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Author Topic: Ride the Rushing Billows  (Read 34243 times)

  • Mokuren
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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #75 on: January 18, 2017, 10:54:50 AM »
Caden Mullins & Selina Knox

Caden set off for Divinity's Reach before dawn the following day, arriving in the city early. He went straight to the Shining Blade headquarters and requested an audience with Countess Anise. He was unlucky however, the countess was not available and the shining blade informing him of the fact seemed to be rather pleased to inform Caden of the fact. Caden however would not allow himself to be deterred so easily and said he would wait. And wait he would apparently. It was well past midday when the countess could spare a few minutes to see him.
Caden did his best to explain and after a good ten minutes of explaining and pleading the Countess finally agreed to a meeting. They arranged to meet on the edge of the Godslost swamp in three days time. After thanking the countess profusely Caden left the headquarters and sighed deeply. He was less than happy about the wait but it would have to do he figured. To make the wait a little more bearable he stopped by a market stall on his way out of the city and bought a flagon of rum, a decent supply of meat and some fresh vegetables. After that he made haste to leave the city and return to Selina, making sure he wasn't followed once he left the main road.

Selina spent the morning flipping through the file that she had collected. She couldn't understand every single word, but enough to get a gist of what had Andrea must be hiding. She wondered how connected the woman was, and what was her true intent - for surely this ran deeper than mere deceit on Aidan. She never liked the wealthy, but even Andrea had sunk to new depths.

Arriving back at the shack Caden knocked on the door. "It's me" he said out loud.

"Come in.." Selina called back.

He opened the door and entered, setting the newbought supplies to the side before closing the door again. "Hey, how're things here?"

"They're fine," she said. "Have you met with Anise?"

"I did, though it took most of the day to get an audience. She'll meet us in three days east of Phinney Ridge"

Selina looked mildly amused at his reply, and tapped the side of her face. "We are practically doing her job for her, and this is how she responds."

"Well, she's a busy person, I suppose we should be happy she's making the effort to come out of the city at all"

Selina sighs. "Well... we have three days to burn - unless we want to get started without her."

"Well, I bought us some supplies at least. There's rum and enough food to make a proper stew. I guess we can spend our time studying what you have so far. I haven't looked at your files yet."

She chuckled. "You were never once tempted to sneak a peek?"

"What do you take me for" He said with mock affront.

"I figured you knew the moment I trusted you enough to leave the files with you that I wouldn't mind you knowing what's in them."

"You trusted me to keep them safe, so I did. Anyway, how about we get that stew going and pop open that flagon of rum hm?"

"Sounds like a ripe idea, I was just getting hungry." Standing up, she took the only pot that was sitting on a makeshift shelf that she'd built into the hut, handed it to him, and crossed the room to scoop water out of the pail next to the door.

Taking the pot he put it on the fire before he took the supplies and set himself down close to the pot with a knife to cut the vegetables.

She sat herself down comfortably in front of him, entertaining herself with his cooking. "Need any help?"

He handed her a large piece of venison that was carefully wrapped in paper. "Cut this down please?"

Removing the venison from the paper, she marvelled aloud as she pulled out a dagger and began slicing into the meat. "Nice piece you've got here. We're going to feast like kings today."

"Aye, I figured if we're stuck in this hellhole we might at least treat ourselves" He said with a grin.

She exaggerated a pout. "A hellhole huh... surely it's not that bad."

He grinned at her as he pulled the flagon of rum from the pack. "Here, to make up for insulting your stately home"

"You're forgiven," she grinned, and picked up a mug to accept the drink.

He poured both of them a drink and held his own mug up towards her for a toast. "To good food and good company" He said, before taking a large swig.

Hours passed after their meal, and the moon had crawled into the sky, glowing through the single window that Selina had built into the hut. She took another swig of the rum in her mug and gazed into the sky. "Caden?" she turned over to him.

"Hm?" he mumbled in reply, as he turned his head to look at her.

"I know I haven't seemed too appreciative of... I mean, I guess I haven't expected having any company doing this. And you being here... well... I just wanted you to know that it means a lot to me."

He smiled warmly at her. "I'm happy I can help you."

"I'll admit it hasn't been easy living in solitude in this swamp, unsure what's been going on in the world."

"I don't think I'd cope very well for very long. I prefer to have company" he said.

She finished up her drink and put the mug beside her, pulling a tarp over her shoulders to keep warm. "Is your home a busy one?"

He nodded. "My family is usually around and lots of people come over for some remedy or herb they need. There's always something happening somehow and even if there isn't, there's plenty of things that need doing"

There was a significant pause before she asked, "Do they worry about you? I assume they don't know where you are."

"I told them I'm visiting a friend. Which is at least part of the truth. Before... when I ran away, they worried a lot. Now at least they know I plan on coming home at some point."

"Home," she said with some wistfulness. "It must be really nice to have a place you belong and people who care what happens to you."

He nodded silently after which he downed the contents of his mug and stared at the bottom of it for a while.

"You know... three days is a lot of time. What do you think about poking around on our own?"

"I have no objections"

She snuggled down. "I can think of a few places to check out. We'll just have to be real careful..." Her eyes had begun to grow heavy. The rum had a numbing effect. She yawned. "Real real careful..."

He smiled as he noticed she was slowly falling asleep. He carefully got up without making a sound and put another log on the fire to make sure it wouldn't go out overnight. He then picked up the papers Selina had been reading earlier and sat down next to the fire and started to read them.

  • Talia
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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #76 on: January 25, 2017, 01:48:24 PM »
Three days had passed, and Selina approached Phinney Ridge together with Caden in wait for Anise.

He glanced at her as they walked. "Nervous?" He asked.

She looked amused. "Should I be? I've been waiting to hand over the notes so I don't have to guard them anymore."

"Well, you were never very eager to meet Anise"

"Of course not. But this is the path we've chosen now, no point regretting anything."

He nodded. Looking around to make sure of his surroundings he stopped. "It seems we've arrived."

She glanced around and found no one but themselves. "It seems we are early."

"Aye, she wouldn't make herself wait now would she. I suppose we'll do the waiting then." He peered in the direction of the city.

"What did you think of the notes?" she said after a pause.

"I'll say, I don't get why Aidan took off and ran away. Surely, what's in there is enough to warrant a proper investigation into the woman, which is bound to dredge up more dirt."

She rubbed her fingers together. "Dredge up more dirt we will. I'll clear my brother's name if it's the last thing I do."

He nodded and pointed at a figure appearing in the distance. "Seems our wait is done."

Selina looked up at the approaching female, pressing a palm over the top of her eyes to keep away the glare of sunlight. As soon as Anise was before her, she nodded politely at her.

Anise greeted both of them with a nod. "Well then, tell me Selina, what have you found." She said, looking at Selina with piercing eyes.

Without delay, Selina handed her the files. "My brother is innocent. I suppose you knew that he was wrongfully convicted?"

"Well, he wasn't convicted, but yes, he was innocent. I could not interfere without evidence however."

"He was let go only after spending a week in prison, while that woman walked off scott free."

"I could do nothing, regardless of what you may think I should've done, it's not the Shining Blade's duty to involve themselves in squabbles between nobles. Let us not argue about Aidan's fate however, I thank you for the files. Is there anything else I should know?"

"Caden and I did some nosing around, while waiting for today, and spotted the Castas, among few other individuals I can't name, meeting up with Andrea after Aidan was disowned. It seemed rather official, and had the shaking of hands and all that hullaboo."

"The Casta's hmm.." She seemed thoughtful for a while. "The other individuals, if you saw them again, would you recognise them?"

"Probably.." Selina gave it some thought. "Anise, would it be at all possible to find out why Henry Brennan decided to disown Aidan? I can't imagine why he would do that."

"My guess would be that Andrea put him up to it, but I'll look into it."

"Also... " she continued. "You sent my brother somewhere. Where is he?"

"I cannot tell you about ongoing investigations"

"He's my brother. I need to look for him."

"I'm sorry, but I cannot let you interfere."

Selina turned to Caden in frustration.

Caden shrugged, "I'm afraid I'm of little help here Selina. Perhaps," He looked at Anise. "Will you pass on letters to him?"

