you think she's doing better now?" Kovenito asked, not allowing himself to be distracted.

"Maybe she's already regained her memory, you think?" asked Ilterendiel hopefully

---

Holding onto Selina tightly Caden slowly sat her down in a nearby chair and took her hand in his. "Sel?" He asked silently.

Her hands were quivering when she took them from him, sweat pouring down her cheeks, but the pain was receeding. "Yeah... I'm better."

"Do....Do you remember?" Caden asked her tentatively.

Selina waited to take a couple of breaths to cool herself down and gather her thoughts. All she could think of was the intensity of the pain, not much else. But this was so similar to the experience she had on meeting her brother. Surely she could remember something... anything. It was all a blank. Slowly, she shook her face.

Caden looked at Selina in concern. " Nothing at all?"

She looked at him through tired eyes. "Nothing. Maybe we're missing some element from the last time? Feels like it should have worked."

"With Aidan and me it was just meeting us right? What about Ilterendiel, do you remember her?"

"That's the name of that girl Kovenito was with?" she shrugged.

"Yes it is, you do not remember her either?"

"Nothing," she said simply.

"Are you sitting alright?" He gave her a concerned look. " I should maybe go and tell them."

She sighed. "Yeah tell them. And if they want to try again... I'd be alright with it."

"Are you sure? Maybe it's better if you rested first?"

There was just a dull ache in her head. She knew it would fade in time. She wanted the memory block to be lifted as soon as possible, so she wouldn't have to keep having to anticipate another round of the same thing. "I'm fine, let them know. Thanks Caden."

" Alright" He squeezed her arm softly before standing up and walking over to the hallway.

---

Unsure of how to bring the probably disappointing news Caden stood silently in the hallway observing the three before him. "She doesn't remember" He spoke after a while.

Ilterendiel was devastated, but looked to Aidan and Kovenito to decide the next course of action.

Kovenito froze as he felt the hope he'd harboured crumble away. Not willing to let go completely he grabbed Aidan's arms. "Surely... Surely there's something we can do"

Aidan gave Caden a concerned look. "What did she say?"

Still uncomfortable Caden stayed silent for a moment. "She remembers neither Kovenito nor Ilterendiel. But she is willing to try again"

Ilterendiel turned to Kovenito. "What do you think?"

"There has to be another way, I cannot bear to hurt her like that, not again" Kov gave Ilterendiel a sad look.

"Is there any other way?" Ilterendiel asked Aidan.

Aidan shook his head sadly. "None that I know of"

Ilterendiel put an arm around Kov's shoulder and spoke softly to him. "Kov, don't tell me you're giving up already. You've gotta try. This is Selina we're talking about."

His sisters presence seemed to calm him a little. "You're right, of course" he mumbled after a while.

She brightened. "I'm sure everything will work out fine," she said optimistically.

Kovenito gave her a sad smile. "Alright. Aidan, are you alright with this?" He asked. After Aidan nodded he turned back to the room where Selina was. Knocking on the open door he softly called her name again. "Selina?"

"Yes, I'm ready," said Selina, bracing herself.

He took a careful step into the room. "How are you feeling?" He asked while Caden brushed past him and made his way back to Selina.

The rush of agony hit her with a force she had not felt before. She wavered as her world spun around.

The blood drained from Kovenito's face as he watched her suffer. Turning immediately he fled the room.

Hitting the ground, Selina went into violent spasms. Her mind a jumbled mess, and all the memories that she had gained recently, tossed about like a ship in a raging storm.

"Kov!" Ilt yelled after him, and ran out the room to console her brother. Immediately, she felt guilty about insisting that he try again. Selina seemed to be irrepairably harmed, and she wondered if there would ever be a cure for whatever ailed her.

Crying out Caden dropped down next to Selina, grabbing hold of her to try and steady her spasms. Worriedly he spoke softly to her, hoping it would calm her down.

Meanwhile Kovenito stormed out the house, ignoring his sister calling out to him.

Gradually the spasms slowed, and Selina's breath calmed. But the lids to her eyes remained shut, even though the corneas continued to move rapidly beneath.

Ilt tried desperately to keep up with her brother. "I didn't know.." she said sorrowfully.

"It's not your fault" He said, continuing to march homewards.

When Selina calmed down Caden carefully picked her from the floor and after Aidan led him to her room placed her on her bed.

"I'll dig into this. I'll keep pursuing it, if you want me to," Ilterendiel assured her brother. "I'll bring whoever did this to justice."

"There's no point if she doesn't remember is there" He said sadly

Selina lay limply on the bed, as though fast asleep, yet her lips began to move slowly. A thin whisper emerged.

Ilterendiel held her brother's shoulders and stared sympathetically into his eyes. As a tear rolled down her cheek, she engulfed him in a warm embrace. "I'm here for you Kov."

He said nothing as he lifted his arms to return Ilt's embrace. He felt numb as if part of him still refused to believe that Selina did not only not remember him, but suffered severely from his presence. After some time he let go of her. "I think I need to be alone now, sorry Ilt"

Ilt sobbed deeply as she watched him go. He was unnaturally solemn, and this worried her more than she had ever worried about him. Yet she was at a lost how to help him, or how to remedy the situation. She hoped upon hope that he would manage to move on. Somehow...

In Selina's state of half consciousness, she spoke with certainty. The illusionary falcon had swooped through a dreamscape of colors and faces, and had finally stopped to perch on her outstretched arm. Opening its beak, it offerred a warning. "The storm is coming. Are you ready?"
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on September 21, 2016, 02:57:53 PM
AIDAN BRENNAN, SELINA KNOX AND CADEN MULLINS

Aidan sat in his library restlessly going over some papers while looking at the hallway every so often. The door to Selina's room was open  and he kept hoping to see Caden's head pop around the corner. Since her collapse Caden had visited every day and they took turns watching over her.

It had felt like drifting on a raft down the memories in her mind. Pictures, voices, faces, they had appeared before her, and faded away once they were done. A life once lived, revisited.

The first thing she had heard was the chirping of a bird, and the softness of daylight, pressing upon her as she opened her eyes.

"Selina?" Caden nearly jumped when he saw her eyes open.

"Caden?" She wondered what he was doing in her room.

Jumping to his feet he ran into the hallway. "Aidan she's awake" He called before going back in. "How're you feeling?"

She yawned and stretched, still surprised by the fuss. "I'm fine. How are you?"

"A lot better now you're up." He said with a grin just as Aidan entered the room.

Looking at him with a puzzled look on her face. "Did you want something from me?"

"You've been asleep for a week Selina" Aidan said, looking at her with concern.

The news took her breath away. "What? Why? What happened?"

"You met someone you couldn't remember"

"Hmm..." She recalled all the conversations about memory loss, she remembered the pain it caused, the bandits that came to Divinity's Reach with her, and those she had left behind in Brisban. She remembered Auberon. And she remembered the conversation she had with him in a circular room surrounded by pillars. It was suddenly as plain as day, and the nagging pain that had kept her from such thoughts, was completely gone. She remembered meeting Anise, and all the talk about Caden being Shining Blade. "Caden... is Anise still waiting for an answer from me?"

He gave her a long look before speaking. "I'm sure she'll be happy to hear anything you have to tell her"

"Yeah," she nodded as she leaned back on her pillow. "I'm... remembering stuff."

"Are you sure you want to talk to her?"

She paused. "Don't you want me to talk to her?"

"You got pretty angry with me when I asked you to talk to her"

She pressed her fingers upon her forehead as she recalled the unpleasant incident. "I did, didn't I. I'm sorry Caden. I was a bit muddled at the time."

"Please, don't worry about it. I know it can't be easy on you to go through all of this"

She chuckled. "Serves me right for trying to go all lone ranger into a White Mantle camp eh?"

He faked a frown at her "Don't even get me started on that" he said, while rolling his eyes.

"Caused quite a ruckus here, didn't I? How much time have you spent coming here, checking on me?"

"I spent a good deal of time here but it nowhere near compares to how worried your brother was" He said while looking at Aidan, who had been rather quiet"

A smile spread across her face as she laid her eyes on her brother. She sat up on her bed, and reached out her hand towards Aidan.

Taking her hand he sat down on the edge of her bed. "I'm glad to see you well Selina."

"I am well. Sorry for worrying you. I don't even feel the one week I was asleep. I thought it was the span of a night."

Behind him Caden silently left the room to find Aidan's liquor stash in the library.

"So you remember everything now then?"

"I think so? Ask me something I should know."

"What's the name of your favourite norn?"

Grinning, she replied, "Dahr, of course."

"Glad to have you back Selina"

"Glad to be back. I don't know what you guys did, but it certainly worked."

"About that. Does the name Kovenito mean anything to you?"

"Kove.. who?"

"Nevermind"

Selina picked up the book next to her bed, and flipped through it. "And oh look here... this doesn't look like jibberish either."

"You worked hard the past few weeks"

She nodded. "And I remember every minute of it."

Smiling he got to his feet. "I'm sure you'd like to get up now. I'll give you some privacy."

"Actually," she said, standing up, "I'm kinda hungry."

"I'll ask Siri to prepare something" He said before leaving the room.

"Great!" Selina followed after Aidan, and headed to the dining area.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on October 05, 2016, 10:10:11 AM
As she walked through Divinity's Reach, memories filled every inch of the city, stretching all the way to Frostgorge Sound. It was as though someone had lifted a veil from her eyes, and she was able to see the world as clear as day. As much as she had her prior concerns about the Shining Blade, she was much more assured now that she would not be going back to the bandits linked to the White Mantle. They were responsible for removing her memory, and all that anguish that followed. They would pay.

Aidan silently escorted Selina to the Shining Blade's headquarters. He had half expected Caden would invite himself along and had been surprised when he did not.

She stopped right outside the door and turned to Aidan for just a moment's uncertainty. "I am doing the right thing, aren't I?"

He nodded at her in reply and knocked on the door that lead to Anise's office.

Selina waited expectantly.

"Enter" they heard through the door and Aidan opened it, allowing Selina to go in. He then entered the room himself and closed the door behind him. He bowed politely to Anise. "Countess, I have brought Selina, she regained her memories and wishes to share her knowledge."

Anise gave Selina a thorough look over. "So.. you remember" She said, still studying Selina. "Well, sit down and you can tell me what you know" She said, waiving her hand to the two chairs across her desk.

"I do. And you've been asking," she said, walking past Anise to take a seat at the chair assigned to her.

Aidan sat down next to her and remained quiet while Anise looked at Selina expectantly.

"Um... so... I remember what happened in the camp. I was caught shortly after sneaking in to deal with..." she looked at Anise, "Well, you know what with. And I was chained in a circular room, guarded by White Mantle, and met by a mesmer named Auberon. Tall, fair-skinned, spoke softly..." She looked away. "Convinced me that I had gone in on my own accord to secure a position."

"He was rather... persuasive.. was he?" Anise asked. "Then what did he tell you?"

"Yeah... you can say he was persuasive," she spoke softly, as though she were ashamed. "He kept insisting that I was important, and would do much to help them right the world, by getting rid of Queen Jennah."

"Did he tell you how he planned to achieve that?"

"Not entirely... but that it would start by the rescue of Zane into their custody. And something about - others to come."

"Do you know who these others would be?"

Selina shrugged. "But my assumption that these guys were the personal request by someone that the others spoke of with some fear... there was some talk about him being unstable harnessing all that power."

"So Auberon is not the leader?"

"Nah... he's a small fry in the larger scheme of things. At least that was the impression I got."

"Do you know why they wanted Zane?"

"They just said he was important to the work. No further elaboration, and if I asked, they told me to focus on the mission... the mission of course of getting him out of prison."

"What can you tell me about the ones who accompanied you on the mission?"

She leaned back in her seat and paused for thought. "An asura, two fighters and... and... Rannulf. Rannulf is..." she struggled to come up with a word for him but could not. "He has techniques I've never seen used before. Magics..."

"Can you describe them for me?"

"First, he had this... wire thing he shot into my shoulder to drag me towards him, and then... I'm not sure what he did, to be honest. But I felt my body freezing up, and when I came to, I was completely elsewhere. Had lost several hours that way, would be my guess. Then during the extraction, he transformed himself into a.. a creature, a little insectal. Multiple eyes, claws... Caden was there. He might've described it to you."

"He did, though he was unable to give me the man's name." She paused for a while. "These magics are indeed unlike anything I'm familiar with."

"Do you have any clue as to why they decided to use you rather than imprison or kill you?"

"Yeah, I once escaped from the dungeons. You're probably familiar with that history. They knew that if I knew a way out, I would know a way in. So they used my knowledge to get to Zane."

"That explains the complete lack of effort to keep you alive. They'd already gotten what they wanted." She tapped her nails on the table.  "What can you tell me about the hierarchy in the camp?"

Selina climbed with a hand on an imaginary staircase to illustrate what she knew of the hierarchy. "Slaves at the bottom. Bandits just a level up... guards to the camp, more like. White Mantle agents, above them. Then you have people like Rannulf and a couple others under the leadership of Auberon. And Auberon answering to some higher leader I was not privvy to meet. I don't know if it goes higher up beyond that leader, but it would seem like it."

"Auberon was the highest ranking in the camp you were in?"

"Not at that camp. Like I said, there was someone above him, someone greatly feared. Someone living in the fortress on a slope..." her eyes widened. "A veeeery curious place indeed. I know this sounds odd, but every now and then... a crimson colored lightning bolt would spark and strike in a certain location on the slope. And there would be a constant ominmous smell coming from up there. The weather... how can I put this... that fortress seemed to have its own weather. Snowing on a hot day, raining on a dry one. Never beyond that particular area. Nobody ever spoke about who or what lived in there, just that the power was getting out of control. I can't tell you what power that is."

"Can you tell me anything specific about the location of the camp you were in? I believe Caden said he travelled there by gate?"

"Yeah the security is rather high. I managed to infiltrate it only by accident. Everything is guarded by gates."

"How did you infiltrate it?"

"Barrels." She laughed. "I snuck in with the food."

Anise seemed surprised for a while. "How did you know their supply routes?'

"I observed. People underestimate how effective simple observation can be."

"I"ll agree with that, though I generally don't mind people not realizing it" she said. "Is there anything else you want to add?"

"No, but I do have a question. When do you think I can come out in the open and stop pretending that I'm dead?"

"Whenever you want really, but it's at your own risk. I'm not sure if the white mantle has spies in the city, but given your knowledge it's likely they'll want you silenced if they discover you're a live."

Instinctively, Selina turned to Aidan to measure his expression.

Aidan frowned. "Are you alright with her leaving the city" he asked after some consideration.

Anise pondered this for some time. "That should be alright" She said. "As long as we have a way to get in touch with you" She looked at selina as she said this.

"Have some place in mind?" Selina asked Aidan.

"Not specifically, but it seemed better to ask now that we're here, rather than wonder later"

She nodded. "I don't mind going away for a bit while the Shining Blade handles matters." And turned to Anise. "Just don't take too long."

"We don't intend to" Anise replied. "Now, I have some matters to take care of. Thank you for coming in Selina"

Selina rose from her seat. "Thanks for... dealing with this." She waited for her brother to leave.

Getting to his feet Aidan bowed again before leaving the room with Selina.

Leaning toward her brother, she whispered to him. "I'll deal with your Aunt before I leave. I can do it discreetly."

"I could use some help, thank you" He said

"Tell me what exactly you're looking for so I know when I've found it."

"Lets not discuss this in public."

She nodded and smiled. "Yeah I know, it was a note for later."
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on October 05, 2016, 04:50:22 PM
Selina walked back to the house with Aidan. She had a hood over her face to prevent from being seen, the same way Aidan was able to get her over to the Shining Blade headquarters. She thought about heading off to somewhere else, where she wouldn't have to worry about concealing her identity. It seemed really appealing for that moment.

Aidan glanced over at Selina, wondering what went on in her head. "You know, I'm really proud of you" he said to her.

"Really?" she didn't expect the compliment, but it was a nice surprise.

"I know how you feel about the shining blade and you still chose to go and speak to them"

She managed a half smile. "Enemy of my enemy is my friend, isn't that how the saying goes?"

"Ah quite, still, you went there yourself to tell them what you know." He smiled at her. "You know, if we dye your hair you can probably get rid of the hood and move around a little more freely maybe"

That suggestion brought back memories of Aidan's engagement party and made Selina chuckle. "What happened to your friend Aine?"

"Hmm, oh she's probably upsetting some pub owner somewehre by complaining about his ale" He pondered for a while. "Last I heard she went off to the grove I think"

"Ah," said Selina with some disappointment. It turned out to be a fun experience wearing a different face. If Aidan hadn't mentioned Aine's leaving, she would've suggested to do it again. "Funny how things turned out, eh." she pondered out loud.

"Not sure funny would be my word of choice but yes, they have worked out rather oddly." He considered the circumstances for a while. "You know, the grove is only a short trip if we use the gates... if she's there I"m sure we'll track her down easily enough"

She gave him a look. "Is that where you'd like me to go for my time away?"

"You're reading too much into it. I was just asking to know if it would be a problem or not, whether you want to go anyway is your own choice"

She nodded. "I'm sorry, it's just... I've been where someone else wanted me to be for such a long time, I'm not sure if I'd know what to do with myself."

"Well think about it" He said, smiling at her again.

They arrived at Aidan's home as Selina was pressed in thought. "There has been something that I've been meaning to do..."

"Oh?" He asked, while Siri let them into the house.

She stepped into the house and took off her hood. She peered over her shoulder to make sure the door was shut, then placed a hand behind Aidan's back to guide him further into the house. "Perhaps brief me about what you need first?"

"Ah yes, you have made me curious though" he said, walking up the stairs towards his room.

She shrugged listlessly. "I thought you might've guessed. We never actually established what happened to Dahr. I thought.. I thought I might go look for her."

"That is a good idea Selina, it'll be good for you to have your friend back. And perhaps by now she'll have come to terms with herself." He took some papers from one of the stacks on his desk and sat down gesturing to the bed for her to do the same.

Sitting as instructed, she continued, "Not that I know where she's gone, but I figure I'd look for her in the north, where we found the Wanderer. I just hope he's not mad."

"I think you should try to look in places that are meaningful for her maybe. But enough of that for now." He handed her the files.  "Like I told you before, stock has been disappearing regularly. Since the books are altered to make it look like everything is in order it has to be someone in the family who's responsible or at least knows of it. It's not me, and my father is hardly involved lately... which leaves aunt Andrea"

"Of course," she said with a smile.

"I tried to talk to Andrea about it. She claimed I was not experienced enough to realise the books were right and told me to leave all business matters to her"

"Hmm... cutting you out. The woman has something to hide."

"Yeah"

"So what should I look for to incriminate her?"

"I'm not entirely sure, first of all, I don't know where these goods are going, so anything concerning that would be interesting"

Selina nodded. "Do you know if your aunt is around, or if she will be away this week?"

"I'm not sure"

"Don't worry, I'll find out." She moved to leave, then hesitated for a moment. "I'll be in and out of your home this week. I think it might be better you don't ask where I'm going so you can claim ignorance if asked."

"Be careful Selina" He gave her a worried look before averting his glance to the floor.

She gave him a determined smile. "By the way... thanks for everything, Aidan."

He smiled back at her not really answering.

His response was good enough for her. She slipped her hood back on, and went down the stairs, shutting the door behind her.

_____________________________________________________________

Several hours after Selina had left, a knock came on the door of Aidan's home.

As usual Siri opened the door to greet the visitor.

The visitor was a male with tanned skin, under a well shaven face and dark hair. He had upon him an embroided robe, a cane in his hand and a gentleman's hat upon his head. "Excuse me, does this home belong to Mr Aidan Brennan?"

Surprised to find a stranger at the door siri nodded. "Yes sir, it does" she answered.

"And is he in?" asked the stranger a little urgently.

"He is sir, shall I ask if he can see you?"

"Yes, do that."

"May I have your name sir?"

The man held a finger to his face, a golden ring sat upon his littlest finger. "My name is Robert Brown. Though I doubt your employer has heard of me."

"A moment please mr Brown, I shall see if mr Brennan has time for you" she said, before turning and walking down the hallway to find Aidan

The man tapped patiently on his stick as he waited, and gazed studiously over what he could see of the interior of the house.

Not long after she left Siri returned to escort the man to the library where Aidan was sitting with a book. As they entered Aidan stood up. "Mr Brown sir" Siri said after they'd entered the room.

The man took off his hat, and bowed before Aidan. "Mr Brennan, it's a pleasure."

"Mr Brown" Aidan said before returning the bow. Meanwhile Siri removed herself from the room.

He approached and offered a hand to Aidan. "I suppose you must be surprised by my visit. And... perhaps are wondering who I am. I am a businessman, stationed out in Lion's Arch. But a curiosity drew me to you..." he paused to observe the rim of his hat. "I believe you're acquainted with a friend of mine."

Shaking the offered hand he gave the man a thorough lookover. "I'm acquainted with many people. Please, sit down so we may talk." He said while gesturing at a chair across from his own. "Can I offer you a drink?"

The man took a seat, but politely refused the drink. "This won't take long. Mr Brennan," he got right down to business. "I learnt quite recently that you took a woman into your fold, and she lived here with you for a while."

"I have indeed" Was all he said in reply.

"May I ask if she still lives here?"

"I must say I don't know where she is right now. Will you tell me why you wish to know?"

The man smoothened out his face. "As I've mentioned, I'm a friend of hers. An old friend. It bothered me to hear that she had been arrested some time ago. Back then my work had taken me far away. But fortunately I've been able to return, and she's certainly on my agenda to visit, especially since... she's under your care."

"Why especially because of that?"

"Well... let's just say dungeons unnerve me. Your home is a much better setting."

"Ah" he said, frowning slightly. "If you give me your address I'll pass it on to her when I see her again"

The man cleared his throat. "I'd rather not, if you don't mind. My work takes me around, and I rarely stay in one place for long. But judging from what you've said, it sounds like you're confident that she will return here. If that is so, then perhaps you can relay the message that Robert stopped by, and recalls our old haunt in Lion's Arch." He rose from his seat. "Will you do that for me?"

"I will tell her"

The man grinned and looked up. "Beautiful place you've got here Mr Brennan. I figure it must have cost quite a fortune to purchase."

"Indeed, but knowing I worked hard to afford it makes living here all the more worthwhile." Aidan replied, not really approving of the subject.

Robert chuckled as he pumped a fist. "Hard work. Yes, the world underestimates hard work." He turned towards the door. "Thank you for your hospitality Mr Brennan. Perhaps we will meet again."

_________________________________________________________________

After the man left Aidan sat in the library lost in thought for quite some time. He could not place the man and it irked him. Brown was not a name he'd come across before and he wondered if the man was really a friend of Selina's, he did not have the appearance of one. How Brown came to know about his address and Selina staying here also bothered him.

After a long time thinking he resolved to see Bran the next day, considering Selina might not be back for a while, he hoped the man could help him get some answers.

The following morning Aidan got up early and was dressed and out of the city before dawn. First light found him eating a small breakfast in the forest near Bran's cave. Hoping the man would be there Aidan continued on his way after his breakfast.

Jess smirked. Bran had traded a barrel of apples for a box of auto parts - his client, a clueless housewife living just south of Claypool. Of course, these weren't any ordinary apples. The tree was well nurtured with active ingredients, and watered only at the midnight hour in order to maintain the magic within the fruit. These apples, according to Bran, would reverse the signs of aging in any individual. Words that that middle aged woman so longed to hear. Why would her husband miss his auto parts when he could have his ravishing wife restored to her former youth? Of course... that was a load of hogwash, but Bran was good at selling hogwash.

Perched upon a rock with a flattened face, Bran had named his "throne", he carried his treasure with pride. "Do you know how much these things can be worth?" he touted. "Sold to the right buyer, at least twenty gold per piece."

Walking up to the cave Aidan looked around, to see if he spotted any of Bran's gang.

"Not a step further," came a deep voice from behind Aidan. An arrow aimed directly at his back.

Raising his hands Aidan stopped in his tracks.

"Aidan!" Bran stepped down from his throne to greet him wholeheartedly. He grabbed Aidan's hand and slapped the middle of the palm. "You can put down that arrow Ron."

Ron only grunted gruffly, and lowered his bow.

"Good morning Bran" Aidan said with a smile. "I must say, I'm glad to see you"

Bran was startled, and it could tell on his face. "Fancy Mr Brennan, glad to see me? Must be something that you want."

"Well for starters if you didn't pop up, who'd get rid of the arrow pointed at me" He sighed, relaxing a little. "I need to talk to you about Selina"

His eyes widened as he ushered Aidan towards some wooden chairs surrounding a makeshift table made from a large barrel. "What's happened this time?"

"Well for starters you'll be happy to hear her memory returned" he said while sitting down in one of the chairs.

"That's good to know. Your mesmer friend came through in the end?"

"No she remembered on her own."

A touch of puzzlement touched Bran's brow. "Were you expecting that? I mean... that was meant to be, right?"

"We did not expect her to remember everything this fast. But that's not why I'm here" Aidan said, looking around to make sure it was just Bran listening.

Aidan's mysterious behavior brought a troubling thought to Bran. "Did someone find out that Sel's alive?"

"Quite, and I'm not sure if it's trouble or not. He claimed to be a friend of hers so I figured you might know him."

"Quite? Quite what? Who came?"

"Called himself Robert Brown, described himself as a businessman from Lion's Arch"

Bran continued to look confused. "The name doesn't ring a bell."

"He looked rather too fancy to be a friend of Selina's"

"Fancy? Like you?"

"He wore an embroidered robe, carried a cane with him and he wore a gentleman's hat. Doesn't seem like the type Selina hangs out with."

"I agree, I thought she hated them rich folk..." He stopped. "No offense."

"None taken. I'm worried I screwed it up myself though, I was too preoccupied with certain matters to play the part of mourning friend."

"Well..." Bran felt bad that he couldn't be more help. He whistled in Jess and Ron's direction. "Do the either of you two know a Robert Brown?"

They looked at each other. Jess shrugged, but Ron merely scratched his chin.

"Hang on... you know something don't you, Ron?" Bran deduced immediately. Ron was often silent, but he'd learnt to read the man's body language. And a non-response often meant he knew something.

"Maybe," was all Ron said.

Studying Ron carefully Aidan spoke up. "Please tell us what you know"

He eyed Aidan with certain disdain, and began rubbing his fingers together. "Make it worth my while, rich boy."

"I'm not asking for myself Ron, this man is after Selina. I'm worried for her safety." He grumbled but still dug up his wallet. "I hope you're happy being paid for this" He said tossing a gold coin at the man.

He caught the coin mid air and put it in his pocket. "Let me clarify. The woman is this guy's friend," he said, pointing to Bran. "Not mine. I don't have friends. Don't have time for them."

Jess laughed out loud, so loud that she snorted.

"But since you paid..." continued Ron. "I knew a Robert Brown once. Although I can't tell you if he's the same Robert Brown that you met."

"What did he look like?"

"Mmm... tall-ish. I guess about my height. Tanned skin, bluish-green eyes. Had a mouth on him too."

"Where was he from?"

"He was one of the fingers of the Widowmakers. They called them 'fingers' because they are meant to reach out to all the subsidiary businesses linked to the main branch."

"Would Selina know him?"

He gave Aidan an amused glance. "I don't suppose she told you she got involved with Robert Brown at one point in time. Ended badly... ooh, very badly."

"Oh is he the guy..." said Bran, and trailed. Ron nodded.

"What?" Aidan asked, turning back to Bran.

"The two of them nearly started a war between the Blades and the Widowmakers. Of course it would be dumb if the Blades went up against the Widowmakers, they're... well let's just say they were the reigning mob at the time. Two Blade Pete had to go personally to apologise."

"Doesn't sound like the kind of person who'd go around calling her friend. Any idea why he might be looking for her?"

"To rekindle lost affection? Isn't that what brings separated couples back together again?"

"Except they weren't any ordinary couple, Bran," reminded Ron. "They were wrong from the start. I don't think there was any affection involved."

Bran shrugged. "You never know."

"Do you think there's any possibility the widowmakers are connected to what's going on in Brisban?"

"I heard that the Widowmakers faced inner fighting sometime ago, and the mob broke up. No word about what happened after. Some of their businesses were sold to private investors and such."

"Well whatever happened clearly worked out well for mr Brown"

Bran looked at Aidan, "Did he say anything about where he's staying, or what business he's doing?"

"I asked for a contact address, he refused to give me one. He just said to tell her that Robert stopped by, and recalls our old haunt in Lion's Arch"

"That's definitely a coded message," Bran pointed out. "But no one's going to know where it is except for Selina herself."

"You're right" He was silent for a while. "Maybe I"m reading too much into all this, but I can't help but worry for her safety."

"Isn't she still at your place? Ask her about it."

"She had something to take care off, I'm not sure how long she'll be"

"Where will she be?"

"In the Reach"

Bran nodded. "Alright, hope the two of you figure out this guy before he leaks to anyone. I'd say if he has the vaguest of links to the White Mantle, tie him up and don't let him out."

"If I see him again. Thank you for your help, in Brisban as well as now Bran." Aidan said as he got up from his seat.

"Sure," Bran gave a casual salute. "Helpful guy.. that's me." He mocked, and then grinned.

"Well, sometimes then. Take care of yourselves." he said, before walking out of the cave.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on October 11, 2016, 12:20:58 AM
SELINA KNOX - NIGHT 3

She peered into the bag of berries she had on her lap, it was empty, and night was already inching towards morning. After taking a swig of whiskey out of the canister slung around her waist, she took a final look through the narrow telescope she had traded in pirate alley for a large part of the gold Aidan had provided her. It was worth every coin though. It allowed her to closely observe the movements around the Brennan manor for the past three days from a distant location, up upon the stone support for some of Divinity Reach's massive balusters.

It was silent all around the manor, darkness engulfed the interior whilst a single guard patrolled around the exterior of the massive city home. It had been the identical way for the past two nights, precisely from sun down to sun up. Selina had observed that Andrea Brennan only conducted her business in the day. She would often return before sunset and dismiss the servants to their quarters in the evening, save for a single maidservant in the interior. To add to that, every window would be shut and sealed like clockwork just before the evening. So if she intended to infiltrate the manor she would definitely need to take out that patrol in order to tackle the window. The one in particular that would lead to Andrea's study.

Selina had observed huge book shelves that lined the walls and a mahogany desk in that room. Every noon, Andrea's servants would go in and dust the room, that's when the windows would be wide open. Initially Selina had planned to slip in right after cleaning time and get out before anyone came by. But the unpredictability of movement within the house made it tricky. There was even more reason not to be spotted than before - Andrea Brennan looked to be a sinister woman, and would likely not be kind if she made any connection of this infiltration to Aidan. So the only real window of opportunity would be night, some time after the lights go out.

DAY 4

She was back at pirate alley the next afternoon. The entire outfit was set up in a cave in Queensdale, a highly hush hush sort of deal that  would quickly scuttle back in the shadows at any sign of danger. Pirate alley had existed even before her time, but had spent several lengthy periods cleared out on word that the seraphs had suddenly become interested in their cave. Selina was glad they were around for this period at least, she didn't want to go back to her friends, should word get out that she's still alive. It would be good to remain underground for as long as possible.

"So you're back," the burly tattooed man who had served her the day before, smirked as he stared at her partially-concealed face rather closely. She would not otherwise have risked this encounter, much less twice, if she didn't need what he had - she suspected he knew that. In front of him was a makeshift desk made out of a plank of wood balanced on two large rocks. Upon the desk lay an arrangement of stealth equipment ranging from the small to the large.

"I need a crowbar, a mini saw, a blowgun and two wall climbers," she said simply.

"What's that?" he feigned ignorance, placing a hand behind his ear. "I can barely hear you through that piece of leather around your face. Maybe you'd like to take it off so I can hear you better."

"You hear me just fine," she retorted in mild annoyance. "How much do you want for them?"

He wasn't giving up yet. "I make it a point never to do business with anyone I can't see. I gave you some grace the day before yesterday because you're new and it was just the telescope you wanted. Now you're asking for all these 'other' things, that makes me an accessory to whatever you're planning. How do I know that you're not a seraph in disguise?"

She sighed. He was wasting her time. She didn't like getting involved in exchanges like these but it was inevitable with some people. Slipping her hand around her back, she whipped out a small dagger and before the large brat was able to react, planted it squarely between two of his fingers on the hand that he pressed on the desk to added effect. He gasped and retracted his hand when she leaned forward and whispered harshly, "Think about it. If I were a seraph you would be in trouble anyway. This entire outfit is illegal, and you peddling your goods in an illegal establishment officially makes you a criminal. Something makes me think that you're new here, otherwise you wouldn't be asking such daft questions."

"Alright cool it, cool it," he responded quickly, bending down to get the items from separate containers. "I just wanted to know who I'm dealing with. No harm in that."

"It's better you don't," she tossed fifteen pieces of gold on the desk. "Bad things happen to people close to me."

He returned and placed the items on the desk, giving her an inquisitive look. She seemed to be cold and merciless, but for a moment, there was a sliver of pure honesty in her voice. "I don't suppose that gun is the result of one of these interactions?"

She hesitated for a moment, then retrieved her items. "What happened to you not wanting to be an accessory?"

The man did not reply. She walked away.

NIGHT 4

She had paid a visit to an alchemist right after her visit to pirate alley, it had taken an additional five pieces of gold to pay for his silence ensuing her purchase of a tranquilizing drug and a bag of copy powder. That cleared out every coin in her pouch. She realised it was much harder to get things done as a solo agent, as compared to bearing the fear-inducing name of a notorious mob behind her. In the underworld, reputation meant everything.

Pressed up against a wall just a couple of feet away from Andrea's manor, she slipped the toxin cartridge into the blowgun, composed herself as she counted the guard's steps upon the cobbled street. Once she was sure he was within penetration distance, she swung around and sent the dart wheeling into the nape of his neck. Reeling, the guard pulled the dart out of his flesh, but it was too late, the chemicals were already intermingling with his blood. "Where are you?!" he cried hoarsely, pointing his spear towards the darkness, the darkness that she had retreated into. He lurched towards the manor in a feeble attempt to keep himself standing, but stumbled instead and fell. In moments, he stopped moving completely.

Reaching into her pack, she retrieved the wall climbers, securing them firmly onto her palms. Looking both ways, she made sure the street was clear, then spurt towards the manor, leaping over the sleeping guard as she did. In moments, she scrambled up the wall, and levered herself up onto the ledge of the study. Pulling the crowbar from her pack, she moved quickly to get the gap between the window and the frame wide enough for her to tackle the latch. Once wide enough, she employed the mini saw to work on the only thing holding her back from entering.Those latches were meant to be an additional security addition to keep people like her out. She still remembered how remarkably easy it was to get into the Brennan manor those many years ago. Andrea had wisened up, but not enough. Thankfully she had noticed that addition the last visit she paid to Andrea's house with Aidan. Other thieves would probably be have been caught unprepared.

Breaking through the latches, she stepped lightly into the room and invoked her torch. The room was a lot larger than she had imagined. An additional section on neatly stacked files that she hadn't seen before. It would've made sense to check there first, but Selina knew Andrea wasn't a fool. If there were any records that would possibly incriminate her, surely they would be safely locked away. Stepping aside from the filing area, she couldn't help but notice that Andrea had a safe in that room. She hadn't the time nor the equipment to handle the cracking of a safe, but perhaps for the next time... if there was one. Moving towards the mahogany desk, Selina plunked herself onto Andrea's rather exotic looking fur seat. The feel of real animal fur on her back gave her the feeling of sitting on clouds, she could see why someone would pay a small fortune for such a seat.

There were six drawers at that desk. Only two did not have locks on them, likely the stationary drawers, she deduced. No point wasting time. Pulling out the pin hidden in her hair, she began working on the lock of the first drawer. It held a bunch of files that she went through studiously. The lessons she had had for about a month and a half coming in useful. She couldn't read everything on them, but she made sure to recognize the key words. Many of the files included accounting papers, deeds and official certificates from the relevant authorities. Drawer two had books; about two on bloodstones, one on the history of Kryta, another on historical incantations. Drawer three held contracts with several of her workers. Selina pulled out a pen and a notepad, then jotted down these names. Thankfully there weren't many. But judging from the number of employees under Andrea's employ, these were probably the few she meant to keep a secret. Beneath the pile of contracts, she noticed three files. They were neatly wrapped up in leather. One of the files belonged to Huntly and Goddard, Selina recognized them as Andrea's competition in the field of exports. It listed their movements, the names of their employees, and right down to their movements at the wharf. Another of the files belonged to someone called Sarah Goodman. Selina did not recognize this individual at all. She took note of the picture included of that file, one that she assumed belonged to Sarah. She had a youthful appearance, possibly in her teens, although her eyes seemed to display an age well beyond hers. Blonde shoulder length hair, and freckled skin. There wasn't a lot a lot about Sarah in that file, other that her current lodgings was in Ebonhawke. Selina put that file away and took a look at the next one. That was the one that rattled her the most. The third file was one on Aidan Thomas Brennan. Instantly, she grabbed some folded up paper from out of her pack that she had prepared, straightened them out, sprinkled copy powder on them, then placed the entirety of the content featuring Aidan on the sheets of paper, one by one. She didn't even take the time to read those sheets. Whatever they said would surely pose a danger to her own brother; that his aunt was secretly keeping a file on him in her drawer.

Cramming those copied sheets in her pack, she returned all the files to the drawer and re-locked them. Letting out a large breath, she proceeded on to the final drawer. It was another drawer of files. Except this one kept letters. Letters upon letters. "Darn it..." whispered Selina into the darkness. She couldn't possibly go through them all, there simply wasn't enough time. She wasn't going to give up though, there had to be more - anything that might tell her where the missing goods were going to. Pulling up a random letter, she scanned through it quickly. It said something about an agreement, and what came after was something about a wedding. "Aidan's wedding?" Selina asked herself. She saw that it was signed off by the Castas. Pulling up another blank paper, she made a copy of that letter, then filed it back.

Pulling up a few other letters, she found a series of exchanges between Andrea and someone named Willard Smithson. Apparently Willard would send a letter either in request of goods or to thank her for the delivery of her goods. Willard apparently had a rather fine penmanship, each alphabet was the precise size they were meant to be. He also dated each letter on the top right hand corner. Getting back into action, Selina made a copy of each of the exchanges. She also noted that on one of the letters, Willard spoke of a change of location for the deliveries to be made, and the address he listed was in Lion's Arch.

She had just finished with the final letter when she heard a sound coming from outside. Shuffling everything back quickly, she decided to leave the final drawer unlocked for the fear of being found. She peered out the window. The guard was just waking up. She dashed a fist on the wall. The tranquilizer wasn't as long lasting as advertised. Securing her pack firmly on her back, turning off her torch and pulling her hood over her head, she slipped back out the window.

The guard was experiencing a bad headache. He couldn't quite remember what had happened before, or why he had found himself asleep on the cobbled ground. Some shuffling on the wall above him drew his attention, and he turned towards a shadowy hooded figure emerging from the Brennan manor. "Stop there!" he yelled, picking up the spear from the ground. The hooded figure launched itself off the wall, somersaulted and landed squarely on him, knocking him once again to the ground.

"Shhh..." said the figure, stabbing two fingers into the nape of his neck. The guard who had just come to consciousness, quickly fell once again to unconsciousness. And as soon as he did, the figure was gone.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on October 19, 2016, 09:13:17 AM
Aidan Thomas Brennan, Selina Knox & Andrea Brennan

It was dawn by the time Selina returned to Aidan's home. She stared at his door for a bit, considering whether to knock it, only to decide against it quickly. Siri would likely be asleep, and as much as Siri would be obliging to open the door for her, she didn't think it would be necessary. Clipping on the wall climbers again, she scaled the back wall, opened the latch to her own room and entered.

The moment she was back in Aidan's home, she made sure all her equipment got wrapped up properly, and stowed away under the bed. She supposed it would be better if Aidan never knew the means to which she achieved the end.

As she kept the items away, the crowbar slipped out of her grip and fell to the floor, making a clatter. She swiftly retrieved it and stowed it out of sight, hoping the noise didn't wake anyone.

Being a light sleeper the clattering next door had Aidan up on his feet in no time. Taking one of the daggers he silently left his room. Carefully he turned the handle on selina's door and pushed it open with a foot while his hands held the dagger in attack position.

Selina swung around at the sound of the door opening. She pulled off her leather mask and stood up quickly. "Aidan! Sorry if I woke you."

Sighing he lowered his weapon. "No matter, I'm just glad it's you."

She walked over to him and placed a hand on his shoulder, "Well... it's done. But I don't know if it's good news or bad."

"Do you wish to rest or would you tell me now?" He said, knowing her news would likely be bad.

"I can rest while you catch up on your reading," she replied, pulling out the stack of letters and notes from her pack, and handing them to him. As soon as she did, she sat down on her bed in a cross legged position, watching him intently.

Pulling up the chair in her room he sat down with the stack and started to flick through the paper reading bits here and there. "Are you familiar with the name Willard Smithson?" He asked after some time?

"Alien to me," she said.

"I don't recognise it either, so his name is not in the books. He's not managing any of the company's we deal with either." He studied the letters for a while. "The goods these describe seem consistent with the goods disappearing..."

She nodded, "There's your trail." And pointed to the bottom of the stack. "Did you see the file she's keeping?"

He shook his head and took the file to open it. He paled as he did, immediately understanding what it was. "This..."

"Yeah?" asked Selina.

"Well I suppose I shouldn't be surpr...." He continued before falling silent. Clutching the file tightly he stared at it, clearly shaken.

"What did you expect though?" she chided him gently. "You went directly into that woman's house and threatened her. She's bound to respond in some manner."

He shook his head, still not speaking his eyes never leaving the file.

She waited as silence filled the room, then sighed. "Aidan... there's something else you should know."

He barely listened as she spoke, his fingers holding the file so tight he nearly wrinkled it.

When she realised that he was still in a daze, she leaned forward and called him again.

Eventually he realised Selina was trying to draw his attention and rather than trying to explain he simply handed her the file.

She took the file and looked it over. Right on top of the stack was that letter from the Castas to Andrea Brennan. "What do you think this means?"

He shrugged. "They probably offered her something to obtain her good favour" His voice sounded empty. "Sorry, I gotta..." Without finishing his sentence he got up and left the room. Entering his own room he walked over to a table in the corner that held a bowl of water. Splashing some of it in his face he tried to snap himself out of his current state. He took a towel and sat down on his bed.

She followed after him, calling his name. He didn't shut his door as he usually did, so she went in after him. "Aidan.."

He did not reply, but he did look at her now.

She wanted to warn him about the unlocked drawer, the broken latch and the fact that she had been seen by the guard... not entirely, but as a hooded figure. But Aidan seemed so distraught she just hadn't the heart to worry him more. Instead, she sat down next to him and took his hand in hers, patting it gently. "This is more severe than I'd imagined. You know what... I'm going to stay right here with you. Dahr can wait. Whatever you need... I'll be here."

"I am a fool Selina.. how .."

"No one could've known. How someone can scheme such evil... well... It takes a special kind of person."

"Clearly my aunt knew.."

She nodded. "Seems that way."

"And she just let it happen"

Selina scoffed at the thought. "Gold makes monsters of people."

"What do I do Selina, it was all a lie..... I made such a fool of myself.."

"At least now you're a fool no longer. We'll find a way to take down the responsible." She shuffled through the letters. "We have an address and a name. I can hunt them down."

"I wasn't talking about that"

"Makisi?" She asked. "Don't mind me saying so, but she never seemed right for you. Don't you think you entered into the idea of marriage a tad too quickly anyway?"

"It felt real Selina.... "

She crossed her arms. "Didn't it feel out of character... even for you?"

He shook his head. "No"

"What about Camilla? How do you feel about her now?"

He shrugged. "I don't rightly know, I Haven't thought about her for a long time."

She sighed again. "I'm sorry you fell in love and this had to happen. If it was really love on your part... and not just some wild infatuation, then I hope you find it again."

"I should prefer to be alone now, sorry" he said, giving Selina a sad smile.

"Ah..." she stood up and took hold of his door knob. "I'll leave you to it then." Gently, she shut the door after her.


---


It was noon and the man, merely known as "The Hand", adjusted his glasses upon his face. She had heard that he once was a rather efficient private investigator, and now sold himself off to the highest bidder to handle highly secretive matters. They had known each other for a while now, but she never asked for his name, and he never asked after her business. It was an acceptable arrangement.

"The thief entered through the window, sat in your chair, and made copies of some of your documents," he told her, drawing a finger over the original documents that still held some of the copy powder on them. He rubbed his fingers together as the powder smudged them an ash color. "Very clever. This hasn't been used in a while."

Andrea grit her teeth, trying very hard to remain level headed. She had found her guard on the ground in the morning, completely incapacitated. Her first instinct was to ensure that her safe was intact... and it was. However on closer inspection of the room, the windows had been sawed open, and one of her drawers unlocked.

While waiting for The Hand to arrive, Andrea had frantically searched the entire house for missing items. The odd thing was that everything seemed to be in place, and for a moment, Andrea wondered if it was mere prank that had been played on her manor. However the fact that someone had used copy powder now concerned her very much. Those documents could possibly be damning for her... coincidentally the same documents featuring items that Aidan had just inquired after not too long ago. Her mind sorted through all the possibilities of what could've happened, and she could only come to one analysis - that Aidan had hired someone professional to get the documents for him. That must've been it. And that hooded person, that her contacts had reported to have seen with him on one particular occasion, might've been the same hooded person who attacked her guard.

"Are there any indications of who this thief might've been?" she asked in aghast.

The Hand rocked on the balls of his feet. "He was careful to wear gloves, careful not to leave anything behind. Other than the testimony of your guard, there's little to go on here. I suppose the other way to track down the thief is to find out who bought copy power over the past few days. With your permission I will seek that avenue and inform you if I've found anything new."

"I appreciate it," she replied, and shook his hand. She would be headed out herself, but not in the direction of The Hand. And all the while, she imagined the thief handing documents over to his employer, and his employer pouring over them in great detail. That feeling stung greatly, and she swore then to return the deed with greater vengeance.


--


Afternoon was running out of bright sunrays when Andrea approached Aidan's home. After spending a moment to compose herself, she rapped quickly on his door.

The door was answered by Siri as always. "Good afternoon miss Brennan" She said politely.

As soon as the door was opened, Andrea let herself in and pushed past Siri. "I wish to speak to my nephew. I shall be in the study." Was all she told the maidservant before shooing her off.

"Yes m'am" She said before closing the door and going straight towards aidan's room to notify him of his aunts arrival.

Seating herself down on one of the chairs in his study, she crossed her legs and waited for him to arrive.

Not long after she'd sat down Aidan entered the study. Bowing towards his aunt politely he greeted her. "Good afternoon aunt Andrea"

She rose from her seat and gave him a light bow. "Unfortunately it's not that good an afternoon for me. I came here to tell you that my home was invaded, just last night."

Selina was asleep, but she was awakened by Siri's voice at her brother's door. Aunt Andrea had come, and she could not possibly be allowed to know that Selina was alive, much less at Aidan's home. Getting up from bed, and moving quietly to the back of the door, she strained to hear what was being said as Aidan entered the study.

"That is awful news aunt, are you well? Did they take anything?" Aidan paced the room worriedly.

She watched him pacing the room, taking in every quiver of his brow, every crease on his forehead. "The odd thing is that the invaders did not take anything, aside from unlocking one of the drawers in my study. Do you find that odd?"

"What do you mean, they took nothing?" He gave her a strange look. "Why would someone break into one of the richer homes in the city, risk their necks and take nothing"

"It has baffled me as well." Her eyes began straying from him, turning her attention to the floor upstairs. "Someone must have been incredibly interested in the files I had locked away."

"Do you think it was a rivalling company?" Still pacing Aidan looked at her.

She shrugged and smiled woodenly, rising from her seat. "Perhaps. Or even someone who's been particularly curious about the company accounts."

Frowning at her he rose as well. "You're leaving already? I have not yet offered you tea"

Her smile quickly dissipated into a frown. "My boy, word in town is that you've been hanging around with someone who will not show his face in public. I hope that you're not mixing with unscrupulous company."

"Ah Aine was back in town but she really messed up her hair this time, She didn't want to be seen with orange hair." He paused. "You know I would never keep any sort of company that could harm the family"

"Aine..." Aunt Andrea said the name with a touch of disbelief. "How is she doing these days?"

"Quite well, though still no closer to growing up or settling down. Seems she's taken to traveling lately."

"I see..." she moved towards the door. "I don't need any tea, but I thank you for your hospitality. Keep well my boy, I shall be leaving you to your business now."

"If there's any way I can be of assistance please let me know aunt, I would hate to consider you being in any danger."

That wooden smile returned. "Of course. Your concern is much appreciated." Then she turned her face and left the house.

After Andrea left Aidan immediately went to Selina's room and knocked on the door.

Selina wasn't sure if Andrea had left. She remained pasted to the back of the door, silent as a mouse.

"Selina it's me, please open the door"

Selina let out a breath she had been holding, and opened the door to face her brother. "She came?" she hissed through a whisper, as though she was still afraid to be heard.

"She knows, you have to go, take any evidence with you, I can't know what she'll do"

"Aidan! If she knows then what about you? You can't stay here."

"She wouldn't hurt me, but if she returns the favour she cannot discover you were here, or anything that connects you or me to the break in.

She placed a hand on her mouth as she reluctantly nodded. She couldn't for the life of her figure out how Andrea had guessed that Aidan was behind the plot. Wasn't she careful? "Give me the notes, I'll get them safely hidden."

"Selina, there's something else." He paused. "While you were away a man came here asking for you. I was too distracted to act like you died."

Surprise sprung onto her face. "Who's the man?"

"Robbert Brown"

"Oh Bob?" she waved a dismissive hand. "He should be fine."

"He asked me to pass a message on to you"

"Alright?"

"tell her that Robert stopped by, and recalls our old haunt in Lion's Arch"

A crease cut into Selina's brow, and she began nibbling a corner of her lip. "I wonder why he came back. How did he look?"

"Like a dandy. From his way of dress I should say he's been doing well for himself, though I rather doubt the honesty of his business considering Ron and Bran knew who he was"

"Well... that's to all of us," she replied, indicating also herself. "He's always enjoyed doing business in Lion's Arch, and wasn't too shabby at it either. I guess he finally found something that pays enough. Now enough about Bob. I best get myself away from this house in case your aunt decides to come back." She spread out her hand, and looked at Aidan. "Notes."

"Ah yes" he popped into his room and retrieved the notes. "Handing them over to Selina he gave her a worried look. "Be careful sister"

"I'll be fine. I'm more worried about you at the moment. I really don't want to leave you alone at this time, but I don't want to get you in trouble either."

"I'll manage, promise'

She took him into her arms and planted a kiss on his forehead. "I'll spend a couple of days with Bran, but I will check in with you... I'll just be doing it from afar. If you ever need me, you know where to find me."

He nodded. "Thank you"

With a final smile, she replaced her hood and mask, then retrieved her equipment from under the bed, strapped them to her back and climbed onto the window sill. "Don't give up, Aidan. We'll get through this."

He nodded at her "Stay safe"

With a final heave, she somersaulted out of the window, and ran down the street, staying close to every shadow till she was out of town.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on October 19, 2016, 11:02:24 AM
SELINA KNOX

It was the middle of the night by the time Selina arrived at the cave that Bran, Jess and Ron had taken up as their choice of dwelling. It was silent and breezy on the inside. As she got deeper in, she noted the five strings of bells they had strung across the entrance and the three trigger pads connected to dart guns to play security system should none of them be awake. A less observant person would probably not have seen the vague gleam of moonlight upon the thin fish lines stretched upon the floor or the pads hidden under fresh dirt, and would have tripped upon any one of them. She considered how poor a substitute it was for having an actual door, but Bran had boasted before that he was planning to install a door so amazing, it would blow everyone’s minds, he just had to save up for it first. But it wasn’t the first time Bran had boasted of something that never actually went through. With some care, she stepped over the lines and skirted the edges of the entrance to proceed past the partitions set up to split off the sleeping areas from the main part of the cave, and found Bran cosied up under a stack of skins, his privacy held up by canvases clinging to wire supports. She entered fully and settled down gently. She chuckled to herself, he had still no idea that she was there. She considered how lucky he was that she wasn’t someone with ill intentions.

When she was finally bored with waiting for him to get up on his own, she decided to place a finger on the tip of his nose. This opened his eyes, and as he laid them on her and allowed her presence to sink into his consciousness, he leapt up, throwing his sheets off with a yell. “Hey, it’s me,” she said as calmly as possible. She didn’t expect him to be as surprised as he was, but she supposed it wasn’t unreasonable to expect bandits living in a door-less cave to be slightly jumpy.

