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Author Topic: Ride the Rushing Billows  (Read 27801 times)

  • Mokuren
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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #25 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.

  • Kovenito
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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #26 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.
Rem Galad (Mesmer) Valborg Tinglith (Guardian)
Ukan Shandur (Thief) Kovenito (Ranger)
Taen Ferventsalvo (Engineer) Tyra Villieldr (Elementalist) Ilterendiel (Warrior)

  • Talia
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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #27 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.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #28 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.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #29 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."
« Last Edit: June 03, 2016, 01:41:05 PM by Talia »

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #30 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.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #31 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.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2016, 11:31:53 PM by Talia »

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #32 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.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2016, 05:07:51 AM by Talia »

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #33 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."

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #34 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.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #35 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."
« Last Edit: June 18, 2016, 01:02:46 PM by Talia »

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #36 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.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #37 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."

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #38 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.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #39 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."

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #40 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.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #41 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.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #42 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.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #43 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.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #44 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.


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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #45 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.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #46 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.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #47 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."

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #48 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.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2016, 02:04:53 PM by Talia »

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #49 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