After a long time Anise nodded."Very well"

Selina's eyes widened, surprised by Anise giving in to the request. "I'll write one up immediately."

Raising an eyebrow Anise looked at her in surprise. "You write?"

"I learnt..." retorted Selina. "Now do you have something I can write with, and some paper, perhaps?"

"Allow me" Caden said, setting down his pack he opened the lid and took out some sheets, a pen and an inkwell. which he placed on top of the lid.

Taking the pen and dipping it in the inkwell, Selina began to write a little awkwardly, like something belonging to a child's - "Aydan, I am werried aboot you. Pleese rite back. I will be chacking your home for maile." She ended the note, folded it up and handed it to Anise.

She accepted the note and tucked it into a pocket. "Was that all then. I need to be on my way."

Selina nodded, and added a quiet "Thank you"

"And I thank you." she said, before turning and walking away from them.

When she was out of sight, Selina leaned over to Caden and spoke softly, "Do you think she's going to be able to do it?"

"If anyone can, it's her." He replied, repacking his supplies.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #77 on: February 15, 2017, 10:54:24 AM »
Selina spread herself over a low lying branch in the swamp, watching the lazy afternoon drift on as she dipped a bare foot in a pool of water below. She'd sent word to Siri to inform her of any incoming mail from her brother, but Siri was a no show. At least not for the past few days. And Selina was beginning to get restless.

Nearby Caden was wading through the wetlands with a basket on his back, pulling plants out here and there, inspecting there roots and tossing them into the basket.

It was then that a familiar voice came from just beyond the hut, "Here you are... wondered if you had left."

Selina followed the voice, and found Bran standing on the slope leading into the swamp, looking directly at her. She detected just a hint of tension in his voice. "You thought we would leave without saying goodbye?"

"We?" he asked, and noticed Caden for the first time.

Tossing the plant he had in his hand into the basket Caden waved as he started to wade towards Bran and Selina. "Hey" He said. "Long time no see"

Bran waved briefly, appearing to be distracted by his thoughts. "Oh Caden, you're here too... " and he waited till Caden was in front of him before continuing. "I know this is a little awkward for me to come out here after... well... I'll just get to the point. Our home was invaded last night by a clan of trolls. We were caught unawares, and Jess was injured in the ensuing fight. In an attempt to save her, we inevitably lost our home... temporarily of course. We plan to get it back as soon as possible..." he looked at Selina with hope, "perhaps with your help? Do you think you'd help an old friend out?"

Selina didn't reply right away. "Where is Jess and Ron at the moment?" she asked.

"They're a distance from the cave, just under a tree. I think Jess has broken a few ribs. It hurts her to move."

Caden glanced at Selina, attempting to read her reaction.

She turned back to him, looking at his basket of herbs. "Do you have something in there that can remedy Jess' problem?"

"If she indeed broke ribs she should see a doctor but I can at least help her with the pain."

"First things first," said Selina, hopping down from her branch.

"Does that mean you'll come? The both of you?"

"I will," she replied, and waited for Caden to reply.

He nodded.

"Great!" Bran cheered, and led them back to the cave after they had collected some of the items they would require, including weapons. Deep in her heart, Selina was glad to have a reason to leave the swamp for just a bit that didn't require identity shielding. Bran always seemed to know the perfect time to arrive to give her something else to think about than what had been going on with her life. And he had come again, just when she was beginning to miss his abrupt appearances at Aidan's home - of course it was under undesirable consequences, but still...

"So.... how many trolls are now living in your home?" Caden asked casually as he shifted his pack around on his back.

"It looked like... eight... or ten? I can't be sure." He turned his shoulder in Caden's direction, and there were three gashes that went through his outer garments right down to the flesh beneath, drawing blood that stained a part of his shirt. "All I know is that they scratch!"

"And how exactly do you expect us to help you with that many trolls when you already have a man down?"

"I... well," Bran glanced over at Selina. "I was kinda hoping she would have ideas. I mean... surviving that whole Hoelbrak death arena thing sounded really impressive."

Selina scoffed at the reference. "That was a one-off performance Bran. But I'm going to look at the situation and see what I can come up with anyway. Just don't expect a miracle."

"I'm not," he replied softly. "You're our best bet for the moment, and I'm glad that you're coming anyway - whether or not anything pans out." With a sigh, he considered the worst case scenario. "I guess we can always move again if we can't figure anything out."

"Maybe try a door next time, tends to keep the trolls out" Caden said with a grin.

"We did construct a door," Bran argued, even as he shrugged. "Maybe it just wasn't solid enough. They took it down pretty effortlessly."

"Maybe we can somehow lure them out" Caden mused. "Oh btw, you should let me have a look at that" he said aiming at Bran's injuries. "After I"m done with Jess. Troll nails can cause nasty infections, they're not too big on manicures."

Bran chuckled at that note. "Sure. Mighty fortunate for us that you've been hanging around Sellie," he said with an intended wink in his eye and nudge on Caden's shoulder.

"If I had left her alone she'd probably be so bored by now she'd do something silly. At least now she had someone to listen to her complaints."

"Oh pray tell," he teased. "I'm sure you did more than listen."

He rolled his eyes at Bran theatrically and fell silent.

Instantly, Bran lowered his voice to the point where it would only be audible to Caden. "You mean you didn't?" he asked in surprise.

"It just... I just... Oh shut up" Caden turned his gaze away from Bran and studied the scenery they passed by.

Bran smirked to himself, but decided to keep his opinions to himself for the moment. Ron and Jess showed up in the distance. Jess, leaning upon the trunk of the timber while Ron paced the scene. Their faces were drawn, and Jess was obviously pale, though a smile managed to cut through nonetheless.

"I brought backup," Bran told them, and knelt before Jess. "How are you feeling?"

"As well as can be," she answered weakly.

"Mind if I have a look?" Caden said, setting his pack to the floor near her.

"Knock yourself out," she replied as she removed her jacket tenderly and pulled up the edge of her blouse to reveal a whole patch of discolored skin.

"Oof, that's gotta hurt" Caden said as he examined the bruises. "Have you checked for any broken bones" he asked, afraid to do so himself. When Jess shook her head Caden frowned. "I can give you a compress that'll help with the pain and the bruising" He said but if the swelling doesn't go down soon you'll have to see a doctor. I can't fix broken bones." Without waiting for Jess's reply he opened his pack and took out a mortar to which he added multiple herbs from several packages. After crushing them he added some honey to make a thick paste. "I'm sorry if this hurts, I'll try to apply it carefully." He said before gently spreading a thick layer of the paste over the bruises after which he wrapped bandages around her torso to keep the paste in place. "It'll be best if you rest and move as little as possible. If you did break ribs they could puncture your lungs if you move around too much"
After leaving Jess to rest Caden had a quick look at Bran's cut and after cleaning it and wrapping it up tightly Caden decided it would be fine. He promised Bran a nice big scar but expected no complications.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #78 on: February 15, 2017, 01:58:58 PM »
"So any ideas?" yelled Bran into one of the trees that overlooked the cave north of Kessex. Selina had been sitting on one of the higher branches, peering through her telescope and carving a piece of branch that she had shaved off from the rest of the tree - although it seemed that she was just polishing off her work now.

"Yeah, let me get down first," she replied, tucking the piece of wood into her belt as she descended down the trunk as nimbly as a cat, landing lightly on the ground. "I hope that your makeshift security system still works."

Bran stared at her. "I would think so. But it's operated..."

Selina held out a finger to silence him. "But but but..." she teased. "I'll handle it. Just make sure the three of you are hidden well and fully armed to take out as many as possible from a distance." She pointed also to Caden and Ron.

Caden nodded, patting the pistol at his side.

She pulled a scarf over her mouth, and secured it behind her head, then bunned up her shoulder length hair, and tucked it under the scarf. "They're asleep, last I checked. Try not to make any loud noises till you hear a commotion from inside."

"Be careful" Caden said feeling a bit tense.

Selina nodded to Caden as Bran readied his pistols and Ron filled his quiver with arrows.

She headed to the cave, treading as lightly as possible, and at its entrance, clung to the cavern walls as she wove through the cracked pieces of timber and steel - what was left of Bran's door. She noted that the amplifiers still hung above the cave, though riddled with dust and cobwebs, a sign that the security system had not been in use for a while.