The sheets fell aside shortly and she found Jess and Ron just behind her, armed with a pistol and a bow respectively. “What are you doing here?!” yelled Jess, a tad grumpily. There was only a thin camisole on her, and Ron with nothing more than a seemingly comfortable pair of pants, but it was impressive how battle-ready they were regardless.

Out of respect, Selina raised her arms in the air. “I’m sorry to wake all of you. I only meant to ask Bran for a favour.”

“Really? Couldn’t have picked a better time?” stated Bran, running a hand through his hair as he steadied himself from the shock.

Ron removed his bow just before he stormed from the scene. It was clear that he didn’t want anything to do with the intrusion. But Jess continued to hold her pistol to the side of Selina’s temple. She saw little reason to relent just yet. So Selina decided to keep her hands in the air.

“Well… it’s a bit of a long story,” she laughed uncomfortably. Bran glared at her, and she heard the un-cocking of the safety guard on the pistol. “As you know, I spent the last month and a half studying to read and write in order to look for particular documents in the home of Andrea Brennan’s?”

“Yeah,” Bran replied, sitting up a little straighter as his interest had be piqued. The pistol wasn’t removed though.

Selina pat the haversack on her back to prove to him that she had obtained exactly what she had promised. “I’m holding onto them now. But they are so potentially damaging that the woman has completely freaked out, and is going after Aidan with no holds barred.”

“She knows you were sent by him?” came Jess’ voice.

“She doesn’t know I’m alive, and certainly not that I’m living with Aidan. But it doesn’t seem to stop her from suspecting that he was behind the attack on her home. I have to give it to that witch for being determined.”

“And is there a reason this news had to come at this late hour?” asked Bran, still a little annoyed at the disruption of his sleep.

“Um…” Selina suddenly felt a gush of embarrassment for not thinking to wait to the next day to ask for the favour. “Andrea barged into Aidan’s home just this afternoon, and acted like she knew something, like she was going to find me and blow my cover wide open. Aidan had to send me away with the notes as soon as the coast was clear in the case she came back. Perhaps… it was a little assuming of me, but I told him that I would seek refuge with the rest of you.”

At long last, Jess lowered her pistol in resignation. Bran pondered the thought for a while and opened his mouth to speak when Jess cut him off quickly, “Can I speak with you, Bran? With Ron?”

He nodded and excused both himself and Jess to hold a private conference with Ron – Selina knew with certainty what about. She had been much too assuming, expecting way too much out of Bran, barely giving any consideration about what the others thought of any of this. Even though Bran had requested her to stay in his room, she decided to emerge before they had come to a conclusion.

Outside of the room, she found the three of them congregated around a barrel, deep in a hushed conversation. “It’s fine,” she said, picking up her pack. “It was wrong of me to impose, and even then, you’ve been incredibly kind to even consider the thought. I’ll go now and leave you to your sleep.”

“Sellie,” Bran stood up and walked towards her. “It’s the middle of the night. I’m not just going to leave you hanging like this. Look… I know it would be more ideal if you came to live with us, but I know a place you could bunk in, at least till you figure out your living accommodations. Will you let me bring you there?”

“I’ll be fine, Bran. Don’t worry about me,” she assured him.

“That’s what you said the last time you concocted up this huge plot that got you caught and stripped off all your memory,” he pointed out. She wanted to say something in retort, but couldn’t well respond to it. “It’s not far from here. Just take a look at it. If you don’t like it, be free to find some place better.”

“I’d go with him. He’s not going to take no for an answer,” Jess added with a smirk.

Selina smiled in response, heading for the door. “Very well,” she agreed.

________________________________________________________________________
Bran had taken Selina to a swampier part of Kessex, just east of the cave. There was a steep descent into the marsh area, and a makeshift ramp up into a slightly raised, wooded area in the middle of the swamp. Right there, among the trees, was a hastily put together hut made of marshwood, and a soggy, wind-blown fire-pit. “I’m sorry this isn’t the best condition. We had to make do when your brother and his seraph friend evicted us out of our last lodging and we had to go into hiding.”

Selina shrugged. “Makes sense.”

“You know,” Bran leaned against a pillar and found it full of moss. He had pictured the hut looking a lot better than it currently did. He supposed that’s what neglect would do to anything. “You could always bunk in with Bess. I’m sure she’d be glad to take you.”

“Except she doesn’t know that I’m alive, and I’d like to keep it that way.”

“Even from Bess? I thought you two were close?”

Selina shook her face. “I don’t want anyone dragged into this who isn’t already a part of it. Aidan’s right, this has to be as small a circle as possible. Only when the problem’s fixed, I’ll tell her everything.”

“Then I’m sorry but this is the best I can offer,” said Bran, looking a little empathetically at the hut.

“This will do,” responded Selina, stepping into the humble dwelling. “I’ve spent enough time living in the lap of luxury. Could do with a little bit of rugged living.”

Nodding, Bran continued. “And I suppose you were told about Bob?”

“Yeah. It’s all good.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, why would he contact you now?”

She smiled and leaned into Bran, “Things between us are… different now.”

Bran wouldn’t give up his line of questioning. “Different, how?”

“It’s complicated. Just know that we’re friends now. And I think that I can trust him.”
“Even after what he did in the past?”

She shrugged. “What’s past is past. I’ve moved on.”

Taking a step back, Bran swiped a fly from his face. “For your sake I hope you’re right. You’re not letting Bess in but you’re totally letting your guard down for Dirt Bob? If you ask me, I think your priorities are messed up.”

“Bob knowing anything was an accident, wasn’t it? I’m not fretting, why are you?”

Her words hit home, and he chuckled. “Right. I suppose it’s none of my business, isn’t it? You know what’s best for you.”

“You’ve already done more than you should’ve,” admitted Selina. “I am deeply thankful.”

“Thank me tomorrow, after you’ve survived a night in this shack,” he joked as he walked away.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on October 20, 2016, 03:30:19 PM
It was dark, but the larks were singing, giving indication to the approaching morning. A fully garbed dark figure broke through the windows upon Aidan's home, and stealthly crept through the hall, till he arrived at the study. There were specific instructions what he should do, and he carried those instructions through perfectly.

After slipping in the neatly wrapped package between several of the books in the library, the figure took a quick look about the study before he slipped back down the hallway.

A soft sound in the library awoke Aidan and within seconds he was out of bed, dagger in hand. Upon entering it however he found the library empty. Not bothering to take a light with him he started to search the rest of the house.

The figure approached the open window, and perched upon it when he heard the owner of the house shuffling about.

Figuring they must've entered the house somewhere downstairs Aidan hurried down the stairs as quietly as he could.

With a leap, the figure landed on the pavement outside and hurried away.

Arriving downstairs all Aidan found was an open window. In the distance he barely saw a dark figure disappear into the shadows, but he realised very well that pursuing now would be fruitless. Cursing he went about creating some light.

After lighting up the house he woke up Siri. Together they searched the property for any changes or any valuables that may have gone missing. After some time of not finding anything they were puzzled but decided to simply mend the window and go back to bed.

________________________________________________________

Morning had just arrived when a firm knock came on Aidan's door.

Siri opened the door as per usual while Aidan sat downstairs with a cup of tea..

Andrea Brennan stood at the entrance with four officers of the seraph, and her maidservant, shielding her with a frilly umbrella. There was a look of malice on the woman's face, and as she completely ignored Siri's presence, pointed to the interior of Aidan's home. "Search it," she commanded. As soon as the order was given, the seraphs entered, two headed for the upper floors, the other two walked directly up to Aidan.

"Sir Aidan Brennan," boomed the voices of one of the guards, "You are officially under arrest. Please rise from your seat, and come with us peacefully."

Rising to his feet slowly Aidan looked at them calmly. "While you're here I would like to report a break in" He said.

"A break in sir? Perhaps you can make that report to the officers at the headquarters. Please extend your arms to us slowly so that we may bind them."

Andrea stood just steps behind the seraph, looking upon the scene with much satisfaction.

"There's no need, I will come with you quietly. Siri please mind the house in my absence." He said, moving around the table now.

"It's entirely procedure sir," assured the guard, extending his own hand.

The other two guards made a clatter upstairs, searching the room for suspicious items.

"Fine. Tell the two oafs upstairs not to break anything or I'll be sending the bill" He said while holding his hands out.

The guard in front of him simply smiled as he secured a rope around Aidan's wrists, making sure that it was taut.

Another of his colleagues descended from the stairs with a neatly wrapped package in his hands. "I've found something," he declared, and presented it to the others in the room, especially to Andrea. "Does this belong to you?"

Andrea looked it over carefully, her maidservant fanning her with much gusto. "It's hard to tell. Open it, and perhaps we shall see."

The guard did as he was told, unwrapping the package carefully, he soon revealed two sacks filled with gold, and a single black diamond.

"These... these belong to the Brennan business, and..." Andrea cried as she lifted the diamond. "This is mine. It was a gift to me by a beloved friend."

"Can you prove it, M'am?" asked the guard.

"Absolutely!" she said, glaring at Aidan in turn. "You absolutely abhorrent ungrateful boy!" And she lifted the sacks to show a print of the Brennan emblem beneath. "This does not belong here in your care. And so does that diamond. I shall speak directly to the officers in charge and prove that this man is a thief."

"Surely aunt, I thought you knew me better than to assume I stole from my own family"

Her face was the mirror of ice, cold and relentless. "Unfortunately your actions have proved me wrong. Even family can be involved in scandal as you have. For this insult, I will not spare any kindness on you for you will be tried like the criminal that you are."

"You certainly judge quickly."

He walked along obligingly. Realizing perfectly well how that package ended up in his house.

_________________________________________________________________________

Captain Turnhall tucked in his uniform as he walked towards the holding cells at the seraph headquarters. He had to be assigned the newly draught out case of the Brennans, an inter-family dispute - the typical run-of-the-mill mudslinging wealthy family argument, the sort that nobody liked dealing with. The only reason he was now taking it on was over a coin toss. He wanted the dispute settled as soon as possible so he could get back to his regular investigations on actual crime.

"I'm investigating the case of the Brennans," he informed the guard at the front, who then unlocked the main gate and allowed him access into the holding area. Right there, he found three men and a woman. Even without special indication, Turnhall knew which was Aidan Brennan. His dressing and posture gave him away. "Aidan Brennan," he greeted him through the bars, and extended his hand.

"Captain" Aidan said as the man greeted him. Shaking the offered hand.

"I am Captain Turnhall, assigned to your case. May I speak with you on the finer details?"

"Pleasure to meet you Captain Turnhall, though I can't help but wish we'd met under better circumstances. I should be happy to discuss what I know"

With a wave to the guard at the gate, Turnhall was let into Aidan's cell. The guard also provided him with a stool to sit on. Turnhall lowered himself onto the stool with a loud sigh. He was a large man with a penchant of eating. He wasn't shy about it either, but it was certainly gaining on him in pounds. "So... I'd like skip the small talk, if you don't mind. Let's get straight to business," he pulled out a notebook and began marking down the facts of the case. "Your aunt alleges that she discovered irregularities in the company accounts just recently, and after the hiring of a private investigator, traced the missing goods to you. It was then assumed you were stealing goods from your family's company and profiting off them. When your aunt decided to confront you about it, she says that you were aggressive and defensive. You threatened that she would be made to regret the allegations. Following this threat, her home was broken into by a thief she has strong belief has connections to you. This after several eye-witnesses place you and a... what they have termed as, a hooded-stranger, on two occasions. A guard at Andrea Brennan's home was rendered unconscious, but he is giving testimony to a... said, hooded-stranger who infiltrated the home. Being afraid for her life, Andrea Brennan contacted the seraphs right away and they discovered, among the mess made at her home, two sacks of gold she had been temporarily holding for the company, and her precious black diamond, given to her as a gift many years ago that she said you knew about, and that you had taken out of spite. What do you say to these allegations?"

"I have not nor would I ever steal from the family. I am a man of honor and I would not stoop to such levels or do my family such an injustice."
Aidan paused for a second before continuing. "The package found at my house this morning was placed there last night. If you'd please talk to my housekeeper. She can confirm that the house was broken into. After I heard something in the house I went in search of the intruder and saw a dark figure rush off from the house. I then roused my housekeeper and we both searched the house assuming items must be stolen.
After we found nothing seemingly amiss we mended the window so it would close and went back to bed since I did not think a burglary would require seraph assistance at night and could wait till morning. I would also like you to talk to the seraph who were present at my house this morning. They should confirm that my aunt was smug rather than upset. I can only conclude that she's somehow trying to get rid of me. Since my mother sadly passed she's been trying to work me out of the family business, so she may have her way with it."

"Hmm," Captain Turnhall jotted down a few notes, and rubbed his chin in thought. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but I've been told that your aunt already mostly runs the Brennan business. What benefit would she have working you out of it?"

"She would not have to answer to anyone about business decisions. I stand to inherit, so after my father passes the business is mine to run. She will not want to give up her position when that comes to pass. I also believe that our opinions on business matters rather differ and she sees me as meddlesome rather than a valued family member"

He looked down at his notes, and once more again at Aidan. "You have both been working on the Brennan business for quite a while, haven't you? It is said that she even gave personal care to your ailing mother before her death. By all accounts, it would seem that the two of you had an ideal relationship of aunt and nephew. Just from my point of view, it doesn't seem like she would have the necessary intent to intentionally plant evidence in your home to convict you of a crime you didn't commit."

"Nor have I ever had the intent to steal from a company that will one day be mine. Would it not be more logical for me to want it to prosper? I have ample means so I wouldn't do it for the money. And if our relationship is ideal enough for my aunt not to have a motive the same would be true for me. I sat with my mother daily until she passed. I looked after my father during his worst. I married with the family's interest at heart and even as I was in mourning over my mother as well as my wife I worked. No sir, I would not steal."

"Then who? Because I have evidence of deductions made off your company's accounts, and to add to that, two consequent break ins. Who then would do this? I seriously doubt that you had no part in it at all."

"I really hoped this would not be necessary" Aidan sighed. "I will tell you exactly what my part in all of this is. After my wife passed, I found working the best way to deal with the grief. As I went over the books which had been inconsistently checked over since my mothers illness I started to notice discrepancies. Naturally I investigated further. At first I thought there had to have been a mistake. But the longer I went through the books the more obvious it became that someone had been altering numbers, making the books seemingly fit. Only the family does these final counts and my father hasn't looked at the business since my mother took a turn for the worse. I'm sure you'll realise that leaves only one person. When I asked her about it, she laughed at me. Called me inexperienced and incapable to deal with the books." Aidan paused for a while before he continued his story. "I could not rest easy until I knew the full truth. So I visited our warehouses and took stock there. Sadly finding the same discrepancies. I planned on talking about this to my aunt again, hoping she had some sort of explanation. I realize how this sounds, trust me. But I can only tell you what I know to be true"

Letting out a huge sigh, Turnhall made a final note and flipped close his notebook. "Of course. And you're also in this cell. You would say anything to get out. You understand that because there are two completely contradictory stories with not enough hard evidence either way, this investigation is going to get stretched out?" He gave Aidan a look of jest. "You could've made it easy for me and just abided by the one story." Turnhall rose from his seat, once more with a huge groan. "I will have to check this story in more detail. You sit tight till then, and call for me if you think of anything else."

"Ah yes, it would undoubtedly be a lot easier on you if everyone who was guilty simply confessed. Unfortunately, I'm not guilty of the crimes my aunt accuses me of and it's not in my ability to make your work light for you. I trust you will look at this matter with discretion and impartiality, thank you." He said, getting to his feet as well after which he shortly bowed.

"Perhaps you could appraise Countess Anise of the situation. She's a longstanding friend of the family and an excellent judge of character"

Turnhall raised a brow. "Pulling some strings, I see. Very well."

"She knows Andrea as well as me. If I were guilty the countess would not be a string I'd pull. Knowing her you should realise this."

The old captain tucked the notepad into his front breast pocket. "We shall see," he said, and then promptly let himself out.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on October 26, 2016, 07:38:56 AM
Caden Mullins

Dusk fell as Caden knocked on the door with slight apprehension. It had been quite some time since he had visited last, and since he disappeared he had only once sent a note home to let his family know he was well. In his head he already heard his father’s thundering voice lecturing him on worrying his mother so. Inside he heard someone shuffling about, followed by the sound of keys that clattered against each other. Several more moments passed and he could hear bolts being pulled back. Frowning he wondered about the extra security measurements. He had noticed the town being a little more subdued than usual but he attributed the lack of people on the streets to the cold.
Before him the door cracked open and before he knew it his mother embraced him in a tight hug. Smiling he returned the hug, finding himself more pleased to be home than he thought he would be. “Oh my boy, come in come in” His mum exclaimed before pulling him inside. “Look who’s come home mother” She said as she pulled Caden into the livingroom. His grandmother was sitting in a large chair in front of the fire, with a large bunch of herbs on her lap. Her wrinkled fingers were picking the leaves off of them with a practiced precision. “Finally found your way here did you” She said as she looked up at Caden. “You look well lad” She said as Caden walked over and embraced her, careful not to disturb the herbs on her lap. His mother meanwhile went about making tea. Finding a stool to sit down on Caden sat down his pack beside it. “Where’s father?” he asked, surprised to find the man not in today. His mother and grandmother looked at each other before his mother answered. “Him and the men from the village formed a search party early this evening when the hunting party did not return before dark.” She handed Caden a cup of tea and sat down before continuing. “I’m sure you noticed the town being quiet. People have been disappearing lately. The men decided enough is enough and went out to find out who’s responsible and put a stop to it.” Agitated Caden shifted around on his seat. “When did they leave? Did they say where they were going?” He asked, ready to leave and go after them. “They left an hour after sundown. I don’t know where they went though” his mother replied. “I’m afraid there’s nothing to do but wait now”. She smiled sadly at Caden. “Will you not distract us from our worries and tell us what you’ve been up to?” She asked. And so Caden spent the rest of the evening explaining. Especially his grandmother seemed to be pleased with his stories, taking some pride in Caden remembering his herbalist skills after all.

---

The next morning the search party returned tired and unsuccessful. Among the men was his father, as well as several Seraph. It appeared his father was too tired for the scolding Caden expected. Instead he simply shook his sons hand before stumbling home and heading to bed. Caden sought out the local seraph captain and prodded him for information. How many people had disappeared, how often, where, had he reported it. The captain, being tired as well waved him away. “Not now son” was his answer before they retreated to their barracks. Later Caden found out that besides the group of hunters a trade caravan and a seraph patrol had also disappeared. The captain apparently attributed it to heightened centaur activity and had made no further reports.
The days that followed were uneventful however and the town soon settled back into their normal routine. Caden helped his parents and grandmother with the shop as much as he could. Though he much preferred to go out and gather herbs.

After a few weeks after his arrival home a delivery had to be made to Divinity’s Reach and Caden finding himself a bit restless jumped at the occasion. Before leaving he told his mother that he would use the occasion to visit the friends he had made in the capital.

---

His journey to Divinity’s Reach was short and the delivery straightforward. It was only after Caden had knocked on Aidan’s door that he discovered things would not go exactly as he had planned. He found the master out and the housekeeper rather reluctant to tell him where he was. After some prodding however Siri eventually told him that Aidan had been arrested. She did not know where miss Knox had gone. Having trouble believing Aidan would ever break the law in such an obvious way as to get himself arrested Caden hurried towards the seraph’s headquarters where he requested to visit mr Brennan.
After waiting some time he was finally led down towards the cells where he found Aidan quietly sitting in one of them reading a book. The seraph who had escorted Caden downstairs opened the cell for Caden to enter. Then closed the door again and positioned himself within earshot.
Getting to his feet Aidan nodded at Caden and shook his hand. “You seem to find yourself in a bit of a pickle here my friend.” Caden said. Aidan nodded “And how, may I ask, did you find out about it?” he asked Caden. “Ah, your housekeeper told me when I called. I figured I would visit you since I’ve been away from the city for a while.” Aidan nodded and asked what he had been up to lately. He and Selina had expected him to join them when they visited the shining blade after all. Caden grinned sheepishly at that and scratched the back of his neck awkwardly before answering. “I uh.. I resigned”. “Why?” Aidan asked him and Caden explained him how he felt he no longer shared the same vision as the shining blade. Of course their work was important, but after what they had put Selina through he no longer wished to represent an organisation that let the end justify the means. After Caden’s story was done it was Aidans turn to explain how he ended up in a prison cell. After telling Caden everything he told the Seraph Captain earlier he asked “Do you have any writing utensils and a notebook maybe?”. When Caden nodded Aidan looked at the guard. “Is it alright if he delivers a note to my housekeeper?” He asked. The guard frowned and considered this request for some time. “If you let me read it before it leaves the headquarters I suppose it can’t do any harm. If you mention your case in any way I’m not allowed to let it pass however.” Aidan nodded and took the utensils from Caden who had taken them out of his pack by now. Sitting down again Aidan took the notebook and tore a sheet out. One glance at the guard told him the man wasn’t paying overly much attention and he set himself to writing. On the loose sheet he wrote the following.

Siri,
In the future please refrain from telling any callers I have been arrested. Tell them I’m unavailable and take any messages they may have. I shall deal with them when I return.
A. Brennan.


Then inside the notebook he wrote:

Caden, I hope I may count on your help and discretion. As you may well realise not all of what I did is fully legal. Selina and I have been spotted in town together while she was hooded. I need a certain person to come forward and say they were with me rather than Selina. Her name is Aine Beyersford. You’ll find her in the Grove. I’m not sure about her exact location but you can’t go wrong if you find whatever bar or inn that sells the best meade. Please ask her to come to the reach. Tell her she’s supposedly been in the reach for a while to comfort an old friend. I may have mentioned she dyed her hair orange, hence her reason for wearing a hood.
You have my eternal gratitude.



He closed the notebook and handed the pen and book back to Caden before carefully folding the note to Siri. “Please hand this to my housekeeper” he asked Caden, handing him the note after he had repacked his utensils. Caden nodded. “Well, I suppose it’s time to be taking my leave then.” He said, as he offered Aidan a hand. “Take care Aidan, I’m sure it will all be sorted out soon.” Behind him the guard opened the cell to let Caden out. Aidan nodded at him. “Thank you for stopping by.” The guard locked the cell behind Caden and took the note Caden was holding out to him. Unfolding the paper he read it twice, turning the paper over a couple of times for a thorough inspection. Luckily for Caden and Aidan the guard wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. Checking the notebook never so much as occurred to him. Chuckling the guard refolded the paper. “Don’t want the fancy folks to know you’re in jail eh” he said, mocking Aidan before handing the note back to Caden. With one final nod at Aidan Caden followed the guard upstairs and left the seraph’s headquarters.

---

After handing the note to Siri off at Aidan’s house Caden checked into his favourite inn. He ordered a hot meal and a cold beer and stationed himself near the hearth with his beer to wait for the food. Taking the notebook from his pack he read the note Aidan had scribbled into his notebook. After reading it twice over to make sure he remembered the details he tossed it in the fire. Better safe than sorry he figured as he watched the paper crumple up, flames licking at the edges. By the time his food arrived only ashes remained. He didn’t think he would be followed, the case was not very high profile and the seraph not very covert but he decided he would not take any chances and leave at first light.

---

Several days of travelling brought him to the grove where he tracked Aine down with little effort. Convincing her to help Aidan was even easier and Caden for a while did wonder at their history. However his thoughts were soon distracted by Aine colouring her hair orange with a flick of her fingers. “Well, I suppose I ought to find myself a hood somewhere and head over to the capital. Thank you for the mead” She said with a charming smile. Before Caden realised it she had gone. Tired after all the time spent on the road Caden decided to head back to Lion’s Arch through the portal and rest there before traveling home.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on November 01, 2016, 12:37:58 PM
SELINA KNOX

The torrential rain slammed on her back, poured down the contours of her drenched coat, and slid down the freshly cut planks of wood under her knees in watery sheets. She realised that it was a huge mistake not to have fixed the holes in the moss-ridden roof at an earlier time, before the coming of the rainy season - but it was better late than never. She had risked recognition that very afternoon in order to purchase materials from Fort Salma for patching up the broken hut - mostly because she had spent a very miserable previous night awakened by the leaks, and having to spend the majority of the night, holed up in a tree. The relief of a sunny afternoon didn't do much to dry the wood before the present torrential rain began to invade every space. The only consolation she had was that she had found a dry little squirrel hole in one of the trees to hide Andrea's incriminating documents - it was the one thing that would keep her in that nasty swamp to guard with her life. She had at several parts of a sleepless night, considered going to Lion's Arch to search for Robert - if not for anything more than the thought that he might offer her a less leaky roof over her head, and perhaps loan her some gold. One of the regrets upon her hasty departure from Aidan's home was forgetting to top up her gold pouch before she left. She had spent herself flat with the wood and the nails, and would soon have to resort to other means if for some reason she needed to make more purchases. But there were two prominent reasons she couldn't go to Robert, at least not now; First, she couldn't be sure Aidan wouldn't come looking for her at any moment, and if he did, she suspected that he would urgently need those documents. Second, as much as she'd convinced Bran that she could fully trust Robert, she knew at least partially, that it was a lie. Nothing would erase what he did all those years ago. As much as they'd played each other in a dangerous game between gangs, and certainly she was not innocent in her actions, his complete betrayal went far beyond any reasonable punishment. Regardless of how he'd tried to make amends in more recent times, she promised herself she would not as gullible as she was before. He knew she was alive. That much was a fact that she could not change, and she would not blame her brother for it. Perhaps Robert would prove to be a reputable man and keep the secret... or... she didn't want to think it, but the situation could easily be twisted into blackmail, especially if he came to know about those notes and their value to someone powerful like Andrea. Nonetheless, she knew would have to confront Robert after Aidan had retrieved his notes, just to be sure that he wasn't going to spread the message of her survival beyond what was necessary.

"Done..." she whispered to herself as the final nail head embedded itself into the wood. She tossed the hammer to the ground, flipped onto her back and turned towards the sky. Large raindrops quickly shut her eyes, flowed down her cheeks and entered her slightly parted lips. She allowed it to cleanse her person of whatever stench she might have picked up over the past few days where she had lacked a bath. She hadn't done this in ages, and it felt good... it felt familiar.

She spent a while more on the roof before she finally got off, tore off her wet clothes and wrapped herself in the only dry piece of fabric that she had left, her cloak.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on November 02, 2016, 06:50:10 AM
(https://i.imgur.com/Lc1c7pu.jpg)
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on November 07, 2016, 10:36:45 AM
ANDREA & HENRY BRENNAN

Andrea Brennan had made certain that Aidan was in prison and under active investigation before she hurried over to Henry's home. She brought with her files of company accounting, and just before she knocked on the door to his room, calmed down her beating heart, brought out a silk handkerchief and practiced crying into it. Once she felt she was ready, she gave the door a somewhat hesitant-sounding knock.

One of the family's servants opened the door and bowed to her. "Good day m'am"

"Bring me to my brother, girl," she demanded of the servant.

"Certainly m'am" she said, standing aside to let Andrea in. After Andrea entered she carefully closed the door and then lead Andrea to Henry's room. "Shall I introduce you m'am?" She asked, seeming a bit hesitant.

"Are you so slow minded?" Andrea snapped at the help. She didn't mean to pull such a power move this early into the game, but Aidan had forced her hand. Now, she would have to convince her brother of his malice with much less to back it up. That could prove to be a problem. "Get on with it."

Shaken she nodded "Yes m'am, sorry for being so sluggish" She mumbled before opening the door. "Miss Brennan here to see you sir" She said loudly as she stepped inside and stood next to the door to allow Andrea to enter as well. "Will you be needing anything m'am?" She asked, eager to leave the room again.

The study was dark, despite the bright daylight outside. Heavy curtains had been drawn and the room desperately needed airing. Behind the desk Henry sat in a large chair wearing his dressing robes. He snored lightly and his head hung to the side. On his desk sat a half empty decanter and a whiskey glass. His breakfast tea stood next to it, untouched.

Andrea frowned at the state of her brother. As much as she loved him, the man suffered from seasonal usefulness. Sometimes he was motivated, hardworking, and reflected shades of the strong businessman that their father used to be. Other times he proved to be... just a heap of steaming mess, and a burden to the Brennan name. It was tiresome carrying the name solely upon her own shoulders, although she couldn't dispute the advantages of full control.

She waved the servant away, and as soon as she had left, called into the darkness. "Henry..."

Henry stirred in his chair before cracking open one eye. "Andrea, what are you doing here?" He grumbled.

"Henry, I need you to get up. Something truly tragic has occurred," she muttered, as devastated as she could.

"What now?" He said, not making any effort to move.

She grit her teeth. Here she was, working so hard to keep the company together, and that was all he could say. "Your adopted son... he... he's completely turned on us. Been doing atrocious things behind our backs. Making a travesty of Dad's company."

"Aidan wouldn't do that, he's a hardworking boy" His unfocused eyes rested on Andrea as he pulled himself up straight in the chair.

This was the exact response she was expecting, and she had come prepared. Pulling out the folder from her keeping, she inwardly groaned at how little light there was streaming into the room. "I have to show you this, Henry. Will you let me draw back the curtains?"

He shrugged and poured himself a glass of whiskey rather than answering.

Frustrated, she walked over to the curtains and drew them back. Cloaked in a thick layer of dust, the stream of light that entered displayed the puffs of grey-ish billowing clouds rising from every movement of the heavy fabric. Andrea helplessly placed a finger under her nose as she coughed a little less glamorously than she would like. She thought about taking a long bath after this horrid event, it felt more appealing to her than she thought it would. Fanning away what was left of the dust in the air, she carried her notes to him. "Look at what that boy has been doing. Look at the discrepancies. He's been carrying this out for months."

Sighing Henry picked up his reading glasses with shaking hands and placed them on his nose with some effort before taking the papers Andrea held out to him. "Why do you suspect Aidan" he said after a while, his mood rapidly darkening as he realised his company was being stolen from.

"I don't tend to enjoy handing the work entirely to him, it is my company too, but with my dear brother in distress, I could do nothing more than to worry about your condition. It has caused me sleepless nights, and knowing that I have not been in my right mind to manage the accounts, I put everything in Aidan's care. Unfortunately, this is the result." She forced some tears out of her eyes, and dabbed them wearily as she continued. "I noticed the discrepencies and hoped against hope that there was a reasonable explanation for it. But the day I invited him to my home and simply asked about it, he returned nothing but hostilities. Threatened me that I would regret even questioning his integrity. This shocked me so dearly..." she looked away and sniffed. "Oh dear brother... you were not there to be my strength. It near drove me mad to think that our beautiful Aidan had turned into... this horrible monster that I could not recognize. How I searched for a reason to dismiss the thought. But a few days later, I found myself robbed, my guard clobbered! And among two sacks of gold missing from the company, my very own black diamond, my most treasured possession was missing. I reported the crime to the Seraphs, and they questioned me if I had received any threats. I tried to hide the horror of that encounter with Aidan, but finally the Seraphs dug it out of me, and insisted that we visit his home. That very morning that we did, they didn't take long to find the missing gold and the missing diamond. In the very possession of your adopted son."

"He must be under duress" Henry started to panic a little. "This is not like him, someone must be forcing him to do this"

"Yes indeed, do you know what I found along with the stolen goods that day?"

He shook his head, feeling more and more out of sorts.

"Empty bottles of alcohol in his study." She crossed over to his side and looked at him rather sternly. "Henry, I think that your boy is addicted to the drink and he would rather see Father's hard earned company sink to the depths in order to satiate his addictions."

"Nonsense, hardworking men need a drink now and then" Henry gave Andrea a stern look.

She laid a firm hand on his shoulder, and upon him she cast look of intensity - just the slightest violet glimmer in her eyes. "Henry, did you hear what I said? Father's company will sink to the depths if we allow Aidan access to the business and its dealings. He does not have its best interests at heart, nor yours. The young brat does not care about you, he cares about me even less - he even had the nerve to threaten your beloved sister. Imagine if he had the audacity to hire a scoundrel to attack my home, it's only a matter of time when he might consider attacking us instead."

"I will visit him later and sort this out sister, I'm sure it's a misunderstanding" Henry swayed a bit as he poured himself another glass.

"Brother, you're not well enough to go out there. The Seraph have him in custody right now, they need papers signed but I'd rather you stay here and rest. I will deliver the papers to the office for you." She took out another set of papers, one that looked rather official.

"I wish you'd have come to me sooner" He said with a sigh. "I need to talk to the boy Andrea"

"I don't think you do," her eyes glowed violet again. "You need to rest. Let the Seraphs do their work." She flipped the sheets open to the end and pointed to the acknowledgement area. "Sign this, and they can begin their investigation into this entire mess."

"You're right of course" He signed the papers and sank back into his chair. "How did it come to this Andrea. My family and my business are to pieces"

She carefully slipped the papers back into their folder. "Nothing is impossible to fix, dear brother. Let me handle all these unpleasantries, and I promise that by the time you're ready to face the world again, all these problems will be behind us."

Pouring himself another glass he nodded sadly at Andrea. "I'm glad you're still with my sister"

She stopped to look at him compassionately, "Mother and father are gone. All we have are each other, and left to us is their legacy. The Brennan business. We must guard all that is precious with all that we have. It's our one duty in this world."

He nodded. "Thank you for all you're doing sister. I'm sorry I'm not more help right now"

She smiled at him and turned to leave. "Be well brother. I shall see you again soon."

Drinking the last of his decanter of whiskey he stared at the beams of light that fell in through the curtains that Andrea had left open. Though he was upset at the news he felt it was being adequately handled now and before long he dozed off again.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on November 13, 2016, 05:14:05 AM
Aine Beyersford

Aine frowned as she looked in the mirror, pulling on the offending ringlet of hair that did not stay back in her bun. The orange still put her off and she resolved to make Aidan pay for it later. Giving up on taming her hair she put on her cloak and donned her hood. She left her room, locking the door behind her and waved at the innkeeper as she walked past on her way to the seraph's headquarters. Once there she marched right in and walked up to the desk. "I wish to speak with the one in charge of Aidan Thomas Brennans case" She said.

The officer at the desk looked up from his writing, and gave her a hard stare. "Your name, Miss?"

"Miss Beyersford" She said, still wearing the hood.

He rose from his seat, and motioned for one of his colleagues to watch her while he headed into the inner office. The colleague stepped over to stand in front of her. He was a young chap with glowing cheeks and freckles upon his face. He took the stiff posture of a soldier, yet the smile upon his face betrayed that.

While she waited she carefully studied the room and the lad in front of her from under her hood.

"You can take off your hood, Miss," the young lad suggested after a lengthy silence, and pointed to his head. "I have my hat off as well."

"I'm fine, thank you" Aine said, not taking off her hood.

"Oh ok!" replied the lad shrugging.

The officer who was originally at the desk returned and held the door open for Aine. "You may enter Miss Beyersford. Captain Turnhall is waiting for you."

"Thank you" She said cheerfully before entering the room.

A beer bellied Captain Turnhall sat at his desk, comfortably resting on a large velvet seat. Twirled in his fingers a pen, and upon his desk, several stacks of papers. "Yes, what can I help you with Miss Beyersford?" he asked, his voice loud in a quiet room.

"I came because I heard that my person is being used to incriminate mr Brennan. I do not appreciate this speculation and wished to put a stop to it"

"You are the person in the hood seen twice with Mr Brennan?"

"I am"

"That is to say, I spent time with him in public while hooded"

"And where might you have been, ten nights ago?"

"At home, sampling my newest acquisition of meade"

"Any alibi?"

"Since I was quite pleased with it I decided to dedicate the entire evening to it. I'm afraid I had no visitors, I'm not a fan of sharing you see."

"Is it too out of order to ask what happened 10 nights ago?"

"Not out of order," he replied a matter-of-factly. "Ten nights ago, a woman in a hood entered Andrea Brennan's property, stole several items, and deposited them in the home of Aidan Brennan's. She has not been identified yet, but if you claim to be the woman in the hood seen twice with Aidan Brennan, then you do know that we will have detain you in order to look into your claims."

"You're welcome to search my house, if that helps. I'm sure I never broke into anyone's home though, let alone two in one night. I wouldn't even know how"

"It would be the assumption that you would only need to break into one." He looked at her hood. "Can you remove your hood for me please."

She leaned her head to one side. "Only because it's you and if you promise not to tell"

"Trust me, it's not for myself but as a part of the investigation."

She nodded before slowly drawing back the hood, revealing her bright orange hairdo. "Now you see why"

"Hmm," Turnhall tapped his pen thoughtfully on his notepad. "I will need you to stay for at least a day. I need someone to look you over." He clapped his hands, and the lad from the front appeared at the door. "Do you have someone you need to contact?"

Hurriedly redonning her hood she shook her head. "No need, it's only for today after all. If you have any more questions I'll be happy to answer them."

"I will have more questions for you after you're seen. Please follow officer Darnes. I will call for you soon."

Officer Darnes stepped forward with the grin on his face. "Come this way please."

"Ah, if you do search my house, please do be careful with the meade, it's expensive stuff" She said before walking over towards Darnes.

"We will search your house if we deem it necessary. Right now I want you to be identified correctly first. We need to be precise about such things. I hope you'll understand."

"Of course" She said, smiling widely. "I fully understand"

Turnhall motioned to Darnes to take her away, and Darnes put a hand on Aine's arm to lead her away.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on November 21, 2016, 05:21:25 AM
CAPTAIN TURNHALL

The case of the Brennans wasn't a straight cut, run-of-the-mill suit involving just one version of the story. Instead there were two completely competing views, without hard evidence to support either. Andrea Brennan had laid the charge, which caused her step nephew to be held by the Seraphs, but truth be told, if evidence turned up in Aidan Brennan's favor, the charge could easily be flipped around. That would, of course, depend wholly on the defendant.

The activity of the day involved a practice that would likely determine the innocence of Aidan Brennan and his friend Aine Beyersford. With Miss Beyersford dressed up in the hooded garment she claimed to have worn on the day she walked through town, supposedly the same garment worn during the break in, she sat patiently in a stone-lined room. At the height of one of the walls, there was a hidden peephole. That was precisely what Josephine and Jeffrey Goddard peered through as they pulled and nudged each other out of their place in order for the other to take a look.

"Yes, that is her," said Josephine with certainty. "If I know a hood, that is it."

"Have you see this woman prior to both the times you witnessed her with Mr Brennan?" Captain Turnhall asked.

"No, why would I?" she replied, offended. "I don't mix with these paltry types."

"What do you think, Mr Goddard?"

"I haven't seen her either, and she certainly looks to be the woman that we saw," he confirmed. "What else has she stolen before this case, Mr Turnhall?"

"I'm sorry, it is not my place to discuss the case with you." The Captain jotted down a few notes in his book, and motioned towards the door. "I thank you for your cooperation, as well as your discretion. That is all."

"What do you mean 'that is all'?" asked Josephine with some disappointment. "What of Aidan Brennan? Don't we get to identify him as well?"

"No. It's well established that you already know what he looks like."

"So does this mean the both of them are going to be put away?" she asked, still pushing for more information.

"Again, Madam, I apologise but it is not my place to discuss the case with either of you. I wish you a good day."

Darnes held the door open for the siblings to leave. The lad caught the glance of his superior, and while the siblings' backs were turned, the Captain rolled his eyes at Darnes causing the private to smile. Unfortunately his expression didn't escape Josephine's watchful eye.

"Find something humorous about this situation?"

Darnes dropped his grin instantly. "Erm, no M'am! I apologise M'am."

"Much better," she retorted, and headed out the room, trotting off proudly down the hall.

"Fetch the guard," Turnhall whispered to Darnes, and the private soon scurried off. The Captain reached out of his vest pocket to extract a canister of whiskey, wound off the cap then gently placed it to his lips. He had done his research on Aine Beyersford. She had no prior association with questionable types, or any prior convictions. The Goddards did not seem to recognize her place in society, and their statements had inevitably backed Aidan Brennan's testimony - even though it would seem that they wished to see him incarcerated for some reason. The other action to determine any guilt involved was to have the guard verify her in the same manner that she had been by the siblings.

A knock came on the door, and Turnhall quickly put his canister away. Darnes had returned with the guard from Andrea's house. He was out of uniform, and apart from disheveled hair from the cap he now carried carefully in his hands, didn't seem harmed in the least. "Come on in," welcomed Turnhall, guiding him to the peephole. "Take a look at the woman in the next room, and tell me if that is the same woman who attacked you ten days ago."

"Yes sir," replied the guard, shutting an eye and pressing the other onto the hole. It took him several moments of staring intensely, switching his eyes several times, before he finally turned to Turnhall. "No, I don't recognize this person at all."

"You don't?" asked Turnhall, half surprised.

The guard nodded. "Even though it was dark, I could've sworn that the person who attacked me was male and had a scar on his face."

Turnhall traded looks with Darnes. "This was not on the original statement. All you said was a dark shadowy figure attacked you out of nowhere."

"Yes, but I just thought of it right now. It was definitely a man, possibly a very large and burly one at that. I mean... how else would he have taken me out with one blow?" The guard turned back to the peephole. "I can't imagine for the life of me, this scrawny thing being able to do something like that. Do you?"

Turnhall shrugged. "I suppose not. Thank you for your testimony in any case. It has helped us hugely."

"My pleasure," the guard replied, giving a brief bow. "I hope you catch the perp who ranksacked Miss Brennan's home."

"I hope so too," answered Turnhall. The guard had certainly weeded out a few possibilities, unfortunately it would raise more questions than answer them.

__________________________________________________________________________

Officer Darnes unlocked the door to Aine's rather tiny cell that was empty apart from a basic mattress and a chair, surrounded by four stone walls, and a door with a grilled peephole. "Miss Beyersford," he called to her as he peered into the room. "The captain would like to see you."

She stood up from the one chair in the room and nodded. "Please take me to him"

Darnes guided her out through the long hallway headed for the main office. "Had a good night's sleep, I hope?"

"I find the quality of the mattress to be inferior" She said, half smirking under her hood, wondering how the man would react.

He chuckled. "It takes some getting used to, I give you that." Opening the outer door with a chain of keys, he held it open for her.

She walked through the door and waited for him to close it again. "I have no intention to get used to it, forgive me" she said.

Captain Turnhall waited for her in the next room. He was standing, and looked rather thoughtful. "Miss Beyersford."

"Good day Captain Turnhall" she replied.

"Thank you for your cooperation, Miss Beyersford. We have cleared you of most suspicion, but there is a final place I would like to visit, with you, and Darnes. That is, your home."

She nodded. "Of course"

"Would you travel with us then? Show us the meade you say that you were brewing on that very night eleven days ago."

"I think you mistook me there. I do not brew meade, I simply buy it and drink it" she said with a chuckle. "But I shall be happy to show you"

"Ah, it's my mistake then. Let us go, I have a chariot waiting."

She nodded and followed Captain Turnhall.

The chariot sped through cobbled streets till it arrived at Aine's home.

Aine unlocked the front door of her house, allowing the men to enter. Though small her house was well maintained and the interior was incredibly neat. The front door let them into a lounge which bordered on the kitchen. To the side was a large dining table surrounded by benches and chairs. On a shelf near the table were various sizes of bottles and decanters. A bit further two flights of stairs connected the basement and the upstairs to the kitchen. "Well, welcome to my home" Aine said cheerfully.

"Quaint little home," remarked Darnes, looking around.

"Could you show us the meade, Miss Beyersford? That particular bottle that you drank on the day," requested Turnhall.

"Of course, please follow me to the basement" She said, as she descended the stairs. In the basement shelves were put up from floor to ceiling. Neatly organised they were filled to the brim with all sorts of sweet wines and meade. Off to a corner stood a wooden crate that held empty bottles. Taking out a dark green glass bottle she gave it to Captain Turnhall.

"You have quite the collection," commented Turnhall, taking the bottle in his hands. He pulled out the cork and sniffed the rim of the bottle carefully. As he did, he swirled the bottle around for a bit.

Darnes grinned. "The Captain is really good at this," he praised. "He has an incredibly sharp nose for things."

"Literally," added Turnhall, taking the bottle away from his nose. "Well from as much as I can tell, you're telling the truth. And you've been most cooperative with us. We thank you for your time Miss Beyersford."

"Thank you Captain, I know you have to look at every angle." She pondered for some time. "You strike me as quite the connoisseur, perhaps once all of this is over we could compare our knowledge over a glass of excellent meade. I find those who truly appreciate the liquid are rare."

"Count me among the few then," the Captain said cheerily. "And I appreciate the invite. Darnes and I will be letting ourselves out then. Have a good day Miss."

"The same to you both"
___________________________________________________________________________________

Captain Turnhall returned to the Seraph headquarters. The Brennan case had resulted in a dud case, much like he expected. These family cases often ended up with misunderstandings, false accusations, drama... all kinds of nasty which make him want to run a mile from such inconsequences. He'd always believed that families should settle their disputes in privacy, not in court. But that was only the way of the commoner, the wealthy were frequent visitors of the court, and they were not shamed by the fact.

He'd opened the final gate into the dungeons, and found Aidan Brennan where he had left him.

Aidan immediately got to his feet as soon as someone appeared at the door of his cell.

"Mr Brennan. I have good news in regards to your case. We have carefully investigated, and have not found any evidence linking you to the person in the hood. However, it remains curious that the thief decided to drop off Andrea Brennan's belongings in your home."

"Curious indeed. Am I free to go then?" Aidan asked.

"You are," the Captain proceeded to unlock the gate. "But stay close. If you're leaving Divinity's Reach within the month, you should inform us just in case we need you."

"Of course, thank you" He said, lightly bowing towards the captain regardless of the circumstances.

"Thank you. Good day Captain Turnhall" He said, taking leave of the man before heading over to the guard to retrieve his belongings.

The guard handed him everything Aidan had entered the headquarters with, and let him out of the door.

After leaving the seraph's headquarters Aidan set out homewards without delay.

Josephine and Jeffrey Goddard had heard of Aidan Brennan's release. The thought vexed them and their friends from the upper society. They had little love for the young Brennan, since the last lawsuit they'd encountered with the Prathers that they had heard was instigated by Aidan. To add to that, his careless sponsorship of a known criminal that had specifically targetted the nobles of Divinity's Reach. Had he no regard for the safety of the neighborhood? The consensus showed an overwhelming agreement on the matter.

When Andrea Brennan's home had been broken into, Josephine felt it only apt that she come forward with her own testimony of having witnessed the dreaded soul in full view with the thief that he had taken in. The same one that had penetrated his own aunt's home and stolen precious items from it. She felt that would finally rid Divinity's Reach of Aidan Brennan and his irresponsible and flagrant ways. However when she heard rumors that the Seraphs was close to shutting the case on him, possibly out of pure apathy, she was much beside herself - to the point her brother Jeffrey could not even cheer her from, not even with his gift of a new puppy.

It was her great fortune though that right at that pristine time, she received word that Henry Brennan, heir to the Brennan fortune, had had enough of his wayward son to the point of signing the papers to disown him. Initially it sounded too good to be true, but when word broke that Aidan Brennan was truly not a Brennan, but an adopted son, things began to make all the sense in the world - it provided the perfect reason for him aligning himself with criminals. He probably had been taken from the slums, and been of the same mind all along. It was opportune that Henry Brennan had disowned him when he did, to avoid tarnishing the great house of Brennan.

And now armed with the news, Josephine and Jeffrey Goddard stood on the street, just outside of Aidan Brennan's home, ready to break the news to him.

Glad to be almost home Aidan was already planning a quiet afternoon when he rounded the corner and walked up to his own front door.

Jeffrey Goddard stepped up beside him, pulled out his cane and placed it between Aidan and the door. "Josie, do you think a lowly commoner should be welcome in this neighborhood?"

"Not in the least," replied Josephine rather smugly. "He should move out and join his own kind."

"Mr and Miss Goddard." He said coolly. "Shouldn't you be hurrying back to your own neighborhood before you lose your way?"

Jeffrey smiled. "We are merely here on the behalf of your concerned neighbors. Let me put this bluntly, you don't belong here any more. You are not welcome anywhere near our circles. Perhaps it's time you look for the gutter trash that bore you and go live with them."

"I'll thank you kindly to take your baseless insults elsewhere." He frowned at Jeffrey. "Perhaps you forgot your manners. I'm not surprised but I ask you to leave me to my peace now."

Josephine gasped loudly, and clasped her hands over her mouth. "Oh Jeff, he doesn't know!"

"Are you sure that he doesn't?" asked Jeffrey dramatically as though he were reciting the words of a play. "That can't be! The whole neighborhood knows. Perhaps the whole of Divinity's Reach knows. Could he have been this out of the loop?"

"Jeff! You forget that he was in prison this entire time."

"Oh yes!" cried Jeff. "He's been too occupied with his criminal life that he's plainly not heard that Henry Brennan is tired of his antics and wants nothing to do with him."

Sighing Aidan retrieved his key and sidestepped the pair to let himself into his house. "A good day to you both" he said, before turning towards the door to open it.

Jeffrey slammed his hand against the door. "Did you not hear me boy? You're no longer a Brennan. You don't carry a noble name. If you aren't a noble, you shouldn't even be here."

The realization that Jeffrey might be telling the truth hit Aidan like a ton of bricks. Thankfully his instinct and quick wits kicked in and he opened the door anyway. "At least I'm not the poor excuse for a man you are. Now kindly remove yourself from my property before I ask the seraph to remove you." He said, after which he closed the door and locked it shut. Deciding to not stick around to see if they would continue to talk to a closed door he moved towards the kitchen to see if Siri could be found.

Jeffrey stood in front of the shut door and glared at it for a few moments.

"It's done Jeff," his sister called to him. "Let the news roost and hopefully he'll decide to do the right thing."

But Jeff wasn't done, he pointed at the shut door. "He closed the door on me!"

"Oh don't be a crybaby. What did you expect? Low-life scum don't know their manners, it's just the way things are."

"But..."

Josephine crossed over to wrap an arm around him. "Come away Jeff. There's nothing more to see here. Tell you what, I'll make a pair of those leather boots that Ernest was sporting the other day. I noticed you were very interested in them."

"I don't want to wear the same boots as Ernest, are you mad?" retorted Jeffrey in agast.

"Fine, then I'll just go look for something better. Only the best for Jeffrey Goddard, alright?" she cooed.

With a single stomp to illustrate his anger with the way he was treated, Jeffrey decided to continue his afternoon in a more cheery mood.

After notifying Siri of his return he took himself to the study and took a bottle of brandy from his liquor cabinet. Sitting down by the fire he poured himself a glass as he mulled over the meeting with the Goddards in his head. He didn't doubt their insinuations, they would not come to gloat unless they knew this to be certainty. Aidan found it hard to believe his father disowned him on his own accord however. The only conclusion he could come to was that his aunt was somehow involved.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on December 09, 2016, 08:06:05 AM
Caden Mullins & Aidan Brennan

A few days after he met Aine in the grove Caden was back in Divinity's Reach knocking on Aidan's door. Siri opened it soon after. "Good day sir, the master isn't seeing any visitors right now, may I pass on a message?" Taken aback Caden paused. "Are you sure? please tell him Caden wishes to speak to him." He said after a while giving Siri a sweet smile. Siri nodded and disappeared inside to seek out Aidan while Caden decided to step inside and closed the door behind himself. Not long after Siri returned. "Mr Brennan can spare a few moments for you sir, you will find him in the library."

Caden nodded and made his way upstairs, where he found Aidan packing a bag. "Going somewhere?" he asked upon entering the room. "Shining Blade business" was Aidan's short reply.
"I'm glad to see you out of jail" Caden said. "Did you get everything sorted then?" "Hardly" Aidan grumbled as he continued to pack.
"Aidan, what's going on?" Caden asked as he helped himself to a chair.

After some further prodding Aidan finally told Caden about his meeting with the Goddards and his further suspicions about his aunt concerning his father disowning him.

Shocked Caden stared at Aidan. "So... what are you going to do?" He asked after some time. "Nothing" Aidan gruffly replied. "There's no point in lingering here. I've been given a job and I'll complete it." With a hard tug he pulled his pack closed and set it by the door.

Too agitated to stay seated Caden jumped to his feet. "Aidan you can't just give up and leave. You have to fight this. You know what that woman is doing, you have proof so get justice."

"To what end? There's nothing left for me here Caden. Let me do my job so at least I can feel like I have some honour to my name still." He put on a coat and threw one last look around the room. As he slung his pack across his back he looked at Caden again. "Will you do me a favour? Selina is staying with Bran, tell her I had to leave for a job please and make sure she stays safe?"
Too baffled to argue further Caden nodded after which Aidan thanked him and left the house.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on December 09, 2016, 08:18:52 AM
Caden Mullins & Selina Knox

After half a day of struggling to find the way to Bran's cave again on his own Caden was finally approaching the cave with some apprehension. Last time he came he had Sell with him and though Bran was friendly enough he had no clue as to what response his coming here would invoke.

Out of the blue, an arrow cut through the air and sank into the ground just a foot from where Caden was. Up in the direction from where it came was Ron, standing on a branch of a massive tree, his bow drawn and aimed at Caden. "State your business, or lose a foot."

"I'm looking for Sellie, Aidan said she came here" Caden said, raising his hands slowly.

Ron lowered his bow slowly. "She's not here. And we're done dealing with her issues and her people. You can run along now."

"Where is she?"

"We sent her into the swamp just east of here. I don't know if she's still there, and personally, I don't care."

"Aren't you just a ray of sunshine. Can't you be any more specific on where you sent her off to?"

"You've been here before, haven't you?" came a female voice, from right behind him.

"Only once, together with Sell"

Jess smiled at Caden. "Don't mind him," she said in regards to Ron. "He doesn't like anyone, and pretends not to give a damn. But deep inside, he's just an old fogie. Come with me," she beckoned him to follow her through the woods.

He shrugged slightly at Ron and started to follow Jess, taking a few quick steps to catch up with her. "Thanks for the help, really, I appreciate it" He said with a cheerful smile.

She trampled lightly through the underbrush, and turned every now and then to make sure that he followed. "Bran said that one of you might show up at one point. He's away on business. Otherwise he'd be the one showing you to the swamp."

"I hope he's well?" Caden said, following her closely.

"It's a regular client meet-up, exchange of goods-sort of deal. No biggie." She fell silent for a bit, then glanced at him a bit. "Bran briefly told us what happened with you guys in the woods..."

"It was a bit more than we bargained for." Caden said thoughtfully. "Honestly, we're lucky to all have made it out in one piece."

She nodded. "I am still pretty pissed that Sel pulled Bran away like that, without any consideration for the rest of us. That's... part of the reason she's no longer welcome in our cave. That, and she almost got him killed. I'm not sure how she would've explained it to us."

"I'm sorry to hear things ended up like that"

Jess shrugged. "From what I can tell, it wasn't your fault. I don't blame you, I blame her. Bran's always had a soft spot for women, this isn't an exception. She made use of him, as have the others."

"Actually, she tried to leave us behind and continue on her own to protect us. We made the decision to go after her anyway"

She stopped and smiled cynically at Caden. "You're just as soft as Bran. We aren't all maidens waiting for rescue." She turned back, leapt nimbly onto a low lying branch of a tree, and walked up its length.

"If we hadn't gone after her she would either be dead or someone's brainless puppet by now. I'd rather know I did all I could and live without regrets. But I don't expect everyone to feel that way."

Jess shrugged. "In any case, she's just down the hill from here." She pointed beyond the reach of the branch, at the cluster of trees in a corner of the swampland. "As far as I know, she hasn't left. Bran says there're important documents that she's protecting."

He nodded, peering into the direction she pointed in. "Thank you for taking me this far. Please give Bran my regards when he returns." He smiled cheerfully at Jess as he took his leave from her.

Jess leapt off the branch and headed back as soon as Caden took off.

It had been close to two weeks, spending her days in that swamp, and Selina had made the best of it. The first few days were the worst, being flat broke and having nothing more than a leaky shed to shelter her from the rainy season. But she'd since decided to pick a few pockets in the marketsquare, and earned enough to build up the shack into something that she could comfortably live in. Spanning the top of a few trees, she slung a tarp to divert the rainfall completely. And under it, she afforded herself stone pillars to prop up her wooden home to keep it from flooding, and the actual home itself that she had built partly from the demolished shack, but fashioned into a cylindrical wood house with a ladder, a firepit in the middle and a glass window even. Even though the tarp never really let light through, her home kept warm and cosy through the night and day.

Caden frowned slightly as he approached the peculiar looking hut. He knocked on what seemed to be the door twice.

The door opened after a few minutes of delay. Selina stuck a sleepy face out, looked at him for a bit, then rubbed her eyes. "Caden? What are you doing here?"

"Hi" He said with a wave. "Sorry if I woke you up. Can I come in?" He halfheartedly tried to keep himself from laughing at the situation.

"Sure," she widened the door for him to enter. The wooden floor encircled the firepit that extended down below floor level. There was stealth equipment stacked on the ground to a side of the home, and some cooking equipment. There was no furniture anywhere, just mats for sleeping and sitting on. "Help yourself," she pointed to a mat. "Sorry it isn't the best of accomodations, but it's the best I can do right now."

"Aidan told me you were staying with Bran, but according to Jess you weren't welcome in their little cave." Caden said, scanning the room.

Selina chuckled. "Yeah." She yawned and plunked herself onto a mat, resting her chin on the palm of her hand. "I couldn't go back to Divinity's Reach to tell Aidan in case there're people watching his home. And I didn't want the documents falling into wrong hands, so I've been sitting on them. The whole entire time. I hope Aidan's alright."

"He's had better days I think. After you left he was arrested by the Seraph." Caden said, finding himself a spot on the floor to sit on.

She raised her face from her palm. "Aa... arrested? Why? He hasn't done anything wrong."

"From what he told me I gathered that Andrea had someone plant evidence in his home." Caden sighed. "Someone really ought to do something about that woman." He said, shaking his head. "Anyway, he's out of the woods now but while he was in jail she apparently managed to convince Aidan's father to disown him."

Selina sat in silence, stunned by the news. "I haven't had many good experiences with the nobles in the Reach, but Aidan's father doesn't seem like the sort who would do that. Noble or not."

Caden shrugged. "I don't know the man, so I have no idea. All I know is his aunt is a nasty piece of work, and from what i gather she's a mesmer so she could've pulled something off probably."

"What does the Shining Blade think of this?"

"I uh..." He paused. "I dunno" He scratched the back of his neck with one hand awkwardly.

"Aren't they going to do something about it?" She narrowed an eye at him.

"I doubt his family is gonna do anything, and it seems Aidan has given up. When I saw him yesterday he said he had some work out of town or something vague."

She stood up immediately. "I'm going back to work this out."

"Sell, you can't go back to the city" He said, standing as well, placing a hand on her arm.

"Do you expect me to sit here while my brother's life is crumbling around him and the Shining Blade isn't going to do anything to protect him?"

"He said you'd probably want to rush in. Please don't Sell."

"And do you have a better plan?"

"Gather enough evidence to prove Aidan's innocence and Andrea's guilt?" Caden shrugged slightly. "I know you worry about him, he only went from noble to commoner Sell, it's not like his life is in danger."

She sat down slowly. "Why wouldn't he come to me with this? Why send you?"

"I don't know Sell" He sighed as he sat back down as well. "Maybe he felt he couldn't face you right now."

She shook her head, and looked at him, the hurt on her face. "And he wants me to investigate his aunt?"
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on December 09, 2016, 01:18:14 PM
"Actually, he only told me to tell you he'd be away on some job for the Shining Blade. He practically ran out the door when I spoke to him." Caden shrugged.

She leaned towards him, "Caden, I know you aren't involved in this entire thing, and you're just a messenger, but to say I'm overwhelmed by this news is understating it. I... I'm not sure where to begin."

"I know Sell, and I wish we could help somehow but he chose to run away. I can't make him come back and fix things for himself." He gave her a worried look.

She grimaced and slumped back against the wall. "Well, it's my problem now. I'll have to figure out how to get him out of this."

"What do you mean?"

Confusion swept over her face. "Caden? I'm confused, what do you want me to say?"

"You're not planning on putting yourself in harms way to fix his problems are you?"

"If it'll make you feel better, then no. But I can't really see how this is any of the Shining Blade's business. They gave up their chance to help, and I don't see any reason they would care any more for me than for my brother."

"I only came here because Aidan asked me to Sell, I resigned my position within the blade some time ago."

"You resigned?" she asked in disbelief. "And what made you do that?"

He shrugged. "I wanted a change I suppose" he said.

She frowned. "I never thought you would ever resign from the Shining Blade. You seemed even more wedded to it than my brother. I can't imagine what kind of a change would compel you to give up on that passion."

"My parents were certainly happy to see me again when I visited them." He went silent for a while and shrugged again. "So, what do you plan on doing then?"

She nodded, though still of the belief that he wasn't being perfectly honest with her. "I guess I'll figure it out. I appreciate you sending word from my brother."

"I just wish I could do more." He pondered for a while. "Perhaps after I've returned from another visit to my parents I can come back and help you? I do need to go and see them however, they expected me back from a trip to the capital a week ago."

She smiled. "That's kind of you to offer Caden, but this isn't your burden. If it was another Shining Blade gig then I understand the motivation, but there's really no reason for you to be involved this time."

He gave her a melancholic look. "Helping out a friend isn't motivation enough?"

Studying him closely, she asked, "Is that what I am? For real this time? The first time I met you... and you wanted to follow me, everywhere... I guess I started off a bit suspicious. But you convinced me after a while that you genuinely cared. I might've lost my memory for a bit, and you convinced me of the same again soon after." She looked into his eyes, and continued quite soberly, "Suffice to say it really hurt me to realise that none of that was real, and I was nothing more than the object of a mission from the Shining Blade. I mean... I understand that none of this was your fault but... I just... " She trailed for a bit. "You understand that I'm still struggling to trust you."

"If you don't want me around that's fine too" He said, averting his gaze to the floor.

She shrugged. "I guess I just want to know, apart from the Shining Blade, where do we stand?"

He was silent for a long time as he stared out of one of the windows. "If you must know, I left the shining blade because of what happened to you." He mumbled eventually.

Her jaw dropped in surprise, and she looked at him in silence, waiting for an explanation.

"I know I argued about this with you, but in my heart I could not approve of how they handled the case. In the end I had to decide that their views and my views no longer added up." He avoided looking at her as he explained.

"That... that day that you walked away..." she recalled.

"Yeah"

She leaned closer to him, and placed a hand on his. "I'd say that I'm sorry that you had to leave the Shining Blade, but that would be a lie. They don't deserve you at all. Don't think they ever did." With a grin, she clutched his hand.

He smiled warmly at her. "Honestly, I'm glad to be my own person again. It was nice to have a purpose, but helping you made me realise I don't need to be working for some shady organization to be able to do that."

Selina laughed heartily. "There're enough shady organizations in the world as it is. Much easier to be a solo agent if you ask me. You'll owe nobody anything, and have freedom to come and go as you please."

"It was nice to have a steady income though" He said with a grin.

"There's money to be had on the streets, if you aren't abashed to take it. I'd be glad to teach you a thing or two."

"My family still has the shop. I've been running errands for them."

She nodded. "To each his own. I guess I'll be holed down in this shack till I figure out what to do about Andrea Brennan. When you're done with that visit with your family, I won't stop you from paying me another visit." She winked at him.

He smiled at her. "I certainly will then. Is there anything you need me to bring for you?"

"Oh!" she grimaced and snapped her fingers. "There is something you can do for me, if you don't mind, that is."

"Of course not, I'll be happy to help. What is it?"

"The stack of papers that I've been sitting on... they are very important in regards to Aidan's case. And I haven't been able to trust anyone to touch them yet, but I think I might be able to trust you to hold on to them while you head home? What do you think? All you need to do is to keep them safe."

"Are you sure you trust me with that?"

"At the worst case you'll hand them over to the Shining Blade, which isn't all bad. I just can't imagine that you would have anything to do with Andrea Brennan, nor do I think she would imagine you'd have any part in this entire event. So you'd be perfect as a cover."

"I doubt Andrea Brennan even knows I exist. Considering what she's done to Aidan however I'll be happy to do anything that contributes to her downfall."

"Great!" Selina exclaimed, then proceeded to remove a plank from the flooring and retrieved the notes from a hidden nook under the floor. "You'll be doing me a huge favor. I'll finally be able to get out of here for a while."

"Promise me you'll be careful though" He said, taking the papers from her and carefully tucking them away in his pack.

"I'm just visiting a friend. What's the worst that could happen?"

"Someone could recognise you and realise you're alive?" He shrugged. "Just be careful ok? I know it's hard to be stuck indoors and you've done way too much of that already."

"That's what my hood is for," she chortled. "Stealth is my thing. I won't be recognized. Keep those notes safe, and I'll be back in a week."

"I'll come back to visit you then."

She looked at him and smiled. Considered the ways she might express her gratefulness, and finally extended a hand to him. "Thank you, Caden."

He awkwardly shook her hand. "I'm just glad I can help."

His awkwardness translated to hers and she lingered there for a bit, not knowing what else to say except, "Alright... then I think I'll be heading off as quickly as I can. Bye Caden." She opened the door to her hut.

"Stay safe." He called after her as she left.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on December 27, 2016, 10:40:50 AM
ROBERT BROWN & SELINA KNOX

He rose with a start at the notion that there was a stranger sitting at the foot of his bed - and he was right about someone sitting there, but it was no stranger at all. Instead, he was met with an all too familiar smile, and a somewhat musky scent of shrubbery. "Sel... how..."

"How did I find out where you live? Easy. You told me to meet you at the Dryder's Inn, so I headed on there and asked the barkeep's son where to find you. After all, he was the person you instructed to keep an eye out for me, wasn't he?"

He was still a little dazed to find her propped on his bed, speaking with him after all those years they had spent apart. It took him a while to get over the shock, and to respond. "Y... yes. How did you guess?"

"You were using cryptic words with Aidan Brennan, so I assumed you didn't want our meeting to be known to many. If I recall correctly, Barbalos Hill used to have strong ties to certain members of the Widowmakers, but his rebel son - he's his own man and doesn't care for siding with any faction. He would be the likely choice to pay off for such a job, more so that he's always in the Dryder's inn."

"Smart," Robert praised her as he began to relax. "It's good to see you again in any case, not in the way I had planned, but I won't complain."

His firm gaze brought on an uncomfortable silence from her, one that she broke by moving away, measuring the size of his room with her eyes. Back when Rob was with the Widowmakers, he tended to be supplied with one of the better rooms belonging to one of their shared properties. As much as the room itself was private, the rest of the living quarters was not. But this... this was an entire two-storey house of his own. Not exactly the size of Aidan's manor, but a spacious decked up property that she never expected him to be linked to. "So, this place is beautiful! How could you even afford it?"

"The pits," he said simply.

"The fights? I thought they washed out with Scarlett's invasion of Lion's Arch."

"Ah, that's where you're wrong. It was opportune when I fled from Lion's Arch, the Widowmakers waged a huge war against the Styllions, and this war ended with the destruction of some properties. What was left was destroyed by Scarlet Briar, even though... technically the fight rings were only partially damaged. But it only got worse for them when Captain Ellen Kiel, newest member of the Captain's council, decided to clamp down on illegal gangs in the midst of the rebuilding of Lion's Arch. What was left of the Widowmakers had to flee Lion's Arch, and for a time, the Lionguard stood incredibly stalwart to the point of knocking on individual doors... at least that's what I've heard. Now that the city's reborn, life is bustling again, and new leadership has come into Lion's Arch. And no matter how clean they try to keep the streets, there will always be the odd male or female, roaming around in the night with a bottle of ale in his hand, looking to vent that spare energy, or perhaps two old enemies looking to settle a score, or even a brawl to win the heart of a lady. These are fights that are going to occur whether or not the law condones it, it is just life as it is. So with the best of my charm, I managed to convince city council to allow me to re-construct the fights that were once part of the LA landscape - though in a more discreet location this time. They approved the request, only on the condition that my business was to be submitted to taxation, like any other, I suppose. It is still quite a good bit of income though."

"That is brilliant!" exclaimed Selina. "I would never have..."

She stopped short when she felt his hands wrapped around her shoulders, and his chin wedged upon her shoulder. "Remember how we once dreamed of having a fancy pad like this in Lion's Arch?" he whispered into her ear, and before she could respond, he continued. "I spent a fortune on this place, but it isn't near complete without my partner in crime."

Wrestling her way out of his arms, she turned around to face him, a finger pointed in his face. "Don't forget what you did to me. All that lovey dovey nonsense was uttered before I knew what you were truly capable of."

His expression fell. The wrath was not new, but it was unexpected. "Haven't we been over this before? Are you upset again?"

"I..." she tried to recall their more recent interactions, but the only memories arrived in splotches, disjointed and perplexing. "When?"

Robert raised a brow while he waited for her to gather her thoughts. "Sel, is this about your guy?"

He was making no sense, and it was beginning to annoy her. "I don't have anyone. I don't need a man in my life," she grumbled.

Robert shrugged. "I figured he wasn't your type. You didn't believe me then, but... whatever." It was then that he noticed she was beginning to look a little ill. "Hey, don't get too uptight about the entire matter. I understand where you're coming from, we don't have to talk about any of this. I just wanted you to know that you were always on my mind in those hellholes of Drytop and the Silverwastes... and before you get upset about that, there's not much else to settle the mind on other than sand... and modrem... and pact soldiers. You were the last person from civilization that I had spent time with, and that farewell... well, it just stayed with me. I admit that sometimes it was my only sane thought till I got brave enough to return. Seeking you out was one of my top priorities on my return, but it hasn't been easy, and then all that fight ring business came on."

The smile had returned to her face. She looked down at the golden ring set upon his little finger. "I've got to say it's good to see you doing so well - financially, that is."

He grinned. "You haven't seen the half of it. Let me take you around, you'll see LA the way I do. We must celebrate! Back together again... we could conquer LA."

Old memories of her time with Robert Brown came flooding back. It was happy, for the most part. He was the only man who had completely distracted her from her mission. But it wasn't why she had come. "Rob, there was another reason I came directly to you." This comment made him rather glad, but she quickly clarified before he developed the wrong idea about them. "Look... some people think I'm dead. I'd like to keep it that way."

She expected surprise, but there wasn't as much as a flinch upon his expression. "I know," he said. "I'd never tell anyone."

"How did you know?"

He shrugged. "Rumors. Plenty of them in the pits. Word has been spreading that the Seraphs had finally got the better of you. It took me first by storm... made me regret taking as long as I did to track you down. But the entire circumstance that you were caught in sounded suspicious... that you had attempted to break a high profile criminal out of the dungeons? Just didn't sound like you. So I decided to do a bit of investigative work, found out information about where you'd been before. Didn't take too long to track down your sponsor to Divinity's Reach. It was good that he indicated to me immediately that you were alive, because I think I might've come down hard on him to get the truth out. I guess... I just knew in the depth of my gut that you were still alive."

Selina nodded thankfully. "A lot has happened while you've been gone."

"Perhaps you'll feel comfortable enough to tell me all about it someday."

She smiled, but made no promises. "You got my sponsor worried, that you knew that I was alive. He didn't mean to blurt it out at the time. But I promised to check in with you... which I have," she lingered awkwardly. "I just wanted to confirm that the news wasn't going to spread any further."

"It won't, once again, I assure you." He frowned. "So that's it? No roam around the city?"

"Definitely not. I'm trying my best not to be seen."

"Can't you stay long enough to break out a new bottle of whiskey with me?" He had his face pulled with pitiful pup-like persuasion. "Just one drink between old friends?"

The offer of whiskey was incredibly enticing, and the warmth of the room welcoming. It was a long time since she was able to just kick back with a glass in hand. She remembered she had told Caden a week... she had barely taken three days away. Just a little longer wouldn't hurt, she told herself. "Alright."

"Excellent!" he cheered, heading for the basement. "You're gonna love this."

___________________________________________________________________________

Selina awoke with a splitting headache, a little unsure of where she was, or the day nor the time. Rolling around on a soft bed, she felt silken sheets between her thighs, against her chest... she grasped at the sheets and spun around. The other side of the double bed was empty, even though it seemed as though someone had been there. Sunlight filtered through the embroided curtains as a light breeze flapped them at their edges. She tried to recall what had led her to that exact moment - Whiskey... plenty of it, then came the mugs of ale, and the beer... She recalled talking a lot, singing even - Rob had been there for all of it.

Dragging the sheets along with her, she searched the floor for her clothes, and dressed up as quickly as she was able to. There lingered the question she didn't dare ask herself. But just as she considered a swift escape from his place, he returned to the room and found her with her hood up.

"Are you leaving already?" He was carrying a steaming mug in his hands.

"I think I've already overstayed," she replied nervously.

Handing the mug over, he urged her to take it. "Coffee, for that killer headache I'm pretty sure you're battling."

She hesitated for a moment, as he continued to push the mug into her hands, and finally took a hold of the warm beverage. She had questions, but she was almost afraid to spend another minute with Rob. It suddenly felt like years ago. Robert Brown, reeling her in easily, distracting her from her mission. "Rob... what happened last night?" she had to know.

A grin spread across his face at the recollection. "You were Sellie Knox. You're beautiful when you're unrestrained."

She winced at the word 'unrestrained', wondering if she had given away every secret over the course of one wild night. "How much do you know?"

"Hey," he moved in front of her, and placed a hand on her shoulder. "You had to vent, and I completely understand why. Not healthy keeping any of that bottled up. But you can trust me. I'll never tell." That hand moved to her cheek, that was still burning up with the former night's affairs.

Her eyes moved to the messy sheets on the bed that she had left. "Did we..."

Another grin. "It's a pity you remember none of it. It was like none of those years had happened. It was magic, like before." He leaned in for a kiss but she dodged the approach at the last minute. The whole situation was concerning, and her stomach was feeling ill. Her mind screamed for her to leave. Suddenly, she felt a stab of anger.

"Did you plan this entire sham? From the day you visited Aidan."

Rob's expression broke. "Sel, how could I have? All I wanted was to reconnect with you. You were obviously very tense - who wouldn't be, keeping all those secrets and bearing all those burdens. You let loose, for once in my guess is a long time, indulged in my ale, we danced to some music and just followed our passions to their conclusion. That's all. It doesn't have to mean anything if you don't want it to."

She slapped a hand over her face. This wasn't how she had envisoned this trip ending.

"Be serious, is spending a night with me that bad?" Something in his tone told her that he was hurt by her reaction. "There was something between us once. You can't say you hadn't ever thought to rekindle it."

"Rob, I... no offense to you, but my life is very different from how it was. I'm not the same girl you once knew."

"You certainly felt that way last night. People don't just change, completely."

She sighed. "I need to go now, I'm sorry but this was a mistake."

Suddenly, a firm grip was around her upper arm, stopping her from leaving. "Don't say such things. We're not a mistake. You're still in love with me, admit it."

She shot him a look. "If I say it, will you let me go?"

There was a tense moment between Rob and Sel, before his grip finally loosened, and she turned towards the window. The same way she had entered. "You told me a great many things last night," he reminded her. "I'm holding all of that in confidence just because I treat you as a friend. That could... easily change."

She turned to him once more, this time with some consternation. It was a thinly veiled threat, one that she should've seen coming. Had she been so trusting that she'd fallen down the same rabbit hole twice? She knew what he was capable of, and yet she had allowed herself to lower her guard around him. What a fool she was. With some thought, she gripped a fist and strengthened her resolve to play his game, if need be. "Give me a snipplet first of what was said in the night. I could've been passed out for the most of it."

"Your brother, for example? And his marriage... Then losing your memory."

Lifting a finger to silence him, she returned with an opposing threat, "You reveal any of that to the world, and you'll lose me forever. Behave, and I'll be back to visit you again."

"Surely not just to check on me? Shouldn't there be a reward for behaving?" he baited, closing the gap between them.

"If it has to come down to that..." She rose onto his window sill and looked him over carefully. "Full secrecy, kept in the strictest confidence - and I will see that you will not regret it."

"One month," he replied, in agreement to her deal.

"One month," she accepted. With that, she left his home, and Lion's Arch as well.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on January 04, 2017, 12:53:56 PM
After a week spent with his parents Caden arrived back at the hut where he'd agreed to meet Selina. He approached quietly keeping a close eye on his surroundings as he made his way to the door. He knocked on it twice, short and soft and waited for a reply. When he got none he closed his hand around the handle and slowly opened the door to peek inside. One glance told him the hut was still empty. Selina had not returned yet. Letting out a soft sigh he entered the hut and put down his pack in the corner after closing the door behind himself. Deciding to pass the time usefully he took some herbs from his pack and sat himself down beside it as he got to work.

A couple of hours after Caden's arrival the sky turned dark as clouds began to roll in and raindrops thudded on the ground in saucer-like splashes. It was sometime after the start of the storm that Selina arrived at the hut, swinging the door wide open as lightning flashed behind her.

As the door flew open Caden jumped to his feet, the herbs he was working on falling to the floor. He pulled his his pistol in one smooth motion, aiming at the door. As soon as he recognized Selina however he lowed the weapon. "Hey" he said.

"Caden, you're... well I guess I wasn't sure if you would be back on time," she said in surprise. And shut the door behind her, pulling her muddied boots off her feet.

"Well, here I am" He said, putting the gun away and sitting back down. "Glad I managed to arrive before it started to pour. I trust whatever you went to do went well?"

She pulled off her dripping coat and threw it aside, leaning over the fire in the middle of the room. "Well... yes and no. How has your week been?"

"Not very exciting, but it was nice to be able to help my family out here and there." He said while gathering the herbs that had fallen to the floor.

She nodded "Good to have some sense of normalcy. Was it good to be with the family?"

"Yeah, though it does get boring fast" He said with a grin

She stared at him in disbelief, then decided to force a chuckle. "I appreciate you holding onto the notes, Caden... at least I assume you still have them with you?"

"Aye, I brought them." He said, opening his pack and taking out a rolled up package.

"Thank you Caden," she said appreciatively as she took the package and unrolled it carefully. "I've been doing further investigation... like you suggested. Took the opportunity, not having to sit on these notes and all. And..." She took another concerned look at Caden. "Are you sure you want to be involved in this?"

"If it helps Aidan" He said, looking at her contemplatively. "What did you discover?"

"I went back to Divinity's Reach, realised I couldn't get anywhere near Andrea Brennan's manor because it's now fortified and there're people watching all around. So I decided to saunter into the local pub and paid for information about the Brennans. Apparently word on the street is that Andrea Brennan has been very busy as of late, and there've been lots of visitors to her home."

"What sort of visitors?" he asked eagerly.

"People from... out of town, is mostly what I've heard. Nobody recognizes the most of them. They do look wealthy though, and as though they belong. But no one has seen these folk before."

"Odd"

"My guess... is that she's been waiting a long time for Aidan to be expelled from the company so she can do.. whatever she's doing. Making business arrangements and such I suppose."

"When the cat's away the mice will play eh" He looked thoughtfully at the floor for a while. "What do we do now?"

She let the silence fall between them as she smiled briefly at him. "That's funny, I thought it would be you telling me what we should do now. We're sitting on a pile of files, and Andrea Beaumont is obviously up to no good. I could tell you what I would do about that woman, but you'd probably disapprove. So I'm willing to do this the legal and proper way. What is the best way to have this done?"

"I think perhaps it's time we had a chat with Anise and told her what Aidan failed to mention." He sighed.

Giving him a confused glance, she asked, "Was there anything he failed to mention? I know I've come clean with her, told her everything that I know.... or knew at the time. Of course that was a few weeks back."

"About the camp and the white mantle yes, but I don't think Aidan spoke about his family at all to her, other than facts. I'm not even sure how much she knows about his time in jail."

She clung to the package that still lay in her hands, a little hesitant to give it up. "In your honest opinion, do you think that the Shining Blade can be trusted to handle this completely and fully?"

"I think the shining blade might be the only legal way to do something about Andrea. She's clearly cunning enough to fool the seraph."

She nodded. "Alright, as much as I still distrust the Shining Blades, we'll do this your way. Anyway I don't think I alone will be able to damage Andrea Brennan as much as I would like to - a woman like that needs to be utterly humiliated."

"More than that, she needs to pay for what she's done."

"What she's done... that would've been impossible without Henry Brennan's help. I would've thought he, of all people, would've stopped her from stripping his son in such a manner."

"I don't know them too well. But if he's anything like his sister, perhaps he may be less loyal to Aidan then one'd think."

There was sadness in her eyes. "Poor Aidan. I just hope that he's alright."

"Yeah" He sighed deeply. "I still don't understand why he ran off under the guise of work. He should be standing up for himself."

"Well I haven't known him for long, but he doesn't seem to stand up for himself a lot - at least not in the way he would do for someone else."

"About time someone did the same for him then. Shall we go to the city tomorrow after the storm clears?"

She shrugged in a lethargic fashion. "Or she could come to us... for once."

"You're a funny one" He said, smirking. "If you'd prefer I could go to her alone first and ask her to meet us somewhere."

"I mean... I'm supposed to be a corpse and all," she grinned. "It would only make sense for corpses to have some benefits."

He laughed at that. "In any event, for now lets eat and rest" He said, pulling a packed dinner from his pack."

"I'm down with that." Having dried herself off at least partially, in front of the fire, she took out a bag of biscuits and a bottle of whiskey, and sat down next to him to enjoy her meal.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on January 18, 2017, 10:54:50 AM
Caden Mullins & Selina Knox

Caden set off for Divinity's Reach before dawn the following day, arriving in the city early. He went straight to the Shining Blade headquarters and requested an audience with Countess Anise. He was unlucky however, the countess was not available and the shining blade informing him of the fact seemed to be rather pleased to inform Caden of the fact. Caden however would not allow himself to be deterred so easily and said he would wait. And wait he would apparently. It was well past midday when the countess could spare a few minutes to see him.
Caden did his best to explain and after a good ten minutes of explaining and pleading the Countess finally agreed to a meeting. They arranged to meet on the edge of the Godslost swamp in three days time. After thanking the countess profusely Caden left the headquarters and sighed deeply. He was less than happy about the wait but it would have to do he figured. To make the wait a little more bearable he stopped by a market stall on his way out of the city and bought a flagon of rum, a decent supply of meat and some fresh vegetables. After that he made haste to leave the city and return to Selina, making sure he wasn't followed once he left the main road.

Selina spent the morning flipping through the file that she had collected. She couldn't understand every single word, but enough to get a gist of what had Andrea must be hiding. She wondered how connected the woman was, and what was her true intent - for surely this ran deeper than mere deceit on Aidan. She never liked the wealthy, but even Andrea had sunk to new depths.

Arriving back at the shack Caden knocked on the door. "It's me" he said out loud.

"Come in.." Selina called back.

He opened the door and entered, setting the newbought supplies to the side before closing the door again. "Hey, how're things here?"

"They're fine," she said. "Have you met with Anise?"

"I did, though it took most of the day to get an audience. She'll meet us in three days east of Phinney Ridge"

Selina looked mildly amused at his reply, and tapped the side of her face. "We are practically doing her job for her, and this is how she responds."

"Well, she's a busy person, I suppose we should be happy she's making the effort to come out of the city at all"

Selina sighs. "Well... we have three days to burn - unless we want to get started without her."

"Well, I bought us some supplies at least. There's rum and enough food to make a proper stew. I guess we can spend our time studying what you have so far. I haven't looked at your files yet."

She chuckled. "You were never once tempted to sneak a peek?"

"What do you take me for" He said with mock affront.

"I figured you knew the moment I trusted you enough to leave the files with you that I wouldn't mind you knowing what's in them."

"You trusted me to keep them safe, so I did. Anyway, how about we get that stew going and pop open that flagon of rum hm?"

"Sounds like a ripe idea, I was just getting hungry." Standing up, she took the only pot that was sitting on a makeshift shelf that she'd built into the hut, handed it to him, and crossed the room to scoop water out of the pail next to the door.

Taking the pot he put it on the fire before he took the supplies and set himself down close to the pot with a knife to cut the vegetables.

She sat herself down comfortably in front of him, entertaining herself with his cooking. "Need any help?"

He handed her a large piece of venison that was carefully wrapped in paper. "Cut this down please?"

Removing the venison from the paper, she marvelled aloud as she pulled out a dagger and began slicing into the meat. "Nice piece you've got here. We're going to feast like kings today."

"Aye, I figured if we're stuck in this hellhole we might at least treat ourselves" He said with a grin.

She exaggerated a pout. "A hellhole huh... surely it's not that bad."

He grinned at her as he pulled the flagon of rum from the pack. "Here, to make up for insulting your stately home"

"You're forgiven," she grinned, and picked up a mug to accept the drink.

He poured both of them a drink and held his own mug up towards her for a toast. "To good food and good company" He said, before taking a large swig.

Hours passed after their meal, and the moon had crawled into the sky, glowing through the single window that Selina had built into the hut. She took another swig of the rum in her mug and gazed into the sky. "Caden?" she turned over to him.

"Hm?" he mumbled in reply, as he turned his head to look at her.

"I know I haven't seemed too appreciative of... I mean, I guess I haven't expected having any company doing this. And you being here... well... I just wanted you to know that it means a lot to me."

He smiled warmly at her. "I'm happy I can help you."

"I'll admit it hasn't been easy living in solitude in this swamp, unsure what's been going on in the world."

"I don't think I'd cope very well for very long. I prefer to have company" he said.

She finished up her drink and put the mug beside her, pulling a tarp over her shoulders to keep warm. "Is your home a busy one?"

He nodded. "My family is usually around and lots of people come over for some remedy or herb they need. There's always something happening somehow and even if there isn't, there's plenty of things that need doing"

There was a significant pause before she asked, "Do they worry about you? I assume they don't know where you are."

"I told them I'm visiting a friend. Which is at least part of the truth. Before... when I ran away, they worried a lot. Now at least they know I plan on coming home at some point."

"Home," she said with some wistfulness. "It must be really nice to have a place you belong and people who care what happens to you."

He nodded silently after which he downed the contents of his mug and stared at the bottom of it for a while.

"You know... three days is a lot of time. What do you think about poking around on our own?"

"I have no objections"

She snuggled down. "I can think of a few places to check out. We'll just have to be real careful..." Her eyes had begun to grow heavy. The rum had a numbing effect. She yawned. "Real real careful..."

He smiled as he noticed she was slowly falling asleep. He carefully got up without making a sound and put another log on the fire to make sure it wouldn't go out overnight. He then picked up the papers Selina had been reading earlier and sat down next to the fire and started to read them.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on January 25, 2017, 01:48:24 PM
Three days had passed, and Selina approached Phinney Ridge together with Caden in wait for Anise.

He glanced at her as they walked. "Nervous?" He asked.

She looked amused. "Should I be? I've been waiting to hand over the notes so I don't have to guard them anymore."

"Well, you were never very eager to meet Anise"

"Of course not. But this is the path we've chosen now, no point regretting anything."

He nodded. Looking around to make sure of his surroundings he stopped. "It seems we've arrived."

She glanced around and found no one but themselves. "It seems we are early."

"Aye, she wouldn't make herself wait now would she. I suppose we'll do the waiting then." He peered in the direction of the city.

"What did you think of the notes?" she said after a pause.

"I'll say, I don't get why Aidan took off and ran away. Surely, what's in there is enough to warrant a proper investigation into the woman, which is bound to dredge up more dirt."

She rubbed her fingers together. "Dredge up more dirt we will. I'll clear my brother's name if it's the last thing I do."

He nodded and pointed at a figure appearing in the distance. "Seems our wait is done."

Selina looked up at the approaching female, pressing a palm over the top of her eyes to keep away the glare of sunlight. As soon as Anise was before her, she nodded politely at her.

Anise greeted both of them with a nod. "Well then, tell me Selina, what have you found." She said, looking at Selina with piercing eyes.

Without delay, Selina handed her the files. "My brother is innocent. I suppose you knew that he was wrongfully convicted?"

"Well, he wasn't convicted, but yes, he was innocent. I could not interfere without evidence however."

"He was let go only after spending a week in prison, while that woman walked off scott free."

"I could do nothing, regardless of what you may think I should've done, it's not the Shining Blade's duty to involve themselves in squabbles between nobles. Let us not argue about Aidan's fate however, I thank you for the files. Is there anything else I should know?"

"Caden and I did some nosing around, while waiting for today, and spotted the Castas, among few other individuals I can't name, meeting up with Andrea after Aidan was disowned. It seemed rather official, and had the shaking of hands and all that hullaboo."

"The Casta's hmm.." She seemed thoughtful for a while. "The other individuals, if you saw them again, would you recognise them?"

"Probably.." Selina gave it some thought. "Anise, would it be at all possible to find out why Henry Brennan decided to disown Aidan? I can't imagine why he would do that."

"My guess would be that Andrea put him up to it, but I'll look into it."

"Also... " she continued. "You sent my brother somewhere. Where is he?"

"I cannot tell you about ongoing investigations"

"He's my brother. I need to look for him."

"I'm sorry, but I cannot let you interfere."

Selina turned to Caden in frustration.

Caden shrugged, "I'm afraid I'm of little help here Selina. Perhaps," He looked at Anise. "Will you pass on letters to him?"

After a long time Anise nodded."Very well"

Selina's eyes widened, surprised by Anise giving in to the request. "I'll write one up immediately."

Raising an eyebrow Anise looked at her in surprise. "You write?"

"I learnt..." retorted Selina. "Now do you have something I can write with, and some paper, perhaps?"

"Allow me" Caden said, setting down his pack he opened the lid and took out some sheets, a pen and an inkwell. which he placed on top of the lid.

Taking the pen and dipping it in the inkwell, Selina began to write a little awkwardly, like something belonging to a child's - "Aydan, I am werried aboot you. Pleese rite back. I will be chacking your home for maile." She ended the note, folded it up and handed it to Anise.

She accepted the note and tucked it into a pocket. "Was that all then. I need to be on my way."

Selina nodded, and added a quiet "Thank you"

"And I thank you." she said, before turning and walking away from them.

When she was out of sight, Selina leaned over to Caden and spoke softly, "Do you think she's going to be able to do it?"

"If anyone can, it's her." He replied, repacking his supplies.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on February 15, 2017, 10:54:24 AM
Selina spread herself over a low lying branch in the swamp, watching the lazy afternoon drift on as she dipped a bare foot in a pool of water below. She'd sent word to Siri to inform her of any incoming mail from her brother, but Siri was a no show. At least not for the past few days. And Selina was beginning to get restless.

Nearby Caden was wading through the wetlands with a basket on his back, pulling plants out here and there, inspecting there roots and tossing them into the basket.

It was then that a familiar voice came from just beyond the hut, "Here you are... wondered if you had left."

Selina followed the voice, and found Bran standing on the slope leading into the swamp, looking directly at her. She detected just a hint of tension in his voice. "You thought we would leave without saying goodbye?"

"We?" he asked, and noticed Caden for the first time.

Tossing the plant he had in his hand into the basket Caden waved as he started to wade towards Bran and Selina. "Hey" He said. "Long time no see"

Bran waved briefly, appearing to be distracted by his thoughts. "Oh Caden, you're here too... " and he waited till Caden was in front of him before continuing. "I know this is a little awkward for me to come out here after... well... I'll just get to the point. Our home was invaded last night by a clan of trolls. We were caught unawares, and Jess was injured in the ensuing fight. In an attempt to save her, we inevitably lost our home... temporarily of course. We plan to get it back as soon as possible..." he looked at Selina with hope, "perhaps with your help? Do you think you'd help an old friend out?"

Selina didn't reply right away. "Where is Jess and Ron at the moment?" she asked.

"They're a distance from the cave, just under a tree. I think Jess has broken a few ribs. It hurts her to move."

Caden glanced at Selina, attempting to read her reaction.

She turned back to him, looking at his basket of herbs. "Do you have something in there that can remedy Jess' problem?"

"If she indeed broke ribs she should see a doctor but I can at least help her with the pain."

"First things first," said Selina, hopping down from her branch.

"Does that mean you'll come? The both of you?"

"I will," she replied, and waited for Caden to reply.

He nodded.

"Great!" Bran cheered, and led them back to the cave after they had collected some of the items they would require, including weapons. Deep in her heart, Selina was glad to have a reason to leave the swamp for just a bit that didn't require identity shielding. Bran always seemed to know the perfect time to arrive to give her something else to think about than what had been going on with her life. And he had come again, just when she was beginning to miss his abrupt appearances at Aidan's home - of course it was under undesirable consequences, but still...

"So.... how many trolls are now living in your home?" Caden asked casually as he shifted his pack around on his back.

"It looked like... eight... or ten? I can't be sure." He turned his shoulder in Caden's direction, and there were three gashes that went through his outer garments right down to the flesh beneath, drawing blood that stained a part of his shirt. "All I know is that they scratch!"

"And how exactly do you expect us to help you with that many trolls when you already have a man down?"

"I... well," Bran glanced over at Selina. "I was kinda hoping she would have ideas. I mean... surviving that whole Hoelbrak death arena thing sounded really impressive."

Selina scoffed at the reference. "That was a one-off performance Bran. But I'm going to look at the situation and see what I can come up with anyway. Just don't expect a miracle."

"I'm not," he replied softly. "You're our best bet for the moment, and I'm glad that you're coming anyway - whether or not anything pans out." With a sigh, he considered the worst case scenario. "I guess we can always move again if we can't figure anything out."

"Maybe try a door next time, tends to keep the trolls out" Caden said with a grin.

"We did construct a door," Bran argued, even as he shrugged. "Maybe it just wasn't solid enough. They took it down pretty effortlessly."

"Maybe we can somehow lure them out" Caden mused. "Oh btw, you should let me have a look at that" he said aiming at Bran's injuries. "After I"m done with Jess. Troll nails can cause nasty infections, they're not too big on manicures."

Bran chuckled at that note. "Sure. Mighty fortunate for us that you've been hanging around Sellie," he said with an intended wink in his eye and nudge on Caden's shoulder.

"If I had left her alone she'd probably be so bored by now she'd do something silly. At least now she had someone to listen to her complaints."

"Oh pray tell," he teased. "I'm sure you did more than listen."

He rolled his eyes at Bran theatrically and fell silent.

Instantly, Bran lowered his voice to the point where it would only be audible to Caden. "You mean you didn't?" he asked in surprise.

"It just... I just... Oh shut up" Caden turned his gaze away from Bran and studied the scenery they passed by.

Bran smirked to himself, but decided to keep his opinions to himself for the moment. Ron and Jess showed up in the distance. Jess, leaning upon the trunk of the timber while Ron paced the scene. Their faces were drawn, and Jess was obviously pale, though a smile managed to cut through nonetheless.

"I brought backup," Bran told them, and knelt before Jess. "How are you feeling?"

"As well as can be," she answered weakly.

"Mind if I have a look?" Caden said, setting his pack to the floor near her.

"Knock yourself out," she replied as she removed her jacket tenderly and pulled up the edge of her blouse to reveal a whole patch of discolored skin.

"Oof, that's gotta hurt" Caden said as he examined the bruises. "Have you checked for any broken bones" he asked, afraid to do so himself. When Jess shook her head Caden frowned. "I can give you a compress that'll help with the pain and the bruising" He said but if the swelling doesn't go down soon you'll have to see a doctor. I can't fix broken bones." Without waiting for Jess's reply he opened his pack and took out a mortar to which he added multiple herbs from several packages. After crushing them he added some honey to make a thick paste. "I'm sorry if this hurts, I'll try to apply it carefully." He said before gently spreading a thick layer of the paste over the bruises after which he wrapped bandages around her torso to keep the paste in place. "It'll be best if you rest and move as little as possible. If you did break ribs they could puncture your lungs if you move around too much"
After leaving Jess to rest Caden had a quick look at Bran's cut and after cleaning it and wrapping it up tightly Caden decided it would be fine. He promised Bran a nice big scar but expected no complications.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on February 15, 2017, 01:58:58 PM
"So any ideas?" yelled Bran into one of the trees that overlooked the cave north of Kessex. Selina had been sitting on one of the higher branches, peering through her telescope and carving a piece of branch that she had shaved off from the rest of the tree - although it seemed that she was just polishing off her work now.

"Yeah, let me get down first," she replied, tucking the piece of wood into her belt as she descended down the trunk as nimbly as a cat, landing lightly on the ground. "I hope that your makeshift security system still works."

Bran stared at her. "I would think so. But it's operated..."

Selina held out a finger to silence him. "But but but..." she teased. "I'll handle it. Just make sure the three of you are hidden well and fully armed to take out as many as possible from a distance." She pointed also to Caden and Ron.

Caden nodded, patting the pistol at his side.

She pulled a scarf over her mouth, and secured it behind her head, then bunned up her shoulder length hair, and tucked it under the scarf. "They're asleep, last I checked. Try not to make any loud noises till you hear a commotion from inside."

"Be careful" Caden said feeling a bit tense.

Selina nodded to Caden as Bran readied his pistols and Ron filled his quiver with arrows.

She headed to the cave, treading as lightly as possible, and at its entrance, clung to the cavern walls as she wove through the cracked pieces of timber and steel - what was left of Bran's door. She noted that the amplifiers still hung above the cave, though riddled with dust and cobwebs, a sign that the security system had not been in use for a while.

At eye level, she spotted ropes secured to the walls. She had briefly caught sight of them before, but thought nothing more of them. It was likely that Bran had them installed to have his members train in infiltration tactics. They would come in handy.

Climbing up the side, and gaining a foothold on the rope, she could then clearly see the trolls littered all over the cave. Bran's furniture had been overturned, and some of it used as firewood. Being a religious lot, the trolls had even brought in their totems, just as she had observed them worshipping up in the shiverpeaks. As she made her way steadily over the snoring trolls, she wondered what had driven them away from their homes up north. Could it have been related to the events in Brisban Wildlands?

Snagging a hold of the rope that led up to the platform that had been constructed just a tiny distance from the ceiling, she ascended to the top, wincing each time the rope creaked. Some of the trolls budged and snorted, and each time they did that, she would completely freeze, hoping that if they woke, they would not lookup. But it's as the northerners say, there's nothing quite as peaceful as a sleeping troll. With that, she took a final heave and wedged herself onto the platform. She was panting then, but did so as quietly as she could.

Pulling the little piece of wood from her belt, she placed it against her lips, and lifted herself up to the mouthpiece of the amplifier. Taking a huge breath as she had herself a final look at the sleeping trolls, she put her fingers in her ears and let it rip into the amplifier. The sound that belted from the little piece of wood through the system was much louder than she had anticipated, and sounded like a shrill and sharp cry.

The troll woke with a start as the blast thundered over the ground, shaking gravel off the walls. They pressed their clawed hands onto their large ears, growling with agony. Looking every way but up, they were obviously bothered and made nervous by the massive sound. Some of them tried to communicate with each other, attempting to figure out what caused the assault on their ears, but the sound was drowning out everything else, and it was inevitable that they finally decided to flee the cave.

Hearing the racket inside the cave Caden readied himself aiming his pistol at the cave entrance. As the trolls emerged through the door he fired at the one nearest to their position. Not waiting till it dropped to the floor he immediately moved on to aim at the next troll taking down as many as he could. Beside him he could hear Bran's pistols and more than a few trolls on the floor had arrows stuck in their bodies.

After being rudely awakened, chased out of their dwelling, then randomly assaulted by assailants that they couldn't see, the trolls became frantic, fleeing the entire area, headed back north from where they came, leaving the injured behind. Ron and Bran continued to fire at the injured, making sure all who remained where dead, assuming that the trolls that had managed to escape their onslaught would never return.

When there were no more trolls in sight Caden carefully approached the cave, his pistol raised and ready to fire.

Bran appeared at his side, stepping over the rubble that was his door, peering over the mess the trolls had made.

Right in front of him, Selina swung down the rope and landed before both he and Caden, tucking the little piece of wood into her belt again. She noted the number of trolls that had been downed, and nodded approvingly. "Did pretty well, I see."

"So did you" Caden said, smiling at her. "So, now what?"

She smiled back.

"Thanks for the help Sel," said Bran, patting her on the shoulder. Then he looked down at the splintered pieces of wood scattered over the floor.

"You probably need some help putting that door back together again," she remarked.

"Yeah..." he replied thoughtfully. "Maybe later. Think we just need to get some rest after all that. Especially Jess."

"You may also wanna get rid of the troll corpses somehow before they start to rot and attract attention" Caden said, staring at the mess around them.

"I know that," Bran started, and instinctively placed a protective hand over his arm. "I'll get to it later."

"I'll handle it," Ron chimed in unexpectedly, putting down his quiver and bow. "You get some rest."

"And I'll... get Jess back in," Selina contributed.

"I'll help Ron out" Caden said, placing his pistol back at his side.

"Alright.." Selina said and headed out the cave.

Ron took a look at Caden as he rolled up his sleeves. "I can handle this just fine."

"Are you sure? I mean, I just want to help really."

Picking up one of the carcasses by the arms, Ron levered it onto his shoulders. "You should know that we don't like members of the Shining Blade, regardless of what you've personally done for us."

"Well then, suit yourself I suppose." He said before turning to Bran. "I'll prepare some more of the paste so you can refresh Jess' compress. I think it would be better if I left after that."

Bran had been resting against a wall, his eyes shut. But they opened when he realised that Caden was addressing him. "Wha... leaving so soon? You can stay the night if you'd like... as long as you don't mind the mess."

Ron hadn't waited for a response, he was already a distance away with his carcass when Selina entered with Jess leaning on her, half awake.

"I don't mind, but your friends seem to mind my presence. I'd rather not be a source of conflict."

"Who..." Bran began, then understood immediately when he remembered who Caden was speaking to before him. "Don't worry about Ron, he doesn't like anyone. We're used to him by now."

Looking at the mess on the ground, Selina stopped. "Erm, can someone get a pile of furs over here so Jess can lie down?"

Looking around Caden found a few in a corner that seemed unused by the trolls. He took them and walked over to Selina and Jess and spread them out on the floor.

Bran moved over to give Selina a hand with Jess' weight as they lowered her to the makeshift bed. Jess mumbled something under her breath, and Bran moved closer to listen. But she pointed to Selina instead.

Surprised at being called by Jess, Selina knelt down leaned over her. "I was wrong about you," admitted Jess. "You're alright in my book."

Breaking out in smile at the most unexpected compliment, Selina patted Jess' hand in appreciation.

Smiling Caden looked around. "Well then, if Ron won't let me help how about I find us some dinner and cook it? I don't suppose the trolls left any of your supplies intact?"

"Dinner sounds good," said Bran, laying down beside Jess. He grinned at Selina and Caden. "It's great having the both of you over."
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on March 02, 2017, 01:53:59 PM
Selina screwed in the final bolt into the new door to the cave. She made no promises that another group of troll wouldn't be able to smash into it, but certainly it seemed more solid than what Bran had before. At least as solid as iron can be. With a firm kick to the new door, it landed with a loud thud and barely shook the frame. Bran watched with his arms folded. "Taking down the door already?" he asked.

"Just testing," she replied. "I think it should hold."

"You did a good job," he complimented, thumping a fist on it. "Maybe you should turn this into a career." And she laughed.

Opening the door from the other side Caden stepped through. "Nice work Sel, can I commission a house next?"

She gave him a curious look. "I assume you're kidding?"

"Mostly" He said with a wide grin. "But if you feel like it..'

Bran took the opportunity to clear his throat to draw attention to himself. "Maybe she can make one for the both of you." He said under his breath.

Selina raised a brow to him.

Caden stared daggers at Bran his face turning slightly red. "Was there anything else that needed repairing, I mean, besides my dignity" He said rolling his eyes and shrugging off the awkward tension.

Selina gave Caden a hard stare, then proceeded to brush off the metallic dust from her leather vest and pants. "The two of you can work on any finer adjustments. I'm going to head south to the corner of the lake to have me a bath."

"A bath?" said Bran in amazement. "I thought you were opposed to being clean."

She smiled and shrugged. "I tend to think it to be a waste of time, but I'm not opposed to soaking in some cool water when it suits the mood."

"Well enjoy your bath" Caden mumbled before turning his attention to the door. "We should add some locks I suppose"

She pulled off her vest and folded it neatly on her arm, then pried open the first button on the white muslin blouse beneath. "Don't wait up," she said as she departed.

Bran gave Caden a large smack on the arm the moment Selina was out of sight. "Locks... really. Can't you see that was your cue to follow?"

"Are you kidding? She'd kill me" He said, giving Bran an irritated look. "Look, just leave it okay?"

Closing the gap, Bran placed a hand on Caden's shoulder. "If there's something I know, it's women. Trust me. She wants you to go to her." An idea dropped into his head, and he told Caden not to move while he hurried back into the cave.

Shrugging Caden sat down to wait until Bran returned.

Bran returned after a little while with a little bag with a drawstring in his hand. "There's a bar of soap in here, tell her that it's from me... if you're afraid to go on your own accord."

He rolled his eyes at Bran. "And then will you stop meddling? I swear you're worse than my nan"

Bran chuckled as he handed Caden the bag. "You'll thank me for it one day."

"If she lets me live" He said as he took the bag. He then turned to follow after Selina.