At eye level, she spotted ropes secured to the walls. She had briefly caught sight of them before, but thought nothing more of them. It was likely that Bran had them installed to have his members train in infiltration tactics. They would come in handy.

Climbing up the side, and gaining a foothold on the rope, she could then clearly see the trolls littered all over the cave. Bran's furniture had been overturned, and some of it used as firewood. Being a religious lot, the trolls had even brought in their totems, just as she had observed them worshipping up in the shiverpeaks. As she made her way steadily over the snoring trolls, she wondered what had driven them away from their homes up north. Could it have been related to the events in Brisban Wildlands?

Snagging a hold of the rope that led up to the platform that had been constructed just a tiny distance from the ceiling, she ascended to the top, wincing each time the rope creaked. Some of the trolls budged and snorted, and each time they did that, she would completely freeze, hoping that if they woke, they would not lookup. But it's as the northerners say, there's nothing quite as peaceful as a sleeping troll. With that, she took a final heave and wedged herself onto the platform. She was panting then, but did so as quietly as she could.

Pulling the little piece of wood from her belt, she placed it against her lips, and lifted herself up to the mouthpiece of the amplifier. Taking a huge breath as she had herself a final look at the sleeping trolls, she put her fingers in her ears and let it rip into the amplifier. The sound that belted from the little piece of wood through the system was much louder than she had anticipated, and sounded like a shrill and sharp cry.

The troll woke with a start as the blast thundered over the ground, shaking gravel off the walls. They pressed their clawed hands onto their large ears, growling with agony. Looking every way but up, they were obviously bothered and made nervous by the massive sound. Some of them tried to communicate with each other, attempting to figure out what caused the assault on their ears, but the sound was drowning out everything else, and it was inevitable that they finally decided to flee the cave.

Hearing the racket inside the cave Caden readied himself aiming his pistol at the cave entrance. As the trolls emerged through the door he fired at the one nearest to their position. Not waiting till it dropped to the floor he immediately moved on to aim at the next troll taking down as many as he could. Beside him he could hear Bran's pistols and more than a few trolls on the floor had arrows stuck in their bodies.

After being rudely awakened, chased out of their dwelling, then randomly assaulted by assailants that they couldn't see, the trolls became frantic, fleeing the entire area, headed back north from where they came, leaving the injured behind. Ron and Bran continued to fire at the injured, making sure all who remained where dead, assuming that the trolls that had managed to escape their onslaught would never return.

When there were no more trolls in sight Caden carefully approached the cave, his pistol raised and ready to fire.

Bran appeared at his side, stepping over the rubble that was his door, peering over the mess the trolls had made.

Right in front of him, Selina swung down the rope and landed before both he and Caden, tucking the little piece of wood into her belt again. She noted the number of trolls that had been downed, and nodded approvingly. "Did pretty well, I see."

"So did you" Caden said, smiling at her. "So, now what?"

She smiled back.

"Thanks for the help Sel," said Bran, patting her on the shoulder. Then he looked down at the splintered pieces of wood scattered over the floor.

"You probably need some help putting that door back together again," she remarked.

"Yeah..." he replied thoughtfully. "Maybe later. Think we just need to get some rest after all that. Especially Jess."

"You may also wanna get rid of the troll corpses somehow before they start to rot and attract attention" Caden said, staring at the mess around them.

"I know that," Bran started, and instinctively placed a protective hand over his arm. "I'll get to it later."

"I'll handle it," Ron chimed in unexpectedly, putting down his quiver and bow. "You get some rest."

"And I'll... get Jess back in," Selina contributed.

"I'll help Ron out" Caden said, placing his pistol back at his side.

"Alright.." Selina said and headed out the cave.

Ron took a look at Caden as he rolled up his sleeves. "I can handle this just fine."

"Are you sure? I mean, I just want to help really."

Picking up one of the carcasses by the arms, Ron levered it onto his shoulders. "You should know that we don't like members of the Shining Blade, regardless of what you've personally done for us."

"Well then, suit yourself I suppose." He said before turning to Bran. "I'll prepare some more of the paste so you can refresh Jess' compress. I think it would be better if I left after that."

Bran had been resting against a wall, his eyes shut. But they opened when he realised that Caden was addressing him. "Wha... leaving so soon? You can stay the night if you'd like... as long as you don't mind the mess."

Ron hadn't waited for a response, he was already a distance away with his carcass when Selina entered with Jess leaning on her, half awake.

"I don't mind, but your friends seem to mind my presence. I'd rather not be a source of conflict."

"Who..." Bran began, then understood immediately when he remembered who Caden was speaking to before him. "Don't worry about Ron, he doesn't like anyone. We're used to him by now."

Looking at the mess on the ground, Selina stopped. "Erm, can someone get a pile of furs over here so Jess can lie down?"

Looking around Caden found a few in a corner that seemed unused by the trolls. He took them and walked over to Selina and Jess and spread them out on the floor.

Bran moved over to give Selina a hand with Jess' weight as they lowered her to the makeshift bed. Jess mumbled something under her breath, and Bran moved closer to listen. But she pointed to Selina instead.

Surprised at being called by Jess, Selina knelt down leaned over her. "I was wrong about you," admitted Jess. "You're alright in my book."

Breaking out in smile at the most unexpected compliment, Selina patted Jess' hand in appreciation.

Smiling Caden looked around. "Well then, if Ron won't let me help how about I find us some dinner and cook it? I don't suppose the trolls left any of your supplies intact?"

"Dinner sounds good," said Bran, laying down beside Jess. He grinned at Selina and Caden. "It's great having the both of you over."

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #79 on: March 02, 2017, 01:53:59 PM »
Selina screwed in the final bolt into the new door to the cave. She made no promises that another group of troll wouldn't be able to smash into it, but certainly it seemed more solid than what Bran had before. At least as solid as iron can be. With a firm kick to the new door, it landed with a loud thud and barely shook the frame. Bran watched with his arms folded. "Taking down the door already?" he asked.

"Just testing," she replied. "I think it should hold."

"You did a good job," he complimented, thumping a fist on it. "Maybe you should turn this into a career." And she laughed.

Opening the door from the other side Caden stepped through. "Nice work Sel, can I commission a house next?"

She gave him a curious look. "I assume you're kidding?"

"Mostly" He said with a wide grin. "But if you feel like it..'

Bran took the opportunity to clear his throat to draw attention to himself. "Maybe she can make one for the both of you." He said under his breath.

Selina raised a brow to him.

Caden stared daggers at Bran his face turning slightly red. "Was there anything else that needed repairing, I mean, besides my dignity" He said rolling his eyes and shrugging off the awkward tension.

Selina gave Caden a hard stare, then proceeded to brush off the metallic dust from her leather vest and pants. "The two of you can work on any finer adjustments. I'm going to head south to the corner of the lake to have me a bath."

"A bath?" said Bran in amazement. "I thought you were opposed to being clean."

She smiled and shrugged. "I tend to think it to be a waste of time, but I'm not opposed to soaking in some cool water when it suits the mood."

"Well enjoy your bath" Caden mumbled before turning his attention to the door. "We should add some locks I suppose"

She pulled off her vest and folded it neatly on her arm, then pried open the first button on the white muslin blouse beneath. "Don't wait up," she said as she departed.

Bran gave Caden a large smack on the arm the moment Selina was out of sight. "Locks... really. Can't you see that was your cue to follow?"

"Are you kidding? She'd kill me" He said, giving Bran an irritated look. "Look, just leave it okay?"

Closing the gap, Bran placed a hand on Caden's shoulder. "If there's something I know, it's women. Trust me. She wants you to go to her." An idea dropped into his head, and he told Caden not to move while he hurried back into the cave.

Shrugging Caden sat down to wait until Bran returned.

Bran returned after a little while with a little bag with a drawstring in his hand. "There's a bar of soap in here, tell her that it's from me... if you're afraid to go on your own accord."

He rolled his eyes at Bran. "And then will you stop meddling? I swear you're worse than my nan"

Bran chuckled as he handed Caden the bag. "You'll thank me for it one day."

"If she lets me live" He said as he took the bag. He then turned to follow after Selina.