Selina had reached the edge of Viathan lake and found a quiet, private spot with an overarching canopy above. Laying her vest on a rock, she proceeded to remove her boots and pants, and slipped into the inviting moss tinged waters under the shade of the massive tree. There was more than one reason that she had chosen to depart from the others. The month was coming to an end and she had to consider her options if Bob were not to hold up his end of the deal. The concern had plagued her since she had returned from Lion's Arch, but she had chosen not to speak of it - partially because she was part to blame for it, and of course there were other, more urgent matters at hand. It was just in that moment when she finally found herself alone, that she decided to give it some thought.

As he neared the lake area that Selina had indicated he called out. "Sel?"

She broke from her thoughts when she heard her name. Yet when she turned to shore she ddin't see anyone. "Who's there?"

"Caden" He replied. "I uh.... I brought you some soap."

"Alright?" she said, not leaving the water. "I can't see you though?"

"If you say so" He said as he tossed the soap at her.

She caught the soap and looked at it for a moment, before she decided to wade to a shallower area of the body of water, and place the soap on the top of a lily pad. She noticed that Caden hadn't left yet, but he seemed a little flighty and she didn't know when he was going to take off again. As much as she treasured the time alone with her thoughts, she knew she would have to speak to Caden about leaving again - she just didn't know how to bring it up this time.

"Join me?" she invited.

"Uh... no thank you, I ought to be getting back." He said, nearly stumbling over his words.

She grimaced. As much as she enjoyed Caden's quiet company, it was starting to grate on her that she could get no deeper into connecting with him. "Caden... please stay."

He gave her a puzzled look. "Why?"

"I will be going away again for the next few days... to be truthful, I'm not sure if after that, I should return to the swamp. Aidan hasn't replied me after all this time... and... and... I don't know if I'm waiting in vain." There... she got it out, finally. She wondered why it'd been so hard to talk to Caden about this.

He sat down by the edge of the lake. "Something must've happened that prevented him either from replying or from his reply reaching you Sel. I don't think he would just abandon you after everything that's happened."

"I don't think he's abandoning me. I think he's abandoning himself, and his life in Divinity's Reach. It's just like Aidan to give up on himself."

"Is there anything I can do to help? I mean I could go to town and see if any mail arrived at his house?"

She shook her face. "I can't make him fight if he doesn't want to. For all we know, he might be happier where he is now. That's not the point though... what I wanted to tell you is that if there's nothing left for me here... that I may not be coming back."

"Where will you be going?" He said feeling nervous again.

"Lion's Arch... for one. I'm not sure where I'll go after. I'll always be grateful for all that you've done for me - you just keep giving and giving. I don't know how I can repay you."

"Don't go" He looked at her with a serious face. "Please" He paused for a long time. "I really value your friendship but I don't want you to just stay around for me. I'm sure Anise will somehow find a way to bring Andrea to justice and if that happens Aidan will have to return. He'll need you when he does."

She looked down at the water that crested her chest, cupped her hands and brought a splash over her face. "I love Aidan, I do. But it's time I thought about myself as well. I know you may think me selfish..."

He quietly shook his head. "If it's really what you want to do."

She looked at him, somewhat disappointed "What do you want to do?"

He sighed heavily. "I dunno. With you gone I guess I'll go back home. There'll be nothing left for me to stick around here for."

She smiled and stepped out of the water, "Isn't there something you wanted to tell me?"

"I..." He suddenly fell silent as she stepped out of the water. His face coloured bright red and he turned his head. He swallowed hard as he searched for words. "S-surely.... surely, you must know.. you are the only reason I'm still here.." Wanting to say more but not daring to he got to his feet. "I'll l-leave you to dress." He mumbled still looking away from her.

Undaunted, she continued till she was right in front of him. "Perhaps I've guessed, but how can I know when you don't talk to me? Caden... are you afraid of me?"

"Afraid of what may change if I do talk" He said after a while.

She turned solemn, and after a pause. "Things are going to change, whether or not you speak the truth. I guess... I just feel like it's time I should hear it directly from you. After all this time of following me around, sharing that hut with me... what are we?"

"What do you want us to be?"

She slowly let out a breath that she had been holding as she backed away into the water. "Something... or nothing at all. By tomorrow it may not even matter."

"What do you mean? why tomorrow?" he grew tense as she backed away, taking a step forward involuntarily. "Sel...I ....I don't want to lose you" With a flushed face he grabbed her hand.

She stopped backing away and gazed at his hand clenched on hers. "I was dumb... I gave Robert something to use against me." She thought about it and shrugged. "Maybe he's always had something to use against me from the very moment he realised that I'm alive. I'm going to him tomorrow, Caden."

Tension turning to fear he looked at her. "What will you do?"

"I'll do as he wants... for now. But," she didn't take her eyes off his hand. "If knowing that... you still.. want me around. Then I'll come back to you."

He nodded still clutching her hand. "Be careful"

She smiled just slightly, a cover for the way she was truly feeling. She wondered if she'd made the right choice, putting Caden in this position, making him speak his heart. It would be harder to leave him now. She nodded, "Thank you. I will be back to see you."

He smiled at her to nervous to wager anything else. I suppose we ought to be getting back before Bran gets any funny ideas."

Her smile turned impish as he spoke. "Since he's getting funny ideas, might as well make some of it true." She jolted that hand that connected her to Caden, causing him to break footing and stumble the water beside her. "Sorry, there was no other way to get you to join me," she chuckled.

He laughed as he hit the water and quickly found his footing again. Rather than getting out immediately he lingered around brushing the wet hair out of his face. He didn't appreciate the wet clothes but Selina's action did remove a lot of the pent-up tension and he was grateful for it. 

Leaving his side, she slid back into the deeper water, and floated on her back. "Just a few more moments, and we'll go back. Bran can hold his horses."

After spending some moments in the water he moved to the shore and got out of the water. He took off his shirt and wrung out the water after which he laid it out on the grass in the sun hoping it would at least dry somewhat before they returned. He then decided to lie down next to it to wait until Selina got out of the water as well. Although he was less tense now he found his thoughts in disarray as he tried to make sense of what just happened.

She floated in bliss for a while before she decided that it was time for her swim to end. Since building that hut in the swamp, and waiting on her heels for the Shining Blade to take all the evidence from her, she'd grown accustomed to swimming in the lake in the middle of Kessex. She loved wallowing in its cool waters, and sometimes wished to share the moment with another.

Meanwhile Caden had spent a number of weeks sharing the hut with her, all while maintaining a very professional, non physical relationship... to the point he had refused to get in the water with her in case something should happen - something that she'd expected to happen, but didn't. Well... till she prodded just now. She found it both infuriating and fascinating at the same time. And after getting an admission from him, wondered if her growing interest in him stood on the perch of curiosity, necessity or if she did truly love him.

She gave him a glance as she exited the water, dried herself and replaced her pants. He seemed shaken by the entire incident, and it was only then that she began to regret taking that step too far ahead.

From his spot by the shore he heard Selina getting out of the water. After lying in the sun a few more minutes he sat up casually avoiding to look in Selina's direction. He grabbed his still damp shirt and pulled it over his head.

"Caden..." she called to him, noting vividly that he hadn't returned her glance. She picked up her vest, slung it over an arm, and had the soap in the bag, carried by her other hand. Quietly, she waited for him to respond.

Hearing his name called he finally looked her way. "Ready to go back?" he asked as he got to his feet.

"Caden, have I upset you?" she asked pointedly, avoiding his question.

"No"  he replied smiling at her but offering no further explanation. "No you haven't." Slowly he started to walk back towards the cave assuming Selina would do the same.

Her expression fell as she remained stunned for a few moments, before she turned to follow him from a distance. She was baffled by his response... or rather, non-response, and didn't know what it meant. Suddenly, she was back in Aidan's home, having that argument with Caden about the Shining Blade. It was rare to see Caden wrapped in passion over a particular issue, and with the snap of a finger, to see him emerge like nothing had occurred. It was most peculiar.

As they walked back Caden racked his brains trying to decide what to do after tomorrow. Obviously going with Selina would be out of the question. He was half tempted to go to the city and see if there was any news on Aidan but even if there was, he wouldn't be able to share it with Selina. He figured he could return home but even that prospect irked him somehow.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on March 02, 2017, 01:54:07 PM
Bran had a lunch of wild boar they had trapped earlier, skewed and roasted over a naked flame, potatoes on a pan beneath, soft enough to fall apart when poked. It was a treat of sorts, to the crew who had retaken their home, cleaned up the inside, and fixed the door. The carcasses of dead trolls had been burnt in a large fire not too far from them, and the air still smelt of smoke. He didn't think the trolls that had survived would be returning anytime soon.

Ron and Jess had already begun slicing off bits of bacon into their metal plates, drunk with the aroma that lingered in the air. Bran didn't stop them, but decided to wait till Caden and Selina were back to do so, just out of respect. It was certainly taking them longer than he would've expected, and he began constructing images of their return, arm in arm, gazing fondly at each other, lost in each other's embrace. He smiled to himself, congratulating himself for discovering success for poor Caden, who only needed that vital push.

Upon their arrival back at the cave Caden immediately spotted the trio sitting around the fire and he grinned as he noticed the boar roasting over it. "Looks like lunch is being served" He said to Selina as he looked back at her over his shoulder.

"Hey the love birds are back!" Bran blurted out brightly as he stood up from his stool, till he noticed the stoical facade that Selina wore as she let out a sigh, and raised the hand with the soap towards him.

He crossed over to retrieve it, all the while comparing the expressions of Caden and Selina, trying to guess what had happened, and if something had gone wrong. "Hope... the swim went well?"

Selina threw her vest on the floor, and responded, "As well as can be." Then walked away.

Caden glared at Bran and sat down by the fire shrugging slightly as Selina walked away from them.

The tension in the air was thick enough to cut with a knife, yet Ron and Jess remained oblivious to it - or maybe they didn't want to get in the middle of all the drama. On hindsight, Bran wondered if there was wisdom in their disregard. He turned to Caden, and explained the meal, "It's a celebration... of sorts. For all the work done to regain control of the cave. Feel free to eat your fill."

"It smells amazing, don't mind if I do" Caden said, putting a smile on his face and grabbing a plate.  After filling the plate with bacon and nearly burning himself trying to retrieve a potato from the pan he sat back down. "So uh" Desperate to get rid of the tension he looked around. "I don't suppose you've got anything nice to drink with this?"

Bran had been observing Caden so much that he'd not even started eating himself. "Yeah," he said with arms folded, motioning towards a barrel a couple of feet away from them. "There's a keg of mead, pretty strong stuff though."

"Perfect. Anyone else want some?" He said as he got to his feet and looked over at the trio.

"I don't drink alcohol before the evening," declared Jess.

And Ron pointed to a mug sitting by his side. "Don't need it," he said simply.

Bran put a hand on Caden's shoulder. "Come, let's get a mug each. There's a bowl of water beside the keg as well if you want to wash up."

"I think I had all the washing up I need after a tumble into the lake but if you want I'll bring you back a mug"

Bran laughed, and pointed to Caden's hands that had been slightly soiled with the oil of the roasted bacon. "I offered because Ron doesn't much like oily mugs." He rose and began walking towards the barrel. "And I did notice that you'd gone to have a swim with Selina. Enjoyed it, I hope?"

"Fish all you like, I'm not biting" Caden said with a shrug and walked over to the bucket to wash the grease off his hands.

Bran stepped beside Caden and pulled out two mugs from a shelf built into the wall of the cave. "Look," he said finally, "I'm sorry I meddled. I was so certain she was giving off signals..." he shrugged bewilderingly. "I mean, if it were me, I would've taken them as signals. I hope she didn't hurt you too badly."

"It's fine, don't worry about it." he said whilst Bran filled the cups. "Besides you planned a celebration, lets have one. Maybe we can even get Ron to say more than three consecutive words if we poor enough into him." Caden grinned at Bran.

Bran smiled. "Oh he says more than three consecutive words from time to time, and it's those times you wished he went back to speaking less. Ron can be quite the grouch." He handed Caden one of the mugs that had been filled, and held another on his hand.

"Maybe not then......  but hey" He held his mug up for a toast. "To your home, may it be troll free for a long time."

Bran raised his mug in response, "Indeed! Thank you for your help." And as he placed the mug against his lips to take a sip, he noticed Selina stepping into the scene. Her hair was still wet from the swim that she had taken, but it was slung back in a ponytail, and her clothes were changed as well. Upon her shoulder was the pack that she had arrived with. Not a host of items within, but the entirety of her luggage.  "Ah Sel, come join us for our little celeb..."

She interrupted Bran before he could go on. "Yeah... about that, I'm going to have to pass. I told Caden while we were at the lake that I would be leaving for LA tomorrow. But the weather out's good today, and I might make the best of it to head there today."

"Anything you need help with?" commented Jess, putting down her plate.

Selina seemed pleasantly surprised by the more positive approach Jess had towards her. "I don't actually, just handling a personal matter."

"At least have a bite first Sel, you wouldn't pass on that beautifully roasted boar would you?" Caden gestured at the roast with his mug.

She smiled politely, and held his gaze. "I'm sorry Caden. I was struggling with... well, you know what, and it was incredibly unfair of me to have used you as an excuse. You've been a good friend to me, and I should've been more content to leave that alone. I hope you'll find it in your heart to forgive me." Before Caden could respond, she could see Bran's eyes widen with questions. "Don't ask," she instructed him, and Bran instinctively shut his gaping mouth.

Completely ignoring Bran he pulled Selina into a hug. "There is nothing to forgive" he said softly. "Please be careful out there. If you need anything at all, you let me know. I.... I'll be at my parents."

Selina returned the hug, feeling herself heaving a sigh of relief. "I'll take care of myself, I always have."

He let go of Selina and smiled at her not sure what else to say.

"Thank you for helping with the cave," Bran chimed in.

"Wasn't anything," she brushed it off.

"Stay for lunch with us, at least."

She shook her head. "Enjoy it. I have food to go, and will have plenty to eat when I get to LA." Bran nodded and Selina tugged the strap on her pack. "Well... it's goodbye then."

"Have a safe journey," said Bran.

Selina smiled and turned to Caden. She didn't say anything, but her eyes spoke an amount of wistfulness as she turned to leave.

"Take care" he said as she turned. His shoulders dropped as he watched her leave and he sighed softly.

"You know buddy," Bran leaned over to Caden as Selina disappeared out of view. "You don't have to leave as well. We could do with a fourth member. And there's a job coming up as well, could use your help."

"Bran, I like you. Really I do." Caden said as he downed the contents of his mug. "And I say this without meaning any offense, but I think it's better if I stayed on the right side of the law."

"Hey, we're on the right side of the law... whenever it counts," he grinned. "You can't fry an egg without breaking some shells 'ya know."

"Besides, I wouldn't want to make Ron any grumpier" Caden said laughing as he went to refill his mug.

"Want to hear something about him? Ron was a fallout from Two-Blade Pete's band. I left, which was quite another thing. But Ron's been a social outcast for as long as I can remember, they merely hired him for his bow and arrow - and he's like... the best skilled person I know with those. Unfortunately, he had this nasty habit of offending practically anyone and everyone he worked with - except myself, that is. I just think it's hilarious. But he insulted one in his party one day, the guy couldn't take it and called on a behemoth of a friend to ruffle him up and boot him out of camp. Nobody took any pity on him and no one invited him back. So he left. Even Pete didn't seem too bothered by his departure. So when I left the Blades myself, I started my own team with Jess... I knew Jess through mutual acquaintance, and then Jaq came in through recommendations. We figured we would be complete, just the three of us, but then I bumped into Ron one day at an inn. He'd descended into a pitiful plight, washing dishes to survive. I knew his skills were being wasted, so I convinced him to play our fourth. Initially he rejected our proposal, merely out of pride. Jess didn't care much for him because of that. But when we went about our business and ended up in a fix, it was Ron who came to bail us out. Even though he said he didn't want to run with us, he'd been following us oh so silently, and was there at the perfect time to save our necks. We've called him Silent Ron since then, and Jess has taken to him. He doesn't know how to show it most times, but you see his kindness in his actions."

"Aye I suppose you're right, but he seems to have a definite dislike for me and I don't want to stir up trouble where none need be. Besides, it's been a while since I've visited my parents, figure they'd like to see me again."

"Fair enough. Go home and give it some thought though. Those herbs will prove plenty useful here. Jess is looking right as rain."

"I'll leave you some extra in case you run into any more issues. For now though, lets have some more boar and mead. Sel may not mind passing on those but until neither one is done and I've had a good nights rest I'm not going anywhere." Caden grinned at Bran as he clapped him on the shoulder.

"Indeed, stuff your face all you can before you leave!" laughed Bran, and proceeded to fill a plate himself.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on March 06, 2017, 10:14:17 PM
Queen Jennah had summoned the Pact Commander, and a squad of his most loyal fighters. That was the moment Andrea Brennan began to seriously doubt the chances of success.

As much as she despised Jennah's regime for its weak leadership, one thing that the Shining Blades under Jennah's command truly excelled in was protecting their queen. At that point, it'd become clear that they had sniffed out deception within their courts, and were busy fanning out into the crowd to question both guests and ministry guards, especially the ones who had prior links to Legate Minister Caudecus.

Decked out in appropriate celebratory outfit, Andrea moved inconspicuously through the fringes of the crowd, trying desperately to get Estelle's attention. If she had been placed in a position of authority over this operation, this is the moment she would utilize to command the forces to back down and remain in hiding. Unfortunately, Minister Estelle had stepped in at a vital moment while Andrea had been occupied with the affairs of Henry and his son, and managed to charm Caudecus into the trust he now invested in her to be successful at the assassination of the Queen. A task that Andrea Brennan believed that she would've been much better suited to execute. Jennah, if she were alone, would be as vulnerable to attack as Caudecus had planned. But the Pact Commander had not experienced failure yet, and his exploits against Mordremoth had become known throughout the region. Andrea knew that they would not stand against him.

To Andrea's horror, the Pact Commander crossed the room, stepped directly into Estelle's path and began speaking with her. For a moment, Andrea froze completely, her attention entirely fixated on both parties as she tried to make out what truly was being said. Even though the words weren't clear, she was certain that Estelle had become a suspect for involvement in a plot to overthrow the Queen, the Pact Commander merely lacked the hard evidence. He stepped away after a while, contemplating what he had heard, then moved on to question the other suspects.

Estelle flashed Andrea a glance, the first for that evening, and Andrea took the brief opportunity to approach her with haste. Taking her aside and making sure that they were out of earshot, she managed to finally deliver her word of caution, "Estelle, I know how much effort has been put into planning this attack, however the Pact Commander's presence poses a huge wrench in the operation and I believe that we should abort, there is too much at risk."

However, Estelle remained steeled against the notion of aborting any of their plans. She knew it would bring great disgrace to herself and her house - and besides, she remained suspicious of Andrea Brennan's true intent to terminate the mission. There was no doubt that Andrea coveted her position, and would possibly try to steal it from her if anything went sour. "No," she replied without hesitation. "There is no room for cowardice Ms Brennan, aborting the mission is out of the question. We will succeed, I believe in the Mantle and of the army we have built."

"Get over yourself, Estelle!" Andrea snapped in a harsh whisper. "This is bigger than you, bigger than me. If we are to achieve what we hope to achieve, we must ensure a win. Any failure on our part will expose and put at risk the rest of the operation!"

"You get over yourself," snarled Estelle, taking a threatening step forward. "You've only doubted my leadership from the start. We will win, and we will do it with or without you. You are no asset to this mission. Get out of my sight!" She pushed Andrea on the chest - not a hard push, but one just firm enough to embarrass. Then the woman walked away. A mistake, in Andrea's eyes. She would have supported the mission, regardless of its chances for success - which at that point she reckoned would be rather low. But not for Estelle, not after being insulted with such words. She would not die in vain for her.

She soon found herself moving away from Estelle, moving away from the party, away from the massacre to come - headed directly towards the portal that led into Lion's Arch. Movements in and out of the palace had ceased since the Pact Leader had arrived and investigations had begun, what merely stood between herself and the rest of the world was the asura and his golem that guarded the sole portal out. Not a tall order, especially since she had spent three months in her mansion, studying the various components commonly used in golems, learning their weaknesses so that she might disengage them with as little tampering as possible.

Keeping herself carefully concealed with an invisibility spell, she approached the golem as she removed a foot-long spiked accessory from her updo. She had learnt of the spot right between the joint of the right leg of the golem, that led to the spark plug within. Slipping her spiked accessory into that gap, she gave it one hard jolt and overloaded the golem's systems almost immediately. It emitted sparks, beeped, jimmied and shook, capturing the immediate attention of the asura. And as the asura tended to his contraption, Andrea faded through the portal. The ripples she caused as she was whisked away, completely oblivious to the guard and everyone else at the party.

She had managed to get away.

As she stood alone in Lion's Arch, she pondered her future with the White Mantle if they ever discovered that she had knowingly abandoned the mission. But they wouldn't, she assured herself. Because right then she was banking heavily on the mission failing, a fact that would increase exponentially with her gone. Estelle was wrong about her not being an asset to the mission, or had the woman forgotten that Andrea's primary purpose was there to open a portal for the survivors should anything go wrong? If questioned, Andrea would simply say the Pact Commander was pushing too hard for her to save anyone. And even if Estelle were somehow to survive the attack by the Pact Leader's men, her contact within the Seraph would ensure that the bitch would not live to see the next day.

"It is politics... after all," she mumbled to herself, as she stuck her pin back in her hair and moved swiftly to blend with the crowd.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on March 15, 2017, 09:00:46 AM
By the time Aidan left Anise's office his mind was going at a hundred miles an hour. After being recalled from the vicinity of Ebonhawke Anise had filled him in on what had happened in his absence. At first he wasn't sure how to feel about Selina and Caden involving Anise into the matter with his aunt, but when Anise soon after revealed that they had discovered Andrea's involvement in the White Mantle he was shocked. He knew his aunt was up to no good but he never expected anything as serious as that. Anise told him about the minister's gathering and his aunt subsequent disappearance. Aidan then had begged her to allow him to track her down despite Anise's warnings that a conversation with the gate engineer and searches of the family estates turned up very little. In the end Anise allowed him to look for her using Shining Blade resources but she advised him to seek Captain Thackery's advice first since he may shed some more light on where White Mantle sympathizers might hold up.

After gathering up some supplies Aidan decided to follow Anise's advice and left for Lake Doric where Captain Thackery set up a command post. As soon as he left the city the damage was obvious. The sounds of battle run all around and Aidan addressed the guard near the city to inquire about the captain's whereabouts. He turned out not to be hard man to find but he was so busy he barely had time to hear Aidan out. Aidan got what he needed however. Captain Thackery told him the White Mantle had taken over Fort Evennia to the north-east and seemed to be using it as a base. Considering his options Aidan didn't think that Andrea would be hanging around these parts on her own so he decided he would try the fort first.

As he stood there contemplating his options the captain called out to him and gestured towards a woman standing besides him. "This is exemplar Ylan" He said. "She's been in and out the fort a couple of times and has agreed to go with you."

Ylan took a step towards Aidan the moment the captain introduced her. She stretched out a welcoming hand towards him, "Greetings."

He made a small bow as he stepped forward to shake her hand. "Thank you for the help Ylan" he said. "Are you ready to leave right away or is there any preparations you need to make?"

"I can leave immediately. Was about to before..." she cast a teasing glance over in Thackery's way. "the Captain stopped me because you needed directions." She then pointed a palm down the dried up lake and over to the other side. "Shall we?"

"Please" He said with a nod, gesturing for her to take the lead. "Thank you for your time Captain Thackary" He said with a nod before leaving the man to his duties.

Ylan travelled down the slippery sides of the bank, cautioned Aidan to watch his footing, then ascended again on the other side. It was clear that the outskirts of Divinity's Reach had become the frontlines of a war that had just erupted. Sounds of explosions, the clashing of swords, and shooting of bullets resonated all around, even though both Ylan and Aidan had not run into a live exchange yet. "Keep your eyes peeled for oncoming enemies. I'm taking us the safest path I know, but even so... we are in the middle of a war zone."

Aidan nodded as he followed her, instinctively checking his blades with a hand while he kept a close eye on their surroundings.

Ylan pressed forward through the woods, stopping every so often each time she sensed danger. At one point not only did she stop, but she also told Aidan to get down in the dirt. As she descended herself, she explained that she would usually not shy away from a fight, but it would be much easier to get to where they were headed if they did not find trouble. "Fort Evennia," she explained quietly as they waited for danger to pass, "Is stacked with White Mantle. You will not only need a disguise to enter, but a false identity and background should anyone ask."

"Having been in and out several times I assume you have the disguise part sorted?" Aidan whispered as he looked around.

"I do, actually. There's a camp in the woods just outside of Fort Evennia... while it may not look like much at the moment, it's the closest thing to a Shining Blade station that we have, so near in range to the action." She perked up as the sound of boots pounding on gravel passed just a couple of feet from where they were. Ylan counted... five... no... eight perpetrators altogether. She flew to her feet the moment those footsteps faded. "Hurry now, before they come back."

Jumping to his fee Aidan tossed a glance in the direction they had disappeared in before running after Ylan. It had been a while since he had been in a situation this hostile and he felt rather glad he had Ylan along to lead the way. He decided he would ask her if she'd heard anything about his aunt once they reached the camp she just described.

After trudging through some thick undergrowth, they arrived at a small clearing where there was pitched a canvas tent under a low laying canopy, large enough to house five people. But Ylan did not step into the tent. Instead she walked right past it to where a large mossy rock, the shape of a beanbag, sat lazily under shade. She bent down in front of the rock and began to dig with her barehands. The soil was loose and moist with dew. So it came apart pretty easily, and soon revealed a metallic box beneath.

Pulling out the box, she sat on the ground and uncovered the treasure. Within the box was folded four outfits, complete with weapons and masks. She pointed to the masks, "Thankfully it isn't unusual to find the new occupants of Fort Evennia clad anonymously, since some of them remain citizens of Divinity's Reach and don't want to be identified, even by their peers. That gives you a cover. You'll just have to pose as one of those crowd, which from the looks of it, won't be too hard." She smiled, reached in to grab one of the outfits and handed it to Aidan.

"Thanks" Aidan said as he took the clothes and looked through them, deciding they should fit. "I've been meaning to ask, while inside have you heard anything about an Andrea Brennan? She's supposed to be involved with the White Mantle but she fled the city before she could be apprehended."

Ylan gave the name some thought, then shook her head. "That name doesn't ring a bell... although, aren't you a Brennan yourself?"

"Aye" He sighed. He turned his back to her and started to change his clothes.

She looked away, just out of courtesy. "But I will keep my ears peeled for that name. If anything is muttered, the captain will be notified as soon as possible."

"Thank you" He said, his back still turned. "Anything else I should know while I"m in there?"

"Keep a low profile. Don't talk to anyone if you don't have to. But if you do question someone and he becomes suspicious," she pulled out three syringes and handed them to him. "Pump him with one of these babies. The dosage should be enough to put him right to sleep, for just long enough for you to get out of there. Keep safe." She gave him a casual salute.

He nodded before returning her salute. "I'll meet you back here in two hours, if I haven't returned in 2 and a half hours you may assume I won't be returning."

She nodded briefly. "I'll brew you a steaming cup of coffee for when you get back," she said with a smile. "You won't want to miss it."

"Thanks" He said. Leaving her behind he tracked back the way they came until he was near the road that lead up to the fort. From the shrubs he glanced towards the road. When he was certain he slipped out of his hiding spot and confidently stepped on to the road, making his way towards the fort. He noticed several white mantle outside. Some seemed to be manning some sort of cannon while two guards stood by the gate. As he observed them he noticed another White Mantle approaching the gate and entering the fort without any interaction with the guards. He decided he would bluff his way through the same way and steadily kept approaching the fort, silently hoping the seraph would not chose this moment to charge it.

Calming his nerves as he approached he continued on until he reached the gate of the fort. Without a moments hesitation he entered. Inside he forced himself to keep back a sigh of relief and carry on walking. He observed his surroundings closely and made note of any possible exit routes. The first large courtyard of the fort seemed completely walled off with buildings on two sides and a small entryway on to the bridge that lead to the second courtyard. The whole fort seemed to be filled with a disturbing red mist and there were barrels filled to the brim with bloodstone shards  everywhere. Not too far away he heard someone scream. He realized the white mantle was probably keeping prisoners here and immediately felt the inclination to try and free as many as he could. When he peered into the building that the cry had come from however he saw a large jade construct guarding a seraph tied to a pole and he had to acknowledge that any sort of rescue attempt now would most likely jeopardize his personal mission. Swallowing back the guilt he moved on across the courtyard.

As he passed a couple of white mantle he noticed them talking and as soon as he rounded the corner he stopped, hoping to hear what they were talking about. "It's a pity the commander showed up when he did or the queen would be dead now"  One said where one of the others considered him a fool for thinking the whole plan would've gone off without a hitch. They then continued to discuss a recent attack on a hamlet nearby and Aidan decided to continue. Suspecting the higher ranked white mantle and any useful documents would be in the second courtyard he made his way to the bridge. As he made his round there he heard many conversations about the progress of the white mantles invasion of the area. Nothing particularly stood out to him until he heard the name of his aunt mentioned by a female elementalist that casually leaned against the balcony outside of the room he was in. "I heard she's a traitor, that she ran away before the fight even started to save her own skin." a voice said. Peering through the door Aidan could just see toes on the floor across from the elementalist and he gathered that whoever belonged to the voice was leaning against the wall. "Oh no I'm certain I saw her there"  the elementalist answered. "Really then how come we lost so many because we didn't have enough mesmer portals to get us all out" The voice sounded sceptical and the elementalist shrugged. "All I know is she apparently nearly lost her life portalling people out. Caudecus even  offered her shelter in his manor to recuperate." "You must be joking"  Was the only reply the elementalist received and it was quiet for a while. "Well, I'm just telling you what I heard"  the elementalist said after a while. " But I should probably be getting back inside and finish my work before I get yelled at."  She said as she pushed herself away from the railing and started to walk towards the door.
 
Moving as quick as he could Aidan moved towards the staircase in the room and started to walk upstairs before the elementalist entered the room. There he found a small table with a candle and several documents. In the corner was another tied up Seraph soldier. Glancing at the struggling man Aidan turned his attention to the documents. Not taking the time to go through them he rolled them all up and tucked them inside his armor. He glanced down the stairs and scanned the room below seeing no one. Sighing he turned towards the seraph placing a finger in front of his mouth to motion for silence. As he approached the man he whispered "If I cut your bonds can you find your own way out?" The man looked at him in surprise and nodded eagerly. Taking out one of his daggers Aidan cut the rope tied around the mans wrists and ankles with two swift motions. Taking a small purse from one of his pockets Aidan gave it to the man. Here if you do get caught by someone, use this to blind them. The man nodded and Aidan turned to go down the stairs. "Good luck"  He whispered, hoping the man would be safe. Without wasting any more time he moved towards the front gate and left the fort to return to Ylan.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on March 19, 2017, 01:37:52 PM
AIDAN BRENNAN AND EXEMPLAR YLAN

After he made sure no one was following him Aidan got off the road and made his way through the bushes back to Ylan's camp. As he approached it he checked his surroundings again and after he was satisfied that there were no others present he removed his mask and made his way over to the hidden tent.

Ylan heard the shuffling outside of the tent and stuck just her head out. She gave him a wave the moment she realised that it was him, and beckoned him in.

"Hey"  Aidan said softly as he made his way over to her.

Ylan picked up the mug of steaming coffee that she had promised him, and handed it to him. "Congratulations," she said with a smile. "You made it out without a fuss. Did you find what you were looking for?"

"I think so"  Aidan said, accepting the cup gratefully. He sat down and placed the cup on the ground next to him carefully before pulling the documents out of his pocket. He went through them studying each piece of paper for a while to see if his aunt was mentioned anywhere. As he went along he came across one letter that mentioned Andrea in connection to the seperatists but it was dated quite a few weeks back and it mainly seemed to concern supplies. Aidan decided to keep it anyway and handed the rest to Ylan. "Can I leave these to you or do you want me to give them to captain Thackery?" he asked.

"I can handle them," she obliged as she received the stack of papers and filed them into her own pack. "Anything else you'd like help with? I'd like to think I'm pretty well connected around here."

"Any idea what kind of plans are brewing to attack Caudecus?"

"Ah, I did hear that the Commander is planning to spring an attack on Caudecus with Demmi Beetlestone as a guide. It's going to be fairly soon though."

"Hmm I need to get inside that manor, perhaps they'll let me join them" Aidan pondered as he sipped his coffee. "Any idea where I might catch up with them?"

"You best speak to Captain Thackery before any of this. I don't know if the Commander's accepting additions to his crew."

"You are correct of course, I will. What about you, are you going to stick around here or are you heading back as well?"

"I've been, and still am waiting for a colleague of mine who happens to be late. He informed us that he would be here..." her words froze as a dark shadow fell over the tent. A large ocher shaded paw, shielding razor sharp claws reached into the side of the tentage and pulled it back, revealing a charr with glowing green eyes, and stripes upon his forehead.

"You were saying?" he snarled in response to Ylan's complaint.

She grinned and shrugged. "Well, you are late."

"I have a good excuse," and he turned to Aidan. "Who's your companion?"

"He wanted access to the White Mantle camp, the Capt sent him with me." She turned to Aidan as well, and introduced her contact, "Garren, Aidan. Aidan, Garren."

Aidan nodded at Garren in greeting. "Well I think I better get back in my own clothes and be on my way then and leave you two to your business. Thank you again Ylan for your help."  He said as he got to his feet.

"Cheers," she returned the sentiment as she held up her own cup of coffee. "Keep off the main road, lay low when needed and you'll be fine."

"You're sending the squidling off on his own?" Garren inquired.

"Don't you and I have business? Isn't that why you summoned me here?" she replied.

"Cin does but... well, I'll get into details when the squidling is out of earshot," Garren's words were whispered, but barely quiet enough to avoid being overheard by Aidan.

Aidan shrugged and picked up his clothes before he left the tent. Without moving too far away he silently started to change back into his own clothes.

Not too far away, an explosion erupted and shook the earth with its impact.

Shaken slightly Aidan finished dressing in a hurry and after some searching located the box where Ylan had gotten the white mantle clothes from. He quickly placed the clothes he had used back in the box while he glanced at the tent to see if Ylan and Garren were in any way disturbed by the explosion.

Both Ylan and Garren were a few steps from the camp, weapons bared, in the woods headed cautiously towards west. "I smell smoke and I hear the cracklin' of flames," noted Garren, sniffing the air above him like a giant cat.

They were both so engrossed in the moment that they did not notice Aidan standing right behind them.

"Any clue as to what that was?" He asked in a low tone.

Ylan's heart skipped a beat as the proximity of Aidan's voice surprised her, but she quickly caught a hold of herself, and whispered back, "By the sound of it, it's more than likely one of those jade cannons the White Mantle have been erecting. Something's been hit... we don't know what it is yet, but I think I can make a guess."

Another boom through the air, and explosion upon hit. This time, a lot closer to their position. Instinctively, Garren spread out his arms in defense of his mates, his pupils widened to twice their original size. "The cannon is perched just outside of Fort Evennia," he said.

"Great, so no chance of destroying the cannon without alerting the entire fort to our presence. What do you think has been hit though Ylan?"

"Saidra's Haven," she said, turning to Garren for more of an insight.

"Thankfully most of the civilians have been evacuated to Lakeside Bazaar," he turned back to her. "I told you I had a good excuse."

"So they're just hitting empty buildings now?" asked Ylan as they reached a point where they were able to look out at the village below. True enough, the village was burning, and the explosions had destroyed some roofs and walls.

Garren pointed out two villagers huddled under some rubble. "I said 'most', I didn't say 'all'. Some refused to leave, like those two there. There ought to be some from our camp as well. I can hear fighting from inside."

"I suppose we'd better help them then" Aidan said as he readied his weapons.

Ylan took haste to stop Aidan from what he was about to do. "Garren and I can handle this. You have a task that is time sensitive. If you hope to catch up with the Commander, you best leave now."

"Are you sure?" Aidan gave her a doubtful look.

"I'm pretty sure that we'll be fine, but if you do want to help, we could do with some reinforcements to take that cannon down. The Capt will want to know what's going on here," she replied.

"And tell him to send additional supplies for the refugees in the Bazaar," added Garren. "They're going through the current supplies like powdered sand through a sift."

"I'll be sure to pass it on. Thank you again Ylan and good luck to you both, stay safe."  He said before taking off, making sure to go around the town in a wide circle.

__________________________________________________________________________

SELINA KNOX AND ROBERT BROWN

She turned up to his doorstep a few days early, and this time she knocked. She hadn’t done so before, and therefore the maidservant did not recognize her. “Mister did not say he’s expecting anyone,” insisted the plump blonde woman.

“I’m a few days early, but fetch him anyway will you?” Selina pressed.

“What be your name Miss?”

“Sel. He’s asked for me.”

The maidservant said with some hesitancy, “I will notify him, even though mister is engaged in his business at the moment.” Selina took the cue to enter Rob’s home, but was stopped short with a pudgy palm in her face. “I’m afraid I must have you wait out here. If mister is ready to see you then I will call for you. Otherwise you are not to enter.”

With that, the large wooden doors were swung shut in her face, leaving her slightly stunned. Of all places, she hadn’t expected a cold reception at the home of Robert Brown’s – given that she’d never really known him while he was the benefactor of such wealth before, but even then… a maidservant? They would’ve laughed the thought off before.

She took two steps back, weighed the thought of leaving. She’d dreaded coming here all month, but that final awkward exchange with Caden gave her the resolution to leave for a time to give him some breathing space. Even after her memories had been restored, there was a part of her that felt unresolved. She couldn’t explain it. And she recognized that after sometime spent with Caden, that she had begun to lean heavily on him in the hopes that he would be a stand in for what she felt was missing from her life. But it’d dawned on her that she had assumed too much, she had expected too much and in doing so, had inevitably driven a wedge between them. If she returned to him now, she would risk damaging an already fragile relationship, and she knew she couldn’t afford to do that.

No, there was no other place for her. She turned her gaze upwards to an open window on the second floor. With an agile leap onto the vines that wrapped around piping that led up to the top floor, she scaled towards the window easily, and dove directly into the room. She congratulated herself over this small victory. It was only out of courtesy that she had used the door. Rob would hear of his maidservant’s arrogance, and she would certainly rub it in that woman’s face.

That room that she had entered appeared to be a sitting room of sorts – it was magnificent, a piece of art all in itself. There were carved images of the six gods of Tyria on the ceiling. Likely a centerpiece for the home’s previous owner. Silken seats surrounded a marble tea table that stood proudly in the middle of the room, all ready to welcome at least six to eight people to an afternoon of fraternizing among the wealthy.

Two doors with arched handles led to the next room. Voices emerged from there… and footsteps. It sounded like… Selina hastily took a dive out the open window and clung to the vines while the doors with arched handles cranked open, and Rob emerged with his guest.

“We’ll see you there on Tuesday,” came Rob’s voice, as he sent his guest on his way. Selina stole a tiny peek – and she spotted a greyish/maroon shaded Sylvari disappearing down the stairs. She heard the second echo of footsteps in the staircase, and the voice of the woman who had met her at the door, walking the guest to the door.

It wasn’t much of a surprise to Sel that the woman still hadn’t informed Rob of her presence. She would take the opportunity herself. He swung around the moment she stepped through the curtains, perhaps sensing for the first time that he wasn’t alone. “Sel! You’re early,” he exclaimed.

“I am,” she replied. “I even used your main door, but that woman…” She hadn’t finished her sentence when he flung his arms over her and held her tightly.

“I’m so glad you came back,” he gushed. “I haven’t stopped thinking about you.”

While surprised, she remained mostly unmoved by his sentiments. “You left me little choice, Rob.”

He shifted to hold her by her shoulders and look her in her eyes. “Be honest, if I hadn’t said what I did, would I have had the chance to see you again?”

She didn’t say anything in return, though she merely managed a shrug after a while.

“You see what my predicament was? Call it a move of desperation. I would never really betray you Sel. That first time was a huge mistake. And I paid for it by turning on the Widowmakers for the sake of you and your friends. Can we finally call it even?”

Again, she didn’t see fit to say anything in response. But she did nod after a while. A large grin emerged on his face, and he smouldered her in a hug, twice as hard as the first time.

“Mister Brown, there was…” The pudgy blonde woman froze in the doorway of the sitting room, her eyes as wide as saucers. Selina guessed that she had finally decided to announce her arrival, except she was already in the house and talking to ‘Mr Brown’.

“Mrs Priscot, what did I say about interrupting me?” Rob snapped at her, annoyed by the undue distraction.

“I’m sorry sir, I did not realise you had a guest,” Mrs Priscot apologised, even while she shot daggers with her eyes at Sel as she excused herself from the room. The best kind of revenge, Sel gloated to herself.

“I’m sorry,” he repeated when she was gone. “I want to hear everything about what’s happened to you this past month… and with everything that I’ve missed.”

Selina reflected on the ogres, on Aidan, on Anise and then on Caden. Stuff had happened, it just wasn’t exactly newsworthy material. “Nothing much,” she said as she moved away from him to take a seat before the marble table. He followed suit, moving in close.

“A lot has happened for me over this past month,” he offered, assuming that she wasn’t in the mood to speak. “I’ve had a dozen new fighters sign up. That sylvari that you might’ve seen earlier was just one of the few. They all come with their own baggage, debts they need to pay off, frustration they need to work out. I simply provide the means.”

“And you make a hefty profit providing the means…” she pointed out rather bluntly.

“I do. Though my profits in large come from our audiences, and the bet-taking system we have in place. Much like what we had before, but I’d like to think it’s much more organized this time.”

“How do they get in touch with you?”

“Hearsay. A good word travels quickly. I’m rather well known around town right now, even if I do say so myself.”

She gave what he’d told her some thought. She imagined a multitude of people crowding into a space, cheering on fighters in a ring. The sounds of fist pounding and bones cracking drowned out by the roars of the excited audience. She had once been one among the many spectators, revelling in the sport. “Do you still host anonymous fights?”

He chuckled. “In a much much larger way now. In fact, we insist in our written contract that all our fighters keep their true identities undisclosed so that it will give the fight a kind of a randomness to it, and should any mishap occur when fists are exchanged, we will not be held liable for any of it. All our fighters conceal their identities by way of masks, scarves, hoods… and I guess with creativity, the sky’s the limit. The fighter with the fancier mask tends to find more favour with the crowd, and the more excited the crowd is, the better the fighter tends to do in the ring.” He found a glimmer of doubt on her face at his suggestion, and he shrugged it off casually. “It might sound like superstition, but this tends to happen a lot. Sometimes it becomes a matter of who has the better costume, more than the fight itself. Adds to the entertainment value.”

She nodded as she listened to him speak passionately about his work. All this was appealing to her in a way that he might not have guessed. Like Rob’s guests, she too had issues she needed to work out, and that whole concept of anonymity was what really sold her on the idea. “Rob, do you think you can put me in the ring?”

His jaw fell. He meant to impress Sel with his accomplishments, not convince her to become one of the fighters in the ring. “No no, this is for registered fighters only. But I’d be glad to provide you free tickets to watch.”

“Register me,” she insisted. “I want to do this.”

“Sel,” he looked at her sternly. “People only do this if they’re strapped for gold. Gold is the least of your problems. I can buy you whatever you need.”

“I’m not doing it for the gold,” she argued. “I’m doing this for myself, you don’t have to pay me a copper. Come on, let me in the ring once or I’m walking.”

“Sel, do you know how vicious some of those fights can get?”

“Nothing fazes me.”

He frowned, realising that he was about to lose the argument. “Why are you so desperate to get in that ring?”

“Everyone has their reasons. You’ve named some, and I have my own. Do a favour for an old friend, will you?”

Rob rubbed his forehead. He had imagined this conversation going a lot differently. But Sel wasn’t exactly a defenceless maiden. If he had to be honest, he could imagine her with a moderately good chance to win in a fight. And… if it would win some favour for himself, why not? “Alright,” he finally relented. “I’ll set it up for you.”

“Perfect!” she smiled, for the first time that day.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on March 20, 2017, 07:58:28 AM
ANDREA BRENNAN

“Legate listen to me, that woman Estelle, she led the mission into ruin! She was so conceited, she wouldn’t budge on her plans – even with everything at stake! I barely survived the onslaught!” Andrea Brennan, standing before the former Minister Caudecus, put on the performance of her life. She knew that with one wrong move, the White Mantle legion would turn on her, regardless of her connection to the Separatists. She had cast upon her the appearance of having barely escaped with her life; burns to her flesh, blood stains down her beautiful party gown and a soot smudged face.

Caudecus’ right hand man leaned over and whispered something in his ear while keeping an eye on her. She hated being judged, gossiped about. But she was fairly confident in the story she had concocted… mostly because for a large part, it was the honest truth.

“You say there were no other survivors?” the former minister asked, tapping his fingers upon the frame of his seat.

“Trust me when I say I tried, and almost lost my life because of it. But the Shining Blade came upon us with such fervour – I suppose they are relentless when it comes down to their precious Queen. When I realised that there would be little hope in saving lives, I decided to return directly to you, that I might provide a full report on what exactly had happened at the party.”

Once more, the right-hand man leaned in, and whispered something into his ear. He nodded solemnly, and after a pause, “Seeing as you are the only survivor, I have no option but to trust in your account of the events.”

Discreetly, she let go of a breath that she had been holding. “Legate, you must flee this place. Surely the Shining Blade will come for you next.”

“I have my guards stationed up front, and my men will lay their lives down for mine, should it come to that. I have built my home up like a fortress. I’d like to see the Shining Blade try to get in here.” There was an air of smug upon Caudecus’ face, as though he was looking forward to taking on the Shining Blade himself. Since his original plans were first thwarted, he’d never fully gained the revenge that he sought. “But you should return to your people, report on what has happened here. Once the members of the Shining Blade have been dealt with, we will convene once more and plan for a second collaborated attack.”

Andrea made a curt bow, a fist over her heart. “I will do just that, Legate. May you be granted success in battle.”

He lowered his face in response. “And you. Send my greetings to Goodman.”
________________________________________________________________________

ROBERT BROWN AND SELINA KNOX

“And over the waters, you’ll see the lighthouse still standing tall,” he pointed out of the tinted carriage that he had specially arranged to bring Selina around the city.

“Mhmm…” she replied, with barely a flicker of a glance in his direction. She was still taking sips out of the bottle of whiskey that he had given her, staring out of the window at seemingly nothing in particular. He’d really thought she’d be more impressed by all of this, and yet she had been distracted for the most part of the tour.

“Sel,” he tapped the roof of the carriage to get it to stop, leaned forward and took her only free hand in his. She turned to him, surprised by the intensity in his eyes, she put the bottle aside for a bit. “What is the matter with you? Did something happen over the past month?”

She winced, and shifted in her seat. “I don’t know. I guess I’m just at a crossroad, not really sure where to go next.”

“And that’s why you’re being experimental,” he concluded, referring to her enthusiasm at getting into a pit fight.

She smiled, and raised her bottle to him. “Well, you know me best Rob.”

He picked up a new bottle and raised it to her. As much as he appreciated the compliment, he wondered if it was premature that she had warmed up to him this quickly. There were questions he intended to ask, but he wanted to word them just precisely in order not to aggravate her. “Sel… about your brother…. I’ve wanted to ask you about him since the last time I…”

“You want to know if I hid the fact that I had a brother,” she completed his sentence for him. He nodded apologetically.

She began sipping again. “No I did not. I found out about him shortly after I got out of the dungeons. He, a noble, volunteered as a sponsor… my sponsor, which was suspicious in and of itself. Turns out curiosity got the better of him, he’d been tracking me for a few years before then. The mysterious half-sister,” she smiled, albeit bitterly.

“So… the son of Thomas’?”

“Uh huh…” she nodded. “Who would’ve guessed the bastard would run off and have another kid, after he’d ranted on and on about what a curse I was.”

“Damn it…” Rob chimed in, taking the top off his bottle and having a swig.

“Damn it is right,” she agreed. “I did warm up to him after a time though. He’s the only blood relative I know of right now.”

“What I’d like to know is how he ended up with the Brennans? They’re quite a big name, even around these parts – with their fancy wine and properties.”

“Adoption.” Selina’s mind wandered to Andrea Brennan’s great betrayal, and she decided against sharing any of that with Rob. Aidan’s predicament was much too complicated for a casual chat in a horse carriage. “By the way, I’m only telling you this because I’d let it all slip a month ago, and you’ve proven to have been pretty trustworthy so far.  You don’t want to be letting me down.”

“Everything we say is between us only,” he assured her. “I assume his adoption is not common knowledge?”

She considered that thought, realising that that might have changed. “Well it wasn’t, I’m not sure any more. Just keep it to yourself for the time being.”

“Of course. Does he know where you are now?”

She shook her face. “He has enough worries of his own. Sometimes I feel like it’s better when I’m out of his hair.”

 He shifted closer to her. “Have you had no one looking out for you?”

She sighed. “Rob, I know what you’re trying to do. I’m not looking for a relationship. Right now, I just want to get into that pit and work out my issues.”

His sheepish grin told her that he was not put off by what she had said. “Does that mean you’ll be hanging around for a while?”

“I can find lodgings…”

“That will not be acceptable!” he patted the hand he held. “You will live with me. I will have my most lavish guestroom prepared specially for you, and you will remain for as long as you want.”

Her expression broke out in laughter quite abruptly. “Lavish guestroom? Since when do you talk like that?”

Cheerfully he held his shoulders up. “Comes with the trade. One has gotta exude professionalism to have a profession. If it makes you uncomfortable, you can always share my bed.”

She chuckled. “The guestroom will do. My my… I’ve got to get used to this new you.”

He tapped the ceiling of the carriage again to get it rolling. “To your liking, I hope?”

“I don’t know,” she said quite honestly. “You’re just different.”

“You’re different too,” he pointed out.

“I guess I am.  What difference a few years make.”

Rob leaned back in his seat and looked at her thoughtfully. “Sel, have you ever wondered what life would’ve been like if we’d ran away. Just the two of us. All that bad stuff would’ve never happened to either of us. I bet we’d still be the naïve young teenagers we once were.”

The smile faded from her face, and her eyes turned cold. “Take your head out of the clouds, Rob. These are our lives now, deal with it!”

With that, she turned back to her bottle. Rob didn’t speak again for the rest of the journey. With nothing more than the sound of gravel on the wheels, they sat in silence till they returned to the mansion.

As promised, Rob had Mrs Priscot prepare the guestroom on the upper floor, just a hallway apart from his own room. He hadn’t expected Selina to stay, but he was glad that she’d decided to do just that. Whatever it was that had driven her to sadness had driven her into his arms. It would be mere foolishness of him not to harp on the opportunity.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on March 27, 2017, 11:43:53 AM
SELINA KNOX AND ROBERT BROWN

The Pits, or as it had now simply become known, was situated underground, right at the back of a bar that had been carved into a cave on the west end of Lion’s Arch. That alone made it a prime location for evening activities, safely tucked away from young eyes and the easily offended.

At the time Robert and Selina arrived, a line had already formed at the entrance. A massive grey hued Charr stood at the front of the queue with a clipboard in its paws, scribbling away furiously at the pad of paper in front of him. “That’s Horace,” Rob told Sel as they approached. “He’s in charge of the door. Every guest must pay a token and be registered before they’re allowed entry.”

Horace looked up from his sheets, and waved the moment he noticed them. “Mr Brown,” he greeted, opening the door almost immediately, even as he kept a curious eye on Sel.

“She’s with me,” assured Rob, and Horace granted both entry without another concern about the guest.

“I assume I won’t need to register like the others?” she asked as they continued into the Pit. She was fully clad in a leather ensemble that Rob had provided her, one that came equipped with a hood and a scarf that was attached to the fabric on the hood. It provided her the security of anonymity while it allowed her the freedom to move around the city. A fine compromise.

“No, you don’t. You will have to register as a fighter though, but that only requires an alias – one that you should begin thinking of now.” Before them stood the atrium. Descending layers of seats and railings encircling a ring of sand, encased by some kind of force field that rippled cobalt strips of energy, sliding diagonally in sluggish waves like a lazy brook.

“That force field, what is it for?”

“For keeping the fighters in, what else?” he laughed at the simplicity of the question as he guided her to a balcony that provided one of the best views of the fight in the atrium. There were only eight seats on that balcony, as well as a voice amplifier – albeit a much more technologically advanced one than the one in Bran’s cave. She inferred that the host of the match would be sharing the balcony with them, thus the need for the amplifier.

“I mean, you’ve never needed a force field before. The old rings, they used to be wooden boundaries hammered into the sand, painted a shade of bright red. I recall the rules were; stay in the ring or be disqualified immediately.”

He chuckled. “We can’t live in the past. Modern times call for modern and creative uses of cutting edge technology. I heard the Pact had discovered ancient arenas in Auric Basin during their war with Mordremoth. Those arenas utilized the same intravenous-plate force field technology that I had adopted for our very own mini arena, here in Lion’s Arch. It’s proved to be extremely effective, and brings in a whole new form of gameplay in regards to the skirmishes within the ring.”

“So you can’t get a win by tossing someone out of the ring…”

He nodded. “You’ll have to render him unconscious, plain and simple. That, or have him surrender,” Rob raised two fingers up into the air. “That’s the mark of surrender.”

“Mr Brown,” a thin coffee colored sylvari in a tuxedo came before them and bowed. “I see you have a guest this evening.”

“I do,” Rob replied, turning to Sel. “She’s my… erm… she’s here to be a fighter.” She raised a brow. He’d stumbled over his words in his introduction of her. She realised that since she’d arrived, they hadn’t formulated a plan to explain her presence. Being back in Lion’s Arch, and with Rob, nonetheless, had been surprisingly overwhelming – both mentally and emotionally. It wasn’t like her to be this unprepared, especially since it was her own request to be a participant in the Pits, but it didn’t mean she wouldn’t try to formulate a false identity on the spot.

“Enchanted to meet you,” said the sylvari, offering a hand to her that she took and shook firmly. “It isn’t like Mr Brown to seat a fighter in…”

She knew where this was going. She stood up, and found herself on eye level with the sylvari. He stopped speaking, just a tad intimidated by her abrupt reaction.

“I’ve made an exception today Neville,” Rob explained. “I won’t go into details, but this woman is more than a mere fighter, she’s my guest.”

“Ah!” he cried. “Forgive me if I made you feel uncomfortable. My name is Neville Ambrose. Our common friend, Mr Brown, hired me to be a presenter in the Pits some years ago.”

A momentary silence lingered between Sel and Neville as he watched her quietly, waiting for her to reciprocate with an introduction of her own. “And I am…” a hundred pseudo names ran across her mind as she struggled to pick one. She thought of her journeys through Tyria, and the individuals she had met along the way. “The Wayward Thorn.” She blurted out.

“Miss Thorn,” Neville replied with a smirk. “Now that’s a catchy name. Shall I assume that administration has your details?”

“We’ll have it sorted out shortly,” said Rob.

“Excellent, I look forward to seeing you in the ring tonight.”

“About that,” Rob rose to his feet. “Miss Thorn will unfortunately not be available for a fight tonight. She..”

“No, I’m very available today,” Sel insisted, ignoring the frown that Rob cast at her. “After I get myself registered, I wish to get into the ring and start trading some punches.”

“Enthusiasm,” cheered Neville. “I love it!”

“Sadly,” Rob intervened. “The fight roster must be full today.”

“Actually, we’ve had someone cancel at the last minute…” Neville pointed out, taking out his list of names to look over. “I was about to cancel his opponent’s match. But if Miss Thorn…”

“I will fight him,” declared Sel.

“If I may ask, who is the opponent?” Rob inquired.

“Barker,” came the response.

Rob didn’t seem pleased with the answer. He scratched the stubble upon his chin, then addressed Neville, “Isn’t OneShot in a match today?”

The sylvari looked over his sheet and nodded.

“Schedule Barker to go against Darrin’s opponent, and bring OneShot down to battle the Thorn,” ordered Rob.

Neville grinned to himself, and immediately set to work making the changes on his sheet.

The entire back and forth coded exchange began to vex Selina. “What did you just do?” she asked him.

“I gave you a worthy opponent,” Rob answered. “By the way, if you’re planning on fighting today, you might consider moving over to the fighter’s corner. We’ll get you registered on the way there, and I’ll just run through some basic rules.”

“Should I assume that Miss Thorn doesn’t have any experience in these fights?” asked Neville.

“I’ve had plenty of experience elsewhere,” Selina snapped defensively. “I’ll have you know that I once had the largest Jotun anyone has ever laid eyes on, single-handedly slain. And that while being chained to the ground.”

“You must surely be joking,” Neville retorted levelly – clearly lacking faith in Sel’s bragging credibility.

“Fill that in as her guest introduction,” Rob pointed to Neville’s sheet as he escorted Sel away before she could blow up in Neville’s face. Rob knew full well that she never liked anyone doubting her claims.

Especially not the big ones.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on April 03, 2017, 11:26:15 AM
The fighter’s corner was a large room lined with lockers and un-walled showers, mostly filled with large sweaty males, both beast and man, and just one other female norn in the corner, all bulked and rippled in every area of her body that remained exposed. The majority of them had their faces fully exposed to Selina’s surprise, and they glared at her the minute the door was shut and bolted – to prevent the cowards from fleeing, was the reason they gave her, right after her application had been processed. Around the hips of each fighter sat a belt with a number on it – she could tell that the belt that she had around her waist had been used multiple times before for the leather was deeply worn, and it reeked of the collective perspiration of twenty other individuals. They had to fold and pin up the remaining portion of her belt that was unused in order to accommodate her frame. After eyeing the size of the other fighters and the width of their hips, she began to understand why.

“Greenhorn?” snorted a Charr that sported an old wound across the side of his face that was absent even of the brownish-red fur that grew on every other part of his body.

The piercing sound of feedback from speakers embedded in the walls caused most of the fighters to shudder. And as the sound faded, a single voice came through. Selina recognized it to belong to Robert. “May I remind all fighters that no blows should be exchanged in the fighter’s corner, or the offender will stand to be terminated from his contract immediately. You cannot see us, but we can see you, and we are watching throughout. Once your number is called, please step up to the plate on the west side of the room, according to the colour you are assigned…”

Selina spotted the dual plates, just as Robert had explained before she had entered. It was so much more technologically advanced than she would’ve expected. Some of the lost asuran technology that had been derived from Auric Basin, Robert had said.

“Hey Greenhorn,” the Charr that had addressed her before, continued to speak over Robert’s voice. “The disguise is for the fight, not in here.”

He was referring to the scarf over the lower half of her face. “I’m staying in character,” she replied. “And I’d prefer you not to refer to me as Greenhorn.”

“I’ll call you whatever I like,” retorted the Charr defiantly, stepping even closer. His spit flying onto her left shoulder. “Greeeeeeen-horn.”

Selina considered the cameras in the room, not wanting to cause a fuss before the fight even began. She decided to simply wipe the spit off herself, and reply in a calm manner. “Keep the testosterone in the ring, will you?”

The Charr roared with laughter, as though she had said the funniest thing to him that day.

A sharper voice to her right drew her attention. “Arena,” it corrected her. It was then she noticed an asura sitting comfortably in a golem, partially obscured by shadows, sipping a drink in a cup out of a straw. “Get with the times, bookah.”

“Arena,” she repeated in a mocking manner. Just minutes in the fighter’s corner and she already knew that she liked none of these individuals – but she hadn’t come here to make friends, so she didn’t plan to cosy up to any one of them anyway.

“What skills do you bring to the Pits?” he asked. She could see his form outlined behind the reflection upon the dome of glass that he hid behind, but she could not make out his features or his colour.

“Isn’t this a battle of fists? How are you in a golem and not disqualified for sitting in a moving weapon?” she just had to ask.

“This golem is dynamically connected to me, and reacts correspondingly to my every movement. It is neither equipped with any projectile nor instrument for attack or defense beyond what any of you yourselves can offer. As such, it is qualified as a technical extension of myself and is most certainly, not a weapon.” He answered self-assuredly.  “And you did not answer my question.”

She didn’t agree with the verdict on the golem. She’d seen some of them in action. And even though most of what the asura had said was probably true, riding in a golem would most certainly give him some kind of invulnerability over the competition. It was more likely that he was allowed in there on a technicality. Some rule that he’d twisted to his favour that Robert’s team had not anticipated. “I don’t see why I need to,” she answered haughtily. Wasn’t hard being rude to someone she had no respect for.

That drew some surprised laughter among the crowd. Obviously disrespecting the asura wasn’t a common sight. “Well well… I’ll give that to you, since you’re the Brown’s little ward. You may be a princess out there, but in here, I’m the king.” It was then that the golem reared to life and moved into the light. Selina could see that the asura had grafted a sharp fin-like extension on the top of his golem, and painted a large grin in the mouth position – a toothy grin consisting of dozens of pointed teeth.  “King Shark, know my name, bookah.”
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on April 05, 2017, 11:22:26 AM
After returning to the commandpost near the outskirts of Divinity’s Reach and passing on the message Garren asked him to, Aidan’s search turned into a lot of travelling around. He quickly found out captain Thackery had left the camp to assist the Pact Commander in the attack on Caudecus’ Manor. After travelling there he received news that Anise had taken Valette Wi with her and it was suspected miss Wi might know more, thus Aidan returned to the capital to catch up with Anise.

When he finally managed to get a hold of the two he was glad to learn Valette was eager to redeem herself. As he questioned her he felt that she even seemed a bit sympathetic towards his cause. She was able to tell him that his aunt most likely ran to Ebonhawke fortress where she had contacts. After Valette had supplied all necessary information Anise sent her out of the room. She then instructed Aidan on how to proceed. The first thing to do was meet up with a contact in the Ebon Vanguard by the name of Diana Princee and thus after only a short rest Aidan found himself stepping through the portal leading to Ebonhawke. 
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on April 11, 2017, 12:38:07 AM
As the show progressed, more and more fighters stepped up to the plates, were transported to the arena. Those waiting their turn could watch the ongoing match through a window that opened into the fight space. They were on an elevated platform, so the view was relatively unblocked. King Shark was exactly as he had declared, the king of the ring. The cheers for him rang through the roof, and he took down the norn with a horned helmet that had been assigned to him, in spite of the clear height difference - then had his golem stomp on the unconscious giant before lifting its arms to the air in a victory pose. The Charr who had spoken to her before, employed the use of leaping back jabs to take down his human opponent, they worked well for him, catching the human off-guard time and again till the man could no longer stand.

There were just four more fighters left in the corner. Two sylvari, a charr, and herself to represent the human race. She eyed them carefully, curious as to who this ‘OneShot’ character was - surely he was among them. “New girl?” asked the more stalwart of the two sylvaris. He was standing tall practising some of his moves while the other was seated, back facing her, hunched over.

“Aye,” she replied. “Are you OneShot?”

The sylvari traded looks with the charr next to him, and both chuckled. “That would be him,” replied the Charr, pointing to the seated sylvari. “Guess you’ll soon find out why they call him OneShot.”

“Didn’t he pick that name out himself?”

“It wasn’t his original nickname. Let’s just say it’s an earned name,” said the sylvari ambiguously.

A few other questions sat on the tip her tongue when her number came up. She took one of the plates and watched as the sylvari rose slowly, and lumbered over with some difficulty. As he neared, she could see a dozen or so injuries on his body that was still in the process of healing. They were obviously causing him some discomfort.

“What happened to you?” she asked – a little less enthusiastic about getting into the ring if her opponent was in such condition to start with.

“Less talking, more fighting,” he growled.

Light beams rose from the ground and pulsed the plate beneath her feet as the fighter’s corner disappeared before her, and she entered the arena without taking so much as a step. She noticed that OneShot had appeared at the other end of the sand filled ring. He looked a little more energized now, fists raised in a defensive stance, cutting through the space between them slowly.

“Presenting our very own OneShot verses a brand new competitor to the arena, the Wayward Thorn!” Neville’s voice rang clear over the amplifier to somewhat unenthusiastic applause. She stole a quick look around, and though it was hard to spot the expressions of the spectators over the blinding lights of the arena, she could clearly hear lots of conversations going on all at once. As much as she hadn’t signed up for the fights for the attention or the applause, she couldn’t help feeling annoyed that the audience wasn't half interested in their fight.

Taking a few steps forward, she focussed her attention once again on her opponent. He was right before her now, and she could see dried sap lining a deep gash just above his eye. His brows were furrowed, and his fists hovered right in front of his face. There was a fierceness she didn’t expect from him, especially after witnessing how he had literally limped over to the plate before. She raised her own fists to counter his.

With the loud blare of the horn, he swung his right at her – a move that she had already anticipated from the shift of his weight, and dodged nimbly. Regaining her position, she swung her left into his ribs that threw him off his balance, spinning him around before he lost his footing and fell onto the dust. A little surprised by the effectiveness of that one jab she had delivered, she remained where she stood, waiting for him to rise again. But OneShot remained on the ground, unmoving.

“Aaaaad it seems like OneShot is out cold… yet again!” came Neville’s voice.

Yet again? Selina didn’t like the sound of that. “Psst…” she whispered as she neared him. Probably a bad idea as it would leave her ankles vulnerable, but she had the feeling he wasn’t going to get up, at least not anytime soon. “OneShot?”

Neville began a countdown from five that the crowd chimed in for. Selina knew that at the zero mark, she would be declared the winner. But she didn’t want to win like this. The fight would be completely unsatisfying and frustrating if this was indeed the end. She lowered her fists and crouched onto the ground as the numbers dropped. “Wake up, OneShot!” she cried over the looming voices around the arena, nudging his shoulder desperately.

And just as Neville officially declared to the applauding crowd of her victory, an eye opened, glared at her with a gleam of chafe. She leaned away from him for a second, giving him room to rise from his fallen state. But his eye only fell shut again. She was about to move him to shake him again when she felt hands around her arms, and noticed that it was the Pit staff that pulled her to her feet. “Wait,” she told them, resisting their action, “I think he’s awake.”

“It’s over Thorn, time to leave,” one of the staff replied, and they continued in their attempt to get her to leave OneShot behind.

Neville made a comment that the Wayward Thorn didn’t seem to want to leave, that she probably intended to hog the limelight, and that made the audience holler with laughter.

She resisted the grip of the staff again, but this time for a different intent. “Don’t touch me,” she snapped. “I’ll walk out on my own.” The staff left her on her own, and she stepped onto the plate by herself. Being in that arena had left a bad taste in her mouth, and she suspected that the entire spectacle was somehow the fault of Rob’s. He would certainly get an earful of this and more…
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on April 24, 2017, 04:03:21 AM
"What in the six gods were you thinking?" Selina could only bear to hold her breath till they got to the carriage before she began raging on at Rob. "You totally rigged the fight! I told you I wanted to participate, that does not at all count."

Rob gazed solemnly out the window, displeased by her attitude. "You really should show some gratitude. I've taken you into my home, given you everything you could want, even wedged you in the show last minute for no cost at all, and this is how I'm treated."

"Do you think I would be here if you hadn't threatened me first?"

He turned to look her firmly in the eyes. The wealth of kindness that he had shown her before was stripped away in that glance. It surprised her that he was still standing his ground. She was so certain that he would be utterly embarrassed by his actions by now, and for a moment, she began to wonder if she'd overstepped her bounds. "This isn't the first time you've thrown that at me. Have somewhere else you have to be?" he snapped.

Somehow he knew that she had nowhere to go. As much as she'd convinced herself that she was with Rob removed from her own volition, fronted with the question of staying and she realised that a part of her wanted to remain with Rob just so she'd be able to hide from her other issues with Caden, with Aidan.. perhaps even with Dahr. Robert Brown represented a sense of stability she hadn't felt for a while now, from a time when she knew exactly where she was headed. She opened her mouth to speak, but when no words came, she decided to close it.

"The only reason I paired you with OneShot is due to your inexperience in organized arena fights. And if you think I'd specifically singled you out because of your association with me, you'd be wrong. I would've done the same thing with any other inexperienced fighter. Everyone has to work their way up, and you are no different." His tone had mellowed. His explanation was delivered in an assured matter-of-fact manner that she found she would be wrong to refute.

"He went down with just one hit. I wasn't even trying my best..." Her complaint sounded more like a whine.

Rob shrugged. "OneShot insisted to get into the ring even with all the injuries that he'd sustained through previous fights. Perhaps it wasn't so much your attack on him, but that he just needed a little nudge to go off to sleepyland. I know you have some energy you need to vent, and you're frustrated that you didn't get a more challenging fight. You're welcome to try again if you'd like. I promise to pair you with someone... a little more sturdy, the next time."

Something perturbed her though, almost as much as the disappointment of the fight itself, "Rob... but it seemed like he wasn't really out. He was just pretending."

Rob chuckled at her. "You're giving yourself much too little credit, Sel. You may be an inexperienced organized arena fighter, but you've definitely shown training from elsewhere. That will carry you far, should you plan to continue fighting in the Pits."

It didn't take her long to consider his proposal. She was still aching for a good fight, and an escape from the memory of the bridges that she had burnt. Somewhere deep inside she also hoped to see OneShot again, to get to the bottom of what actually happened out there.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on April 25, 2017, 06:12:50 AM
Rob had shown her little attention that evening, right up to dinner. She chewed her greens while Rob remained pinned to some news he had received while they'd been away. The servant would occasionally enter the dining room to clear the previous course and serve the next one. It was a luxury that she had gotten acclimatized to in Aidan's household - the more guttural voices of protest of wealthy privilege mostly silenced, aside from the occasional urge to help the servants with their chores so she could quench her guilty conscience. This wasn't one of those days.

"What is the news about?" she asked between sips of her tea.

He lifted a lazy glance towards her. "Oh, just some political drama at Divinity's Reach."

"Divinity's Reach?"

"The Separatists made an attempt on Queen Jennah's life."

She looked back in surprise. "What? Really? I assume they failed."

"You would be right," replied Rob, putting a slice of potato in his mouth. "Kinda hard to get past that wall of Shining Blade Jennah's erected around herself."

"You're disappointed." She surmised.

"Aren't you? I recall you hating the woman more than I did."

She leaned back in her seat. Much had changed, and she didn't know what to think of Jennah or the Shining Blade anymore. "Let's just say I'm glad she's not someone worse."

"I see living with the elite in the Reach has altered your opinion. I would never in my life have imagined you to be a Jennah sympathizer."

"I'm not!" she instinctively snapped. "I may have softened my views on her, but I'm far from being in her camp just yet."

Rob folded up the news and placed it on the table. "I suppose I can't complain about maintaining status quo. The Separatists though... they're going to wish they had never failed. The Shining Blade is known to be brutal to their enemies."

Selina thought about Bran getting beat up at the Shining Blade safehouse, and she shuddered. This led her to thinking about Aidan, and his involvement with the Shining Blades. She wondered if Anise had gotten him involved the hunt for Separatists. Even if she had, Selina knew she would the last to know. Anise had shown little compassion in the way of reuniting her with her brother. The Shining Blade had simply used her to bait the White Mantle, and ignored her the moment she stopped being useful. She finished her tea and put down the cup. Just thinking about the entire situation made her bristle. She didn't know whether to be more upset with Anise or Aidan.

"Silver for your thoughts..." said Rob, observing her state of disgust. "Had your own encounter with the Shining Blade?"

"I'd rather not talk about it."

"You were wise to leave that life behind, Sellie. You'll find the Lionguard a lot more... accommodating toward challenging situations."

"Is that why you've chosen to live in Lion's Arch?"

He nodded. "And I just enjoy reveling in the mix of races and cultures. There's a lot more freedom of acceptance. Divinity's Reach can be... somewhat stifling."

"Can't argue with you there."

He let silence settle between them as he tapped his fingers on the hardwood of his dining table. He finally stood up, walked over to a display cabinet, opened it up and operated a gadget seated on one of the shelves. In an instant, the room filled with the tinkling sounds of music being played, emitted from the gadget in Rob's hands. He looked over to judge her response. "Do you like it?"

"More technology from the west?"

He smiled. "A musical band in the comfort of your own home. The asuras are quite the inventors."

"And you're quite the keen collector."

Rob crossed the room and stood before her, stretching out a hand. "Dance?"

She hesitated, staring at the hand that was held before her. He realised that he had made her uncomfortable, and instead brought his hand to her cheek, cupping it gently. "What's happened to you Sel? Have you lost your glow?"

She stood up and met him eye to eye, picked up the hand at her cheek, and removed it. "I'm sorry Rob, I'm just... tired from the day. Perhaps another time."

"Sure..." he replied, a tad disappointed.

Then she excused herself and headed for her room.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on April 26, 2017, 07:35:55 AM
Still furious Aidan clenched his teeth together as the Vanguard surgeon went about cleaning the large gash Andrea's sword had left in his arm. Of course there was no point in being angry with Sax, he should've known better than to involve a civilian, but Andrea's narrow escape had him feeling rather unreasonable. He considered sneaking out in the night to avoid being stuck with the norn and sylvari again. Maybe he could go back to the Reach, perhaps Selina might help him. He pondered the notion of asking his sister for help for a while, but he knew the blood loss had left him too weak to travel far alone. Besides that, it would be quite a while until he could fully use his left arm again.

Though he knew it was pointless he went over the past days events again. After his arrival in Ebonhawke fortress he sought out Diana, who oddly enough seemed to be accompanying a wounded sylvari. He shook his head as he realized they should never even have taken Sax out of the fortress. That got him a comment from the surgeon who demanded Aidan lay still as he set about stitching the wound. His mind drawn back to the present Aidan glared at his arm. The surgeon must've done something to it because the stinging pain seemed to turn into a warm tingling sensation.
So why did he agree to let Sax come he wondered. Because she argued her hound would have no issues tracking down the farmer boy, but even so, he never used to be this lax. Normally he would've found another way, so why was he so distracted now?.

The question kept playing on his mind even after the surgeon had dressed his wound and left him to rest. In the end Aidan had to conclude, no matter how much he disliked to admit it, that Andrea was getting to him. Tracking down Andrea wasn't like any other case, it was personal. After some more pondering Aidan finally fell into a fitful sleep.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on April 27, 2017, 10:24:18 PM
True to Rob's word, Selina found herself opposite a buff human brawler named Recon just the next day. Not that all those layers of muscles could've saved him from what was coming. How she'd gloated when she took him down to his knees in a bare-fisted fight that stretched on and ended before the ring of the bell, it was especially befitting for one who had began the fight by mocking both her frame and gender. The fickle crowd that showered more favor on his side at the start of the fight, now rang resoundingly for her as she stood with a foot wedged upon his shoulder. With one simple kick, sent him sprawling onto the arena dust. With nothing more to show for it than a bruise on her left cheek where he'd gotten her once at the beginning, and battered fists that had become numb with the offensive jabs she'd employed on the sides of his temples, she could finally bask in the glory of a good fight. The lights on the arena continued to blind her, but she made sure to acknowledge the whistles and applause with a curt wave before leaving.

After some persuading, Rob had promised her a third fight the day after the next, one that would definitely satisfy. She didn't know what he meant by that, but she was rearing and ready to tackle that head on.

As she returned to the fighters corner, she was met with the Charr that had called her a 'greenhorn' on the first day. He had introduced himself as the Iron Gladiator during his set, and as a means of living out that moniker, would don a menacing iron helmet that caged up most of his face in bars. He had the helmet on again, she assumed his number was coming up soon. "So... the greenhorn has had a victory," he said through a toothy grin.

"Two," she corrected him.

"One," he insisted. "Yesterday's doesn't count."

She frowned, as much as she'd think to agree, it remained officially two victories. But she'd let her score speak for itself, she didn't care to carry on a juvenile debate with this beast. The conversation made her look about the fighters corner though. When she didn't find the one sylvari that she sought, she asked the room with no one in particular, "So where is OneShot?"

"With his master, I suppose," came a response from an asura dressed in what seemed to be chainmail, even though it seemed a lot lighter than any chainmail she had ever seen. She had never met this asura before, and she quickly noted that he wasn't in a golem like King Shark was - she wondered if that still gave King Shark the excuse to be in one then.

"His master?" It was a strange choice of words, she assumed the asura was being cynical or something.

"Leif Arrowbrand," answered the asura a matter-of-factly, but stopped shortly the moment Iron Gladiator stared him down.

"The asura meant OneShot had one too many rounds in the arena and is getting healed up before he comes back," elaborated the Charr.

Selina gave the asura another look, and he merely nodded back. Something was amiss and she knew she wasn't getting any straight answers with these lot, so she merely smiled and said, "I hope he doesn't go down in one hit again, what an embarrassment!" There was some laughter in the room, and just as quickly as it had erupted, died down shortly after.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

On their way back to the carriage, a leggy beautiful brunette dressed in yak furs stopped them on their way to hand Rob a card from a business associate. As she placed the card in his hand, she flirted at him with her eyes, and he promptly responded by kissing her on the cheek. The woman giggled, touched him on the shoulder and left. Rob then proceeded to enter the carriage, silently ignoring the blatant glare by Selina. He had been getting mixed signals from her, and he was beginning to have less and less sympathy, history or not. After the previous night's response, he was ready to dump her back on the streets where she had come. It was beginning to feel like she was more trouble than she was worth. "Happy with your fight?" he asked for the sake of conversation.

She exaggerated a shrug. "It was fine."

He snorted and thumbed the card that he had been given.

"What's that?" she asked, pointing to the card.

"Someone wants to work out a deal in regards to some of the fighters."

"Made lots of deals, have you?" she asked pointedly, and he looked at her suspiciously. It felt as though she had something more she wasn't saying.

"Are you trying to hint at something?"

She hesitated, then shook her face. "I'm just asking."

"Look Sel, don't lie. I know you're pissed off about something, so just spill it." He'd fully expected her to rattle on about the brunette, but what she had on her mind was something quite different.

"Who's Leif Arrowbrand?"

"Why do you want to know?"

"You asked me to spill it," she complained.

He stopped, a little embarrassed that he'd jumped to the wrong conclusion. "He's a shareholder. How did you come by his name?"

"What's his connection to OneShot?"

Rob raised a brow, Selina was racing down a track she didn't belong on. "He's an... interested party. In this line, you need spectators, especially shareholders, to be interested in particular fighters, otherwise just winning fights alone aren't enough. It's as much as popularity contest as it is a battle of brawn."

"What do you mean he's an interested party? From what I've heard of OneShot, he's been losing a lot. Who would bet on a loser?"

"Like it or not, there's a loser as many times as there is a winner for each fight. Losing isn't all its cut out to be."

Selina was obviously confused. "So someone is interested in a fighter due to his ability to lose? Does that mean you guys are rigging fights?"

"No," he snapped defensively. He had about had it with Selina. "Can you stop suggesting that? I run a fair and honest business, and I built it with my bare hands from the ground up to be a distant memory of what the Widowmakers had intended for the Rings to be." At the back of his mind he wondered why he found himself explaining the Pits over and over to Selina. She would never trust him, why did he think he'd ever get a second chance? He sighed loudly, and spoke the words he never expected to. "Look Sel, I didn't want it to come to this, but I think this really isn't working out between the two of us. It looks like you'll never stop clinging to the past and I..."

He stopped when Sel practically lurched from her seat and planted herself onto his lips. Her arms wrapped around his back, while he, too surprised to react, had to admit that he didn't at all mind having Selina Knox taking him on like that. They were locked in that position for a while till she finally untangled herself from him, and he found himself breathless and still reeling from what had happened. She settled herself back in her seat, and looked at him coolly. "You were saying?"

Straightening himself out, he found he couldn't remember what he was talking about. "What... why did you...?" was the only thing he could say.

"You said I couldn't stop clinging to the past, and I just showed you that I'm way past that. And I will stop asking about the Pits and what goes on in the background. I trust you, and I'm just here to fight. You're providing that service, so I thank you."

Rob found himself smiling sheepishly. He didn't expect the one-eighty by Selina, but it made him very glad. He had been on the verge of asking her to leave, but now he would never think of it. Finally... and just in time, Selina Knox had come to her senses.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on May 03, 2017, 06:09:54 AM
Recap of April 25th roleplay session:
The following morning Aidan discovered, to his dismay, that Andrea had not only badly damaged his arm, but also rendered his armor unusable. He decided to order a new jacket at the local leatherworker. Before he could leave for the market however he was handed an envelope sealed with a shining blade seal. It turned out to be a letter from Selina, reading as following: "Aydan, I am werried aboot you. Pleese rite back. I will be chacking your home for maile."
After reading it Aidan told Sax and Diana he'd be going to the market. There he ordered a replacement jacket after which Sax and Diana caught up with him. It turned out they planned to go to the brand to continue Sax's research. Before they left Diana told Aidan that the Ebon Vanguard scouts had returned empty handed. They had followed Andrea and Goodman into a field of harpies where they apparently had lost track of them completely. Sax invited Aidan to come along to the brand but feeling more important matters were at stake Aidan declined and returned to the vanguard's quarters to tend to his correspondence.

Back at the vanguard's quarters Aidan sat down at the table and took Selina's letter out of his pocket. He read the three short lines again and placed it on the table as he considered them. He wondered how Selina managed to get a letter sent to him through the Shining Blade. It had to have gone through Anise, he knew she'd seen her. But then why hadn't Anise given him the letter himself when he met her a couple of days ago. He poured himself a glass of water as he tried to make sense of the situation. After some time he gave up and decided to just answer Selina instead.
He put pen to paper and started to write his reply.
"Selina,
Thank you for your letter. Please do not worry about me..."

However halfway through a thought creeped into his head and he stopped. What if he did ask Selina for help. After Diana told him they lost track of Andrea and Goodman the first thing he wanted to do was go after them himself, but of course his arm prevented that. Asking Sax and Diana seemed like a bad idea, but Selina... Not only was she experienced, Andrea might not suspect it, considering she wasn't present for any of the events that transpired in the caves. Besides that, she might know more about this Goodman, or at least where to look for him.
After some more consideration he crumpled up the paper before him and tossed it into the fire. He took a new sheet and started again.

"Selina,
Thank you for your letter. As it turns out I am in need of your help. If you are able, please meet me in Ebonhawke Fortress. I will arrange a room for you in the inn near the Postern Gate by the name of Starling. I'll come and find you when you've arrived."


He folded the letter and sealed it, after which he wrote another letter. This time to the Shining Blade, updating them on his progress and asking for any further information that may be had about Andrea's contact Goodman.

After both letters were finished Aidan went out to find two birds to send them to their respective receivers. He then proceeded to the inn he mentioned to Selina to have a word with the innkeeper. He knew the man well from his previous stay and was certain he would have no objections to keeping a room for his visitor.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on May 04, 2017, 01:01:52 AM
"I appreciate the thought, but this seems excessive." Selina sat lazily on Rob's bed, a plate of half eaten pastry beside her, wrapped in fur blankets, propped up on a downy pillow, flipping through a catalog full of sketches by a renowned tailor residing right there in Lion's Arch. It was the same tailor he used on his formal suits, and he wanted Selina to have one of her own. One that would cater specifically to her tastes, and her needs. She flipped through a few more pages of elaborately drawn chest pieces and their matching accessories. "I mean... how does one even choose?"

Rob grinned. He loved his wealth, and how he was able to lavish her with whatever she could ever want. He was vaguely aware of the gold that was generated for the Widowmakers through the Rings, but now that he could actually hold it all in his hands, he despised them even more for depriving him of such a life for years. He admired Selina as she glowed in daylight. He despised the Widowmakers for depriving him of what they could've had in their youth. But he finally had his second chance, to have the life he'd always wanted, the life that he felt he deserved. "It doesn't have to be today Sel. You have all the time in the world to pick just the perfect one out."

She turned her eyes up from the catalog. They were soft, grateful... loving. He had a hand up, and the other buttoning the embroidered cuff at his wrist. But his hands froze as he sought to capture this moment forever. Just the two of them, locked in each other's gaze. As though she had thrown him an invisible lasso and was drawing him in, slowly, he moved towards her in large strides, and fell into her embrace. One that she met with the fiery passion that he'd remembered of her, before all those years they'd lost. She cradled him in her arms as he rolled to her side. He was fully clothed, ready to head for work, but he was incrementally fighting himself to stay.

"Oh Rob," she said sweetly between kisses around the crown of his head. "I'm going to be so bored when you're at work."

"I know babe, I'm sorry, but I'll be at an important meeting, and unfortunately the clients won't appreciate having a fighter listen in. I guess you could always sit outside, if you don't mind?"

She frowned dramatically to relay her response. "I don't want to sit outside. Why do I have to?"

"You can always stay in the house like you'd planned earlier. Mrs Priscot will get you everything you need, and I'll be back before you know."

"I'm going to be bored!" she complained and thrashed her legs around like a little child throwing a tantrum. "Would you mind if I walked around the house to amuse myself?"

"Of course not! Help yourself to..." he began, and as a thought struck him, continued his sentence with more caution. "You can be in any room, look into any desk or wardrobe that you'd like... as long as you don't go into that little room in the study. It's small, and dusty and boring anyway. Everything else is yours to have."

Her eyes opened wide. "There's a little room in the study?"

He pressed his lips, and wondered if he was saying too much. "It's more like... a closet of sorts. Just a boring old record room. You wouldn't be interested. You'd love the garden that I have being constructed out back though. Maybe you can make some suggestions as to what foliage I should fill it with."

"A garden?" she said with much delight. "That sounds fun. I'll definitely take a look."

"Wonderful!" He remembered the meeting and knew that he would be late to it if he didn't tear himself off her. "I'm sorry babe, I really have to go." He gave her one more parting kiss, a reluctant wave, then rolled off the bed.

"Bye darling," she replied sadly as she pulled a long face, and watched him leave the room. Heard his hasty footsteps down the stairs. She dragged the fur sheets with her as she left the bed to peer out of the window. There, she found his carriage coming to life and trotting down the street, away from the house. When she knew he was far away enough, she slammed a fist into the sill. The truth was that she was glad he was finally gone so she could stop playing on this charade. Rob clearly wanted a woman at his beck and call, and maiden he could fawn on with all that wealth of his, and if she intended to stay, she had to embody that person. As she stepped out of the sheets and reached for her clothes, she thought about how she'd almost retched in her own mouth with all that sweet talk. Rob didn't seem to have a clue, that went to show her how much he really knew her at all. That felt hurtful and validating all at the same time for what she was about to do.

As she stepped out of the room, she knew there was just one other person in the house that she would have to get rid of before she set to work. With another glance out the window, she confirmed the presence of a group of kids that she'd noticed, meeting everyday in the field nearby at about this time to play sockball. She'd picked up a stray ball one day on her way to the Pits, Rob had told her that one of the boys' mothers would make a ton of those balls out of old socks and a heavy elastic material that the boy's father spent his work hours manufacturing for the harbor. Something about protecting the ship's hull from being damaged when coming to dock. Those balls though, tended to be scattered all over the place after a game. The result of lots of old socks and unwanted elastic material, and a group of boys too lazy to pick up after themselves. She'd kept the ball she picked up, mostly to amuse herself. But it would now come into handy.

"Mrs Priscot!" she yelled out the door. This summoned the plump little lady who arrived promptly and answered politely, even though it was clear that she still wasn't pleased with Rob's new guest.  "I'm just feeling a bit peckish," said Selina. "Would you be so kind as to run downstairs and make me a sandwich? Specifically, a bacon and cheese sandwich grilled just right so it's crispy on the outside and soft on the inside."

"Of course," the help answered, turning to leave.

"Oh and..." said Selina, running over to the bed. Mrs Priscot turned back, trying her utmost to hold her tongue. Selina returned with the plate of half eaten pastries, and handed it to her. "You can take these away, these aren't good." Mrs Priscot took the plate and looked grimly at the pastries that she had woken up when the sun had not risen to bake, just as her guest had requested. Hot and fresh... she had said. Selina waved her away. "Bye bye."

As Mrs Priscot walked off, holding her head as high as she could, Selina felt a tinge of guilt for treating the woman the way she did. She knew that by this point, the woman would likely kill her in her sleep if she could, but Selina did swear payback for the poor welcome the woman had given her, and Mrs Priscot hadn't yet given her a reason to reverse that decision. You get what you give, Selina whispered under her breath, and headed to the pack she had arrived at Rob's home with. She removed a grappling hook fixed with a tethered rope, walked over to the window and secured it just at the sill. When she had tested it with strength, pulled up the scarf over her face, and worked her way to the second floor. She knew that by that time, Mrs Priscot would be in the kitchen, getting busy with her sandwich. Most likely with her back to the windows that faced the street. Selina pulled the sockball out of her jacket, swung it in wide circles, as far as the sock would expand, took aim, and when she felt sure, let it fly. With a swift hurtle, the sockball crashed through the window and sent shards of glass all over the kitchen floor. As soon as she heard Mrs Priscot's shrill cry, Selina quickly moved back up the wall and tumbled into the room.

"You boys!" Mrs Priscot continued shrieking as she sprinted madly into the street, bread knife still in her hand. What a day the woman was having. Selina had noticed through the last few days that Mrs Priscot was a meticulous woman when it came to cleanliness. She knew that cleaning up that floor would take up a whole bulk of her time. Time that Selina could spend poking into Rob's study.

After retrieving the grapple and stowing it away. Selina tugged on her gloves, and made a beeline to Rob's study where she easily found the room that he was talking about. She tried the door. But of course it was locked. Something important she'd learnt through her career was that people don't lock doors or drawers unless there's something they want to hide from the world. She assumed this secret would be as big... or perhaps just half, half as big as the Andrea reveal. Pulling out her trusty lockpick set, she got to work, turning those mini gears.

When everything clicked into place, she turned the knob and looked into... a closet. Rob wasn't lying about that. But it certainly wasn't dusty. Like Andrea's desk, there were all kinds of files in that closet. She pulled a couple out and saw that they were contract sheets. Contracts with the fighters, logs of their wins and losses, reward money imparted. There was an entire shelf on accounting and finances. The records showed a steady income from ticket sales, but more majorly from stocks and private donations. Private donations that added to ungodly sums, and the eventual withdrawal of these sums with a minutely reduced overall total. She lowered the papers... the movement of money in and out of the Pits looked suspiciously like the Pits were being used as an unofficial banking system. There were several names attached to the donations. One of the biggest donors being Leif Arrowbrand. Why wasn't she surprised? She pulled out a notepad and copied down a few of the other names. There were too many to get all of them without risking Mrs Priscot returning to find her there, so she decided to pick out just the largest donors and find out who they were at a later time.

Footsteps... there were footsteps coming up the stairs. Had Mrs Priscot cleared up the glass shards and made the sandwich already? There couldn't have been enough time. The footsteps, they came closer. Selina ducked out of the closet, shut the door, pulled the scarf off her face and tore her gloves off her hands. With a leap, she made it onto Rob's desk while sticking that piece of paper into her back pocket, just as Mrs Priscot poked her head into the study. She saw Selina seated on Rob's desk, legs crossed, watching her intently. "I thought I heard some movement from here," commented the maidservant, eyeing her suspiciously.

"Yeah, I got bored of lazing around on Rob's bed. Thought I'd come in here and wait for him to come back," she replied.

"Are you even allowed in the study?" asked Mrs Priscot. Selina noticed that she was absent of the sandwich she had ordered.

"Rob gave me full reign of the house, but like that should matter to you," she said defiantly, sliding her legs onto the desk to assume authority. Mrs Priscot looked on in aghast, but didn't dare say anything in response. "Aren't you forgetting my sandwich?"

"I came here to tell you that we are out of bacon. Would it please the miss to have tuna instead?"

"Tsk..." complained Selina. "Just a simple request and you're even failing to see it through. Fine, I'll have to settle for tuna instead. Go hurry up, I'm getting hungry."

Mrs Priscot removed herself from the room without so much as a response. Selina knew she was dangling on threads with the woman. All the better to keep her away. She had to credit this all to Divinity's Reach's wealthy, they had a way of really getting under people's skin without so much as lifting a finger. That thought amused her for a while as she picked up her gloves and knelt before the door to the closet to get it locked up again. She knew that the key to a good secret heist was restoring everything to their exact same positions so no one would ever suspect that they had been invaded. Without suspect, they wouldn't know what hit them. Selina took due note of the direction each item faced every time she would have to pick it up, or move it for whatever reason. Even the angle at which it was turned, if it was tilted. She even made it a habit to bring a bag of grey tinted powder along with her to simulate dust should anything be shaken. Nobody ever suspects anything was moved when dust cloaks an environment evenly. And a coat of dust in itself is a deterrent. Nobody likes sneezing.

With a final glance about the room to make sure everything was in place, Selina returned to Rob's room and slipped the note into the bottom of her pack before she removed her clothes and slipped back into bed for a nap. Rob would be back soon, and she would have to resume the great charade. Better to keep a sharp mind when doing so.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on May 04, 2017, 10:24:33 AM
When Selina woke up, she found herself looking directly into Rob's face. He'd returned, as bright as the sunshine with a bouquet of roses pressed against his chest. She smiled and stretched. "Hey Rob."

"Hey babe." He leaned down for kiss, and placed the roses beside her. "Did you have fun?"

She yawned before replying. "I walked around the house for a bit, hadn't gone to the garden before I decided to take a nap so as to speed up time spent waiting for you."

He laughed abashedly, and sat beside her. There was some hesitation in regards to what he'd planned to say next, but he decided to take it step by step. "About tomorrow's fight..."

"What about it?"

He winced as he broke the news. "You've been taken out of tomorrow's fight."

She sat up, prickled by what she had heard. "What? Why?"

He knew that she was upset, as much as he could've expected. He stroked her shoulder in an attempt to calm her down. "There's something I must admit to you. I fixed the fight when you'd been pressing me constantly about setting up something challenging. In a fit of rage... I... set you up with Iron Gladiator."

Mental screenshots of the Charr who had mocked her on the first day swam through her mind as she tried to imagine taking him on. He did seem rather formidable, but she wouldn't exactly declare him as someone who would be beyond her. She could see herself taking him down. "Sounds like a fun match to me."

"Have you seen what the Iron Gladiator does to his opponents?" asked Rob rather intensely. "One of them won't be walking any longer. Another one had to be treated for a concussion. Yet another lost four of his teeth. He packs quite the punch."

Even though none of that frightened her, it soured her opinion of what Rob had discreetly intended for her - whether or not done in a fit of rage. As fun a friend as Rob was, there always remained that dark selfish streak that she wouldn't let herself trust. One that she had sworn once upon a time never to be fooled by again. "And so this is your idea of protecting me? To remove me completely from the fight?"

He had two hands on both her shoulders, she assumed to reassure her that he only had the best in mind for her. "How can I claim to love you, and on the other hand, bear to see you bruised and battered? It was why I didn't want you to get involved in the first place. And I wouldn't, if you hadn't first insisted."

Dread filled her mind. Rob's idea of protectiveness would put an early end to her career in the Pits. And she had since become obsessed with OneShot, Leif Arrowbrand and the names she had collected from Rob's closet. Being in that environment would help her learn more without looking to much like she was trying to investigate. "Rob, as much as you want to protect me, you have to give me my freedom. You have witnessed for yourself that I can be skilled and efficient in the arena. I won't allow myself to be bruised and battered. Don't take me out completely, I do want to delve more into this sport. If Iron Gladiator makes you nervous, then pair me with someone else."

Rob fell into a thoughtful silence. "You really like fighting in the Pits?"

"Isn't that what I've told you?"

"I thought you were doing it to vent off steam. That whole issue with your brother seemed to have you hot and bothered. I figured it'd take you one good fight to let it all out. Haven't you already had that?"

She took his hands off her shoulders and placed them together, wrapped in hers. "I may be bothered about my brother. But fighting in the Pits, relishing the cheers of the spectators, standing over my fallen opponent, those are things that I can live for. And it has nothing to do with my personal problems, I swear."

Rob began to laugh a little uncomfortably. "Wow... you are certainly a strange gal. But I understand where you're coming from. I suppose I really shouldn't be holding you back."

A smile dawned on her face. "So am I back in the roster for tomorrow?"

He let out a sigh. "Not with the Iron Gladiator, but I'll see if I can put you with someone who's more your size."

"Great!" she squealed, and gave him a hug. "Let's celebrate my re-entrance to the Pits tonight. I'll dance to your music box if that's what you'd like to do."

"Promise?"

She nodded happily, and squeezed him again.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on May 04, 2017, 03:42:23 PM
It had been two weeks since Selina left them at Bran's cave. Caden had stayed the night but left early the next morning as well. He went home to his parents, like he had told Selina he would. His parents and of course his grandmother were ever so pleased to see him and for a few days, the change of company managed to keep Caden's mind in the present. It didn't last long however and as soon as he found himself settling into some sort of routine, he found his mind wandering. He could not get Selina out of his head and he relived the moments by the lake a hundred times, mulling through all the ifs and buts.

Restless he had worked through the days until he found he could bear it no longer. One evening he simply announced that he would be leaving the next morning to travel to the Reach to see if there was any news from his friends, and thus he left.

It was in the late afternoon the next day that he reached Aidan's house and knocked on the door.

After a few minutes a surprised Siri opened the door. "Good afternoon mr Mullins" She said politely. "Hello Siri" Caden greeted her pleasantly. "I come to inquire after Aidan." He followed. Siri frowned and looked around. "You had better come in" She said, opening the door further to allow him entrance. After the door shut behind Caden Siri made her way up to Aidan's study. Expecting Caden to follow her she started talking. Master Brennan hasn't been home for some time, but he's sent word to not expect him for a while, however this letter for miss Selina arrived 5 days ago and it is his handwriting." She said, showing him a sealed envelope addressed to Selina. "She came by checking for mail regularly, but I haven't seen her in more than two weeks." She continued and looked at him. "She mentioned staying with you, could you perhaps deliver it to her?"

Concerned Caden took the envelope and stared at it. He was half tempted to open it but knew he shouldn't. "I'll deliver it to her" He said finally. "Thank you Siri." "Will you be leaving straight away or can I fetch you some refreshments perhaps?" Siri asked him. "Hm.. oh.." Caden looked up from the envelope. "I think I'd best leave straight away, it's already late in the afternoon and I have some travelling to do before dark." Thanking him again for the effort Siri escorted him to the front door, not letting him leave however without a packed sandwich.

Once back on the street Caden pondered the situation. It worried him that Selina had not been checking in on Siri for mail, and he wondered exactly what this Robert had imposed on Selina. He felt somewhat glad about being entrusted with the letter however, it gave him a good reason to seek her out and with that thought in mind he started to make his way over to the asura gate that would take him to Lion's Arch.

In Lion's Arch he pondered his options. He remembered the conversations he had with Sel about her past during their nights at the shack and finally decided that the bar would probably be the best place to look for a lead.

He decided the bar in the cave was probably his best shot and he headed there directly. Once arrived he took in his surroundings and found a spot at the bar. He ordered an Ale at the bartender and took a large swig from it after he was served.

The bartender leaned over the counter and grinned at the newcomer. They'd been getting newbies in spats, but not too recently. "I haven't seen you around these parts," he said.

"Probably because I"m not from around here" Caden said as he placed this mug on the counter.

"Ah, new to Lion's Arch, are you?" A glint from the bartender's one golden tooth sparkled as he pointed to the ale in front of Caden. "Then let that mug be on the house. We love visitors to our humble abode."

"Ah thanks" Caden grinned at the man. "Allow me to pay for some food though, travel makes one hungry"

"Certainly, what would you like?" The sun was soon setting and the bartender knew that he would soon be getting waves of crowds headed to the Pits. The kitchen might as well get their stoves warmed up.

"Got any recommendations?" Caden asked, after which he took another swig of ale.

"Turkey. We had a batch of it just come in yesterday. I can serve that with bread if that's what you'd like."

"Sounds great to me, thank you" Caden replied.

The bartender gave him a nod, wiped his hands on a piece of cloth, then headed to the back to start on the meal.

The moment the bartender departed, a straggly old man with a grey beard moved from the end of the bar over to Caden's bar. "Pssst..."

"Hm" Caden raised an eyebrow as he turned to look at the man.

"Interested to place your bets for tomorrow's fight?" he whispered.

"I'll have a look first if you don't mind" Caden said, "I just arrived today"

The old man produced a paper with a list of stage names, each with a price for a starting bet amount. "I'll be hanging around right here. Look for me before tomorrow evening if you're intending to put money down." He gave Caden a pat on the back, then moved back to his original place.

Caden nodded and gave the list a look over.

After sometime, the bartender returned with Caden's meal and placed it right in front of him. "Fresh off the stove," he promised.

Caden folded the paper and tucked it away while looking at his food. "Smells amazing, can I have another ale with that?" He said, placing a few coins on the counter.

"Certainly." The bartender pulled out a cup, and with swift motions of the hand, had Caden's next mug of ale poured in the most graceful of movements. One that he obviously had practised over time.

"Thanks," Caden said before digging into the food. He washed a few bites down with the ale and looked around, noticing it was slowly getting busier in the bar. "Say, can you perhaps tell me where to find Robert Brown?" he asked the bartender.

The bartender chuckled at Caden's question. "I was wondering when you were going to ask. I think we serve great ale here, but that question seems to pop up a lot." He pointed two fingers at the entrance of the cave. "Out that way, on your left through the center of town and to the cluster of wealthier estates up there. It's the one just north of the empty field."

"Thank you, lots of people come looking then I take it?" Caden asked while finishing his meal.

"Mr Brown, he does lots of business with the community. Every one wants a piece of that pie."

"Just as well if they all buy ale then" Caden said lifting his mug at the bartender. "You got a nice thing going here."

"I can't complain," replied the bartender.

After finishing his mug of ale Caden got up from his seat. "Well, I suppose I ought to be on my way. Thanks again" He said to the bartender and headed off in the direction the man pointed him in. It wasn't hard to find the estate the man indicated and from an alleyway Caden observed the building, trying to figure out what security measures wer in place and where the possible ways for him to gain entry were.

Selina had had a couple of glasses of wine in her before she began to move her body to the tinkering music that swam through the room. It felt good to let go and let loose, even though she was discreetly keeping mental notes about the number of glasses of alcohol she had consumed so that she would not fall prey to the loose tongue like before. She wouldn't be able to afford it this time.

As Caden was observing the house the sun started to set and around him more and more lights were lit. Lights also shone through the windows of Robberts house, but there was one room in particular that drew his attention. From where he was standing he could see shadows moving around in a brightly lit room on the groundfloor. Carefully he snuck closer so he could have a better look at the inside of the room.

Robert had a wonderful view of Selina prancing around the room from his seat, but he decided that it wasn't enough. He rose to grab her hand, and twirl her into his arms. She laughed like a child, slipped under his arms, and pranced away. "Playing hard to get, are you?" he faked a growl, chased her down and caught her again.

She giggled, didn't fight him this time, and together they swayed to the beats that had slowed, gotten more meloncholy. Rob placed his chin on her shoulder and closed his eyes to savor the moment.

Caden's face darkened as he observed the scene inside. He didn't know what he had expected to find here, but not this. Selina had been reluctant to come here, troubled even but that was not at all what he was seeing now. Part of him wanted to punch a hole in the wall and another part of him wanted to run away but he found himself nailed to the floor as he looked on. He reminded himself of the letter and told himself it had to be delivered. There was no way he was going to catch Sel alone however. After some time he collected himself and made his way to the front door where he simply knocked with a grim face.

It was Mrs Priscot who came to the door. She opened it just a foot wide, and glared at him. "Yes? Are you here to see Mr Brown?"

"I have a message for Selina" He said coldly, disliking the woman instantly.

The woman gave him an exasperated look and told him to wait there while she went to fetch Selina. The door shut for a moment, the music stopped playing, there were some murmurs from within the house. Then the door opened again. Selina stood wordlessly at the entrance, Rob just behind her, both surprised by Caden's visit but for different reasons.

"Siri asked me to bring you this" he said, as he took the letter from his pocket and handed it to Selina.

"Siri...." Selina mumbled, picking up the letter as she realised what it was about. She quickly turned to Robert, and whispered to him about giving her a little privacy. That this was likely about her brother. Robert nodded, backed off, and Selina shut the door behind her. "Caden, when did you pick this up?" she asked, she felt prickles all over her body. Standing there in the doorway, he was the last person she'd expected to see.

"It was delivered to the house five days ago" He stated matter-of-factly.

She stared at him a moment, there were things she wanted to say to him. In fact she wanted to tell him everything about Robert and the charade she was playing. She wanted to tell him about the Pits, and the suspicious activity that had been going on there. But instead, she merely tore the envelope in her hands, and opened it up quickly to read its contents. The letter was brief, to the point. Aidan needed her help. It sounded urgent. "Aidan wants me to meet him, says he needs help," she told Caden, showing him the letter.

"Will you go?"

"Of course I will." She took a moment to think about it as she turned back to the house. "In fact, I will go right now. Let me get my things." She was just about to head back into the house, when she quickly checked back with Caden. "I hope you aren't leaving just yet? Please stay."

"If you want an escort to the ebonhawke gate I'll be waiting outside" he said, turning towards the door. He didn't care to be in the company of Robert Brown nor did he wish to witness any goodbyes between the pair.