Selina had reached the edge of Viathan lake and found a quiet, private spot with an overarching canopy above. Laying her vest on a rock, she proceeded to remove her boots and pants, and slipped into the inviting moss tinged waters under the shade of the massive tree. There was more than one reason that she had chosen to depart from the others. The month was coming to an end and she had to consider her options if Bob were not to hold up his end of the deal. The concern had plagued her since she had returned from Lion's Arch, but she had chosen not to speak of it - partially because she was part to blame for it, and of course there were other, more urgent matters at hand. It was just in that moment when she finally found herself alone, that she decided to give it some thought.

As he neared the lake area that Selina had indicated he called out. "Sel?"

She broke from her thoughts when she heard her name. Yet when she turned to shore she ddin't see anyone. "Who's there?"

"Caden" He replied. "I uh.... I brought you some soap."

"Alright?" she said, not leaving the water. "I can't see you though?"

"If you say so" He said as he tossed the soap at her.

She caught the soap and looked at it for a moment, before she decided to wade to a shallower area of the body of water, and place the soap on the top of a lily pad. She noticed that Caden hadn't left yet, but he seemed a little flighty and she didn't know when he was going to take off again. As much as she treasured the time alone with her thoughts, she knew she would have to speak to Caden about leaving again - she just didn't know how to bring it up this time.

"Join me?" she invited.

"Uh... no thank you, I ought to be getting back." He said, nearly stumbling over his words.

She grimaced. As much as she enjoyed Caden's quiet company, it was starting to grate on her that she could get no deeper into connecting with him. "Caden... please stay."

He gave her a puzzled look. "Why?"

"I will be going away again for the next few days... to be truthful, I'm not sure if after that, I should return to the swamp. Aidan hasn't replied me after all this time... and... and... I don't know if I'm waiting in vain." There... she got it out, finally. She wondered why it'd been so hard to talk to Caden about this.

He sat down by the edge of the lake. "Something must've happened that prevented him either from replying or from his reply reaching you Sel. I don't think he would just abandon you after everything that's happened."

"I don't think he's abandoning me. I think he's abandoning himself, and his life in Divinity's Reach. It's just like Aidan to give up on himself."

"Is there anything I can do to help? I mean I could go to town and see if any mail arrived at his house?"

She shook her face. "I can't make him fight if he doesn't want to. For all we know, he might be happier where he is now. That's not the point though... what I wanted to tell you is that if there's nothing left for me here... that I may not be coming back."

"Where will you be going?" He said feeling nervous again.

"Lion's Arch... for one. I'm not sure where I'll go after. I'll always be grateful for all that you've done for me - you just keep giving and giving. I don't know how I can repay you."

"Don't go" He looked at her with a serious face. "Please" He paused for a long time. "I really value your friendship but I don't want you to just stay around for me. I'm sure Anise will somehow find a way to bring Andrea to justice and if that happens Aidan will have to return. He'll need you when he does."

She looked down at the water that crested her chest, cupped her hands and brought a splash over her face. "I love Aidan, I do. But it's time I thought about myself as well. I know you may think me selfish..."

He quietly shook his head. "If it's really what you want to do."

She looked at him, somewhat disappointed "What do you want to do?"

He sighed heavily. "I dunno. With you gone I guess I'll go back home. There'll be nothing left for me to stick around here for."

She smiled and stepped out of the water, "Isn't there something you wanted to tell me?"

"I..." He suddenly fell silent as she stepped out of the water. His face coloured bright red and he turned his head. He swallowed hard as he searched for words. "S-surely.... surely, you must know.. you are the only reason I'm still here.." Wanting to say more but not daring to he got to his feet. "I'll l-leave you to dress." He mumbled still looking away from her.

Undaunted, she continued till she was right in front of him. "Perhaps I've guessed, but how can I know when you don't talk to me? Caden... are you afraid of me?"

"Afraid of what may change if I do talk" He said after a while.

She turned solemn, and after a pause. "Things are going to change, whether or not you speak the truth. I guess... I just feel like it's time I should hear it directly from you. After all this time of following me around, sharing that hut with me... what are we?"

"What do you want us to be?"

She slowly let out a breath that she had been holding as she backed away into the water. "Something... or nothing at all. By tomorrow it may not even matter."

"What do you mean? why tomorrow?" he grew tense as she backed away, taking a step forward involuntarily. "Sel...I ....I don't want to lose you" With a flushed face he grabbed her hand.

She stopped backing away and gazed at his hand clenched on hers. "I was dumb... I gave Robert something to use against me." She thought about it and shrugged. "Maybe he's always had something to use against me from the very moment he realised that I'm alive. I'm going to him tomorrow, Caden."

Tension turning to fear he looked at her. "What will you do?"

"I'll do as he wants... for now. But," she didn't take her eyes off his hand. "If knowing that... you still.. want me around. Then I'll come back to you."

He nodded still clutching her hand. "Be careful"

She smiled just slightly, a cover for the way she was truly feeling. She wondered if she'd made the right choice, putting Caden in this position, making him speak his heart. It would be harder to leave him now. She nodded, "Thank you. I will be back to see you."

He smiled at her to nervous to wager anything else. I suppose we ought to be getting back before Bran gets any funny ideas."

Her smile turned impish as he spoke. "Since he's getting funny ideas, might as well make some of it true." She jolted that hand that connected her to Caden, causing him to break footing and stumble the water beside her. "Sorry, there was no other way to get you to join me," she chuckled.

He laughed as he hit the water and quickly found his footing again. Rather than getting out immediately he lingered around brushing the wet hair out of his face. He didn't appreciate the wet clothes but Selina's action did remove a lot of the pent-up tension and he was grateful for it. 

Leaving his side, she slid back into the deeper water, and floated on her back. "Just a few more moments, and we'll go back. Bran can hold his horses."

After spending some moments in the water he moved to the shore and got out of the water. He took off his shirt and wrung out the water after which he laid it out on the grass in the sun hoping it would at least dry somewhat before they returned. He then decided to lie down next to it to wait until Selina got out of the water as well. Although he was less tense now he found his thoughts in disarray as he tried to make sense of what just happened.

She floated in bliss for a while before she decided that it was time for her swim to end. Since building that hut in the swamp, and waiting on her heels for the Shining Blade to take all the evidence from her, she'd grown accustomed to swimming in the lake in the middle of Kessex. She loved wallowing in its cool waters, and sometimes wished to share the moment with another.

Meanwhile Caden had spent a number of weeks sharing the hut with her, all while maintaining a very professional, non physical relationship... to the point he had refused to get in the water with her in case something should happen - something that she'd expected to happen, but didn't. Well... till she prodded just now. She found it both infuriating and fascinating at the same time. And after getting an admission from him, wondered if her growing interest in him stood on the perch of curiosity, necessity or if she did truly love him.

She gave him a glance as she exited the water, dried herself and replaced her pants. He seemed shaken by the entire incident, and it was only then that she began to regret taking that step too far ahead.

From his spot by the shore he heard Selina getting out of the water. After lying in the sun a few more minutes he sat up casually avoiding to look in Selina's direction. He grabbed his still damp shirt and pulled it over his head.

"Caden..." she called to him, noting vividly that he hadn't returned her glance. She picked up her vest, slung it over an arm, and had the soap in the bag, carried by her other hand. Quietly, she waited for him to respond.

Hearing his name called he finally looked her way. "Ready to go back?" he asked as he got to his feet.

"Caden, have I upset you?" she asked pointedly, avoiding his question.

"No"  he replied smiling at her but offering no further explanation. "No you haven't." Slowly he started to walk back towards the cave assuming Selina would do the same.

Her expression fell as she remained stunned for a few moments, before she turned to follow him from a distance. She was baffled by his response... or rather, non-response, and didn't know what it meant. Suddenly, she was back in Aidan's home, having that argument with Caden about the Shining Blade. It was rare to see Caden wrapped in passion over a particular issue, and with the snap of a finger, to see him emerge like nothing had occurred. It was most peculiar.

As they walked back Caden racked his brains trying to decide what to do after tomorrow. Obviously going with Selina would be out of the question. He was half tempted to go to the city and see if there was any news on Aidan but even if there was, he wouldn't be able to share it with Selina. He figured he could return home but even that prospect irked him somehow.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2017, 10:52:10 AM by Talia »

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #80 on: March 02, 2017, 01:54:07 PM »
Bran had a lunch of wild boar they had trapped earlier, skewed and roasted over a naked flame, potatoes on a pan beneath, soft enough to fall apart when poked. It was a treat of sorts, to the crew who had retaken their home, cleaned up the inside, and fixed the door. The carcasses of dead trolls had been burnt in a large fire not too far from them, and the air still smelt of smoke. He didn't think the trolls that had survived would be returning anytime soon.

Ron and Jess had already begun slicing off bits of bacon into their metal plates, drunk with the aroma that lingered in the air. Bran didn't stop them, but decided to wait till Caden and Selina were back to do so, just out of respect. It was certainly taking them longer than he would've expected, and he began constructing images of their return, arm in arm, gazing fondly at each other, lost in each other's embrace. He smiled to himself, congratulating himself for discovering success for poor Caden, who only needed that vital push.

Upon their arrival back at the cave Caden immediately spotted the trio sitting around the fire and he grinned as he noticed the boar roasting over it. "Looks like lunch is being served" He said to Selina as he looked back at her over his shoulder.

"Hey the love birds are back!" Bran blurted out brightly as he stood up from his stool, till he noticed the stoical facade that Selina wore as she let out a sigh, and raised the hand with the soap towards him.

He crossed over to retrieve it, all the while comparing the expressions of Caden and Selina, trying to guess what had happened, and if something had gone wrong. "Hope... the swim went well?"

Selina threw her vest on the floor, and responded, "As well as can be." Then walked away.

Caden glared at Bran and sat down by the fire shrugging slightly as Selina walked away from them.

The tension in the air was thick enough to cut with a knife, yet Ron and Jess remained oblivious to it - or maybe they didn't want to get in the middle of all the drama. On hindsight, Bran wondered if there was wisdom in their disregard. He turned to Caden, and explained the meal, "It's a celebration... of sorts. For all the work done to regain control of the cave. Feel free to eat your fill."

"It smells amazing, don't mind if I do" Caden said, putting a smile on his face and grabbing a plate.  After filling the plate with bacon and nearly burning himself trying to retrieve a potato from the pan he sat back down. "So uh" Desperate to get rid of the tension he looked around. "I don't suppose you've got anything nice to drink with this?"

Bran had been observing Caden so much that he'd not even started eating himself. "Yeah," he said with arms folded, motioning towards a barrel a couple of feet away from them. "There's a keg of mead, pretty strong stuff though."

"Perfect. Anyone else want some?" He said as he got to his feet and looked over at the trio.

"I don't drink alcohol before the evening," declared Jess.

And Ron pointed to a mug sitting by his side. "Don't need it," he said simply.

Bran put a hand on Caden's shoulder. "Come, let's get a mug each. There's a bowl of water beside the keg as well if you want to wash up."

"I think I had all the washing up I need after a tumble into the lake but if you want I'll bring you back a mug"

Bran laughed, and pointed to Caden's hands that had been slightly soiled with the oil of the roasted bacon. "I offered because Ron doesn't much like oily mugs." He rose and began walking towards the barrel. "And I did notice that you'd gone to have a swim with Selina. Enjoyed it, I hope?"

"Fish all you like, I'm not biting" Caden said with a shrug and walked over to the bucket to wash the grease off his hands.

Bran stepped beside Caden and pulled out two mugs from a shelf built into the wall of the cave. "Look," he said finally, "I'm sorry I meddled. I was so certain she was giving off signals..." he shrugged bewilderingly. "I mean, if it were me, I would've taken them as signals. I hope she didn't hurt you too badly."

"It's fine, don't worry about it." he said whilst Bran filled the cups. "Besides you planned a celebration, lets have one. Maybe we can even get Ron to say more than three consecutive words if we poor enough into him." Caden grinned at Bran.

Bran smiled. "Oh he says more than three consecutive words from time to time, and it's those times you wished he went back to speaking less. Ron can be quite the grouch." He handed Caden one of the mugs that had been filled, and held another on his hand.

"Maybe not then......  but hey" He held his mug up for a toast. "To your home, may it be troll free for a long time."

Bran raised his mug in response, "Indeed! Thank you for your help." And as he placed the mug against his lips to take a sip, he noticed Selina stepping into the scene. Her hair was still wet from the swim that she had taken, but it was slung back in a ponytail, and her clothes were changed as well. Upon her shoulder was the pack that she had arrived with. Not a host of items within, but the entirety of her luggage.  "Ah Sel, come join us for our little celeb..."

She interrupted Bran before he could go on. "Yeah... about that, I'm going to have to pass. I told Caden while we were at the lake that I would be leaving for LA tomorrow. But the weather out's good today, and I might make the best of it to head there today."

"Anything you need help with?" commented Jess, putting down her plate.

Selina seemed pleasantly surprised by the more positive approach Jess had towards her. "I don't actually, just handling a personal matter."

"At least have a bite first Sel, you wouldn't pass on that beautifully roasted boar would you?" Caden gestured at the roast with his mug.

She smiled politely, and held his gaze. "I'm sorry Caden. I was struggling with... well, you know what, and it was incredibly unfair of me to have used you as an excuse. You've been a good friend to me, and I should've been more content to leave that alone. I hope you'll find it in your heart to forgive me." Before Caden could respond, she could see Bran's eyes widen with questions. "Don't ask," she instructed him, and Bran instinctively shut his gaping mouth.

Completely ignoring Bran he pulled Selina into a hug. "There is nothing to forgive" he said softly. "Please be careful out there. If you need anything at all, you let me know. I.... I'll be at my parents."

Selina returned the hug, feeling herself heaving a sigh of relief. "I'll take care of myself, I always have."

He let go of Selina and smiled at her not sure what else to say.

"Thank you for helping with the cave," Bran chimed in.

"Wasn't anything," she brushed it off.

"Stay for lunch with us, at least."

She shook her head. "Enjoy it. I have food to go, and will have plenty to eat when I get to LA." Bran nodded and Selina tugged the strap on her pack. "Well... it's goodbye then."

"Have a safe journey," said Bran.

Selina smiled and turned to Caden. She didn't say anything, but her eyes spoke an amount of wistfulness as she turned to leave.

"Take care" he said as she turned. His shoulders dropped as he watched her leave and he sighed softly.

"You know buddy," Bran leaned over to Caden as Selina disappeared out of view. "You don't have to leave as well. We could do with a fourth member. And there's a job coming up as well, could use your help."

"Bran, I like you. Really I do." Caden said as he downed the contents of his mug. "And I say this without meaning any offense, but I think it's better if I stayed on the right side of the law."

"Hey, we're on the right side of the law... whenever it counts," he grinned. "You can't fry an egg without breaking some shells 'ya know."

"Besides, I wouldn't want to make Ron any grumpier" Caden said laughing as he went to refill his mug.

"Want to hear something about him? Ron was a fallout from Two-Blade Pete's band. I left, which was quite another thing. But Ron's been a social outcast for as long as I can remember, they merely hired him for his bow and arrow - and he's like... the best skilled person I know with those. Unfortunately, he had this nasty habit of offending practically anyone and everyone he worked with - except myself, that is. I just think it's hilarious. But he insulted one in his party one day, the guy couldn't take it and called on a behemoth of a friend to ruffle him up and boot him out of camp. Nobody took any pity on him and no one invited him back. So he left. Even Pete didn't seem too bothered by his departure. So when I left the Blades myself, I started my own team with Jess... I knew Jess through mutual acquaintance, and then Jaq came in through recommendations. We figured we would be complete, just the three of us, but then I bumped into Ron one day at an inn. He'd descended into a pitiful plight, washing dishes to survive. I knew his skills were being wasted, so I convinced him to play our fourth. Initially he rejected our proposal, merely out of pride. Jess didn't care much for him because of that. But when we went about our business and ended up in a fix, it was Ron who came to bail us out. Even though he said he didn't want to run with us, he'd been following us oh so silently, and was there at the perfect time to save our necks. We've called him Silent Ron since then, and Jess has taken to him. He doesn't know how to show it most times, but you see his kindness in his actions."