Selina understood how uncomfortable Caden probably felt, and she blamed it all on the misfortunate timing he had arrived. But these were things she didn't have time to dwell on just yet. She stepped back into the house. Robert had been pacing the room, waiting for her. He looked at her questioningly as she continued to hold the letter in her hands. "It's my brother," she began, making sure she expressed the concern she had for Aidan in heaping amounts to convince Robert to let her go. "He's in trouble, he needs my help. I have to go to him."

"Now? Right now?" asked Robert in dismay.

She nodded. "I'm sorry Rob... I suppose you can keep me off the roster for now. Family comes first."

"He wasn't family not too long ago," grumbled Rob.

"But he is now. And... he's all I've got. You've got to understand," she begged tearfully. "I've lost everyone."

She felt Robert's heart melting as he ran to her side to hold her. "I understand Sel. Take all the time you need. Would you like me to fetch you to him?"

She shook her face. "Aidan's friend is waiting right there to take me to him. He'll know the quickest route."

"Alright," answered Robert after a momentary delay. "Should I assume that you'll be coming back?"

"I will," she replied. "I promise."

He gave her a kiss and sent her on her way. She ran up the stairs, gathered everything she had, strapped on her pack, and descended. Rob met her with one more passionate kiss. "Be careful, don't get into any trouble," he cautioned her.

"I won't. Thank you." And with that, she left the house and hurried to Caden's side.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on May 04, 2017, 03:43:34 PM
Caden waiting outside the door, his face like stone. When Selina finally came out he didn't even turn to look. "Ready to leave?" He simply asked.

"I have everything I need," she replied. And as they started to leave, she continued, "Thank you for coming here to give me the letter, Caden. I... I've missed you."

"I knew how long you've been waiting for a reply so of course I would bring it" He said softly.

She smiled and walked alongside quietly. "I would've returned earlier, but the way we had left things... I thought it best to give you your space."

Not knowing how to reply Caden silently continued towards the asuran gate. "What do you suppose Aidan needs your help for?" He said after several minutes of quiet.

"I think it's Shining Blade business. Did you hear about the attack on Divinity's Reach?"

"I did. We've been steadily supplying herbs and medication to the city to help with the wounded."

"Oh, you've been busy," she commented, then carried on. "We know that Aidan's been away on Shining Blade business, perhaps he's hunting down the people responsible for the attack on Jennah. Why they aren't keeping this in-house within the Shining Blades though... I wonder if they need me to perform a task that's out of the law."

"If they even know Aidan called on you. If it had gone through the Shining Blade they would've known where to find you. It wasn't too hard to track you down after all."

She considered what Caden had said. He made a valid point, and she began to wonder if Aidan had a personal problem he needed handling. "It sure took long for a message to come back though. I wonder what's been going on."

Caden nodded, and Selina fell back to silence. She appreciated him being there with her, even though she could feel the tension between them. And she knew that even without speaking, Caden had strong disapproval for what he'd seen between her and Rob. That would be no surprise. She would've disapproved of it herself. She'd considered a few times about telling him of what went on in that house, but she stopped herself for various reasons that included bad timing, awkwardness between them, him being unhappy about the danger in what she had been doing, history of him probably being offended by what had happened before... There were lots of reason not to bring it up.

They passed through a portal that brought them into Divinity's Reach. The city mostly looked the same, save for increase in the number of seraphs patrolling the streets. Selina had to ensure that she would not be recognized, bowing her already concealed face to the ground each time they passed someone.

They wormed their way through crowds to the portal to Ebonhawke, and it hurtled them there. As they stepped out of the portal into the lone human city in the vastly Charr region, Selina was immediately hit with old memories of having been here before. Something about hiding from pursuers. She couldn't quite remember the details.

"Where did Aidan tell you to meet him?" Caden asked as they walked away from the gate and into the city.

"At the Ebonhawke Fortress. He says he will arrange a room for me in the inn near the Postern Gate by the name of Starling." For some reason, in spite of holes in her memory, Starling sounded incredibly familiar, and instinctively she knew where to go. She pointed in the direction that her mind directed her to. "It's this way," she told him. And began down cobbled streets.

Caden frowned at her, and then moved to follow her.

In no time, both Caden and Selina stood before the Starling. It was exactly how she pictured it in her head, and she knew for sure that she'd been there before. "We're here," she said, dreading that Caden might find the reason then to leave for home. He had every reason to. She hadn't expected him to accompany her this far. But for the benefit of the doubt, Caden always surprised her.

"I'll wait with you until Aidan arrives" Caden said. "He arranged a room for you right?"

She nodded thankfully and entered the inn, stating her name to the innkeeper.

"One moment miss." The inkeeper said and walked away from them, yelling into the kitchen "Johnny, go and fetch mister Brennan and the Vanguard's will ya?" He returned to Selina and Caden and gestured. "Come with me please." He lead them upstairs to a small single bed room. "Johnny's just gone to fetch mister Brennan I'm sure he'll be around shortly. Can I offer you some refreshments while you wait?"

She nodded, and ordered a glass of whiskey.

"And you sir?" He asked as he looked at Caden.

"Ah, I'm not staying long, thank you" Caden said quickly.

The innkeeper nodded and turned to fetch Selina's whiskey.

Her heart sank at Caden's statement, and she moved over to his side. Knowing that she would probably not have the right words for the moment, she subtly brushed the back of her hand onto his, and held on to his littlest finger, hoping to hold onto him for just that little bit longer.

He froze as her hand touched his and for a moment he stood nailed to the ground. His heart pounded in his chest and his hand tingled where she'd brushed against it. He left it there, only for a moment remembering all the ifs and would be's he considered the past weeks. He could not shake the image of her and Robert dancing happily however and with a jolt he pulled his hand back. "Selina" He said, as he let his head hang. There were so many things he wanted to say to her, to ask her and to resent her for, but it would all have to wait. He took a few steps through the room and prayed Aidan would arrive soon.

She stood there baffled that he would snap away so quickly. She knew that he was upset with her, but it was then that his true feelings were measured out for her. She retracted her hand, and wrapped her arms around herself. "Is it impossible to go back to the way things were?" she mumbled quietly.

The innkeeper then returned with a glass of whiskey for Selina. "Will you be needing anything else?" He asked?

"Nothing else." She said absently. At least nothing that he could give her.

The innkeeper left. From the hallway they heard him say "Ah mister Brennan, are you healing well sir? I'll bring you a glass of wine right away." "Yes, Thank you" They heard Aidan reply right before he appeared in the doorway. Upon seeing Caden and Selina he bowed, which was an awkward business with his left arm in a sling. "Thank you for coming Selina. Caden, I had not expected to see you but thank you for coming as well."

She noticed his sling right away. "What happened here?"

Caden who had intended to leave was too shocked by Aidan's appearance to do so immediately.

"Aidan looked at his arm and sighed. His shoulders dropped slightly. "Here you are sir" The inkeeper proclaimed as he entered the room with a glass of wine and some small snacks on a plate. "Ah thank you Bron, please put them on the table and close the door behind you when you leave. We'd like some privacy now" Aidan said and waited for the innkeeper to leave. He then helped himself to a chair. "I"m afraid I have my aunt to thank for this" He said, while nodding in the direction of his arm.

"You met Andrea?" Selina asked in disbelief.

Aidan nodded. "After the attack on the capital countess Anise pulled all agents that weren't doing anything vital back to the city. With the info you gathered and some extra tips they deduced that Andrea had a large part in the white mantle and the attack and they wanted her found." He drank a sip of his wine before continuing. "It took me a while to get a handle on where she was but eventually we got a tip that lead us to Ebonhawke fortress. Anise told me to meet up with one of the Ebon Vanguard and track her down." He paused and forced himself to stay calm. "Things did not go as planned however. There's no point in going into details now but suffice to say Andrea managed to get away and the Vanguard has lost all track of her. I was hoping you could help me track her down, I'm in no state to do so myself at the moment."

Selina nodded. "I'll do anything you need." She pointed at the sling. "How serious is that injury? Should I be concerned?"

"It's no longer life threatening but the wound was deep and it will still be some time before I can use my arm again."

Caden meanwhile kept quiet in the corner of the room, conflicted between offering his help and leaving to go home.

"So give me the basics of where she was last seen, the direction she was headed and who she might be with, and I'll handle it from there. You can rest easy here," Selina offered.

"Does the name Goodman mean anything to you? He was her contact in these parts apparently"

"Goodman?" Selina ran that through her memory. Something was very familiar about that name. "He's closely linked with Andrea?"

"I'd say so. She was on the run when she came here so she must've trusted him."

As he spoke, she began digging into her pack, and out of it she pulled a stack of folded paper. Opening them one by one, she finally picked one out and put down the others. "I thought that name rang a bell." She turned the sheet of paper to Aidan. Right at the top was scribbled the name Sarah Goodman, and an address. "Any relation?"

"She's his daughter, lost for years, where did you come across that name?"

"The stack of papers we copied off Andrea's files, I made my own copies before I handed the lot to Anise. Sarah Goodman was the one name I could not place in all of this. And to add to that, that Andrea had listed a specific address when she didn't for the others... even for yourself."

"Are you saying she is involved as well then? That is unfortunate." Aidan frowned.

Selina was puzzled at Aidan's statement, as though there was a conversation that'd taken place before this that she wasn't privy to. "But at least we have an address, that's a start, isn't it?"

"It is" He pondered for a while. "As for Andrea, I last saw her in a cave system to the north east of here. She fled the place together with Goodman. Vanguard scouts followed them but they reportedly disappeared in a field full of harpies to the north of the cave."

She took note of those details, folded the sheet on Sarah Goodman and kept it in her jacket pocket. Pulling the scarf off her face, she looked quite sternly at Aidan. "I'm going to do this favor for you, but you need to know that I haven't let you off the hook about abandoning me out of the blue. I waited for you. I waited for the longest time. You never told me where you were, and I was forced to deal with that woman Anise."

"I know, I'm sorry Selina" He said, bending his head. "I wanted to be away from everything, to try and make sense of everything that has happened. I should have taken you into consideration."

She looked at his sling. "This is your idea of getting away from everything? You could've gone somewhere nice, and safe. Had drinks on a beach, perhaps."

"This is what happened after Anise pulled me out of my previous assignment, it is not what I had planned." He said, annoyance sounding in his voice.

Selina slapped a hand over her forehead. Anise and the rest of the Shining Blades were really getting on her nerves. It would seem that they had no sense of timing nor of privacy. "Whatever the case, I will get to the bottom of this." She got up, drowned the whiskey and put the glass down on the table. "Tomorrow.... I'm tired and..." She stole a glance at Caden. "I don't think there's much else to talk about."

He nodded and turned to look at Caden. "Allow me to arrange a second room for you Caden"

Realizing all attention in the room was suddenly on him Caden uncomfortably shifted around on his feet. "I uh.. I actually didn't plan on staying"

Selina shrugged bluntly at this, trying her best to appear as nonchalant about this as possible.

"It's late, I'll get you a room and you can be on your way in the morning." Aidan said as he finished his wine and got to his feet.

"Goodnight," she said to the two men as she stowed her pack beneath her bed, took off her boots and lay down on the only bed in the room. In spite of the two men being there watching her, she felt as if she didn't care about what anyone thought anymore. She would do anything for Aidan, but she was beginning to sense that if he did not need her help, he would never reveal where he was to her. She hung her head low. It felt that the world had turned its back on her. Even her own brother looked upon her only as a tool. Everyone had an agenda, and she was just a pawn to be played.

She pressed her face into the pillow, desperate to rid herself of such negative thoughts. She knew it would only make it harder to help Aidan if she allowed herself to despise him. But that didn't make the sinking feeling go away.

"Goodnight Selina, thank you again for coming" Aidan said softly and left the room, waited for Caden to do the same thing and then closed the door behind them.

"Let me arrange that room for you Caden he said, as they walked through the hall. "It's too late to travel now, you can be on your way tomorrow."

Seeing the sense in that Caden accepted the offer after all, though he spent more time pacing around his room than sleeping that night.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on May 07, 2017, 10:48:12 PM
Selina hadn’t had a restful sleep, even though she managed to drift off in parts. But each time she woke, she woke up in anger. She did that till she decided to let anger win and stopped fighting with it by getting up completely. The sky was still dark, though the dawn chorus of several birds in the region had begun. If it would be light soon, then she figured it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get an early head start.

There were two options open up to her. One: Checking on the address belonging to Sarah Goodman. Two: Tracking down the harpy camp that Aidan had gone on about. While the address stood out as the easier of the two choices, it also seemed the less likely to lead directly to Andrea Brennan. While she’d seen harpies before, she hadn’t gone toe to toe with one. The creatures had colonies and nests, but remained listed as one of the lesser races of Tyria. Buckling up her sword in the sheath around her waist, she sussed she’d stand a good chance outsmarting these beasts – getting them out of the way so she’d be able to search for the path that Andrea and Goodman had taken to flee the conflict. And if for some reason, the path was truly lost, she still had… she patted the note in her pocket. Plan B. She gave it some thought, then quickly removed the note and scribbled a third copy to leave on the desk for Aidan, should he need it. Beside the address, she put a side note for Aidan – “Sarah’s adreess, should you need iyt too.”

As she made sure the stack was wedged under something heavy to prevent the sheets from flying away, she reflected again on the previous night’s events. There’d been two weeks for Caden to go home and cool off and yet he remained indignant and icy cold towards her. It baffled her that he could at all be resentful that she’d tried at all to flirt with him at the lake. In her mind, a man would either take up the offer, or reject it. As simple as that. This wall that he’d erected between them completely confused and infuriated her. It wasn’t often that Selina Knox would find herself left at a lost, but Caden often found ways to push buttons she didn’t even know she had.

She whipped out her pack from underneath her bed in an unseemly savage motion, and struggled for the longest time to put on her boots, only because of how badly her fingers were shaking from the sheer rage bubbling beneath the surface. She knew that if she did not get herself out of the inn right that moment, she would probably start clawing the walls apart.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on May 10, 2017, 11:39:37 PM
After a restless night Caden had enough. He debated on whether or not to talk to Selina all night and in the end decided that he should at least try to apologise for his own behaviour. He slung his pack on his back and made his way over to Selina’s door, lifting his hand to knock on it. Before knocking however he hesitated. He hadn’t considered the time, he suddenly realised.

Selina had prepared to leave and she opened the door, just at the time Caden had arrived. She was taken aback, not expecting to find anyone there, much less him. For a while, they both stared at each other.

“S…sel” He managed to mumble, completely shocked by her sudden appearance. “I uh…” he lowered his arm.

Her expression hardened. She’d spent too much time over the night marinating in anger toward him, it wasn’t about to dissipate fast. “Still here? You keep talking about leaving, so why haven’t you?”
For a moment he completely lost track of what he had come to say, but after a few moments, managed to gather his thoughts. “I wanted to apologise for my behaviour on the way here.”

She didn’t know what she expected from him. An apology seemed to be the right cure for what ailed her, but everything within her still yelled for her to run off. “You baffle me Caden, warm one moment, cold the next. I don’t know what to expect from you and find myself being hurt all the time. I know I made a mistake. I was mistaken about you being interested in a romantic affair with me and I was wrong. I’m sorry! I know you’re still holding it against me, will I never be forgiven?”

“On our way here I was angry with you” He said softly, “But I realise now I had no right to be. You’re not the one who needs forgiving Sel.”

“Why?” she asked, expecting him to yell at her about changing the nature of their relationship. “Because I opened my mouth, or because I spent two weeks with Rob?”

“Perhaps both,” he said as he looked her in the eyes. “I’m sorry I hurt you Sel, it was never my intention.”

Caden seemed so sincere in what he said, it just made her feel that much more guilty about being mad at him. “I’m sorry as well, I guess I was just so desperate to reverse what I did. I didn’t know what to do, or what you wanted me to say.” A smile beamed on Selina’s face, “I’m glad we’re not mad at each other anymore. I really don’t want to fight.”

“Me neither,” he said, less tense than he was before.

“Look… before you came in I was about to leave. I want to get an early headstart on this Andrea thing. I appreciate the conversation we just had, I hope you don’t feel like I’m cutting you off.”

“I wouldn’t dare stall you,” He said with a small smile.

Selina smiled in response. She took a step forward, then said to him, “I’ll see you when I get back? We can go get drinks or something.”

“Are you sure going alone is a good idea? Aidan did mention a field of harpies,” Caden said, looking somewhat concerned.
 
“They aren’t too bright I hear. Shouldn’t be difficult to outsmart them.”

“They flock together though, there’s strength in numbers you know.”

“Nah,” she waved away his concern. “I’ll be just fine.” As she passed him, she placed a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry.”

“Let me come with you then.”

She put a hand on the hip as she considered it. “That’d be fine with me as long as you won’t get bored. It’ll mostly involve searching for footprints in the mud, that kinda thing.”

“I somehow doubt it’d be boring, but at least let me watch your back while you’re staring at the mud.”

She smiled at the thought. “Alright then.”

As she left the inn, she said to him, “You never did tell me how you spent the two weeks.”

“I helped my family.”

“With…?”

“The business. Mostly spent my time gathering herbs and helping grandma sort them and dry them.”

“That sounds…” she thought about how passive his time had been compared to her two weeks. “…fun?”

“I wouldn’t describe it as fun, but they welcomed the help. When the white mantle attacked the city, the need for medication rose.”

“Oh, I didn’t know you were involved as well. When I first heard about it from Rob, I primarily thought that my brother might get roped into the madness.”

“They directly attacked our capital and our queen. Of course we would try to try to aid wherever we can. I know you’re not a fan of the queen, but even if you don’t agree with her politics, an attempt on her life is never the way.”

Selina shrugged nonchalantly. She felt her stomach rumble and remembered she hadn’t had breakfast, and in her hurry she had failed to pack any.

“Are you hungry?” she asked.

“I thought you weren’t going to ask,” chuckled Caden. "I have a sandwich from Siri but it's two days old." He threw it away.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________

((wanted to record this part of the session for Sister, but I couldn't keep up transferring the chat to words so I'm just going to summarize))

Selina suggested to take food from the Warrior's Crown camp. And while Caden disapproved of her actions of stealing, he decided not to pursue the subject lest they get into another fight. While in the camp, Selina removed four loaves of bread and even found a full faced helmet lying in the corner that she took for herself as well. It began to rain then so Caden and Selina ran for shelter under an overarching rock. As they ate a loaf each, they began discussing Queen Jennah and her stance on the war between man and charr. Caden and Selina quickly found themselves on opposing sides, and Caden decided to end the conversation before it got heated. Selina pointed out that while she appreciated his company, she couldn't understand why he insisted to follow her in spite of their vast differences in morals and ethics, and the fact that they were getting on each other's nerves every few minutes. Caden thought about it then replied that he liked her in spite of the differences, that none of her opinions defined who she was inside, and that their different circumstances had helped to shape their varying view of the world. Even as he said that, doubt began to creep in, a hesitation that Selina noticed but decided not to address.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on May 19, 2017, 09:02:40 AM
It was dusk by the time they found the harpy colony, the perfect cover to survey the area. Selina scaled a cliff, followed closely by Caden, and peered through her trusty telescope. It was easy to guess the reason the Vanguard scouts had turned around. There were just too many harpies to tackle, enough to take on a small army. She leaned further out and tried to spy from her perch, any means of escape Andrea and Goodman could've taken. She couldn't imagine anyone, even someone as capable as Andrea, getting through the colony of harpies unscathed. She began to suspect that Andrea might've employed trickery to get the scouts off her trail, and then taken a different path to escape. One that led to the west.

Selina shared this theory with Caden and they prepared to leave. However, the rustle of leaves and movement on the cliff caught the eye of a patrolling harpy, bringing the attention of the entire legion all at once. Battling the harpies on the slippery ledge proved to be a challenge, especially when the larger harpies arrived. They were each an entire head larger than Sel or Caden, and hit with the impact of a brick wall. Caden dazed one of the closest large harpies that had threatened an attack, and Selina took the chance to steal its shield. They hid under the shield as more and more attacks pummeled from above, threatening to break right through the wood. Selina knew their time was running short, and began to survey a means of escape. But while her attention was divided, a smaller harpy managed to weasel its way through, jamming its teeth through her sword-wielding hand. She shook it free, but lost her weapon down a muddy slope in the process. Within a moment's thought, she instructed Caden to daze the attacking harpies again. Once this was done, she grabbed him by the waist, and followed the sword down the slope, into a pool of mud hidden under thick foliage. With the now muddied shield obscuring the pair, the harpies lost sight of them and after sometime, decided to abandon the search.

Once silence was restored, Caden suggested to leave. Selina retrieved her weapon and handed Caden the grapple and rope from her pack. He managed to get a good grip after a few tries, and they pulled themselves out of the muck, fleeing the harpy infested area as quickly as they could.

It was at the break of dawn when they made their way through a forest and ended up at a small Vanguard camp. Selina's movements had slowed, having discovered that the bite on her hand had gotten infected. They decided to rest and recuperate at the camp, giving Caden the time to address the wound and bandage it up. Selina whispered into Caden's ear that she didn't deserve a friend like him before she fell asleep. He didn't know what to make of what she had said.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on May 26, 2017, 10:19:28 AM
The next day, Selina found Caden sitting beside her, realising that he had not slept a wink. Captain Carbins of the Vanguard, given authority over that post, asked Selina for a saliva sample to check for rabies, having heard that they had undergone a harpy attack. He complained of ramped up attacks in recent times. And just as he was speaking of it, several harpies entered the camp and attacked the villagers and soldiers. Caden and Selina got involved, just as the larger harpies began carrying off three villagers. Selina chased them out of the camp, but they were too far gone for her. Soon, the other harpies were chased off, but Carbins was kept busy trying to placate two very upset villagers. One with a father, and the other with a sister, both lost to the harpies. Carbins intended to wait for backup to arrive, and that would only happen the soonest over the next day. But the two villagers demanded to go right away. They told him that one, the farmer, had already made his way to the harpy nest, with the intention of saving his son all by himself. Carbins was left with little choice but to gather up the three uninjured men under his care, and head out into the field to save the farmer. Selina stopped him on his way out, having heard about the entire conundrum. She offered to help, and suggested to set up a distraction in order to save the captives without having to actually go head to head with the harpies. Initially Caden protested, wanting to have nothing to do with Selina getting herself hurt again, but he soon relented, and threw in his help as well.

The strategy began with one of the soldiers luring away the bulk of harpies at the entrance. Selina and Carbins then entered with bags of gunpowder and dynamite, creating a trail through the camp with the intention of causing maximum confusion. On their way out, Selina almost tripped over an arm. On closer inspection, they found it to be the mangled body of the farmer, who'd unfortunately met with a fatal end at the hands of the harpies. Having little time to deal with the issue, they signaled Caden to set the fire, and as the fire raged through the harpy nest, exploding each time it hit a stick of dynamite, one of the villagers threw in a bag of chemically-induced powder that billowed smoke the moment it hit the flames. Confused by the flames and smoke, the harpies left their nest and soared into the sky. At such time, Carbins and the two soldiers with him, Selina and Caden rushed into the camp and began to search for survivors. They found the villager's elderly father first, then as they trudged deeper into the smoke filled camp, Selina and Caden gradually lost sight of each other. Selina gravitated towards the sound of a child's crying, while Caden towards the sound of a woman's voice. A harpy swooped into Selina's path as she searched the camp, and she traded blows with it. Caden heard the clashing of swords and began to worry, losing his focus. As soon as the harpy was put down, Carbins approached Selina with the farmer's boy in his arms. Together, they headed to where they had come. At the same time, Caden was found by one of Carbin's men, who had found the villager's sister. They too attempted to escape, though they nearly thwarted by an attacking griffon.

As soon as Caden returned to the others, they hurried back to the Vanguard camp to recuperate. Carbins praised both Caden and Selina's efforts in the rescue, and asked if they were interested to join a newly set up group named the Adventurer's Society. He touted good coin to be had, for skilled fighters who might be able to do the job of keeping the peace where the Seraphs, Vanguard and Lionguard found their forces stretched thin. Both refused, though Selina said that she was surprised Caden had not taken up the offer. She'd always pictured Caden to be one for adventure, but he told her that he had had enough adventure and only wanted to go home and live a simple life. This saddened her, and she replied that she would also probably be going back to Lion's Arch after Andrea had been apprehended. Caden's jaw clenched up at the thought and he became rather quiet. Selina asked him what was occupying his thoughts, and when he would not tell her, she guessed that he was still upset about her being inconsistent with her opinion of Rob. She apologised, and Caden told her that he never stopped her from leaving so he had little to complain about. She asked him if he wanted to stop her then. He became agitated and told her that he wasn't interested to discuss it. She apologised again, and they fell silent with their thoughts, till Caden finally admitted that he didn't know how to behave around her because she had become a distraction to him, whether or not she was physically present. She opened her mouth to respond, thinking he was sending her a subtle message, then shut it, realising that if she made a wrong guess again, she would be made to regret. She left the camp in that moment to get some air, and ended up heading south through the woods to clear her head. Meanwhile, Caden remained in the camp, wondering if he had said too much or too little.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on June 05, 2017, 10:53:08 AM
Diana, Sax, Aidan and Sarah Goodman had found each other through the previous days, and had plans to head north in search for the charr named Tokky, whom they had discovered was actually named Tokkra, of the Iron Legion. On their way there, they bumped into Selina and Sax was also discovered by an associate of the Priory named Tracey. Sax was berated for not having given proper notice to the Priory concerning her abrupt departure, and she promised to write a letter to them for that purpose. Selina and Aidan also traded words as to his intentions for taking to the road, because Selina had believed she'd left Lion's Arch in order that Aidan would be able to stay behind to rest. On their way, they chanced upon a rift, and Sax and Tracey were immediately taken up by it to study its workings. This delayed the team for a bit, causing a worried Caden some consternation.

When they finally got to the camp where he was at, Caden joined the others in awkward silence, trading discreet glances with Selina while Sax spoke to Sarah of her father and his friends, in an attempt to turn her away from any influence from the man. Apparently Sarah only had a low opinion of her father's friends, although she knew little of them.

Arriving finally at Splinter Hills, they managed to reunite Tokkra and Sarah. Tokkra revealed that he had searched for Sarah, and found that the only way to free her was to rid her of her father. In an attempt to do that, he had tracked Alistar Goodman all the way to Drake Hollow, where he was currently hidden at. The others were ecstatic at the news, assuming that they were finally close to the capture of Goodman and Andrea. Tokkra pointed out though that he would go nowhere if Sarah was not safely guarded in the camp. Tracey and Sax volunteered to do this job, leaving others to participate in the operation to capture the two fugitives.

After carving their way into the camp through several mobs of separatists, carefully evading enemy traps that Tokkra had previously studied, they found a rifle wielding Goodman on top of a slope. He took aim specifically at Diana and Caden, oblivious to Selina who had crept up behind him for a surprise attack. Unfortunately, Andrea sprung her own surprise on Aidan, taking him at sword point, threatening to kill her nephew if anyone dared make an approach. However, with a few skillful dodges from Aidan, he managed to draw her attention away from Diana and Caden, both of whom managed to injure and daze her, leaving Selina to render her unconscious.

Tokkra joined the others after he had freed the captives at Drake Hollow and had laid explosives around the camp. Both he and Diana carried Goodman and Andrea out while the entire camp went up in smoke.

Returning to Splinter Hills, Diana and Tokkra decided to take Goodman to the Summit to decide which race would lay claim to the criminal. The others, aside from Sarah, headed back to Ebonhawke with Andrea, who would then be claimed by the Shining Blade to stand trial before the Queen. Sax and Diana made plans for a victory party at Vanguard headquarters to mark the achievement. Selina attempted to spread good cheer to her brother in the light that with Andrea gone, he might finally get his life and status back, but Aidan was much too engrossed in the negative state of mind that he had slid into over the past few tragic events he had to endure. Selina mistook his negativity for ingratitude, and came to her own conclusion that her brother was like the many others who would use her for favors, and discard her friendship if it would not benefit them. This cut her deeply, and she left alone for the inn to drown her sorrows in ale.

Caden followed soon after, discovering her in the bar after a search. She told him that she would be leaving for Rob's the next morning, and though Caden would not stop her from her plans, invited her to his home for a short getaway. After some thought, she agreed to this plan - Rob would not miss her for an additional day or two, she said.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on June 07, 2017, 04:58:27 PM
Selina had risen early as promised, had her breakfast, and waited next to the door to the inn for Caden to arrive. The prospect of visiting Caden's birth home felt invigorating, in spite of all that had gone on, or was going to occur. She'd decided to focus on the now, and just enjoy the time she had left with Caden.

Caden found the prospect only half as invigorating and found himself rather nervous as he made his way down the next morning. He pulled himself together though and cheerfully greeted Selina as he found her by the door. "Ready to go?"

"I am," she said with a sparkle in her eye. "I'm really grateful that you're bringing me to your home Caden. I know you said I was welcome, but it's quite another thing to actually do it. I wasn't sure half the time if you were serious or just being polite."

He smiled at her. "I wouldn't say it if I didn't mean it." He grinned cheekily "Now lets hope my family shares the sentiment."

As they walked along the streets, headed out of Divinity's Reach, Selina opened and shut her mouth a few times, a thought on her mind that she wanted to share, till she finally blurted out. "Caden, you never asked me how I spent my two weeks."

"It's none of my business" He said, feeling slightly irked now the thought of Rob was brought back to his mind.

Oblivious to Caden's discomfort, Selina carried on proudly. "I joined the arena fights in Lion's Arch! And I won, twice. The people went head over heels for me. It was glorious."

He raised a brow at her. "Pitfighting is definitely not what I expected" he mumbled surprised.

"Mhmm! Rob runs the entire thing, so I just needed to ask him to let me join. I've caught a couple of shows before, but never actually participated in one. On hindsight, it could be something that I'm good at."

"I'm glad you found something you like" He said, not sure what else to say.

"You should come to one someday. Cheer me on! That would be so much fun."

"Maybe" He said with a slightly sad smile.

She noticed that his expression had fallen and wondered why. "What's the matter?"

He paused as he mulled over his words. "I doubt your ........friend would like me visiting" He finally said, hoping it wouldn't upset her.

"Oh pfft.." she waved the thought away. "What can he say? You're my guest. I'll bugger him till he lets me." She grinned confidently.

"If you really want me to, I'll come" he said.

"Of course I do! Look at you, you're inviting me to your home. This is where people tend to be most vulnerable and private, but you've chosen to share that with me. How can I not offer you the same? Given that I don't actually have a home to call my own, but the Pits hey... I can share that with you."

He smiled at her but made no further reply.

She smiled back, and as they neared Claypool, stole more glances at Caden. She hadn't been in such good spirits in a while. It was just a matter of time till Aidan's problems would finally be over. The thought of going back to Rob still bothered her a little, but she figured it wouldn't make a huge amount of difference if Caden came to visit her every so often. Perhaps she'd even manage to convince Caden to scout the people on her list that she intended to investigate. She began to imagine the two of them, running around Lion's Arch in the night, staking out some of these homes, side by side... chatting till the sun rose... staring into each other's eyes... She snapped out of her dreams as her face became a little flushed. Sheepishly she looked up at the bright and sunny sky, enjoying the breeze on her skin.

"Sel?" He asked after some time. The gate to Claypool came into view and he slowed down his pace slightly. "Do you have to go back to Lion's Arch?"

She blinked twice, wondering if it finally mattered to him. "Should I not go back?"

"Do you want to?"

She selected her words carefully. "Well... Rob will be awful mad if I don't go back. But if you want me to stay... if you really... I mean... if you need me to be here, with you..."

He looked at her intently. "Perhaps you should do what you want most" He said before moving towards the gate again. "It's not far now." He smiled.

She bit on her lip. It wasn't the response she had hoped for, the one she had waited for since Kessex. "What I want is irrelevant," she said stoically. "Can't... always get what you want."

"Then why should I or Rob get what we want?" He said, before waving at the guard by the gate. "Hi there Jer, everything alright?" He greeted the man. "Caden, it's been a while" Was the reply he got as they walked through the gate. "This way" Caden said, leading Selina towards an orchard within the walls.

She choked on her response. She lowered her head in thought as she followed after him.

At the edge of the small town near the orchard stood a small house, surrounded by a neatly kept herb garden. Besides the house was an empty paddock. "Dad must've gone into town" Caden said, noting the empty paddock. That's where we keep Daisy, our packbull." He walked up the path to the house and opened the door. "Ma, gran, I'm home" He called. "I brought company". "Come in" He said opening the door further, allowing Selina to enter. Inside she found a room mostely covered in wood panelling. Across from the door was a large desk. Behind it were shelves as high as the ceiling. They were filled with small drawers and glass jars. On one end of the room a neat row of herbs hung from the ceiling.  Behind the desk the room seemed to continue to the left. From there two women came into view.

"Caden!" The younger of the two exclaimed happily as she rushed around the counter and took him in her arms. "I'm so pleased you're home".

Caden smiled hugging the woman. "Hello ma" As he stepped back he looked at Selina. "Ma, gran, this is Selina. Selina, this is Molly, my mother and Meri, my grandmother." He smiled as he introduced them, finding himself feeling really rather happy he took her home.

"Hello," she smiled at the two cheerful women in the warm household as she removed her helmet and gave them a little polite bow. But something about the place... or the people, it was giving her a migraine. She pushed on into the home, frustrated because she wanted so much to enjoy it as much as she'd been excited about it, but there was something wrong with her.

"Welcome to our home Selina" Molly said, giving her a warm smile. "I hope you had a pleasant journey"

Meanwhile Caden embraced his grandmother. "Has dad gone into town?" He asked after.

"Yes" Molly replied, her face slightly clouding with worry. "We actually expected him back yesterday, but you know how busy things are lately, I"m sure he's just held up somewhere." She forced a smile on her face and looked at Caden. "Come lets have tea"

Meri went ahead of them as Molly ushered Caden and Selina further into the room. It turned out there was a kitchen around the corner that Selina had been unable to see from the door earlier. "Come sit" Molly said while Meri put a kettle on. In front of the kitchen window stood several brightly coloured blooms and on the kitchen table was a small vase with flowers as well. Molly sat down at the table with them and smiled again.  "Caden doesn't bring friends home very often" She said. "He told us he met you through his work"

Selina followed as she was told, sat in the kitchen and looked around as the headache slowly eased up. She wondered what had brought it on - she'd slept well, eaten well, drank well... Meanwhile Caden's mother seemed to already know some things about her, although it would seem that he had been very general to gloss over everything that had actually transpired. "Uh huh..." she replied. "Yeah, I know him through work. He's eh... a very dedicated and hard worker."

Across from her Caden blushed slightly, he began fidgeting with the backpack he'd just placed on the table before sitting down. "Ma I brought you some Makrut, I know it's hard to come by this season and I happened up on it." He opened the pack and pulled out a small bag witch was clearly filled with something lumpy. "How have things been here? I'm sorry I was away longer than planned."

Meri meanwhile took the kettle of boiling water and poured it over a mixture of several herbs and what looked to be orange peel. She kept a close eye on her grandson however and there seemed to be a twinkle in her eyes as she looked at him and Selina. She picked up the tray with the teapot and cups and placed it on the table where she poured everyone a cup before sitting down.

Selina took the teacup, and another spike drove through her head. A little more intensely this time. An old memory rudely jammed its way into her head... she saw a house, much like this one, though just slightly darker. A man at the table.

"Are you alright my dear?" Meri said, looking at Selina carefully. This caused Caden to look at Selina.

She looked up as the memory faded and the spike eased off, a little embarrassed to have drawn attention. "Yes I am... just a little nervous, I guess," she lied.

Frowning Caden continued to look at her. "Would you rather go outside for a walk maybe" He asked, feeling rather sure she was making light of the matter.

She waited till all traces of the migraine had subsided to reply, "No, I want to stay here." She looked at the cup in her hands. "This tea looks delicious! What is in it?"

"Honeybush, lemongrass, bramble leaf, mango, orange peel and calendula" Meri answered stirring some honey into her own tea. "I'm glad you like it" She followed up with a smile.

Selina took a sip, and the explosion of flavors in her mouth surprised her. "Wow, you all really know your herbs. I see where Caden gets his skills from."

"Pah skills, the boy ought to study more" Meri made an effort to give Caden a pointed look, but clearly did not mean to reprimand him.

Even as a tease, Selina felt obligated to defend Caden. She placed a hand on his and said sternly to Meri, "Caden does magic with those herbs, he's saved me on more than one occasion and that's more than anyone can ask for. You should be very proud of him."

As Selina spoke the front door opened and closed and Molly was instantly on her feet walking to the front of the room. There was a mumble and she soon returned. "Trust me lass I couldn't be more proud" Meri said with a warm smile before looking at Molly who was taking a large back from a shelf in the corner. "Mrs Green's time seems to have come. I'll send word if I need your help" She said before rushing back to the front where the door opened and closed once again.

Selina was taken aback by the interruption. Typically running off in the middle of the conversation meant something dire had occurred, and she was suddenly concerned. "Mrs Green?"

"Caden may have told you that as herbalists we take care of most of the people here when something ails them. Mrs Green is an elderly widow. I suspect that was Els at the door, her granddaughter. Mrs Green hasn't been well for some time now." She stared at her teacup for a while and let the tea swirl around. "You mentioned Caden saved your life before, sadly we can't save everyone. Sometimes all we can do is make them comfortable."

Selina looked from Meri to Caden, trying to imagine how it would be like to be in their shoes. She had been trained from a young age for only one thing; how to point a blade and stab it into another. She had also become rather proud of her abilities in said craft, but all that suddenly felt frivolous and destructive. She wondered how would Meri see her if she really knew who she was.

Meri mistook her thoughtfulness for sadness. "No need to worry dear girl" She said with a smile. "Now lets hear about your plans. Do you intend to stay long? I'm sure you would brighten our days with your presence."

Selina stared at her hands as she gave the invitation some thought. "I'm not sure. I'd like to, certainly, but..." Another spike drove needles through her skull. She paused to wince as another image was slapped into her mind. A hunter's lodge, somewhere in Queensdale. It was at least three storeys high. Her mind was telling her something but she didn't know what. She thought the memory spikes had been dealt with, but apparently they were still infecting her. And why now of all times?

"Sel?" Caden placed a hand on her arm. "Tell me what's going on please?" He looked at her with concern as Meri quietly got up and left the kitchen allowing the two some privacy. Through the backdoor she made her way into the herb garden behind the house and quietly returned to the work she'd been doing there before Caden and Selina arrived.

She took a while to collect herself. The spikes were draining and all she wanted to do was to go lie down. "I'm remembering something, something that wasn't there before. I'm sorry... I'm ruining this reunion, I'd so wanted it to be perfect."

"Don't worry about it" He said softly pulling her into his arms hoping to comfort her. "It's much more important to me that you're well. Is there anything I can do for you?"

She appreciated the hug, but she was much too exhausted to enjoy it. "Can I just go lie down for a bit? Maybe I'll feel better then. Again... I'm so sorry, please don't let me take up more of your precious time with your family."

"I'm afraid you'll have to make do with my room, I hope you don't mind" He said as he let go of her and got to his feet. Without question he picked her up in his arms and walked towards the stairs. As he arrived at the top he walked towards the room at the far end of the landing and carefully pushed the door open. It was a simple room with a single bed on one side of the room and a small desk on the other side. Above the desk was a shelf with several books on it. Carefully Caden placed her on the bed. "Will you be alright here?" He asked as he opened the window to let some fresh air in.

The headache was already receding, as it did previously. But she laid down all the same, making sure to soak in every sight and sound in that room. Every corner of it rang his name, from the items on the desk, to the texture of the sheets beneath her. It felt wonderful... it felt like a little piece of home. "I love your room, it's beautiful..." she marveled.

He smiled at her. "It's only a simple room, but it's a good place to call home" He said. "Is there anything you need? I'll get it for you, otherwise I'll check in on you later."

"No, go back to your gran. I know you must have so much to catch up on. Don't let me keep you. I'll go down right away in a moment. Right after I collect myself. Thank you for everything."

He nodded. "Rest well" He said before leaving the room, softly closing the door behind him.

She set her head down, listening to his footsteps disappearing down the stairwell, a breeze blowing through the window, and for a while she just remained there, watching the shadows on the ceiling.

After sometime, Selina clutched a fist and felt her strength returning. The bed felt incredibly inviting, but she felt hugely compelled to get herself back up, so she would be ready to go back down those stairs and rejoin the conversation. Urging herself, she managed to get up to a seated position, and then to completely rise to her feet.

Glancing around the room, Selina had a moment of surreality to recognize that she was indeed in Caden's private sanctuary. She'd often regarded Caden as aloof and shy - someone who'd never reveal what he truly thought, and would probably keep her skirting outside his gates trying to guess what really was going on. She walked around the room with barefeet, picking up a random book at his desk. She didn't know if he'd like her touching his things, but she figured he'd never knew if she did. Bringing the book to her nose, she sniffed it. She put down the book, and picked up another, and did the same to sniff it. Each book had the scent of old pages, but also the distinct scent of Caden's touch. She wondered how many times he'd flipped each book. How much he'd studied each page.

Selina put the book down. It was high time to get herself back to Caden and Meri and stop being distracted by the items in Caden's room. As fascinating as book sniffing was, she couldn't wait to be a part of that family conversation again. It was a strange sensation, being between Caden and his gran. It almost felt like she had been temporarily adopted into the family, and could regard Meri as her own gran. It was a warm feeling that felt very welcoming to her.

Downstairs Caden went into the garden as well, following his grandmother. "Gran, do we still have that spare mattress? I'll be bunking in the kitchen while Selina is here." he said as he walked up to her.

Meri turned around to look at Caden. "Not sharing a room?" She asked teasingly. Caden turned bright red at her remark. "Gran.." He objected.

"Oh shush you" Meri said. "I can see the way you look at her, there's no hiding from me lad. How long have you two been an item?" Her smile shone brightly as she asked him.

Opening the door as quietly as she could, she snuck out of the room, shut the door behind her, and tread lightly down the stairs. She could already hear mumbles coming from the garden outside, and she beamed as she peered outside to see Caden with his gran. A picture perfect moment, with the light hitting them just right, and the herb garden of myriad colors enveloping their feet. Selina wished then to capture that sliver in time to replay it forever. She moved slowly to the edge of the window to admire the scene while waiting for a suitable moment to re-enter.

"Gran, we're not, I mean, she's not..." Caden blurted out. Feeling utterly embarrassed he stared daggers at her. "There is no understanding between us grandmother." He said, a little more calmly after he collected himself.

Meri's smile dropped. "I'm sure I saw something between you two" She said, with an air of disappointment. Her eyes carefully took in her grandson's face as she awaited his reaction.

"You probably did" Caden said, realizing there was no fooling his grandmother.

Meri took his arm and pushed him gently towards a bench that sat in the center of the garden. "Sit with me" She told him before sitting down on the bench herself and patting the seat next to her. Caden sat down beside her, their backs towards the house. "Tell me then my boy, what's the matter" Meri said, placing a wrinkled hand on his.

Selina stayed low in order not to be noticed, even while her fingers lightly touched the glass. She realised how rude it was for her to eavesdrop on Caden's private conversation, but this was exactly what she'd wanted to know for sometime - and that for some unknown reason, Caden had refused to share with her.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on June 07, 2017, 05:31:11 PM
He gave his grandmother a small smile. "Oh gran it's complicated, I don't possibly know where to start." He stared off in the direction of the orchard. Nothing had changed here in this garden for as long as he remembered and it put him at ease a little. He sat there staring in silence for a long time, until his grandmother broke it. "I suggest the start my boy, come tell your old nan, you know well that there's not a lot that can still surprise me."

After a while Caden spoke up. "When I met Selina, she was seeing someone" He said. "A hunter from the Queen's forest. They clearly loved each other. She was taken by bandits however, a vicious gang, they took her all the way to Brisban and further, through a portal. I helped her boyfriend to get her back. We managed to return her to Divinity's Reach but he never did get her back. Whatever they did with her there, it wiped her memory." Caden fell silent. He told as much of the truth as he could, but it still felt wrong to lie so much to his grandmother.

Meri silently sat next to him, content to hear him out rather than question. After several minutes Caden continued. "We did our best to help her, and most of her memories returned, but her memories of him didn't. After all this time, she still doesn't know. So how can I tell her how I feel gran, when her heart belongs to another. " He wrung his hands nervously. "She may not know it now, but I'm sure she'll remember at some point. She would resent me for trying to take his place. "

Selina felt her hand slipping from the glass as she listened to Caden reveal what truly happened that she'd lost all memory of. The hunter's lodge that had flashed in her head was brought back to mind - was that where the man lived? Was that why her mind was trying so desperately to show her what was missing?

A spike speared through her head as she attempted to recall anything involving the man or his whereabouts. It resonated wildly, causing her to slide to the floor in agony. She held her temples desperately to hold back the spasms.

There was sadness in his eyes when he looked at his grandmother again and she couldn't help but feel for him. "You ought to tell her lad, leave her the choice." She said.
Caden shook his head. "I just need her to be happy and healthy, that'll be enough" He said.

Together they sat there, staring out over the garden and orchard. "Don't forget to look after your own happiness Caden" Meri said after some time. Standing up and giving him a kiss on the forehead. "I best get on with these herbs now" She said with a gentle smile.

Caden nodded. "Let me help you" He said.

Drained once more of energy, she quickly decided that she had had it with the spikes. She would not think of this man any longer, no matter what he'd meant to her before. He now meant nothing to her. In fact, she instead found a seething resentment towards him - that whoever this man was had inevitably doomed her to a life of solitude, denying her of what could've been with Caden.

The mixture of anger and frustration gave her strength that her limbs did not, and it drove her to claw her way back to Caden's room, and plopped her back onto his bed, her hair in disarray, her eyes red from emotion and her nails cracked from friction against the stone flooring. She went back to staring at the shadows cast against the ceiling, but now they looked like the thorns of a beast, consuming its prey. What hope had she? She had come to the end of the line.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on June 08, 2017, 10:59:53 AM
After Caden and Meri finished weeding the herbbed the sun had started to sink and Meri announced she would start dinner. Caden spread the weeds out on the path to let them dry out over night and went back inside as well. "I'll check on Selina gran, She's been asleep so long I'm sure she'll be hungry." He said, already half way up the stairs when he spoke.

When he reached the door to his room he softly knocked on the wood. "Selina?"

She heard the knock, it woke her up from her state of sleep. Instantly, Selina remembered all that had transpired before she'd drifted off. She looked up at the door and thought about staying silent... leaving him wondering. But she rose instead. She knew she wouldn't be able to avoid him forever. She just didn't know what she would say. "I'm here..." was what she started with.

"How're you feeling Selina?" He asked through the closed door. His hand was on the handle but he didn't open it.

"I'm fine," she said.

"Sel, can I come in?" He asked, feeling slightly nervous for some reason.

"It's your room," she replied simply.

His hand slid off the handle. "It's yours while you're here" He said, sighing slightly. "Gran is cooking dinner, will you join us?"

Selina sighed. She felt too dismayed to work up an appetite, but on the other hand, she didn't want to be rude to Meri. She seemed like such a wonderful person, Selina knew she would feel awful if she ended up offending Meri. She rose from the bed and opened the door, staring Caden directly in the face. She didn't care to tidy her hair, or even manage a smile for him.

Slightly taken aback by her appearance Caden took a step back. "Sel you look awful, are you sure you're alright?" He looked at her with concern. "Would you prefer it if I brought some food up so you can rest more?"

"Caden..." she was tired of all the secrecy and unsaid words that had only served to hurt her, just when she thought things couldn't get any worse after what had happened with Aidan. "I'm going to just come out and say this... I went down the time you were out in the garden with Meri. I saw the both of you talking and... well... I overheard everything. I'm sorry... I just couldn't stand to make my presence known then."

He paled as he stared at her. His brain was working overtime but no eloquent response seemed to form in his mind. "....You .....heard" he finally stammered.

"Look... I respect the sentiment, but understand that that person... the Selina that left DR to head into Brisban... she died. We've tried everything to revive her - I've tried everything to restore her but it seems that this is all that remains... a broken... wreck of a person who can't even sit through a nice little lunch like she wanted to. I get it... I'm not the person you wanted... I'm not even the person I want to be. But this man you speak of... I don't know who he is, nor why he's still relevant to my life. Should I be chained forever to the ghosts of my past?"

"Sel" It felt like each word she said broke away the floor beneath his feet a little further and desperation took hold of him. He never meant for her to hurt, never thought that she would find out, not like this. Every fiber in his body wanted to run, but he remained standing in front of her his feet nailed in place. "I was scared" He said, looking at the floor between their feet, too afraid to look her in the eyes now, afraid of what he might find there.

She dipped her glance, disappointed with the way things had turned out. "I'm sorry Caden, this isn't working out, as much as I wanted it to. You deserve a sweet young thing who adores you and agrees with all your political views, not a broken rag ten years your senior who continues to fight for everything you're opposed to. We are so different..." she smiled sadly at him. "I'm not sure what made me think that this could work out, you'd be the only one on the losing end. I've been so very selfish, and I think it's time I did something for you instead, Caden." She gripped him firmly by the shoulders and spoke sternly to him. "Whatever we've meant to each other, whatever we've done together... you've got to forget it all. Go on, live your life. Don't come looking for me. If it helps, I'll make sure you can't follow. If my brother comes looking for me, don't tell him where I am. I'm going to shed this childish infatuation, and do what I need to do. You must too."

Her cruel dismissal of what seemed to be ... both?? their feelings made him angry. Angry with his grandmother for prying, angry with Selina for eavesdropping, angry with himself for even telling to begin with, or perhaps he should've told more. He doubted Selina understood even half of his feelings. He had tried to deny them for so long he was sure now that he could not forget. How could she even begin to suggest it after all this time. "No" He said firmly. "I cannot. You already own my heart Selina Knox, if you run away now you'll just take it with you." He finally made himself look up at her and there was sadness in his eyes.

"Then make me stay Caden..." a thin whisper came out of her lips. She widened her eyes, as though as surprised to hear herself say it. She let him go and turned away. "Don't make it harder... I'm not good for you. I know you want to fix me, but I can't be fixed." She slammed a fist into the wall. "It's better if we go our separate ways."

Her whispered question gave him the tiniest inkling of hope and he decided to grab it with both hands, he had nothing more to lose after all. His hand took hold of her underarm gently pulling her to face him. His other hand cupped her face as he looked in her eyes. "I don't care if you think you're good for me or not. You own my heart and I need you to survive" His face was inches from hers and he longed to kiss her, to feel her lips against his and forget about their troubles. His heart beat wildly in his chest and he felt it might burst as he opened his mouth to speak again. "I love you Selina" The hope inside him flickered, desperate to be fed, desperate to grow and anxiously he looked in her eyes, awaiting her response.

A wealth of bottled up emotions was uncorked the moment Caden finally admitted how he felt about her. Like a tsunami, they rushed through her completely, taking control of every limb and every thought. Winding her arms behind his back to pull him close, she fell onto his lips; a great hunger enveloping her, more powerful than she'd ever felt before. In the back of her mind, she remembered how she'd fought so hard to set him free from any association with the complicated mess that was her life. She knew full well that she really shouldn't be kissing Caden Mullins, but she had become locked into his embrace, and couldn't find the strength to leave, not even if the world came crumbling down around them.

His breath caught in his throat as she kissed him. He could scarcely believe it but he banished all doubt from his head as he slid his arm around her shoulders and held on to her for dear life. His fingers laced through her hair as he answered her hungry kisses with sweet ones of his own. Unwilling to break the moment he prayed for it to last.

As their breaths got more intense, she wedged him against a wall and kneaded the sides of his waist with her hands, pouring into him every ounce of emotion that she'd kept hidden for too long. It felt like a wealth of eternity, her mind racing through every captured moment when she wanted to touch him and to hold him, and somehow had hesitated. She felt validated to indulge, to pay back the debt that was owed.

He had ached for this for so long that he savoured every kiss they shared. As she wedged him against the wall he held her close to him, his hand holding the back of her neck, his fingers laced into her hair. There were still so many things that needed to be said, but for now, this was enough. He suddenly jolted when a loud sound came from downstairs, unwilling he tore himself away from Selina briefly looking in her eyes before running over to the balustrade that overlooked the kitchen. "Gran?" he called, his face still flushed.

His eyes found Meri standing in the middle of the kitchen, leaning over a stack of fallen pots grinning sheepishly. "Ah sorry my boy, I'm afraid I was rather clumsy"

She stumbled backwards and caught a corner of the door to Caden's room as she worked hard to catch her breath. She didn't think she had it in her to channel such passion into one kiss, and she became a little frightened of the sheer strength it had over her. Wiping a corner of her lip with the back of her hand, she tried to assess what had just occurred. It'd happened so quickly that she hadn't the time to think it through; what it meant, and if it truly was the wisest thing for her to do.

Sighing Caden looked down. "Do you need some help gran?" He asked. "No but you two can come and eat your dinner" Meri told him.

He nodded and turned, feeling suddenly very aware of how warm his face felt and how red it would most likely be. He walked back to Selina trying to gauge her as he approached. "Sorry, my gran she..." He mumbled as he took her hand and held it against his cheek.

Selina looked at him, but still found herself in a daze. She opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out. Seeing as she was at a loss for words, she simply nodded.

He placed a kiss on her hand before letting go of it. "Gran wants us downstairs for dinner" He said with an apologetic smile.

She smiled bashfully in return. "Did that just happen? Or was I dreaming?" she asked, walking behind him.

"If you did then so did I," He mumbled before walking down the stairs, still feeling slightly embarrassed by his grandmothers interruption.

Selina looked at the elderly woman, and awkwardly raised a hand to wave at her.

"Ah Selina, so good to see you on your feet, are you feeling better?" Meri chattered cheerfully. "If you have any more headaches I can give you something for that"

"I'm feeling much better, thank you Meri. And to tell truth, I don't know if herbal remedies work against spells?" Caden and her had broken down all barriers of secrecy, she figured that she'd do the same with Meri and let her assume that she'd overheard the entire conversation.

Meri's gaze shot from Caden to Selina and back. Caden nodded at her. "She heard" He said softly. Meri gave Selina a kind smile. "Sit down child, and eat. Then we will talk." She said gesturing to the table which was now filled with several bowls. There was rice, what looked to be a stew and a salad that looked like it came straight from a meadow.

Selina sat in front of the bowl gratefully and picked up her utencils. "A home cooked meal," she said contemplatively. "Made with love, served with grace, makes for an unforgettable taste." She grinned and looked up at Meri. "It's a rhyme I learnt when I was a child."

Meri smiled at her. "It's rather on the mark I'd say" She took the bowl of rice and passed it on to Selina.

Selina took the bowl and started digging her spoon into the rice till she noticed that no one else had started yet. She pulled the spoon out and looked at Meri and Caden in embarrassment.

"Sel, you're our guest, you get to take food first" Caden said, nudging her softly.

She looked at Meri for approval, then gingerly scooped the stew into her bowl. "I'm sorry... I don't get invited often for social meals like these. I always forget my manners."

Meri smiled at her encouragingly "Don't worry about that dear, just enjoy the meal and the company"

Selina had taken several mouthfuls of Meri's delicious cooking when she found her eyes wandering the table to settle on Caden. She still couldn't believe what had happened with him, and was half expecting to wake up from a dream. There was something new and striking about Caden she hadn't noticed before, something that set her heart racing at the very sight. She wondered why it wasn't as prevalent before.

Caden caught her gaze as he looked up from his food and smiled warmly at her. After several seconds of gazing at her he tore away and looked at his grandmother instead. "Has father been gone for long?"

"He left for the city four days ago, but it's no rare occurrence. Your mum worries easily, you know that. On this side of the city we've been relatively safe, as you will have witnessed yourself on your way here I presume." Meri said before finishing up her meal.

Selina listened as she finished her meal. "If you need him tracked down, I'd be more than glad," she offered.

"That's very kind of you dear but I'm sure he'll turn up soon enough." Meri smiled. "Caden got his wanderlust from no stranger"

Sel chuckled and cast Caden a pointed glance. "Didn't he tell me recently that he's enough of adventuring and wants to settle down here with his herbs?"

Meri raised her eyebrows at Caden. "Did he now? Well then, we'll see for how long" She chuckled as Caden's face turned a shade of crimson again.

"If you ask me, I think the trip into Brisban scarred him for life. I wouldn't be surprised. It's scarred me too," added Selina.

"Tell me child, what causes your headaches" Meri asked her, giving her a concerned look.

"Old hidden memories crawling back. I'm no expert, but it sounds like a mesmer created gaps in my head, mostly for the purpose of brainwashing me into working for them like a mindless zombie. I think we've mostly got it fixed.... but it seems, not entirely."

Caden nodded. "I've seen her regain memories several times, she gets sharp pains in her head, sometimes even spasms as if she's having some sort of fit, like her body is fighting what goes on in her head." He fell silent. "I"m confused as to why you would remember anything here though, you've never been here after all."

"The only reason I can see for that happening, it's in relation to that final piece of the puzzle that's still missing. The guy you were talking about. Speaking of... if there really was something going on between myself and that guy, why did he never turn up at all? It just seems odd that he wouldn't care at all."

"He did come for you, at Aidan's house, but when you saw him you went into a fit and passed out. He didn't want you to hurt on his behalf and he left." Caden said quietly.

None of what Caden said seemed to resonate with a memory. "He assumes if he comes by I'll get into a fit again, I suppose?"

Caden nodded.

She leaned towards Caden and plopped her chin on the palm of her hand. "Well... since he's gone, let's just leave him out of the picture. I'm much too occupied to really bother now." She grinned.

Caden blushed, not quite knowing what to say he stared at his empty bowl.

Meri seemed thoughtful for a while. She got to her feet and started to flip through a book that she took from one of the shelves. Meri finished flipping through the book and closed it. "I can't help you with your memory Selina, but I can make you something to help with the side effects."

"Don't worry about the headaches Meri, I've learnt to live with them. Besides, they don't typically occur these days."

"If you're sure, otherwise I'm sure Caden generally has something handy, although that's more tailored to helping with a hangover most likely" she said with a wink.

Selina nodded, and then she became a little quiet as she looked about the house. "Meri, and Caden... this is a little awkward to bring up. But Caden first intended to bring me here for a visit, I assumed I'd be spending one... or two nights, tops. After which I'd fully intended to leave. I have some business that needs to be done in Lion's Arch. But Caden... well he convinced me not to go. And now my plans are up in the air, and I'm kinda at a crossroads. Can you give me some directions, like what kind of work is in demand around these parts... or perhaps the location of the nearest inn? I really don't want to impose."

"My dear child, you'll be more than welcome here" Meri said. She looked thoughtful for a while and then looked at Caden. "She can have Maggie's room" Surprised Caden looked at her. "But.. are you sure? What will Ma say?"

Selina looked from one to the other. "The inn is fine, I don't want to cause problems."

"Wherever you feel most comfortable child, but friends of Caden will always be welcome here, you remember that." Meri gave her a warm smile and started to clear the dishes from the table.

She turned to Caden just as Meri got up to clear the table. "This... is what you want, isn't it?"

"Nothing could make me happier" he said with a warm smile.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on June 15, 2017, 01:22:59 PM
Early that morning, a crackling campfire sent lazy wisps of smoke through the air, into Caden's room.

Caden stretched as he awoke, as he sat up part of him wondered if yesterday had actually been a dream. He swung his legs over the side of the bed and looked at the window. Who was building a fire at this hour, he wondered as he got up and moved towards the window.

Found sitting beside the fire right beneath his room, Selina sheepishly waved at Caden. "I'm sorry, did I wake you?"

"No. Are you trying to set my house on fire already?" He asked with a raised eyebrow.

She laughed a jovial laugh. "I'm trying to scare away the harpies, assassins, pirates, and brigands with this fire here."

"I feel safer already" He laughed. "Will you come inside and have breakfast with me?"

"What?" She pulled out a measly looking sausage from the fire that gotten black on one side and uncooked on the other. "This not good enough for you?"

"That definitely beats oatmeal" he said laughing. "I'll be right down." Caden quickly grabbed a fresh shirt and pants from his chest of drawers and got himself dressed. He then made his way downstairs and towards Selina's fire.

As he approached her, she smiled coyly, "I was actually kidding. This morning I've learnt that if there's one thing I can't do, it's cook." She looked in dismay at her failed attempt simmering in a pan on the flames. "I had the intent of surprising you with breakfast, but I fear we may contract a disease trying to mouth this down."

"Ah" He smiled. "I suppose oatmeal it is then. Come on in."

"Alright," she picked up her pan, dumped the contents into the flames and kicked soil over the camp fire to put it out. "That's the last time I'll try that."

He laughed as he turned and walked back inside. In the kitchen he found the pot of oatmeal his grandmother always prepared in the morning. After adding some wood to the fire he placed the pot on the stove to reheat it.

She followed behind him, and didn't stop till she was just inches from him, hovering over his shoulder. "So..." she said softly into his ear. "I wasn't entirely honest about why I was making you breakfast."

"Hm?" He asked as he turned his head to look over his shoulder while he took a ladle and stirred the oatmeal a few times.

"Well... I..." she hesitated, finding it hard to speak the words she intended to say to him. "The truth is I... I missed you... and cooking you breakfast underneath your window seemed like a good excuse to get close to you without seeming too... well..." Backing off a little from him, her face flushed beetroot red. "I hope it doesn't sound creepy."

He let go of the ladle and turned wrapping his arms around her and pulling her against him. "When I woke up this morning I thought I dreamt you. I'm glad you were right outside my window to ensure me yesterday was real." He said softly.

She smiled broadly, and stroked the side of his face. "I never replied when you said that you loved me. The truth is... I don't think I've ever felt the same way about another. I've fought some massive beasts, and have beat death too many times to count... but you... you are something else. I don't think I could ever bear the thought of losing you. That terrifies me more than anything."

"I'm not going anywhere" He said giving her a kiss on the top of her head. Just as he did that the oatmeal mixture behind him started to make bubbling noises. "Ah." He said sadly letting go of her.  "Lets not burn our second breakfast as well." He turned back to the pot and stirred it a few times.

She stepped beside him, watching him stir the contents of the pot. "I will go where you want me to go, Caden. If it's here in Claypool, then I'll try to make myself useful around here."

Caden gave her a loving smile before taking the pot off the stove. He put it on a counter and took two bowls from a shelf nearby. Just as he was about to ladle them full the backdoor opened. In the opening stood a large man, clearly a relative of Caden's. Caden looked over his shoulder to the door before putting the bowls down again and turning around completely. "Not the people I expected to find in my kitchen" he said, still holding the door open with one hand."

Selina regarded the man with a smile, and waited to be introduced.

"Dad" Caden said with a smile. "Welcome home I suppose. This is Selina" He said, gesturing at her. "Selina this is Ethan, my father."

"Hello Ethan," said Selina, reaching out her hand.

"Well met" He said, shaking her hand. "Finally brought a girl home then son" He said ruffling a hand through Caden's hair while Caden's face turned rather red.

"M-mum is still with Mrs Green and gran's gone out to the woods." He said changing the topic immediately.

"And they left you in charge of the pot of porridge hmm. Good thing I arrived when I did or I would have no breakfast." He said, sitting down at the table.  Caden took another bowl from the shelf and filled all three of them. He gestured for Selina to sit down as well before placing the three bowls on the table. From a drawer he took some spoons and handed them out before sitting down himself.

Selina sat down in front of a bowl, and took a curious look at the large man, trying to spot any features that resembled Caden's; His hair was a shade similar to Caden's and a clear resemblance could also been seen in their facial features.

"How was your trip?" Caden asked. "Mum said you're late a few days."

"Yeah I got a little sidetracked" He said with an apologetic grin. "When I went to hand off supplies to Joanna they needed someone to forward some things to the Seraph hospital in the reach. I figured it'd better be me than someone who could be of use in the field."

Selina dug into her bowl as she listened, trying to get a handle on who Caden's father was, and what their relationship was like.

"What about you, what're you up to, taking girls home?" Ethan gave Selina a glance before focusing on Caden.

Caden nearly choked on his oatmeal upon hearing the sudden question. He had hoped to avoid the topic for a while. The redness returned to his cheeks and he glanced at Selina while his mind raced to find an answer to that question.

Noticing the hesitation, Selina chimed in quickly. "I'm an ex-colleague of Caden's. Wanted to be shown around Claypool, which is why I'm here."

Ethan laughed loudly.  "I'm sure you are girl, but Caden's face is telling enough." He ate the reminder of his oatmeal in two large spoonfuls and got up from the table. "I'll leave you two to your ...exploration of Claypool, Daisy needs a wash." He said while rolling up the sleeves of his shirt. "Oh, if you do go out, pass by the Greens and tell your mum I"m home, don't want her worrying." He said before going back outside.

Taking the moment in privacy, Selina checked on Caden, "Are you alright?"

"Yeah" He said, poking around in his oatmeal with his spoon. "I.... I just ..I don't... This, us, it's all so new that I didn't know what to say to him. I didn't want to lie to him but I" He fell silent again. "I didn't want to tell him we ...are together without your consent."

She laughed lightly. "Caden, they are your family, not mine. I would think opening up to them about this would matter more to you than to I. I'm fine either way, if you want to tell them or if you want to keep it a secret. Just... if you're ashamed of me, I'd hope you'd let me know."

He smiled thankfully at her. "If we choose to be together I want my family to know, but this was so soon after yesterday that I wasn't sure how you felt. " He took her hand then. "I could never be ashamed of you Sel, I love you even if you do manage some pretty weird things every now and then" he grinned, "Like wacking me over the head to keep me safe or build a campfire in my backgarden. Oh, I'm sure dad will have something to say about that later if he finds out."

She grinned, leaned over suddenly and laid a passionate kiss on his lips. After a little while, she drew back and looked directly into his eyes. "How do you think I feel about it?"

He gave her no answer, instead he smiled and pulled her back for another kiss.

Her heart pounded in her chest as she pushed the oatmeal aside and leaned far over the table to get as close to him as she could. There was nothing more she wanted to do in that moment but to fall more and more in love with Caden Mullins.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on June 21, 2017, 05:31:21 PM
After a passionate kiss he broke away and smiled at Selina. "We should probably clean this up and head out" He said, half regretting the comment as soon as he made it.

She smiled, even though she didn't want to let him go. But if she had to be perfectly honest, she was keen to visit the rest of Caden's environment. There was still so much about him that she didn't know.

Caden got up and cleared the table. "So, where would you like to go first?"

"Anywhere... everywhere," she said. "I want to see what you do when you're not in Divinity's Reach, hidden in this little corner of the world. I want to see the people you meet."

He finished cleaning up and offered her a hand. "Let's go then."

She took his hand and walked at his side. As they left his home she chuckled out loud as she reflected on them walking about hand in hand. "We're just like an old couple."

"Not quite, if I were I'd have a cane in the other hand" He said with a grin. "Hey Dad, we're going out now, see you later" he called as they walked past the stable.

Selina followed along, admiring the scattered homes in the quaint little village. She wondered what it would feel like growing up in such a place.

"Let's stop by the Greens first" He said, making his way towards the center of the village. He walked directly towards a small house located near the village square now. He let go of Selina's hand and knocked on the door. After some time a girl in her early teens opened the door. Her eyes were red and she looked tired. "How're you holding up Els" Caden asked concerned. The girl almost burst into tears and only nodded to him.

At that moment an young man appeared behind her. "Hey Eric" Caden said. "Can you please pass on to mum that father had returned home? I know she was a bit worried because he was late again" Caden asked him. Eric nodded and pulled Els away from the door gently.

"Your mom should be returning home soon. Grandma passed away during the night." He said quietly.

"My condolences" Caden said, placing a hand on the young mans shoulder shortly. After an awkward silence Caden stepped back form the door. "I will leave you to your family, may the six give you strength. " He said softly.

Eric nodded "thank you" he said before closing the door again.

Caden sighed and looked at Selina. "Sorry about that"

She shrugged, and tried to sympathize. But she knew nothing about the Greens, only that they mattered to Caden.

He took Selina's hand again and started walking, leading her past the mill back to the southside of the village. "That was Eric he explained while they walked, I used to hang out with him a lot, together with Jer, you saw him when we entered the town. Tom too but he moved away. I'm actually not sure what became of him. And Jake," He shrugged at the mention of the last name. "As far as we know he hooked up with the bandits in the caves up north, the idiot." the realization of what he just said hit him suddenly and he gave Selina a shocked look. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to..."

The fact that he worried about offending her made her laugh. "Idiot huh... Well, you can't please them all."

He gave her an apologetic smile. They passed the last few houses of the edge of the village and turned to their right onto a smaller path. They were now approaching the south wall that protected the village. He pointed at the road they had just left. "That goes to fort Salma" he said, before leading her further down the path. At the wall he greeted the seraph guard and they left the village behind them. "This is one of my favourite places" he said as they walked down a slope, towards a lake. On their left several streams of a waterfall plunged down into the lake with a roaring sound. A few fishman's huts surrounded the lake, and on their right side the lake turned into a stream. He lead Selina onto a walkway that lead to the middle of the lake where he sat down on the edge. He patted the space next to him, inviting her to sit down, before taking his shoes off to let his feet dangle in the cold water.

Delightedly, she took her shoes off as well and planted herself down beside him. Looking over the lake, she asked, "You come here a lot?"

"Yeah" He paused and then grinned at her. "Don't let the barracudas bite you"

Instinctively she jolted her feet out of the water. But when she realised that he still had his feet in the water, her eyes slid to gaps, guessing that he was merely playing her. "Is that your attempt at trying to be smart?"

He started to laugh. "I'll have you know that a fisherman once caught a specimen here that was over 5 foot long" he said, still laughing.

She loved to see him laugh, it was the kind of laugh that made her want to laugh along. "I'm calling your bluff," she declared, reaching over to tickle him in the side. "You're some kind of cheeky today, Caden."

He laughed louder now, trying to pull away from her tickling, almost losing his balance and going over the edge of the walkway. "It's true though" He exclaimed, just ask old Welkin over there" He said, pointing at a fisherman in a boat on the other side of the lake.

She cast a quick glance at the boat on the other side of the lake, just to make sure that it was really there, grinned, and reeled Caden back in. "Who else have you spent time at this lake with?" she asked.

"The lads and I hung out here a lot" He said quickly in reply. "We used to go around the hill there so we could jump down from the waterfall. Jake once nearly broke his leg on the rocks, dad got so angry with us then." He laughed.

Selina remained thoughtful at the mention of Jake. "Do you know if Jake is still up north with those guys?"

"No clue, why?"

"Need I remind you that you have the perfect infiltrator, sitting right here. I can drag that idiot back here if you'd like."

"Don't you think we tried to talk him out of it?" Caden sighed. "He made his choice. Besides, if we dragged him out he'd only be going straight to prison. Might as well leave him to his own devices."

"Maybe prison is what he needs, to sober him up," she suggested.

"Maybe, but I will not be the one that puts him there"

She leaned over and gently stroked his ear. "Well, you are a good friend. He's lucky to have you."

He smiled at her. "Not half as lucky as I am to have you" He said smoothly, his smile turning back to a grin.

She took his hand and looked him in the eyes. "Caden, what you said to Meri... that you'd hesitated because I had another man in my life. How long ago was that?"

"When we first met you two were still together." He said quietly.

"And... When did you..." she searched for the right words to use. "Well... when did you begin to feel something for me?"

His cheeks started to run red again. "You have to ask me that" he said.

She looked down awkwardly, "Just... there were a couple of things that you did, or said... they never added up, and I've... I've always wondered. But..." she waved the thoughts away. "It's something I don't exactly have to know. If you feel uncomfortable then just forget it."

"I'm not sure I can pinpoint when that happened exactly." He finally said. "I think it just slowly grew while were traveling to Brisban together. Of course, he was there, so I couldn't allow myself to consider anything at all."

Selina listened intently, and considered the implications. "So each time we argued, and you came back. And seemingly without reason, you chose to follow me while I worked out my brother's problems... and all that talk about me being a distraction... you've been trying to hide this?"

He nodded, staring at the water.

She gathered him in her arms and hugged him tightly. "I'm sorry Caden. I fought you over and over because I couldn't understand. I remained suspicious of your intentions. And yet I failed to see how you were suffering."

He smiled as she hugged him. "I never held that against you." He said softly. "I knew you didn't know, I just had to be around you. I felt that if I could just be near you I'd somehow be alright."

"Now you have me Caden," she began trailing the side of his face with light kisses, from the top of his head down to the end of his left shoulder. "All to yourself... We can stay like this forever."

"Mhm" he replied, taking her face in one hand and placing a kiss on her lips.

She returned his kiss with a deep embracing kiss of her own, leaning him down on the walkway, as she parted from his lips to admire the moment they shared together. "I'd like to be a part of your world Caden, but there's just one problem."

"Hm? What's that?" He asked, pulling her back, closer to him.

She looked down at the mix of armor and leather outfit that she'd assembled and worn since Kessex. "I doubt this is really suited for country life," she told him with a smile in her eyes.

"Well, I wouldn't protest if you took it off" He said with a grin, but the townsfolk might have something to say about that.

Selina grinned in response. "I wasn't hinting at that, but..." She dropped a kiss on the center of his chest. "If you want..." She dropped another kiss just above his navel. "I'm not opposed to the idea."

His face was bright crimson by now. "W-we should probably spare old Welkin the show" He said, half stumbling over his words. "I'm sure we c-can find you some clothes though"

She chuckled, stood up and offered him a hand. "Hey relax, I'm just teasing. I wouldn't embarrass you like that in front of your townsfolk."

Still red he got to his feet. "I'd never hear the end of it" he warned her with a smile.

She leaned over and whispered, "Maybe that's all the more reason to do exactly that. Life isn't worth living if you only dare tread the straight and narrow." She winked at him impishly and started heading back down the boardwalk.

He rolled his eyes at her back before going after her.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on June 29, 2017, 11:49:14 AM
Selina strolled into town and gazed at the crowds at the market, busy with their daily chores. The day was fading into the evening, and she assumed they would be headed back soon for dinner. It was a quaint little place, compared to the busy streets of Divinity's Reach, and she loved it right away.

Caden glanced at Selina and smiled. He suddenly remembered her earlier comment about clothes and looked at the tailor on the other side of the square. "Did you want to stop by the tailors maybe?" He asked, looking back to Sel.

She nodded, and followed after him. She didn't tell him that she'd just made this decision over the course of the night. And while it might not mean anything much to someone else, it meant taking a huge step of faith on her part. First, if she rid herself of her armor, it would also mean ridding herself of all the "tools of the trade"... effectively, she would have to give up the way of life she'd adopted over the years. Second, her transformation had already begun when she'd taken off her helmet and put it down for good. There was something about Claypool that bade her to step out into the open, end her life of living in the shadows... or maybe it wasn't Claypool, it was the new life she intended to have with Caden. She knew bringing all her baggage into his life would be unfair to him, and what better way to more fully enjoy being in each other's company but by having no secrets. She would be an open book to him. Anything he asked, she would answer most truthfully. But it wasn't just about him, she needed this too after hiding for so long. It felt like a breath of fresh air.

"So, what kind of outfit are you considering?" Caden asked as he lead her towards Jamie's shop. He was glad she was considering taking her armor off during her stay but at the same time he had trouble imagining Sel wearing anything else.

"Hmm?" She broke out of her thoughts to analyze what he'd asked. "Well, the plan is to blend in. What do women around these parts wear?" Reaching into her pouch, she produced several gold coins. "I assume this should cover the cost?"

He laughed, "Yes it should. As to what women wear, look around you. We're not very fashionable around these parts I'm afraid, practicality is of more concern."

"Well I'm no beauty queen, practicality will suit me just fine," she grinned. Glancing about her, she spotted a wheelbarrow missing two spokes and a cracked frame, leaning against a wall. It would seem that the wheelbarrow had been there a while, for the foliage had already begun to grow around it. "I wonder who that belongs to."

"No clue, maybe Jamie knows, it's near his shop. Looks like it's been there a while though" Caden said. They were almost at the tailors now and Caden took two steps ahead to open the door for Selina.

Gratefully, she stepped into the store and surveyed the reels of fabric stacked up against the walls.

As the door closed behind them a small bell rung and a man appeared from the back of the shop. "Good afternoon" He greeted them both jovially. "Ah Caden, welcome" He continued upon spotting who his customer was.

"Good afternoon to you Jamie" Caden replied with a smile. "This is Selina, she's looking for some new clothes" He said, gesturing to Sel.

"Good afternoon Jamie," she picked up after Caden. "I'd appreciate it if you had some simple clothes, nothing elaborate. Shirts, slacks, overalls... the sort of thing that someone would wear in a place like this."

"Not from around here are you?" Jamie said. "I thought I didn't recognize you." Smiling he pointed at a rack on the other side of the small shop. "I have some girls clothing over there, have a look through, most will need some adjusting for size but that shan't be a problem."

She crossed the room and browsed the clothing recommended by Jamie. "Ha..." she said after a while, and turned to Caden. "Most of these are dresses."

"Is that a problem?" Caden asked with a grin.

"Ah the lady would prefer a pair of pants perhaps?" Jamie asked, pointing at a shelf near the rack.

Selina smiled bashfully and helped herself to the pants on the shelf. She found cotton shirts next to the pants and tunics too. She took two pairs of each, and then she turned over to Caden. "Would you... would you prefer me to be a little more feminine?" she asked, pointing to the stack of dresses.

"I'd prefer you to be comfortable with what you wear" Caden replied.

She grinned for a little while, then wrapped the clothes she was carrying over an arm and walked over to him. "I'm comfortable when I'm with you," she gushed, and leaned in close enough for the tip of her nose to lightly brush his chin.

He smiled and placed a kiss on her forehead, for a moment completely forgetting Jamie was right there.

Selina gently squeezed Caden's hand and spoke to Jamie. "Fine, you've persuaded me to get one of those," she said in reference to the stack of dresses. "Wrap all these up for me." And she pulled out the coin to pay for whatever was needed. "Oh, and one more thing... that wheelbarrow I saw outside. Does it belong to you?"

"Wheelbarrow?" Jamie shook his face, a little confused by the question. He took the clothes from Selina and began folding them.

"The one missing two spokes... with the cracked frame..." she suggested.

"Oh!" said Jamie the moment it hit him. "Yeah it broke sometime after I rolled it over a rock while I was carrying a full load of supplies. A real pity. It was handy while it lasted."

"If I knew someone who could get it fixed, would you be willing to pay?"

Jamie pulled the packing paper over the stack of clothes and looked at her. "I might, actually. But only if the price is right. Who's this person you know?"

"Myself," she said. "And the price is negotiable."

He smiled in surprise, looked over at Caden to determine if she was being serious, then back at her. "S...sure. I'd certainly appreciate it. Not been easy to run back and forth on foot from the front gate with my supplies. My supplier won't bring the yaks all this way into town, and all the carrying is going to hurt my back in the long run."

"Dandy," replied Selina. "I'll be back early tomorrow morning to work on your wheelbarrow then."

Jamie nodded, fixed the final knot on the wrapped package and Caden took it from him to carry it home for Selina. "You two have a lovely evening," Jamie told them.

"Nice meeting you," Selina said in return before they left the shop.

By the time they departed the tailor, the sun had already set. Candles and streetlamps illuminated the town in dreamy hues, dancing their shades of gold and scarlet onto the weathered path ahead of them. Selina looked into the night sky and watched the stars dot a vast expanse, same as they always did each time she took the time to look. It felt different then. She felt different. Just a little more hopeful, a little more optimistic about life.

Caden glanced at Selina while they walked home. "I hope you enjoyed yourself today?" He asked.

"I did," she replied. "It's been really nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Never thought I'd acclimatize to the culture - for some reason, I've always had the impression that small towns are full of stares, and people nosing in your business - that sorta thing."

"Oh trust me, you're probably already the talk of the town" He said with a grin. "Jamie likes to talk you know. It's mostly harmless though, they're just curious about a newcomer."

Her expression suddenly hardened. "What?"

"Don't worry about it, people talk, you can't blame them for being curious about you."

"It's not them I'm worr... " she sighed. "Never mind."

"What's wrong?" Caden stopped walking and grabbed Selina's hand.

She clutched his hand and turned to look at him. "Caden, is there somewhere we can go that is near your home and private? Really... private. Somewhere with a patch of dirt we can use."

"Well... there's garden" He gave her a puzzled look.

"Is there a portion of it that Meri and Ethan won't be using?"

"What do you mean Sel, what are you planning?"

"You'll see. Let's get back to your home first."

He nodded and started walking again, still holding on to Selina's hand.

They were back at Caden's home before long. Selina unwrapped the clothes she'd bought, and put on something comfortable before she reunited with Caden. Upon her back was the pack she had brought with her from Ebonhawke. The same pack she'd carried with her wherever she went. "Let's go," she said to him.

He nodded and followed her.

"Which area should I use?" she asked when they were at the garden.

He pointed to the back of the garden towards where the orchard was. "We don't use that much, rabbits get to it easily"

She nodded, stepped to where he'd pointed at and knelt down, putting her pack beside her. "Do you have a shovel?"

"What are you doing, Sel?"

"Digging... and burying something..."

"I can see that, but why? what's going on"

She sat down in the dirt and opened her pack. "Everything that's in here, it's my entire life." She pulled out her lockpick, showed it to him and laughed softly. "For each time I needed to get to somewhere I wasn't allowed." She put it back and pulled out a pair of wire cutters. "For each fence that stood in my way." She placed it back and took out a small pistol. "Bet you never knew I had this in here. But with what I do, I never know if I have to silence someone before he talks."

"You might miss that later" He said, still confused at her actions.

"I might miss shooting someone in the head?"

"I did not mean the gun, or the killing it can perform specifically, you know that" he said.

She studied the pistol for a while before she put it back in the pack. "I have to make a decision. Am I still this person? Or do I put that life behind me and start anew?"

"If that's what you wanna do." he smiled at her.

She looked down at her pack and gave it a hug. "I don't want to, but I think I have to."

He nodded. "I'll get you a shovel." he walked over to the shed and took a spade from it. After getting back to where Selina was he started to dig a hole, deeper then one would normally dig down in the garden, to prevent discovery.

She helped with the hole till it was deep enough, then put the shovel down. Giving her pack a final squeeze, she lifted it in front of her and after taking a large breath, dropped it in there. "Don't cover up yet," she said, reaching down into her boots to pull out two small throwing darts. They went into the hole as well. Tapped the back of her boots, and two thin metal bars came out. They went into the hole too. Finally, she reached into her pocket and pulled out a bracelet that had an open clasp. She held it in her hands, and the tears began to flow.

He placed a hand on Selina's shoulder and pulled her against his chest, holding her.

She leaned against him, clutched the bracelet tightly and wiped the tears from her eyes. "This... my prison... my redemption in the eyes of the Queen... and my brother." She threw the bracelet into the hole and stood up. She wasn't crying anymore. "Goodbye Aidan."

"You're acting like you will not see him again" He stated softly.

She had already begun to shovel dirt back into the hole. "I won't," she replied.

"Sel..." Unsure what to do about this apparent breach between the two siblings he sighed. Instead of pursuing the matter further he decided to help her shovel in dirt.

After the hole had been filled. Selina handed the shovel back to Caden, and dusted off her hands. "And just like that. The old Selina is dead and buried."

He took the shovel from her and placed it back in the shed. "Lets go inside and get ourselves cleaned up" he said.

She nodded and slipped her hand into his. "I'll miss you tonight," she whispered, and followed him back into the house.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on July 01, 2017, 11:21:21 PM
Selina had risen just a little before dawn. Sat up in her bed, and stared into the darkness of the inn for a bit. It felt strange to think about her pack resting deep in the ground - she'd never gone anywhere without it. Ironically, it'd even followed her back from Brisban, lost memory and all. As confused as she was, she still knew that it was something she'd need. So why did she bury it? She bit her lip... she hated having second thoughts about this. She'd been so certain just a night ago.

"I'm leaving that life behind." It was something she already knew, but saying the words out loud made it feel a little more self-assuring. Caden's response was what really surprised her. She'd expected him to be absolutely elated over her decision, but he seemed to lean more towards confusion and sadness over her little ceremony. Wasn't he always lecturing her about abiding by the laws imposed by Jennah, always shaking his head at Bran's choice of career... maybe he thought she hadn't noticed, but oh she had. Bran was a reflection of herself... at least what she was most skilled at. He clearly disapproved, that's never been in doubt. Then again... just thinking about it made her sigh, why would she care about the opinion of just one man? He wasn't the first to disapprove of her way of life. It's never bothered her before.

"But it's different now," she continued the debate with herself. "I like the simple way of life in Claypool. I want to be a part of the community here." She raised a brow at her own comment, what the bullocks was she spouting? She'd been to Claypool a couple of times before, mostly just in passing. Once in particular, tussled with a guard who recognized her from the wanted posters plastered up in Divinity's Reach. He slapped her around a little more than she deigned necessary - the little sadistic squirt. She'd added Claypool to her list of towns to avoid following that fiasco. Not that there was a particular short of it. But that was... seven years ago? On re-entering Claypool, she'd discreetly searched around for that particular guard, but he'd been nowhere to be found. There was the hope that he was indeed gone for good. But becoming a part of the community? That was quite another thing. Was she really serious?

"Why do you think I worked out the work deal with Jamie?" Playing house? What's this going to lead to? She asked herself. A rogue of her stature reduced to fixing wheelbarrows? It's a good thing Doc Howler wasn't here to spectate the embarrassing turn of events. The travesty of talent gone wasted - as Two-Blade Pete would say.

She gathered a fist, frustrated at the tug of war raging in her head. "But I love Caden. I want to enjoy this life with him." Finally that's what it's all about, isn't it? "Yes, and I want to be loved in return. Don't I deserve happiness?" True happiness is humiliating the fools in Divinity's Reach. True happiness is sitting on a heap of gold attained from a successful heist. True happiness is the power of having one's name whispered among crowds in fear. Happiness is what you make for yourself, it doesn't come from a single man. Caden will let you down. He will betray you. He's done it before.

"No!" she said loud enough to surprise herself. "I have enough of this conversation! I'm going to work." And just like that the debate was over. She strode through the room and opened the door. Down the hall way to the street outside, she could hear the faraway moaning of bullfrogs that had gone on for the most part of the night. But the frogs would be gone soon, fading away with the dying night - just like the negative thoughts that threatened to jeopardize everything wonderful she'd waited so long for. She decided then to fill her head instead with thoughts of being in Caden's arms, that security and blanket assurance that made it all worthwhile. Their love seemed completely illogical from a sane man's point of view, but it didn't stop from feeling right, it didn't stop her heart from skipping a beat at the very thought of him.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Strolling through town, she was surprised to find that a great many of the townsfolk were up as early as she was. In the city, the streets tended to be dead till the sun bore down its rays onto its cobbled paths. A couple of townsfolk she hadn't had the chance of being introduced to by Caden, smiled and waved to her.  She smiled back awkwardly, feeling a little nervous about the undue show of warmth that she felt she didn't deserve. She realised it might be the first time she'd been in a small town in the morning, completely sober and alone with strangers. Maybe being drunk out of her mind half the time had made her miss the warmth of small town living, just like this.

Footsteps trailed behind her, she could hear the scatter of shoe soles on pebble. Pure instinct made her whip around, hand reaching down her side for her sword - but she found nothing there. Her trusty sword, much like the rest of her items, were six-feet under. And right before her, her stalker... a young boy of barely five, tumbled to the ground in fright. His eyes were open wide, terrified by the monstrous glare she'd given him. She softened her expression immediately. "I'm sorry," she reached over to help him up, but he scrambled away instead, disappearing behind some crates. A pang of regret stabbed her for scaring the poor boy. She had to get a grip, learn to relax and just enjoy the journey.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Much like the other townsfolk, she found Jamie opening his shop just as the sun began to rise. She'd expected to get there before him and surprise him for being ultra punctual, but no such luck. "Get many customers this early in the morning?" she quipped.

Not expecting to find her there, Jamie was slightly taken aback. "You're impressively early yourself. Good morning."

"Morning."

"Would you like some breakfast to start your day?" he offered.

She smiled. "Something simple might be nice. I hope to start work on that wheelbarrow as soon as I can though."

"About the price..." he started, a little embarrassed to bring up the issue of finances so soon. "Is two pieces of gold too little for such a task? I'd offer more, but money has been a bit tight for me lately."

"Whatever you can pay is fine with me," replied Selina. She knew what Jamie said was probably true. Two pieces of gold was almost nothing compared to the massive bars she was used to lugging around, but Jamie had likely never seen as much wealth in his life. She barely knew the simple tailor, but she already liked him. A decent man in an honest work. There was a lot to admire about it.

"Really? I hope you don't think I'm ripping you off," he said apologetically, to which she shook her head. "Tell you what, if you do a good job on that wheelbarrow, I'll spread the word of your fine craftsmanship to everyone I know. You'll have a blooming business in no time. How does that sound?"

"Jamie..." she said with a chuckle. "Really, don't worry about it. I don't want you paying out of your means. I have idle hands. Fixing things is something I know I can do. I should be thanking you for keeping me occupied this morning."

"Well, I appreciate it very much Selina. And a very warm welcome to our humble town of Claypool, hope you'll come to love it as much as we do."

"If everyone's as polite as you, I don't see why that'd be a problem at all," she teased, before she got down to the business of listing all the supplies she would require to get that wheel up and running again. By a rough estimate, she knew she would be barely making any profit at all from this job, but she would have the appropriate equipment for her next job, so it would eventually all add up.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on July 06, 2017, 01:44:31 AM
Caden had gotten up early that morning under the pretense of heading to the forest to gather herbs. He did end up getting herbs but his main intention was to get away from his family for a while. He normally settled back into his life at home rather easily, but everything about life here felt differently somehow now that he had brought Selina home with him. Too many things had happened over the past few days for him to calmly sit with his family pretending nothing was different. He would have to tell them that he and Selina were in love, but he didn't quite know how. Part of him still didn't believe it was actually real, part of him still expected to wake up from a dream every moment now.

To avoid company he had dressed before dawn and left a note on the kitchen table saying he would be back later. He grabbed a piece of bread from one of the cabinets and a basket to put his herbs in before heading out. He had left Claypool behind him quickly and headed east to the heartwoods. His feet followed along the route he had walked so many times before effortlessly and he soon found himself climbing a familiar slope. At the top he sat himself down, eating a small breakfast while he watched the sun rise over the river. It didn't take long for his thoughts to stray back to Selina and he wondered how she was fairing over at Jamie's place, if she was even there yet, and how they were getting on. Knowing both of them they were probably getting along just fine he thought while aimlessly playing around with a blade of grass. He sat in his spot for several hours, lazing around before realizing he probably had to get to work before his family wondered why he hadn't brought any herbs back.

He got to his feet, grabbed his basket and made his way back down the slope to start his tour through the forest. After some time his basket was filled up with useful herbs and by the time he reentered the village it was past noon already.

"...and so the chef decided he had enough, threw his apron on the floor..." Jamie was out in the open, his eyes wide and animated, arms swinging to the thread of his tale.

Selina wedged the final spoke into the formerly broken wheel, now completely fixed. She wiped the sweat off her brow with the back of her hand, and attempted to continue Jamie's story, "And threatened to tell the butcher?"

Jamie broke out in laughter, "Yes! Yes, he did say that."

Picking up the wheel with two hands, Selina fit it back into place, a sawdust cloud scattered as she breathed onto the side of the wheel.

Jamie carried on with his story, seated a safe distance from Selina's array of tools and wood chippings. "Frightened of what the butcher might do, the lady decided to let the matter slide. I mean... anyone who's witnessed the butcher at work would surely think twice."

Selina laughed as well as she packed up her tools and did her best to sweep the wood chips away from the main pavement. "So, you were there when all this happened?" she asked.

"Friend of a friend. Word travels quickly around here," he answered.

She nodded, remembering what Caden had told her. It was likely that Jamie was a large part of the cycle of gossip around town. From the stories that he'd shared with her that morning, it was clear that no story would escape his ear. "You hear a lot, don't you?"

"Indeed I do," Jamie boasted. "Most people don't just come here for alterations, they come here for news or to give me news. Sometimes they don't even have the intent to do business, they're just here to chat."

Caden decided to pass by Jamie before heading home to see if Selina was still there and headed towards the center of town. From a distance he could already see the pair outside and he approached.

Selina was thinking of the next question she intended to ask Jamie, but when she noticed Caden approaching, she decided that all other concerns could wait. Rising from a crouched position, she dusted off the wood chips that dotted her attire, and offered Caden a smile. "Hello there," was all she said, though she had in her heart so much more to share.

"Hey" He said with a warm smile once he reached them. He gave Jamie a short wave before turning his attention back to Selina. He lightly kissed her cheek before smiling at her again. "How're you today?" He asked.

"I'm good," she said without hesitation, and picked up her bundle of tools in one hand. "How was your morning?"

He held up his basket. "I made a long walk and did some gathering"

"Mhmm..." She pushed the basket aside. She had no interest in the basket, only in the one holding it. Slipping her arms around his neck, she stepped closer. "A long walk huh.."

Jamie, still seated behind them, had a smile so wide it threatened to split his face into two. He wasn't about to leave and miss all the action.

"Mhm, to the heartwoods" He said, incredibly distracted by the feeling of her arm wrapped around his neck. "Say, if you're done here, can I maybe invite you over for lunch?" He smiled at her as he looked into her eyes.

"I'm done here," she replied, and turned to Jamie for confirmation. He nodded enthusiastically.

"An excellent job! Thank you Selina." Jamie said as he cast an eye on the wheelbarrow sitting proudly on its two working wheels. "The rest of Claypool is going to hear about this."

Selina didn't respond. She debated if Jamie was going to tell the rest of Claypool about her workmanship or about her relationship with Caden. She supposed it wouldn't matter either way. "I'd love to join you for lunch," she whispered. Not that she intended to hide the fact from Jamie, but she was feeling a little unnerved to have his eyes follow them like a hawk.

He nodded and smiled. "Well I'll let you wrap things up here then"

"Jamie paid up front, we can leave whenever," she whispered, not turning around, then a louder, "Bye Jamie, it was good doing business with you!"

"See you soon Selina. Remember I'm here not just for alterations. If you ever need someone to talk to..."

But Selina was already walking. "Alright..." she said back to him, gaining a grip on Caden's hand and pulling him away from the nosy tailor. Jamie was... interesting, but it almost felt like her ears were going to suffer from verbal diarrhea from all the gossip she'd unfortunately been exposed to.

"Cya Jamie" Caden said with a wave as he followed after Selina before she pulled him off balance.

After a while, Selina turned around to check that Jamie was no longer in earshot. When she was certain, she put her arms around Caden, and drew him into a kiss.

He wrapped his basket free arm around her lower back and kept her close as he returned the kiss. They would have to tell his family today he realized, probably over lunch, or the rest of the village would probably beat them to it.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on July 06, 2017, 02:02:28 AM
Upon entering the house they found that Caden's family had already eaten lunch. His father was still sitting at the kitchen table, doing some accounting while his mother was doing the dishes. His grandmother was nowhere in sight. As they entered the kitchen both of his parents looked up. "Good to see you again Selina" Molly said with a smile while she was drying off a plate. "How was your outing this morning Caden?" she asked as she looked at her son.

Caden looked at Selina and then at his parents. Growing nervous he swallowed. How to go about this? he asked himself. He had no idea what his parents would think. After several seconds he took Selina's hand in his own. Ignoring his mother's question he said: "Mum, dad," He swallowed again and nervously glanced at Selina. "I should've told you this sooner" He continued, "But Selina and I are more than just ex-colleagues." He looked at her again, smiling this time.

Since Caden seemed to be coming out in the open, Selina offered her own input. "Technically we weren't even colleagues," she chuckled.

He nodded, smiling apologetically at his parents. Molly stared at the pair of them. It took her several seconds before the wheels clicked into place and she caught on. "Oh my darlings, that's wonderful!" She exclaimed, dropping the tea towel she rushed over to embrace Caden and then Selina. Ethan sat in his seat, smirking as he observed his wife fawning over the pair.

A little confused yet flattered at the attention, Selina accepted Molly's hug. "Thank you?" she posed as a question. She'd never encountered anyone as celebratory over her relationship status as the Mullinses, and she wasn't quite sure how to react to it.

Caden managed a smile at his mother, still too nervous to say much.

Selina watched Caden go silent, and his parents, while obviously elated at the idea, seemed to be strapped for something to say as well. She cleared her throat to draw the attention away from their silent deadlock. "And... probably this won't matter as much, but I'm kinda settled on staying in Claypool for as long as Caden wants me here."

"Of course my dear" Molly exclaimed. "Oh what happy news, wait till I tell Meri".

Eventually Caden found his tongue back. "Mum, we haven't eaten yet, do you perhaps have some lunch left over?"

From his seat at the table Ethan chuckled, clearly amused by his wife's enthusiasm. "There's some cold ham and fruit in the basement son. You now where to find the bread," he said.

Molly's reaction remained amusing to Selina, she wondered if the poor lady was jumping the gun here. None of the Mullinses, aside from Caden, knew who she really was. And none of them tried to ask either. At this point, she figured she'd be open to being honest. But it was one thing to be ready to speak the truth, and another to speak it without being asked. She sat down at the breakfast table feeling a little conflicted.

Caden disappeared into the basement and came back out several minutes later carrying a plate of sliced ham and a bowl filled with grapes and several kinds of berries. He placed them on the table after which he fetched two plates for him and Selina and some bread. He sat himself down next to Selina. Molly meanwhile announced that she was going out to find Meri and disappeared from the kitchen.

Selina thanked Caden for fetching the food, and began consuming it quietly. After some time, she whispered a question to him, "Why are they acting so happy about us being together?"

"Maybe they're happy I finally brought a girl home." He smirked, feeling less nervous now that his mother had left.

"So, Selina, have you considered where you will be staying?" Ethan asked from the other side of the table.

She looked over in Ethan's direction. "I've been living in the inn that's closest to here," she replied.

"At Mylia's, hmm. I'll have a word with her later, maybe she can knock some off her room price if you're happy to help her out with the odd job. It shouldn't be a problem if you're intending to stick around."

Selina shrugged a little languidly. She appreciated Ethan's help and didn't want to say anything untoward but she found the entire sleeping arrangement awkward. It would be her guess that Caden hadn't been with a woman, and she didn't want to pressure him into anything he wasn't comfortable with. As for herself, she'd been with a couple of men over the duration of her life, even some of whom she didn't really care for. But it always worked to the advantage of both parties; they would get their fix and she would have company in the night. She knew such situations were never ideal, but she always enjoyed having a warm body to cuddle with while her guard was down. It tended to give her better dreams, and some sense of security.

Since that first kiss with Caden, she wanted nothing more than to spend the night next to him. To some measure of regret, she wondered why she never fully treasured those nights they spent in the hut together. Ironically since they'd discovered their feelings towards each other, she felt even lonelier each night. She'd been getting nightmares, and then there was that huge tussle for control over her thoughts just that morning. For these reasons she'd begun to detest the inn. But she knew she would have to bear with it in order to be close to him.

Caden smiled at his father. "Thanks Dad" He said before helping himself to some food.

His father nodded. "Well time to get back to work. Make sure you dry that properly," he said to Caden while pointing at the basket. He got up and left the kitchen through the backdoor. After the door closed behind him, he opened it back up immediately. "Call me if someone comes into the shop" He said before closing the door again.

Selina looked at the shut door. "So I assume we'll be watching the shop for the afternoon?"

"Mum should be back soon enough." He said before eating a piece of ham.

She nodded, then, "Caden, what you said before... about bringing a girl home. It almost sounds like they're expecting us to marry. Tell me if I'm wrong."

"I think they gave up expectations for me a while ago Sel" he smiled. "Though I doubt they would have objections to a marriage, I think by now they know I'll do as I please."

Selina raised a brow. "Caden, you're only twenty five. That's mighty fast to give up expectations for you."

"I think I stopped meeting their expectations about ten years ago Sel" He gave her a smile.

Just as Selina was mulling over the situation, the tinkle of a bell came from the shop.

Caden got to his feet immediately and walked towards the front, ending up behind the shop counter.

Melinda stood obstinately in the shop, Jack Horton, her husband, just a foot behind her. She had her hands on her hips, like she meant business. She barely ever visited the Mullins' herb shop, if she did, it meant she wasn't there for the herbs.

"Melinda, Jack, how good to see you both" Caden greeted them happily, although it sounded a bit forced. "What can I do for you?"

Leaning over the counter in a sultry manner, the way she would when both Caden and her were dating, Melinda got straight to the point, "Caye, what's this I hear about you bringing a girl to town? Where are you hiding her?"

Selina had intended to follow Caden out into the shop, but upon hearing Melinda's voice, she decided to stop and listen before rushing out.

"I'm not sure how it's any concern of yours Melinda," he said calmly. "Do you have any medical issues that need to be addressed? I'll fetch Ethan for you."

"Oh come now Caye. I'm not here to see Ethan, I'm here to see you. You're the talk of the town, did you know that?" Melinda turned to Jack to back her up, "Isn't that right, Jack? Tell Caye what you heard."

Jack grumbled something half incomprehensible, clearly not at ease with the situation.

"If that is all Melinda," Caden said, still remaining calm. "I'd like to get back to work."

Melinda pointed to Jack as though he was completely audible. "Didn't you just hear what he said? Everyone wants to know who this girl is and where you got her from. So spill the beans. It's gotta come out sooner or later," she demanded, her bright blue eyes sparkling with anticipation.

"I'm sorry Melinda, but I really have no time for this and I doubt you have any real desire to meet her. Good day to you both." He said and turned around to leave.

Frustrated that she couldn't get a word out of 'Caye', Melinda rattled on, "I'll just have you know that Jamie..."

Selina met Caden there at the door. She looked at Melinda, and Melinda returned a look of surprise. For a while, both women locked dagger stares - until Selina asked, "What should we know about Jamie?"

"J... J... Jamie's seen you," Melinda stuttered.

"Of course he's seen her, he sold her clothes, the man doesn't work with his eyes shut. Now may we please do our work?"

"What's your name?" Melinda shouted at Selina, just in case Caden would shut the door on her. But while Selina remained at the doorway, that would seem impossible.

"My name's Selina. You're Melinda and..." she looked over at the husband. "Jack. The butcher's boy." There was a wide smile on Selina's face. The entire encounter was amusing to her. She snuck a glance at Caden.

Caden shrugged, he was used to Melinda's antics by now and cared little for them. If anything he found them tiresome and perhaps slightly embarrassing.

Melinda glanced over at Caden as well. Privately, it pleased her to know that that he'd been talking about both her and Jack. She wanted to know that Caden hadn't gotten over her, and it seems that he might not have. "Well well," she said to Selina. "You know something about us, but we know nothing about you."

Selina felt she knew Melinda just from her mannerisms and dominant personality. She'd had met such types in her life. She knew what a conversation with one of such would entail; an interrogation, perhaps followed by the trading of a few insults. She leaned on the door frame and wrapped her arms around her chest as she considered whether Melinda was worth it. She knew that Caden would do anything at that point to shut the door on her, but curiosity bade Sel to entertain the insufferable broad for a bit - if nothing more, than for her own amusement. "What would you like to know?"

Melinda asked the first thing that came into her head. "Where do you come from?"

"Divinity's Reach," came her quick reply.

Melinda exchanged a surprised glance with her despondent husband. "You're from the city," she mused. "So how did you meet Caden?"

"Work."

"What work were the two of you engaged in?"

Selina paused to dress up her reply. She didn't mind being expository about all that happened, but the truth was a long and complicated, and she felt Melinda didn't exactly deserve the time she'd have to spend explaining it. "We worked alongside law enforcement for a bit."

"Seraphs?"

Selina shrugged. "Not exactly, but close enough." She took a step closer to Melinda, "Now Melinda, you've asked me a whole string of questions, it's my turn to ask you one."

A little taken aback by Selina's own forwardness, Melinda replied, "Alright?"

Selina proudly wound an arm around Caden's waist and gave him a peck on the cheek, "How in the world did you let this one slip you by?"

Caden kept silent, feeling rather awkward about the whole situation.

Jack shifted around on his feet uneasily. "I ought to be getting back Melinda, we'll lose customers if we close the shop any longer." He mumbled.

Ignoring Jack completely, Melinda narrowed her eyes, she didn't like Selina's question. It was rhetorical - more like staking a claim than anything. But she pretended to laugh anyway. "Oh Selina, you're such a laugh. The only reason I left Caye was because I found someone more suited to me. Someone who understands my needs and is able and ready to meet them. Girls do need pampering, every now and then. Isn't that right, Jack?" Her own statement was rhetorical. She barely gave enough time for Jack to respond before continuing, "I assume that's what brought you love birds together as well? Filling each other's needs and all that. Perhaps all this while, Caye's been looking for someone older than him." She looked slyly at Selina. "Someone much older."

"What brought us together was love Melinda, and nothing less, but I gather the concept is hard to grasp for you. I suggest you leave now, before you embarrass yourself any further." Caden said, wrapping his arm around Selina so they were now holding each other.