"Aye I suppose you're right, but he seems to have a definite dislike for me and I don't want to stir up trouble where none need be. Besides, it's been a while since I've visited my parents, figure they'd like to see me again."

"Fair enough. Go home and give it some thought though. Those herbs will prove plenty useful here. Jess is looking right as rain."

"I'll leave you some extra in case you run into any more issues. For now though, lets have some more boar and mead. Sel may not mind passing on those but until neither one is done and I've had a good nights rest I'm not going anywhere." Caden grinned at Bran as he clapped him on the shoulder.

"Indeed, stuff your face all you can before you leave!" laughed Bran, and proceeded to fill a plate himself.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #81 on: March 06, 2017, 10:14:17 PM »
Queen Jennah had summoned the Pact Commander, and a squad of his most loyal fighters. That was the moment Andrea Brennan began to seriously doubt the chances of success.

As much as she despised Jennah's regime for its weak leadership, one thing that the Shining Blades under Jennah's command truly excelled in was protecting their queen. At that point, it'd become clear that they had sniffed out deception within their courts, and were busy fanning out into the crowd to question both guests and ministry guards, especially the ones who had prior links to Legate Minister Caudecus.

Decked out in appropriate celebratory outfit, Andrea moved inconspicuously through the fringes of the crowd, trying desperately to get Estelle's attention. If she had been placed in a position of authority over this operation, this is the moment she would utilize to command the forces to back down and remain in hiding. Unfortunately, Minister Estelle had stepped in at a vital moment while Andrea had been occupied with the affairs of Henry and his son, and managed to charm Caudecus into the trust he now invested in her to be successful at the assassination of the Queen. A task that Andrea Brennan believed that she would've been much better suited to execute. Jennah, if she were alone, would be as vulnerable to attack as Caudecus had planned. But the Pact Commander had not experienced failure yet, and his exploits against Mordremoth had become known throughout the region. Andrea knew that they would not stand against him.

To Andrea's horror, the Pact Commander crossed the room, stepped directly into Estelle's path and began speaking with her. For a moment, Andrea froze completely, her attention entirely fixated on both parties as she tried to make out what truly was being said. Even though the words weren't clear, she was certain that Estelle had become a suspect for involvement in a plot to overthrow the Queen, the Pact Commander merely lacked the hard evidence. He stepped away after a while, contemplating what he had heard, then moved on to question the other suspects.

Estelle flashed Andrea a glance, the first for that evening, and Andrea took the brief opportunity to approach her with haste. Taking her aside and making sure that they were out of earshot, she managed to finally deliver her word of caution, "Estelle, I know how much effort has been put into planning this attack, however the Pact Commander's presence poses a huge wrench in the operation and I believe that we should abort, there is too much at risk."

However, Estelle remained steeled against the notion of aborting any of their plans. She knew it would bring great disgrace to herself and her house - and besides, she remained suspicious of Andrea Brennan's true intent to terminate the mission. There was no doubt that Andrea coveted her position, and would possibly try to steal it from her if anything went sour. "No," she replied without hesitation. "There is no room for cowardice Ms Brennan, aborting the mission is out of the question. We will succeed, I believe in the Mantle and of the army we have built."

"Get over yourself, Estelle!" Andrea snapped in a harsh whisper. "This is bigger than you, bigger than me. If we are to achieve what we hope to achieve, we must ensure a win. Any failure on our part will expose and put at risk the rest of the operation!"

"You get over yourself," snarled Estelle, taking a threatening step forward. "You've only doubted my leadership from the start. We will win, and we will do it with or without you. You are no asset to this mission. Get out of my sight!" She pushed Andrea on the chest - not a hard push, but one just firm enough to embarrass. Then the woman walked away. A mistake, in Andrea's eyes. She would have supported the mission, regardless of its chances for success - which at that point she reckoned would be rather low. But not for Estelle, not after being insulted with such words. She would not die in vain for her.

She soon found herself moving away from Estelle, moving away from the party, away from the massacre to come - headed directly towards the portal that led into Lion's Arch. Movements in and out of the palace had ceased since the Pact Leader had arrived and investigations had begun, what merely stood between herself and the rest of the world was the asura and his golem that guarded the sole portal out. Not a tall order, especially since she had spent three months in her mansion, studying the various components commonly used in golems, learning their weaknesses so that she might disengage them with as little tampering as possible.

Keeping herself carefully concealed with an invisibility spell, she approached the golem as she removed a foot-long spiked accessory from her updo. She had learnt of the spot right between the joint of the right leg of the golem, that led to the spark plug within. Slipping her spiked accessory into that gap, she gave it one hard jolt and overloaded the golem's systems almost immediately. It emitted sparks, beeped, jimmied and shook, capturing the immediate attention of the asura. And as the asura tended to his contraption, Andrea faded through the portal. The ripples she caused as she was whisked away, completely oblivious to the guard and everyone else at the party.

She had managed to get away.

As she stood alone in Lion's Arch, she pondered her future with the White Mantle if they ever discovered that she had knowingly abandoned the mission. But they wouldn't, she assured herself. Because right then she was banking heavily on the mission failing, a fact that would increase exponentially with her gone. Estelle was wrong about her not being an asset to the mission, or had the woman forgotten that Andrea's primary purpose was there to open a portal for the survivors should anything go wrong? If questioned, Andrea would simply say the Pact Commander was pushing too hard for her to save anyone. And even if Estelle were somehow to survive the attack by the Pact Leader's men, her contact within the Seraph would ensure that the bitch would not live to see the next day.

"It is politics... after all," she mumbled to herself, as she stuck her pin back in her hair and moved swiftly to blend with the crowd.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2017, 10:40:02 PM by Talia »

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #82 on: March 15, 2017, 09:00:46 AM »
By the time Aidan left Anise's office his mind was going at a hundred miles an hour. After being recalled from the vicinity of Ebonhawke Anise had filled him in on what had happened in his absence. At first he wasn't sure how to feel about Selina and Caden involving Anise into the matter with his aunt, but when Anise soon after revealed that they had discovered Andrea's involvement in the White Mantle he was shocked. He knew his aunt was up to no good but he never expected anything as serious as that. Anise told him about the minister's gathering and his aunt subsequent disappearance. Aidan then had begged her to allow him to track her down despite Anise's warnings that a conversation with the gate engineer and searches of the family estates turned up very little. In the end Anise allowed him to look for her using Shining Blade resources but she advised him to seek Captain Thackery's advice first since he may shed some more light on where White Mantle sympathizers might hold up.

After gathering up some supplies Aidan decided to follow Anise's advice and left for Lake Doric where Captain Thackery set up a command post. As soon as he left the city the damage was obvious. The sounds of battle run all around and Aidan addressed the guard near the city to inquire about the captain's whereabouts. He turned out not to be hard man to find but he was so busy he barely had time to hear Aidan out. Aidan got what he needed however. Captain Thackery told him the White Mantle had taken over Fort Evennia to the north-east and seemed to be using it as a base. Considering his options Aidan didn't think that Andrea would be hanging around these parts on her own so he decided he would try the fort first.

As he stood there contemplating his options the captain called out to him and gestured towards a woman standing besides him. "This is exemplar Ylan" He said. "She's been in and out the fort a couple of times and has agreed to go with you."

Ylan took a step towards Aidan the moment the captain introduced her. She stretched out a welcoming hand towards him, "Greetings."

He made a small bow as he stepped forward to shake her hand. "Thank you for the help Ylan" he said. "Are you ready to leave right away or is there any preparations you need to make?"

"I can leave immediately. Was about to before..." she cast a teasing glance over in Thackery's way. "the Captain stopped me because you needed directions." She then pointed a palm down the dried up lake and over to the other side. "Shall we?"

"Please" He said with a nod, gesturing for her to take the lead. "Thank you for your time Captain Thackary" He said with a nod before leaving the man to his duties.

Ylan travelled down the slippery sides of the bank, cautioned Aidan to watch his footing, then ascended again on the other side. It was clear that the outskirts of Divinity's Reach had become the frontlines of a war that had just erupted. Sounds of explosions, the clashing of swords, and shooting of bullets resonated all around, even though both Ylan and Aidan had not run into a live exchange yet. "Keep your eyes peeled for oncoming enemies. I'm taking us the safest path I know, but even so... we are in the middle of a war zone."

Aidan nodded as he followed her, instinctively checking his blades with a hand while he kept a close eye on their surroundings.

Ylan pressed forward through the woods, stopping every so often each time she sensed danger. At one point not only did she stop, but she also told Aidan to get down in the dirt. As she descended herself, she explained that she would usually not shy away from a fight, but it would be much easier to get to where they were headed if they did not find trouble. "Fort Evennia," she explained quietly as they waited for danger to pass, "Is stacked with White Mantle. You will not only need a disguise to enter, but a false identity and background should anyone ask."

"Having been in and out several times I assume you have the disguise part sorted?" Aidan whispered as he looked around.

"I do, actually. There's a camp in the woods just outside of Fort Evennia... while it may not look like much at the moment, it's the closest thing to a Shining Blade station that we have, so near in range to the action." She perked up as the sound of boots pounding on gravel passed just a couple of feet from where they were. Ylan counted... five... no... eight perpetrators altogether. She flew to her feet the moment those footsteps faded. "Hurry now, before they come back."

Jumping to his fee Aidan tossed a glance in the direction they had disappeared in before running after Ylan. It had been a while since he had been in a situation this hostile and he felt rather glad he had Ylan along to lead the way. He decided he would ask her if she'd heard anything about his aunt once they reached the camp she just described.

After trudging through some thick undergrowth, they arrived at a small clearing where there was pitched a canvas tent under a low laying canopy, large enough to house five people. But Ylan did not step into the tent. Instead she walked right past it to where a large mossy rock, the shape of a beanbag, sat lazily under shade. She bent down in front of the rock and began to dig with her barehands. The soil was loose and moist with dew. So it came apart pretty easily, and soon revealed a metallic box beneath.

Pulling out the box, she sat on the ground and uncovered the treasure. Within the box was folded four outfits, complete with weapons and masks. She pointed to the masks, "Thankfully it isn't unusual to find the new occupants of Fort Evennia clad anonymously, since some of them remain citizens of Divinity's Reach and don't want to be identified, even by their peers. That gives you a cover. You'll just have to pose as one of those crowd, which from the looks of it, won't be too hard." She smiled, reached in to grab one of the outfits and handed it to Aidan.

"Thanks" Aidan said as he took the clothes and looked through them, deciding they should fit. "I've been meaning to ask, while inside have you heard anything about an Andrea Brennan? She's supposed to be involved with the White Mantle but she fled the city before she could be apprehended."

Ylan gave the name some thought, then shook her head. "That name doesn't ring a bell... although, aren't you a Brennan yourself?"

"Aye" He sighed. He turned his back to her and started to change his clothes.

She looked away, just out of courtesy. "But I will keep my ears peeled for that name. If anything is muttered, the captain will be notified as soon as possible."

"Thank you" He said, his back still turned. "Anything else I should know while I"m in there?"

"Keep a low profile. Don't talk to anyone if you don't have to. But if you do question someone and he becomes suspicious," she pulled out three syringes and handed them to him. "Pump him with one of these babies. The dosage should be enough to put him right to sleep, for just long enough for you to get out of there. Keep safe." She gave him a casual salute.

He nodded before returning her salute. "I'll meet you back here in two hours, if I haven't returned in 2 and a half hours you may assume I won't be returning."

She nodded briefly. "I'll brew you a steaming cup of coffee for when you get back," she said with a smile. "You won't want to miss it."

"Thanks" He said. Leaving her behind he tracked back the way they came until he was near the road that lead up to the fort. From the shrubs he glanced towards the road. When he was certain he slipped out of his hiding spot and confidently stepped on to the road, making his way towards the fort. He noticed several white mantle outside. Some seemed to be manning some sort of cannon while two guards stood by the gate. As he observed them he noticed another White Mantle approaching the gate and entering the fort without any interaction with the guards. He decided he would bluff his way through the same way and steadily kept approaching the fort, silently hoping the seraph would not chose this moment to charge it.

Calming his nerves as he approached he continued on until he reached the gate of the fort. Without a moments hesitation he entered. Inside he forced himself to keep back a sigh of relief and carry on walking. He observed his surroundings closely and made note of any possible exit routes. The first large courtyard of the fort seemed completely walled off with buildings on two sides and a small entryway on to the bridge that lead to the second courtyard. The whole fort seemed to be filled with a disturbing red mist and there were barrels filled to the brim with bloodstone shards  everywhere. Not too far away he heard someone scream. He realized the white mantle was probably keeping prisoners here and immediately felt the inclination to try and free as many as he could. When he peered into the building that the cry had come from however he saw a large jade construct guarding a seraph tied to a pole and he had to acknowledge that any sort of rescue attempt now would most likely jeopardize his personal mission. Swallowing back the guilt he moved on across the courtyard.

As he passed a couple of white mantle he noticed them talking and as soon as he rounded the corner he stopped, hoping to hear what they were talking about. "It's a pity the commander showed up when he did or the queen would be dead now"  One said where one of the others considered him a fool for thinking the whole plan would've gone off without a hitch. They then continued to discuss a recent attack on a hamlet nearby and Aidan decided to continue. Suspecting the higher ranked white mantle and any useful documents would be in the second courtyard he made his way to the bridge. As he made his round there he heard many conversations about the progress of the white mantles invasion of the area. Nothing particularly stood out to him until he heard the name of his aunt mentioned by a female elementalist that casually leaned against the balcony outside of the room he was in. "I heard she's a traitor, that she ran away before the fight even started to save her own skin." a voice said. Peering through the door Aidan could just see toes on the floor across from the elementalist and he gathered that whoever belonged to the voice was leaning against the wall. "Oh no I'm certain I saw her there"  the elementalist answered. "Really then how come we lost so many because we didn't have enough mesmer portals to get us all out" The voice sounded sceptical and the elementalist shrugged. "All I know is she apparently nearly lost her life portalling people out. Caudecus even  offered her shelter in his manor to recuperate." "You must be joking"  Was the only reply the elementalist received and it was quiet for a while. "Well, I'm just telling you what I heard"  the elementalist said after a while. " But I should probably be getting back inside and finish my work before I get yelled at."  She said as she pushed herself away from the railing and started to walk towards the door.
Moving as quick as he could Aidan moved towards the staircase in the room and started to walk upstairs before the elementalist entered the room. There he found a small table with a candle and several documents. In the corner was another tied up Seraph soldier. Glancing at the struggling man Aidan turned his attention to the documents. Not taking the time to go through them he rolled them all up and tucked them inside his armor. He glanced down the stairs and scanned the room below seeing no one. Sighing he turned towards the seraph placing a finger in front of his mouth to motion for silence. As he approached the man he whispered "If I cut your bonds can you find your own way out?" The man looked at him in surprise and nodded eagerly. Taking out one of his daggers Aidan cut the rope tied around the mans wrists and ankles with two swift motions. Taking a small purse from one of his pockets Aidan gave it to the man. Here if you do get caught by someone, use this to blind them. The man nodded and Aidan turned to go down the stairs. "Good luck"  He whispered, hoping the man would be safe. Without wasting any more time he moved towards the front gate and left the fort to return to Ylan.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2017, 10:34:07 AM by Mokuren »

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #83 on: March 19, 2017, 01:37:52 PM »

After he made sure no one was following him Aidan got off the road and made his way through the bushes back to Ylan's camp. As he approached it he checked his surroundings again and after he was satisfied that there were no others present he removed his mask and made his way over to the hidden tent.

Ylan heard the shuffling outside of the tent and stuck just her head out. She gave him a wave the moment she realised that it was him, and beckoned him in.

"Hey"  Aidan said softly as he made his way over to her.

Ylan picked up the mug of steaming coffee that she had promised him, and handed it to him. "Congratulations," she said with a smile. "You made it out without a fuss. Did you find what you were looking for?"