Jack felt he had remained in the sidelines for long enough. He didn't like how uncomfortable the situation had become, and he really didn't know anything about Caden's new girl, he wouldn't presume to know anything. He put a hand on his wife's shoulder to ask her away, "Melinda..."

Selina smiled at Caden. She'd brought up the age gap issue to Caden once, and it didn't seem to stop him. Him holding her the second time this issue's brought up told her everything she needed to know. It didn't matter what the world thought of them, as long as they had each other, that was enough. "You know one thing about age, Melinda," she began, looking directly at her. "It teaches you what should matter most. The things, and people, you need to cling onto and never let go of, because often enough, you might never get a second chance at happiness. You have that in your hands, as do I." With her eyes, Selina pointed Jack out to Melinda. "Don't let it go."

Melinda finally took notice of Jack, and a shade of red flushed over her cheeks. "Can we leave now?" Jack asked, his hand still on his wife's shoulder. She nodded.

"Nice meeting you Melinda and Jack," said Selina. She didn't really mean it, but she felt it didn't matter.

"It was nice meeting you too," answered Melinda dully as she turned to go. Jack put an arm around his wife's back, and he thanked Selina and Caden for the chat right before they left. For a brief moment, Selina considered what Caden's life would've been like had Jack never come into the picture. As meek as Jack Horton was, she realised he'd done both of them a huge favor to take that woman upon himself.

Turning to look into Caden's eyes, she recalled the first time they'd met. The mercenary sent by Doc Howler had all the intention to end her life. But it was also because of him that Caden had inevitably entered into her life. Bent over her like a radiant guardian angel, she'd first looked into his eyes; much the same way she now looked at him. "I love you Caden," she said. And all the rest of the world fell away as they embraced each other fully and completely.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on July 07, 2017, 07:59:55 AM
"Mr Brown, Bill Dean is here. He's been sitting in the living room for about an hour," reported Mrs Priscot, a short time after Leif Arrowbrand had ended his private session with Robert Brown; the main bulk of it being the main attraction for the upcoming annual event entitled 'Fight Week'. Arrowbrand had been pushing hard for a rematch between his star; the Iron Gladiator, and the reigning King of the Arena; King Shark. The previous year, King Shark had crushed Iron Gladiator into a humiliating defeat, one that Iron Gladiator said he would never forget. Just a month ago, Iron Gladiator had declared at the end of yet another string of victories in the primaries, that he would emerge as ultimate victor this year at 'Fight Week', even before anyone even had the chance to settle the details of his match-up. The crowd had gone wild at Iron Gladiator jumping the gun, assuming the match-up had been confirmed, which annoyed Rob to no end. He wouldn't have minded setting up the match as such if Arrowbrand had restrained his client from making false announcements in the ring, and had it all settled in his office instead. But the truth was that Iron Gladiator was getting out of hand; with each win, his ego growing vastly larger than his head. Rob could tell that he was frustrating even the typically professional Arrowbrand. With the cat out of the bag... or rather, the cat predating the bag, he felt arm-twisted into the match-up and intentionally delayed Arrowbrand's meeting with him as a form of punishment... of sorts. Even though he figured, delaying an eventual meeting with an inevitable conclusion wasn't going to put a chink in Iron Gladiator's pride in the least.

"Send him in," Rob mumbled as he gazed down at what he'd written down in regards to the deal that had been struck. So far, there hadn't been any written rules addressing such issues - but he felt there really should be. At least to preempt the next occurrence.

Bill Dean stepped into the room. A young man in his twenties; fair skinned, slender legs, pretty eyes - son of the infamous Rusco Dean, right hand man to the former chief of the Widowmakers, now incarcerated together with his boss. Billy had no affiliations with his father, however. Said his father was often abusive, drunk or absent. The few moments Rusco did spend with Billy, he'd often criticize Billy's slender frame and gentle demeanor, said he didn't have the makings of a true man. Billy held a party when his father was arrested, and made a point to befriend his father's enemies out of spite. He bore no grudge towards Robert Brown, and in fact shared a lot of the same business ambitions as him. It didn't take long for Rob to begin trusting him to handle cases, much like he intended to on this one.

It'd been more than two weeks since Sellie had got up and left in the middle of their private party. Rob didn't want to look scattered, but the truth was that he was going out of his mind with concern, thinking something had happened to her. She'd departed so quickly, she hadn't even given him any details other than the fact that her brother needed help. It haunted him that he had allowed her to run off without making her stay long enough to tell him where she was headed, or what she'd intended to do. He knew if anyone could resolve this mystery, it would be Billy Dean.

"Billy, I've been sending you on many errands lately," he said, looking up at the boy.

"Yes boss, because I do my work well," Billy boasted.

"That you have," agreed Rob. "I have something I need you to do now that might need some discretion."

Billy came nearer and pulled up the seat just opposite Rob. He leaned forward with his hands clasped cross his chest. "What is it?"

"Sellie Knox, do you know who she is?"

Billy looked up at Rob. "The woman in the hood, I assume. Your secret squeeze?"

Rob smiled. No one, besides Mrs Priscot, had seen Selina's face. Nor had he revealed her real name any place. But Billy was observant, and he was a smart lad. He probably put two and two together. "Be careful who you repeat that name to. She's hiding from some very powerful people."

"Understood."

"The thing is that, she left my house in over two weeks, promising to return. She didn't tell me what or why, only that her brother was in trouble. Her brother being Aidan Brennan."

Billy gave pause and straightened up in his seat. "Any relation to Andrea Brennan?"

It was Rob's turn to give pause. "I think that's his aunt."

Leaning forward again, Billy whispered, "Word on the street is that the Brennan's business empire is in danger due to the treachery of Andrea Brennan. During the failed assassination of the Queen, it was found out that Andrea was working for the other side."

"So that's what it might have been about," concluded Rob.

Billy nodded. "You think Sellie was kidnapped?"

"She hasn't come back, that's for sure. Whatever she had to do, I don't think it would be taking this long."

"Walk me through what exactly happened - from the moment she first considered leaving to the moment she left, and everything she said."

It felt good to finally talk about this to someone else. The final scene before Sel's departure had been haunting him for a while now. "Sellie and I were having a little celebratory party when a messenger appeared at the door and handed her a letter. She kept me out of the conversation, but it sounded serious. She came in shortly and told me she had to leave to help her brother. Acted like her brother meant the world to her, even though I still don't really buy it. I don't know... Anyway, I offered to fetch her to wherever she needed to go, and she said the messenger would be doing just that. Then she promised to come back, and left."

Billy stared at him. "That's it? Any locations, names..."

"She was in a hurry, I didn't think to ask."

"That's fine.." Billy assured. "At least we have the lead on Andrea Brennan. If I can track that woman down, perhaps I'll find Sellie there as well." He stood up to leave.

"Don't go yet," said Rob, handing him a copy of a creased flyer with a sketch of a woman's face right in the center. It was a bounty sketched up by the Seraphs. "That's Sellie Knox, right there. Remember, I want you to keep this investigation really low key. We don't want her name getting out."

"Copy that," said Billy, reading the flyer. "Wow, she was worth quite a bit."

"Yeah, that was quite a while ago though. She's done her time. I was just keeping this for novelty's sake, but it's good that it's coming in handy now."

"Sir, if she's done her time, I hope you don't mind me asking why she's still hiding from the authorities?"

"I've never said she's hiding from the authorities. I've said that she's hiding from powerful people. The other side wants her now."

Billy shook his face. "My my... but at least I know who to avoid now."

"You do that," came the reply.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on July 07, 2017, 01:16:12 PM
Just two days after she'd fixed that wheelbarrow for Jamie, a note was dropped at the inn for Selina in regards to fixing a hole in the roof, over at Medicha's place. Medicha was the resident jeweler who promised a much higher fee on completion of the job than Jamie had. It wasn't a complicated job, per se. The only real problem was getting the lumber up to the roof. She hadn't afforded a pulley, didn't think she needed one. And she decided to stick to that decision, even as she carried each piece of lumber up a flimsy ladder. Medicha had marveled at her strength, admitted that she'd never be able to do what Selina could, at least not in her lifetime; then headed back into her home and offered no other help whatsoever. Selina shrugged and realised she'd have to do everything on her own.

Puffing up that ladder for the fifth time with the final piece of lumber, she dropped her burden onto the partially rotted wood, and rolled onto her back to catch her breath.

There on the roof, she watched the clouds roll lazily by, drifting on the mighty gusts of wind, up in the bright blue sky. As she laid there, she thought about all that would be required to get that hole fixed. Sawing out the rest of the rotted wood, attaching the new planks, sealing the gaps...

She looked down. She had felt eyes on her, and it made her nervous. Just a distance from that house was the little boy that she had frightened just a couple of days ago. He was standing in the middle of the road in a dirty over-sized shirt, watching her curiously with a large child-like gaze. "Hello?" she said after a while. He continued to stare. After an extended time of waiting for him to come closer, or go back to doing whatever little children do, she remembered that Caden had kindly packed food for her to take to work today. Reaching into her pouch, she took out a ham sandwich, neatly wrapped in cloth. Unwrapping it slowly for him to see, she asked, "Would you like a bite?" He didn't budge, though his attention was now drawn to the sandwich. "I'll bring it down for you," she said, tucked the sandwich in her pocket and began descending the ladder.

Just as she turned around to feed the child, she noticed that he was gone. She looked about, and couldn't see him anywhere. "Hello! Are you there? I'm not going to hurt you," she promised as she crouched under bushes and looked behind trees. "Don't you want some food?" she asked, and after a while, knew she was talking to herself. Decidedly unwrapping that sandwich for herself, she bit through the slices of bread, ham, cheese and thin layer of cucumber. She gave her meal a second glance, surprised at how good it tasted. Caden had certainly some skills in the area, one that he never boasted about. Although one might say a sandwich is not more of an effort than piling food in a stack, her sandwiches were rarely this tasty. Might've been some sauce that he'd added, or just the thought that a loved one had made this for her that warmed her heart.

After finishing off the final morsel, then regretting there wasn't any more, she went back up the ladder to proceed on with the task at hand.

A few hours later, Medicha came out of the kitchen with a cup of tea for her, wrapped snugly in a colorful hand-knitted cup warmer like a coat of sorts. "Tea time!" Medicha sang, holding up the tray for her to see. Selina took out the nail that she was biting between her teeth and laughed at the snug cup, raised high above its station. "Pretty isn't it?" continued Medicha, not offended by the response. "Jamie's grandmother knitted it, together with a few other things."

"It is adorable," gushed Selina, descending the ladder to take a better look at the handiwork on that cup-warmer. "And it seems you took a lot of care in making me this drink."

"Of course!" Medicha exclaimed. "You're my guest, and you're fixing my roof. Making you tea is the least I can do. Take a sip!"

Following Medicha's request, Selina put the cup onto her lips and sipped the aromatic beverage. It wasn't the kind of beverage she was used to - the hard liquor, stout beer and such. It didn't even resemble the teas that she occasionally had while in Aidan's home. Medicha's tea tasted a lot more herbal... or was it fruity? "What's in here?"

"Citrus and cinnamon. Do you like it?" she asked eagerly.

Surprised at the blend, Selina nodded. "I would never think of boiling citrus and cinnamon with tea."

"It's an old recipe passed down to me by my own mother. I find that it perks me up in the mornings, especially when it's cold. And it's nourishing too."

"I'll bet," Selina replied, taking another sip.

Medicha waited patiently with the tray propped up in her hands till Selina was half done, and she asked, "So how is the roof? How long more do you think you'll take?"

"Hmm," said Selina, looking up at the half patched up roof. "After I'm done with the wood work, I have to seal it up, and apply waterproofing... that should take... maybe to the end of the day. With some intervals in between of course. The stuff needs to dry before I apply the next coat. If it rains, I'll need to finish it up tomorrow."

Medicha frowned and looked up at the bright sky, "I sure hope it doesn't rain. Although, on the other hand, I wouldn't feel right taking up too much of your time."

"It's fine, I've prepared..."

"Time you could be spending... you know..." she winked an eye and elbowed Selina playfully.

"What?" Selina was confused.

"You and Caden!" she spat out, exasperated that Selina hadn't gotten the hint. "You know how long we've been waiting for him to get hitched? I think his parents were close to giving up completely."

"It seems like the entire town knows..." Selina grumbled quietly.

"Hey, that's small town hospitality for you," chirped Medicha, wiggling her body to music in her head. "Trust me, you've got a good boy. He's quiet but dependable, and hardworking."

Selina couldn't help but smile at Medicha's straight forward exposition on him. "I almost am persuaded to hire him now," she joked.

Medicha paused for a moment to consider Selina's words; caught the joke and began laughing heartily. "I suppose you city folk are much more advanced in your descriptions of other people. You'll have to bear with ahem... backward hillbillies like me with my awkward descriptions."

"No no, you're alright," Selina grinned. She was beginning to like Medicha more than anyone else in Claypool that she'd met. She had a lightness of heart, a sincerity that Selina found refreshing. "Actually we're all really skeptical in the city. We live incredibly closely packed and you'd think we'd be friendly, but we really hate each other."

"Oh no!" cried Medicha in dismay. Obviously she had much better preconceptions of the city.

After some further thought on the matter, Selina began to laugh at herself, "Just look at how skeptical I am. I'm sorry. Force of habit."

"No, you're not skeptical," consoled Medicha. "You're..." She struggled to come up with an appropriate term that didn't sound too negative.

"I am skeptical," insisted Selina. "And often times sarcastic, rude and boorish. It's common for where I'm from. Call it a trait for survival. Unfortunately, you don't get very far in the city by being nice and polite. People see it as a sign of weakness, and they will exploit it."

"That's awful!" Medicha cried again.

Selina nodded. "Maybe that's why sometimes I think it's better to live in places like Claypool. See, you have none of that nonsense here."

"After what you've told me, I don't think I'd survive at all in the big city."

Selina didn't want to agree with what Medicha had said, but she couldn't deny it either. "It's a good thing that we've become friends then. If you ever go out of your mind and want to make it in the big city, all you need to do is to call on me."

"It all sounds very frightening Selina, but I am glad that we are friends, regardless," she grinned. "Thank you for the offer."

Draining off her drink, Selina returned Medicha's cup, and smiled at the jeweler. It was that point that she remembered the little boy who'd popped by just a while ago. "Hey Medicha, do you know who's that little boy?"

"Who?" she looked behind her, thinking that Selina had presently spotted a child.

"Not now. There was a little boy here earlier on. Dirty clothes, big eyes, doesn't say a lot."

"Oh. that's Keagon's young son... Lucas... I think that's his name."

"It's the second time I've seen him. Why is he all alone?"

"Mhmm" Medicha's eyes widened knowingly as she nodded. She began walking away, leaving Selina with final words. "A tragedy. We in Claypool don't like to talk about it. Not nice to talk about other people's misfortunes."

Bewildered at the abrupt end to their conversation, and not wanting to prod further, Selina decided to drop the subject. She turned around to gaze at the lane that led out of Medicha's home, further into the communal town area. Quietly, she wondered if she'd see the boy again, and if he'd stay long enough this time to have a chat with her. Perhaps it was plain curiosity, but something about the child reached out to her.

She decided that she would be better prepared the next time.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on July 10, 2017, 09:26:27 PM
A gust of wind blew across the partially waterproofed roof as Selina worked her way up with the hot tar, slopping the goop across the newly installed planks. Sweat coursed down her face and soaked her already damp tunic. Her arms and back ached as she forced the mop across the length of the roof once more.

It was just when she noticed Caden running in her direction that she finally put the mop down.

"Sel?" he called up when he finally reached Medicha's house and stood by the ladder.

"Caden, hey! I'm not done yet," she said, wiping her hands on her apron.

"I know, sorry to keep you from your work, but I have to get a delivery to Triskell Quay," he called. "I'm afraid I have to leave straight away."

"You're leaving now?" she asked with a dash of disappointment. "When will you be back?"

"Two... three days tops. I'll try to get everything settled as quickly as possible so I can be back here as soon as I'm able to. I'm sorry, I hate leaving you alone here..."

She sighed, and after a pause replied, "I'll be fine Caden. If it's something you need to do, then do what you have to, don't worry about me."

Caden gave her an apologetic look and nodded. "Don't get into any trouble," he said with a smile as he left.

Selina laughed lightly at his statement, shook her face as she watched him disappear around the bend, and went back to work.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

At the end of the waterproofing effort, Medicha came back out to offer another drink. Selina updated her on Caden's absence, and in turn, Medicha informed her that she was going to have a guest over that evening. Before heading back inside, Medicha offered Selina a flyer in regards to Claypool's annual Harvest Festival, to be held at the end of the week. Medicha spoke extensively about the food, games, music and dances that were lined up for the event. She said that everyone would be there, and insisted that it would be the perfect time for Selina and Caden to show themselves off; even though Selina maintained that she wasn't exactly comfortable with the idea of being at a crowded festival. Insisting upon their attendance, Medicha declared that she would be very disappointed if she didn't find Sel and Caden there. Selina merely shrugged said she would give it some thought.

A few hours after this conversation, Medicha's dinner guest arrived; a female rancher named Trish. Both invited Selina down to have dinner with them, but at the time Sel was almost at the end of the final touch-ups and didn't want to break from the task till she was done. They left her to it, and it wasn't till an hour later that the work was finally complete. By then, she was aching all over, dreading the thought of heading back to the Apple and the Arrow inn. She removed the cream colored woolen gloves that were stained almost completely black and threw them aside. Tore off the apron on her chest and did the same. Caden's news had reached her while she was too busy to properly process, but the moment that she did get idle, she wondered how she would pass those few days without him around. Aside from the job from Medicha, no other work had come in for her yet. She began to wonder how feasible it'd be to continue in this line of work, judging from the overall size of Claypool. Her targeted customers would never be quite that expansive.

Intending to inform Medicha of the finished work then depart shortly after, she trudged to the main entrance to the cottage, and was surprised to find the door slightly ajar. Hearing muffled laughter coming from inside, she knocked gently to announce her presence. "Ah Selina, come in!" Medicha shouted, and rose from her seat to welcome her.

"The roof's done," Selina announced, staying on the doorknob as she quickly did a visual sweep of Medicha's cosy home; dressed up in lace floral curtains, flickering rose candles, floral fabrics that matched her table cloth, and simple wooden furniture. Upon the mantle that stood above her fireplace was a sleeping black cat, all stretched out. Beside the cat, a decorated box the size of a brick with a golden lock, left completely unguarded and exposed.

"You must be famished! Come join us for dinner," invited Medicha. Selina hadn't planned to have dinner at Medicha's place, but it sure beat the thought of heading back to Mylia's. "I've cooked too much food, you'll be doing us a favor to help us finish it all up."

"Yes, you've got to taste Medicha's roast," Trish chimed in with a chuckle. "I can't get my hands off it." On the table sat a generous spread of meat, bread and potatoes.

"I appreciate the thought Medicha, Trish, but I'm tired and I know that I reek badly. I'd hate to ruin your meals with.."

"Oh yes! This way first," exclaimed Medicha, leading Selina in a different direction. "I've drawn you a bath. I've nearly forgot about it, bless my absent mind! There's a towel and a set of clean clothes beside. Come and join us once you're done." She opened a door to a little wooden room, an already filled bath tub steaming smoke sitting in a corner, a stool next to it with everything she'd mentioned.

"What should I do with the clothes?"

"Return them whenever you're able to. No rush." With that, the jeweler quickly excused herself and shut the door behind her.

Medicha had certainly anticipated every eventuality and prepared for it, quite unlike Selina's own 'live moment to moment' mentality, and Sel had to appreciate the fact. She left her filthy clothes on the floor and gently eased herself into the all-too-heavenly-embrace of warm bathwater. Wringing her tired hands in a bar of soap, she noticed the development of three new blisters that had formed over the course of the afternoon. On top of the blisters... having missed the trip to Triskell Quay with Caden. She didn't know which was worse. And she'd done it all for the sake of a few coin. Slipping deeper into the bathwater, Selina shut her eyes and let her restless mind wander. She began to wonder if it was worth it. All it would take was a simple mental calculation to realise that the gangs at Divinity's Reach would've easily paid five times as much, and probably required just half the effort. How she'd taken the convenience of easy gold for granted. She figured if she had gold coming in like it used to, she'd probably save up to purchase her very own house. She was certain a fancy pad here in Claypool would be just a quarter of what it costs in the city. Picturing a pathway to a cottage that very much resembled Medicha's, she recollected the main door being left carelessly left ajar. A beautiful flowery home with a warm fireplace. A decorated box on the mantle with its too easily crackable lock. She wondered what gems would she find inside the resident jeweler's... Her eyes flew open in horror. How had she allowed her mind to drift to such a territory? Rebuking herself sternly, she began to furiously scrub her body with soap. There was no way she would ever take advantage of Medicha's hospitality. "Only an amateur would settle for an easy target," she quoted the words of Two-Blade Pete out loud to herself. She imagined Caden rolling his eyes to even that principle, but at least it did its work to temporarily quell her fixation on Medicha's box.

It didn't take long for Selina to emerge at least acceptably clean. She wiped herself dry, and slipped into Medicha's plaster white trouser and blouse suit. Selina had to chuckle at the roses she embroided into the side of the puffy sleeved blouse. The woman certainly had an unhealthy obsession with flowers. Not that there was anything wrong with it.

Picking up her dirty clothes, she exited the bathroom. Her presence was immediately noticed by both women who stopped their chatter to wave at her. "Leave your used clothes on the floor, Selina," Medicha instructed, pointing to the spot at her feet. "I'll have them washed and pressed by tomorrow." When she got a confused look, Medicha went on, "You're staying here tonight, I assume? By the time you finish your dinner, it'll be much too late to head home."

Trish rose from her seat at this note, "Speaking of heading home, I need to be back. Need to wake up early to milk the cows, check on Dad and the newborn."

"Newborn?" Selina asked, surprised that the young lady had had a child.

Trish quickly realised that Selina had mistaken her words, and she laughed at her question. "No, not mine. One of our heifers just had a calf." After a minute's pause, the rancher continued, "Oh yes, one more thing. Medicha and I were just talking about you coming into town and making repairs. We were wondering if you do windows."

Selina placed her dirty clothes on the floor as she reflected on the tiny windows she had installed into the hut in the swamp. "I have done that before."

"Wonderful! Because I have a couple of smashed windows that need replacing."

On mention of the word 'smashed', several thoughts immediately ran through Selina's head. "Vandal trouble?" she made a guess.

Trish frowned, "You can say that. Since my father's injury, we've become an easy target."

"That's why I invited Trish here today," Medicha interjected. "The poor girl hasn't had a break from guarding the ranch for a few days. Trinity's there with Mr Barnett now."

"That's the other reason I have to hurry home. It was nice meeting you ladies. Especially you, Selina. Come visit the Barnett farm at Altar Brook Vale whenever you can. We'll reimburse you for your time," Trish said with a wave before she excused herself and hurried off into the night.

"So yes?" asked Medicha after the silence had settled, offering Selina a place at the table.

"Yes what?"

Medicha clarified, "You'll be staying here with me till tomorrow? I have a guest room at the back. It's small, but comfortable."

Selina slid onto a seat in front of the scrumptious home made food. Just the smell of it all made her salivate. She decided quickly that Medicha's offer wasn't one she was about to skip out on. "As long as you'll have me," she responded gratefully.

"I wouldn't offer if I didn't mean it," said Medicha with a warm smile. She rose to spoon potatoes into Selina's empty dish. "So Selina... any last name?" Selina dramatically choked at the question, and let out a few loud coughs into a rolled palm. "Are you alright?" Medicha froze, with her spoon still hovering in front of her.

Selina nodded, pointing to the jug beside Medicha. "Can I have a glass of water?"

"Of course! Oh excuse my manners," exclaimed Medicha moving quickly to pour her a cup, at the same time completely forgetting her unanswered question.

Selina took a long sip, then proceeded to inquire after Medicha's previous guest, "So Trish lives with a sister and an elderly father?"

Medicha nodded. "A lovely family. A real pity what happened to Mr Barnett."

"What happened?"

"Well..." Medicha instinctively looked at the door, wondering if Trish would be alright with her discussing her private matters. "I suppose it'd be alright to tell you that a year ago, Mr Barnett accidentally stepped into a trap meant for wild boars. It absolutely mangled his right leg, and he was hit by a high fever shortly after. The two girls were quite beside themselves, thinking they'd lose their beloved father. Thankfully Mr Mullins.. erm, Ethan Mullins that is, managed to get his condition stabilized. But that leg, it's gone forever. He walks around on crutches these days, and the two girls help him around the ranch."

"And the vandals?"

"Oh..." Medicha shifted uncomfortably. She liked Selina, but she had to admit that she wasn't used to having guests as direct as this one. Nonetheless, as awkward as it felt to discuss the Barnett's troubles with Trish absent, she realised that it might be Selina's right to know. If she really was to take up the repair work on the windows at the Barnett ranch, it would be logical to assume that Selina was afraid for her own safety. "It so happens that sometime ago, a group of troublemakers decided to nestle up in the cave up north of Altar Brook. Because of pure proximity, they've been hassling the Barnett farm since Mr Barnett's been healthy, and he's always stuck it to them with his rifle. Since the injury however, the hooligans have become much bolder. Invaded the household on several occasions, threatened the Barnetts with violence, swiped valuables, smashed windows and helped themselves to food and ale."

"What about law enforcement?" Selina asked as she bit into Medicha's succulent roast.

"With the White Mantle going head to head with the Seraphs on at Lake Doric, they haven't had the time to handle this case."

"Not even the ones stationed at the gates of Claypool? Aren't they there all day?" asked Selina in disbelief.

"They're guards, they have to stay at their post," Medicha explained.

"So in other words, they'd rather be completely useless," remarked Sel levelly.

"It can be frustrating for us. For them as well, would be my guess," replied Medicha, not wanting to feed any more animosity between Selina and the Seraphs. "But even more so for Mr Barnett. The poor man doesn't worry about his belongings or his ranch, rather all he talks about these days is the safety of his daughters. It would horrible if any of those men ever decided to abduct one of them. We've told them to move to a safer place, but the ranch is all they've got. Where would they go to?"

Selina remembered what Caden had said about his friend Jake, and wondered if Jake was there among those hooligans that'd been assaulting the Barnetts. She realised that she'd finally began to understand what made Caden so upset about the thought of his friend being counted among them. There was really no reason besides pure sadism to be repeatedly assaulting a crippled man and his daughters. She figured it was guys like these that gave the bandits a bad name. Liz, Bran, Jess, Ron, Pete... and so many others, they were bandits too, but they had moral codes. Sure, they weaved in and out of the law, but always with good reason, and in her eyes, remained respectable individuals. They'd never stoop to such levels.

Medicha watched Selina embroiled in her thoughts, and mistook her silence for fear. She placed a hand reassuringly on Selina's. "Don't worry Selina, I'm sure Trish won't mind if you refuse the job. I spoke to Trinity recently about registering for a bounty with the Adventurer's Society; I hear they might have people who're able to handle problems such as these. She says she's giving it some thought. The cost is a little high, but I figured we can all chip in. Anything for the Barnetts. Once that's settled, maybe you can help them with the windows."

Selina nodded. She pictured herself heading over to slap some sense into the Barnett's vandals, but at the same time, she knew that would be extremely unwise. If she still intended to be dead to the rest of the world, her best option would be to remain incredibly low-key. Stay out of people's business, and keep her nose down. As much as the lives of these townsfolk were beginning to matter to her, she knew she had to remain coldly detached. Blend with the crowd, earn just enough to survive, and stay far away from anyone who might recognize her. That would be her life going forward. As she gave this plan some thought, she found her mind drifting once again to the decorated box on the mantle. Creasing her brow, she figured she really should say something to Medicha about the safety of her own items. "Medicha, I couldn't help but notice that pretty box on the mantle."

"Beautiful isn't it? I bought it from a little wood craft shop in Kessex. That's where I keep my jewelry," Medicha declared proudly.

Selina rubbed her temples in consternation. The gullible jeweler was making it way too easy for herself to be robbed. "Don't you think you should hide it somewhere... that only you know about?"

"Why?" she was suddenly a little nervous. "Do you think someone might try to steal it?"

"I think it'd be safer, that's all. Not good to be leaving precious items laying around. Thieves pick on easy targets like that."

Medicha rose from her seat and quickly picked up the box. But instead of hiding it, she carried it to the table and laid it out right in front of Selina. With a key that she pulled from her apron, she began to unlock the box. Selina's eyes widened to saucers, wondering what exactly the woman was trying to achieve. At the same time, she also understood that Medicha still remained in the dark in regards to her past. Medicha certainly wouldn't begin to reckon that her house guest used to be a high stakes thief, knowing that would certainly change things.

Opening the box, Medicha took her time to sort through what sounded like a variety of trinkets. Selina bit her upper lip, trying her best to keep her eyes off Medicha's box.

"Let me see..." Medicha mumbled to herself. "This is..." she hesitated, and put it back. "This?" She picked up a necklace and held it up for a moment. "No..." She put it back and sorted again till she finally settled on one in particular. "Ah! This is perfect!" Picking up a silver plated chain with a little yellow star dangling at the end, she held it out in front of Selina's face. "Do you like it?"

The yellow was a striking color that caught her attention right away, in spite of her hesitance to be a part of whatever was going on there. Light rays filtered through the cut stone, and cast pale spots of gold on her chest. Selina nodded wordlessly and looked away again, hoping that Medicha would quickly take away the trinket.

"Then this is for you," Medicha declared, working her way around the table to put it around Selina's neck.

"No!" Selina exclaimed, finally understanding what Medicha was up to. She was still working through her feelings of guilt, and was even entertaining thoughts of leaving the house completely. "I can't take it."

"Sure you can. And I picked out the star precisely, because in the short time that I've known you, you've been a real star to this little town of ours, and especially to my home." She hovered over Selina, placing the chain around the base of her neck.

Slipping a hand beneath the chain to stop Medicha from fixing it around her neck, Selina continued to protest, "Medicha, I'm sure you can find someone more worthy of such a gift. I really have no need of an accessory."

Fighting Selina's hesitation, the jeweler bent down and whispered into her ear, "Take it. I'll be very disappointed if you refuse. Hold on to it as a token of our friendship, if you do accept me as a friend."

"Of course I do, Medicha," Selina's face was glowing red by then. Gradually conceding to her defeat, she removed her hand and allowed Medicha to hook it up. The woman patted her shoulder and took a few steps back to admire her handiwork encircling Selina's neck.

Ironically, being offered an item out of that box completely removed any temptation to snap it up at a later time. She didn't care what else Medicha had in there, all that mattered was Medicha's kind soul and that that she mattered enough to such a person.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on July 10, 2017, 11:33:30 PM
Following up on the Andrea Brennan lead, Bill Dean had coaxed two Pact soldiers into revealing that the fugitive had been tracked to Caudecus' manor. Unfortunately, after the complex had been infiltrated by the Commander's men and Caudecus' own daughter, Andrea Brennan was nowhere to be found. Word on the street was that she'd fled to Ebonhawke, but the case was then taken off the Pact's hands and handed to the Shining Blade. Billy knew no official investigation would pass through Ebonhawke's gates without the notification of the Vanguard, so that would be the best place to start.

Unlike the Shining Blade, the Vanguard tended to be less tight lipped about the people surrounding former cases. If Billy could pick out the Vanguard handling the Andrea case, he figured he'd probably be able to get a leg up on the state of the investigation.

Given the coin that'd been provided by Robert Brown, it took just a couple of hours for him to acquire his very own Vanguard uniform, and learn the names of the captains as well as lieutenants given charge of the units. He waited till evening to follow a handful of fresh-off-the-clock Vanguards into a bar. As soon as they began to order drinks, he politely introduced himself under a pseudo-name, and asked if he could join them in their revelry if he bought them a round of drinks. Without a moment's hesitation, they graciously welcomed both him and the free drinks. At this time, Billy noted the most outspoken of the lot, a loud-mouthed man named Harvey. Billy waited till he had a couple of drinks in him before he slipped in the inquiry directed at no one in particular, "Hey guys, I heard that a Pact criminal fled into Ebonhawke about two weeks ago. A woman... some noble from Divinity's Reach."

"Oh yeah, we've's all heard of her. Ran away north to join the Separatists. We were's commanded to assemble a squad on short notice to rescue two individuals who were's caught up in the mess," Harvey replied in a slurry accent.

"Really?" exclaimed Billy. "Two individuals? What were they doing with the Separatists?"

Another whispered. "It's said they're Shining Blade agents, sent to retrieve her."

"If that's so, that's pretty disappointing," said a third. "I've heard some amazing stories about the Shining Blade. They always make it sound like they're so invincible."

"Nonsense!" Harvey mocked with a degrading laugh. "I tell ya's, they're less skilled than us folk. It's a title, that's all's."

"Does anyone get to see the two individuals?" Billy asked.

"Harvey did," second offered.

"Uh huh, what's I saw was a male human and a female sylvari. Two swiggly little individuals with no muscles and apparently no skills to defend theyselves! And the male was bleedin' to death when we's arrived. Pathetic! That's my point. It's just a title."

Billy frowned. He'd hoped that the two individuals that'd been spotted consisted of Aidan Brennan and Selina Knox, but the fact that a sylvari was present in her place made no sense.

"Aye aye Harvey," the others agreed. "Anyway, they said's they wanted to capture the woman noble, and another man named Goodman, but apparently they's ran into the harpy colony."

"The harpy..." third burst into laughter. "Wells, that's the end of them!"

"Idiots right? But not so's. Remember the prisoner in the dungeons, they's not allow us down there's because it's all hush-hush?" Harvey reminded. The others nodded. "I think they managed to catch the woman noble, and they's not telling the rest of us," declared Harvey, taking a swig at his ale. "Very soon, all these prissy people comes' to pick up what looks like a woman."

"How long ago was this?"

"Few nights ago."

"Where did the man and the sylvari go?"

"The man followed the woman noble, and the sylvari ran off with another man and our dear own Capt Diana."

"Capt Diana? The one in charge of this whole operation?"

"Yeah, that Capt Diana. She's been tottering after the man, and that sylvari tottering behind her and her hounds tottering behind the sylvari. Just like an obedient little train." The men snickered at the mental picture.

"Did you see anyone else with them?" he asked. "A woman perhaps?"

He'd accidentally cut into their laughter, and the off-duty Vanguards glared at Billy with a growing disdain. It occurred to Billy that he might be wearing out his welcome a little sooner than expected. "You's got lots of questions about this investigation, dont's you?"

"Just curious is all. The woman made big news in Divinity's Reach... which is where I'm from," Billy lied.

"Well, we don't give a piss about Divinity's Reach, because we are Vanguards!" they began to proudly chant. "And Vanguards don't give up!"

"You're saying that Seraphs give up?" Billy let slip. He couldn't help it. Not that he had a personal preference towards the Seraphs, but these guys were just absolute idiots. It was a wonder he managed to get any information out of them at all.

"Wanker," grumbled Harvey. "You don't get anything do you? Get lost."

The men pushed Billy away from their table and went back to their drinks. Billy wasn't hurt by the sentiment, he'd already considered leaving.

Plus he had the next piece of the puzzle.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Mokuren on July 12, 2017, 10:07:35 AM
Keen to keep an eye on his aunt personally Aidan followed the two Vanguard soldiers that carried her to a cell. They brought her to the back of the complex where the more troublesome prisoners were kept and placed her inside an empty cell. Most of the prisoners they passed before seemed to be beggars and petty thieves however the charr and human that were in the cells flanking Andrea’s seemed like they could stir up quite the bit of trouble. After placing a still unconscious Andrea down on the floor they walked out, closed the door and handed the key over to Aidan. “Thank you” Aidan told them. “Can you find me a messenger that can be dispatched to Divinity’s Reach immediately?” He asked. One of the soldiers nodded. “Yes sir” He said, and both of them hurried back to the Vanguard Headquarters.
Aidan found himself a stool and sat himself near Andrea’s cell but not in her immediate line of sight. From his pack he took his writing utensils and penned a quick note to give to the messenger.

“Apprehended Andrea Brennan. She’s currently in holding at the Vanguard Prison. Requesting back-up to transport her to Divinity’s Reach as soon as possible.”

He folded the letter and sealed it. Not long after he did such a slender looking vanguard soldier arrived, saluting as he did. “You requested a messenger sir” He stated. “So I did” Aidan replied as he stood up. He held up the letter to the messenger. “Take this to the Shining Blade headquarters in Divinity’s Reach straight away please. It’s to be delivered to Countess Anise.” The soldier took the letter and tucked it away safely in a holding pack attached to his hip. “Yes sir” He said, saluting again and with that he was off.

Aidan sighed and sat back down, staring at Andrea’s cell. The guard walking his round nodded at Aidan as she passed and Aidan returned the greeting. He found he could still not be easy, even with Andrea behind bars. And this bloody arm, frustrated he looked down at the bandages that covered most of his left arm. Blood had come through them in some places, the fight with Andrea must’ve reopened the wound, he thought, but it could wait until later. His attention still on Andrea’s cell he took his pack to replace his writing utensils, noticing now the adrenaline was leaving his body that his arm did in fact hurt more than before. He shrugged. His mind turned to his father and his old life back in the Reach. He wondered if any of that was salvageable. No doubt Anise had taken over Andrea’s house for a thorough search by now and knew everything about the woman there was to be known. He was certain his aunt would be trialled and convicted for treason, he was not sure however how much that would mean to the man who used to be his father. His mind continued in this fashion for quite some time until a stirring in Andrea’s cell pulled him back to the present situation immediately

Andrea opened her eyes as she woke to the world. She looked about her cell and finally settled on Aidan. She tried to move her hands, and immediately felt the magical restraint behind her. It all began to dawn on her, what exactly had happened.

Aidan silently observed his aunt, not looking forward to whatever she would have to say to him.
Staring down Aidan in spite, she found herself locked in a silent war with her former nephew. "Of all the children in the world... Henry had to have you," she muttered.
"I only became what they raised me up to be" He said quietly.
"If you were, then you would know your place. Never turn on your family," she snapped. "We could raised the Brennan name to new heights, both you and I. But you had to ruin all chances for that to happen, didn't you?"
"I prefer to stay on the right side of the law, It's you who is the disgrace in this situation aunt."
She laughed bitterly. "You are so naive boy, just like your mother. The law is whatever rulers make it out to be. If we had been successful in overthrowing the current ruling body, we would be perfectly on the right side of the law... more than on the right side of the law. We would be ascended to a higher level of nobility."
"You are delusional"
"Delusional to people with no ambition, much like yourself. You'll always be someone's lapdog, and ultimately you will amount to nothing."
He crossed his arms, wincing slightly as he moved his left arm and made no reply. Arguing was pointless after all. After what Andrea did she was not going to suddenly see the error of her ways.
She noticed him wincing at the movement of his arm. Leaning back on the wall just on the opposite of where Aidan was, she said, "I have just one regret in all of this."
"I'm sure you would've preferred me dead" He said gloomily
She laughed again, the bitterness had gone this time, although the implication of her laughter echoed an even worse message. The laughter continued for a while.

Aidan was quiet , hoping his aunt would be too. He did not feel like having any further conversations with her.
When she was done, she looked at him. He had his eyes placed on anything except on her. She smirked at the sight. "So what's taking the Shining Blade so long? I assume that's where I'll be going."
"They'll be here soon enough"
"Even in my capture, it's ludicrous how ineffective they are. That they sent you, and a band of rag tag individuals that clearly have no affiliation with the Shining Blade, to do their dirty work for them. Surely even someone as loyal as you can see how you're nothing more than an expendable pawn to them."
Before Aidan could even consider replying a guard came up to him and whispered something in his ear. Aidan got to his feet and looked at Andrea. "Well then, looks like your wishes are answered, they're here" He said.
"Good," she said. "Sitting in a room with Countess Anise will be an improvement over sitting in a room with you."
"Trust me, the feeling is mutual" Aidan said as a small group of Shining Blade Examplars came around the corner. Aidan saluted them as they approached and after his gesture was returned he greeted them. "Thank you for coming so quickly." He said.

Aidan took the cell key from his pocket and unlocked the door after which he stepped aside, letting the exemplars handle the rest. “stand up please ma’am” the first said with a gruff voice. As soon as Andrea got to her feet and stepped out of the cell he took her arm while another exemplar took her other arm. Two fell in line in front of them and as soon as they started waking two more stepped behind them. Glad to no longer be alone with Andrea Aidan made up the rear.
In this manner they marched towards the Asuran gate that would take them to Divinity's Reach. The group of Shining Blade attracted quite a bit of attention from locals and some went as far as shouting insults at Andrea, assuming whatever she did to deserve the march must be bad. After they passed through the gate this only worsened, some people now recognising the noble lady that was being escorted towards the Shining Blade headquarters. Throughout all of this Andrea haughtily kept her head up and seemingly ignored them.
Once arrived at the Shining Blade headquarters, Andrea was lead before Countess Anise by the two examplars that were holding her.

“you gave us quite the run around Miss Brennan” she said coolly. “have you anything to say for yourself before your escort delivers you to a prison cell?”
"Freedom to the Separatists! death to Jennah!" Andrea chanted defiantly.
Anise waved her hand as a signal for the two examplars that were still flanking Andrea to take her away and so they both took hold of one of Andrea's arms again to escort her out of the room.
"Fight us all you will!" Andrea continued as they took her away. "The glory of human empire will rise again, above all else!"

After Andrea was taken away Anise called in Aidan, who had been waiting outside, thankful for the distance between him and his aunt now.
“Your wound reopened” She stated, her eyes fixing on the bloodied bandages around Aidan’s arm. “Yes ma’am” Aidan said. “Book yourself into the hospital and get it looked after” She told him. “After you’ve rested I would like a report on the entire matter. Andrea will be tried as soon as possible, but with the evidence piled up against her I have no doubt she will be held responsible for her crimes against the crown…. And against your family.” She sighed. “As you know we thoroughly searched Andrea’s house since we’ve found out about her involvement and subsequent flight from the capital to avoid capture.” Aidan nodded and after a short pause Anise continued. “We’ve found a small vial containing a toxic substance that is nearly impossible to trace once administered. I fear it may relate to your mother’s mysterious illness, though any evidence we have been able to gather is circumstantial at best. We’re currently attempting to track down the alchemist that supplied her, perhaps that will give us something more to go on.”
She gave Aidan a worried look. “We can’t be sure what happened, but I thought you should know” She told him.
Aidan thought he felt his blood go cold in his veins. Unable to produce a reply he simply nodded.

“I’ll put someone else on your previous assignment.” Anise said. “I want you to stay in the city for now. After you’ve healed you should take some time to talk to your father and salvage your family business if you can. We may also need you to attend your aunts trial.” Still half in a daze by the news he had just received Aidan nodded again. “Yes ma’am” he answered. “Then you’re dismissed. Make sure you look after yourself Aidan” Anise said, after which Aidan numbly left her office.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on July 12, 2017, 01:46:59 PM
Medicha's guestroom really proved to be a great consolation to several nights of restless sleep. Selina woke with the sun, and found a note on the dresser. Addressed to her from Medicha, the jeweler informed her that she'd left the house and gone to her shop in town. She hadn't the heart to wake Selina, so she'd decided to leave her a note to tell her about breakfast on the table, and to shut the door behind her. Medicha would be back before lunch to lock up.

As much as Selina appreciated the level of trust given to her, she couldn't understand how any of it was deserved.

She sat up in bed, took a deep breath and stretched. The sound of purring at the base of her bed reminded her that she wasn't entirely alone. She peered over the side to see Medicha's cat, stretched out on her back. When the cat spotted Selina's gaze, it extended its paws over to the side and blinked blissfully at the house guest. "We haven't exactly gotten acquainted, have we?" Selina asked the cat. It continued to blink at her, and kneaded its paws onto the frame of the bed to display its content.

After giving the cat a rub, she proceeded to the living room, and found her clothes from the day before, washed, pressed and folded, just as Medicha had promised. Impressed at how quickly the woman was able to get it all done, she slipped back into her own clothes, and did her best to fold Medicha's trouser suit into a neat pile, in the place she'd found her own.

Over on the table, a plate of pancakes sat with a glass jug of syrup right beside. Getting breakfast left on the table for her was a luxury that pleasantly reminded her of her stay at Aidan's home. She clenched her teeth at her mistake, she didn't want to think about Aidan. That was a chapter in her life she had intended to put an end to, no point to go on reminiscing. Instead, she sat down at the table and began cutting into the moist pancakes as she thought about the previous day's conversations. Both the ladies she'd met weren't the kind of folk she'd typically mingle with, but she already knew she liked them very much. They accepted her immediately with no judgment or condemnation, and graciously extended a hand of faith to her with no precedent. Even though she likened the gesture to a case of general nativity, she couldn't help feel a sense of warmth in the receiving of it.

Her mind then wandered on to the conversation concerning the Barnetts' ranch. She pictured a crippled old man getting assaulted by the hooligans up north and the very thought irked her. There certainly was no justice in that. Medicha had talked about sending word to the Adventurer's Society. It was the second time this name had come up. What had Captain Carbins pitched to Caden and her? Gold offered in exchange for doing the work that the cities could not handle? Sounded about right. She wondered how long it would take to engage such a team, and how effective they would be. After all, it didn't sound like the Adventurer's Society was going to concern themselves over member qualifications and background. Such a strategy could prove to be a double edged sword; as much as it'd channel help to needy individuals much more quickly than conventional means, it's just as likely that nefarious individuals would also be interested to exploit those notices to their own benefit. If the latter, it might prove to create more problems than would be resolved.

Selina put down her fork... No, just no, she said to herself. Don't get involved. Stay out of people's business. She leaned back in her seat, drummed her fingers on the table and thought about it somemore. Maybe it'd be alright to just go over there and take some measurements... assess the degree of damage. She'd have to procure the right amount of glass anyhow. Seemed reasonable enough to her.

With all that decided, she loitered about Medicha's home for just a bit longer before she left for town, and remembered to shut the door behind her.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Inquiring on the exact location of the Barnett ranch, she eventually found it down in the base of the valley next to a slow flowing river. The ranch itself was distinguishable from a distance due to the stench of animal waste, and the sound of moaning cattle. A huge bell was suspended between two wooden poles, erected right beside the main gate. Selina quickly deduced it was meant to act as a doorbell of sorts. She rang it twice before noticing Trish running down the lane to fetch her. Or so she thought. Trish turned out to be Trinity, the sister she had not yet met. Twins, she should've guessed. Trinity explained that Trish was having a nap with 'dad'. Fortunately Trinity had been fully apprised of the job offered to Selina, and was instructed to bring Sel around to give her a feel of the place.

The lane through the ranch was a longer walk than Selina had anticipated. She couldn't remember the last time she'd been on a farm. Oddly enough, the entire idea of living on a farm seemed somewhat familiar. A house far away, attached to a small farm. Wasn't there a plan.... a spike unexpectedly drove through her head. She lowered her face and grit her teeth as she continued to follow behind Trinity. Because the sister was going on about the cattle they keep on the ranch and the day to day activities involved in the running of a ranch, Selina's affliction remained oblivious to her. Selina rubbed her temples, just that bit annoyed that something about Claypool had been randomly triggering spikes. She never knew what would trigger them, or when. It seemed as though it'd be something that would plague her the rest of her life.

"...and this is our humble home," said Trinity as they approached a moderately large log house.

Selina's attention was immediately drawn to the shards of glass still jutting out from empty frames. There were at least three shattered windows, two of which had broken spokes. "For how long have these been in this condition?"

Trinity realised that Selina was speaking in reference to the windows. Pointing to the shattered window in the upper floor, she said, "The one up there was about a week and a half ago. And the two on the ground floor was just last week."

"How often does something like this happen?"

Taking a significant pause, Trinity continued with a straight face that looked vaguely put on, "We have guests over... these days, almost every night. Sometimes they get wild and rowdy... Can't... really blame them if they're hungry. Trish and I try very hard to keep them well fed. They don't do such things if they're full."

Selina was appalled by the sentiment. It would seem that the Barnetts had begun to accept the visitations by the bandits as part of their way of life. She knew that pandering to such types would only encourage more visitations and perhaps worse actions... much worse actions. But she decided to hold her tongue on the subject. Going closer to inspect the condition of the shattered glass, she could already tell from the angle of the broken spokes that the lower two windows had been caved in from the outside with a blunt object. A club... or perhaps a mace. The sisters had swept up the shards of glass that would've spread across the floor, but it didn't make the shattered windows look any less offensive.

"There's another window that needs replacing at the back. It's smashed up the same way as these two though," said Trinity.

"Can I take a look at the window on the second floor though? It doesn't look as damaged as the others from down here. I need to know the extent of what I need to replace."

The twin obliged immediately, opening the door to allow her into the house. The Barnett home was a lot more functional than Medicha's frilly flower themed home. It had a strong wood aesthetic, and one of the walls was marked with two large bullhorns extruding outwards in a somewhat menacing way. Trinity noticed Selina paying attention to the bullhorns and she explained quietly, "That belonged to BigHorn, our first bull. He holds sentimental meaning to us, so when he died, we had his horns put up for display." Surprised at the strange way the Barnetts chose to remember their pet bull, she merely nodded and didn't say another word.

As Trinity led Selina up a narrow staircase, Sel noticed a bandage wrapped around her shin. She intended ask about it when Trinity turned around and put a finger on her lips as she stopped in front of one of the bedrooms and opened the door. Trish was fast asleep in there. Light rays filtered in through the cracks in the glass in jagged lines, all leading up to what seemed to be a single hole on the top right side of the window. Definitely a bullet hole if she'd ever seen one. The fact that Trinity's sister was sleeping just a couple of feet from a week-old bullethole didn't seem to concern Trinity as much as Selina thought it would. She wondered if the family become apathetic to the danger surrounding their home.

Taking quiet steps out of the room and back down to the ground floor, Selina tried to appear as unaffected by the sight as possible. "So, four windows," she said, pretending to be oblivious to the issues surrounding the house - but the truth was that the problem was far worse than she'd anticipated. She could tell from the smashed in windows that for a time the family had tried to keep the bandits out. Upon failing, they'd now conceded to the hooligans, choosing instead to willingly serve them out of fear. A big mistake. "Trinity, thank you for your time," she said, putting on a smile. "I'm going to head over to the shop and get all the raw items purchased and ready. If everything is in order, I'll be back tomorrow morning to get your windows fixed. How's that?"

"Yes, please do," Trinity replied gratefully.

Selina said her goodbyes, and departed the ranch. But she only got as far as the gates of Claypool before she felt drawn back to the ranch. Like it or not, she had a stake in this. She knew she couldn't just walk away and pretend not to care.

With a moment more of deliberation, she decided to search for a suitable perch overlooking the Barnett farm. Once well positioned, built a small campfire and remained there till nightfall.
Title: Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
Post by: Talia on July 12, 2017, 02:43:14 PM
The ranch remained relatively silent apart from the occasional bellowing of cows. With so much time alone with her thoughts, twice over the battle raging in her head had gotten the better of her and had her walking away from the ranch. One time taking her as far as town where she bought herself a loaf of bread and some ham. But even the food tasted bland at the thought that she'd walked away from the Barnetts. Begrudgingly, she returned to her perch and continued to watch the log house from afar.

The moment the day's rays had been extinguished, it didn't take long for three individuals to come sauntering down the ranch towards the house. Barely past the turn of manhood, all of them. One of them was holding a stick of some kind... perhaps a bat. With the dimmed lights, it was hard to tell what weapons the other two had on them. She knew she would have to go closer to inspect.

Sliding down the edge of the cliff, she managed to scale the fence with little effort. By then the trio were already in the house. Murmurs turned to words when she managed to position herself right under one of the smashed windows.

"...know what we can do. Don't you go hiding the ale," came a prominent male voice.

"I can get more," replied a female voice. "We're... we're just out of it tonight. I'm sorry."

"How do you expect to entertain guests without ale, huh?" the male voice got more pronounced, more strained. There followed the sound of a plate getting smashed.

"I'm sorry," begged the female voice. "What if I ran out now to get you some?"

"Ran out? Do you think I'm letting you go anywhere?" There came the sound of shuffling and a short shriek, followed by some sobbing. "You're staying right here. Isn't that what we've told you two? Aside from yesterday, we want the two of you present during our entire meal. Got that?" There was a vague mumble in response. The voice got more agitated. "Louder!"

"Y.. y.. yes."

"Yes what?"

"Yes, sir."

"Much better. Next time, always have ale ready to be served. Am I clear?"

"Yes, sir."

Selina had heard enough. Those guys needed to leave, and perhaps with a little scare, they would. They