"I think so"  Aidan said, accepting the cup gratefully. He sat down and placed the cup on the ground next to him carefully before pulling the documents out of his pocket. He went through them studying each piece of paper for a while to see if his aunt was mentioned anywhere. As he went along he came across one letter that mentioned Andrea in connection to the seperatists but it was dated quite a few weeks back and it mainly seemed to concern supplies. Aidan decided to keep it anyway and handed the rest to Ylan. "Can I leave these to you or do you want me to give them to captain Thackery?" he asked.

"I can handle them," she obliged as she received the stack of papers and filed them into her own pack. "Anything else you'd like help with? I'd like to think I'm pretty well connected around here."

"Any idea what kind of plans are brewing to attack Caudecus?"

"Ah, I did hear that the Commander is planning to spring an attack on Caudecus with Demmi Beetlestone as a guide. It's going to be fairly soon though."

"Hmm I need to get inside that manor, perhaps they'll let me join them" Aidan pondered as he sipped his coffee. "Any idea where I might catch up with them?"

"You best speak to Captain Thackery before any of this. I don't know if the Commander's accepting additions to his crew."

"You are correct of course, I will. What about you, are you going to stick around here or are you heading back as well?"

"I've been, and still am waiting for a colleague of mine who happens to be late. He informed us that he would be here..." her words froze as a dark shadow fell over the tent. A large ocher shaded paw, shielding razor sharp claws reached into the side of the tentage and pulled it back, revealing a charr with glowing green eyes, and stripes upon his forehead.

"You were saying?" he snarled in response to Ylan's complaint.

She grinned and shrugged. "Well, you are late."

"I have a good excuse," and he turned to Aidan. "Who's your companion?"

"He wanted access to the White Mantle camp, the Capt sent him with me." She turned to Aidan as well, and introduced her contact, "Garren, Aidan. Aidan, Garren."

Aidan nodded at Garren in greeting. "Well I think I better get back in my own clothes and be on my way then and leave you two to your business. Thank you again Ylan for your help."  He said as he got to his feet.

"Cheers," she returned the sentiment as she held up her own cup of coffee. "Keep off the main road, lay low when needed and you'll be fine."

"You're sending the squidling off on his own?" Garren inquired.

"Don't you and I have business? Isn't that why you summoned me here?" she replied.

"Cin does but... well, I'll get into details when the squidling is out of earshot," Garren's words were whispered, but barely quiet enough to avoid being overheard by Aidan.

Aidan shrugged and picked up his clothes before he left the tent. Without moving too far away he silently started to change back into his own clothes.

Not too far away, an explosion erupted and shook the earth with its impact.

Shaken slightly Aidan finished dressing in a hurry and after some searching located the box where Ylan had gotten the white mantle clothes from. He quickly placed the clothes he had used back in the box while he glanced at the tent to see if Ylan and Garren were in any way disturbed by the explosion.

Both Ylan and Garren were a few steps from the camp, weapons bared, in the woods headed cautiously towards west. "I smell smoke and I hear the cracklin' of flames," noted Garren, sniffing the air above him like a giant cat.

They were both so engrossed in the moment that they did not notice Aidan standing right behind them.

"Any clue as to what that was?" He asked in a low tone.

Ylan's heart skipped a beat as the proximity of Aidan's voice surprised her, but she quickly caught a hold of herself, and whispered back, "By the sound of it, it's more than likely one of those jade cannons the White Mantle have been erecting. Something's been hit... we don't know what it is yet, but I think I can make a guess."

Another boom through the air, and explosion upon hit. This time, a lot closer to their position. Instinctively, Garren spread out his arms in defense of his mates, his pupils widened to twice their original size. "The cannon is perched just outside of Fort Evennia," he said.

"Great, so no chance of destroying the cannon without alerting the entire fort to our presence. What do you think has been hit though Ylan?"

"Saidra's Haven," she said, turning to Garren for more of an insight.

"Thankfully most of the civilians have been evacuated to Lakeside Bazaar," he turned back to her. "I told you I had a good excuse."

"So they're just hitting empty buildings now?" asked Ylan as they reached a point where they were able to look out at the village below. True enough, the village was burning, and the explosions had destroyed some roofs and walls.

Garren pointed out two villagers huddled under some rubble. "I said 'most', I didn't say 'all'. Some refused to leave, like those two there. There ought to be some from our camp as well. I can hear fighting from inside."

"I suppose we'd better help them then" Aidan said as he readied his weapons.

Ylan took haste to stop Aidan from what he was about to do. "Garren and I can handle this. You have a task that is time sensitive. If you hope to catch up with the Commander, you best leave now."

"Are you sure?" Aidan gave her a doubtful look.

"I'm pretty sure that we'll be fine, but if you do want to help, we could do with some reinforcements to take that cannon down. The Capt will want to know what's going on here," she replied.

"And tell him to send additional supplies for the refugees in the Bazaar," added Garren. "They're going through the current supplies like powdered sand through a sift."

"I'll be sure to pass it on. Thank you again Ylan and good luck to you both, stay safe."  He said before taking off, making sure to go around the town in a wide circle.



She turned up to his doorstep a few days early, and this time she knocked. She hadn’t done so before, and therefore the maidservant did not recognize her. “Mister did not say he’s expecting anyone,” insisted the plump blonde woman.

“I’m a few days early, but fetch him anyway will you?” Selina pressed.

“What be your name Miss?”

“Sel. He’s asked for me.”

The maidservant said with some hesitancy, “I will notify him, even though mister is engaged in his business at the moment.” Selina took the cue to enter Rob’s home, but was stopped short with a pudgy palm in her face. “I’m afraid I must have you wait out here. If mister is ready to see you then I will call for you. Otherwise you are not to enter.”

With that, the large wooden doors were swung shut in her face, leaving her slightly stunned. Of all places, she hadn’t expected a cold reception at the home of Robert Brown’s – given that she’d never really known him while he was the benefactor of such wealth before, but even then… a maidservant? They would’ve laughed the thought off before.

She took two steps back, weighed the thought of leaving. She’d dreaded coming here all month, but that final awkward exchange with Caden gave her the resolution to leave for a time to give him some breathing space. Even after her memories had been restored, there was a part of her that felt unresolved. She couldn’t explain it. And she recognized that after sometime spent with Caden, that she had begun to lean heavily on him in the hopes that he would be a stand in for what she felt was missing from her life. But it’d dawned on her that she had assumed too much, she had expected too much and in doing so, had inevitably driven a wedge between them. If she returned to him now, she would risk damaging an already fragile relationship, and she knew she couldn’t afford to do that.

No, there was no other place for her. She turned her gaze upwards to an open window on the second floor. With an agile leap onto the vines that wrapped around piping that led up to the top floor, she scaled towards the window easily, and dove directly into the room. She congratulated herself over this small victory. It was only out of courtesy that she had used the door. Rob would hear of his maidservant’s arrogance, and she would certainly rub it in that woman’s face.

That room that she had entered appeared to be a sitting room of sorts – it was magnificent, a piece of art all in itself. There were carved images of the six gods of Tyria on the ceiling. Likely a centerpiece for the home’s previous owner. Silken seats surrounded a marble tea table that stood proudly in the middle of the room, all ready to welcome at least six to eight people to an afternoon of fraternizing among the wealthy.

Two doors with arched handles led to the next room. Voices emerged from there… and footsteps. It sounded like… Selina hastily took a dive out the open window and clung to the vines while the doors with arched handles cranked open, and Rob emerged with his guest.

“We’ll see you there on Tuesday,” came Rob’s voice, as he sent his guest on his way. Selina stole a tiny peek – and she spotted a greyish/maroon shaded Sylvari disappearing down the stairs. She heard the second echo of footsteps in the staircase, and the voice of the woman who had met her at the door, walking the guest to the door.

It wasn’t much of a surprise to Sel that the woman still hadn’t informed Rob of her presence. She would take the opportunity herself. He swung around the moment she stepped through the curtains, perhaps sensing for the first time that he wasn’t alone. “Sel! You’re early,” he exclaimed.

“I am,” she replied. “I even used your main door, but that woman…” She hadn’t finished her sentence when he flung his arms over her and held her tightly.

“I’m so glad you came back,” he gushed. “I haven’t stopped thinking about you.”

While surprised, she remained mostly unmoved by his sentiments. “You left me little choice, Rob.”

He shifted to hold her by her shoulders and look her in her eyes. “Be honest, if I hadn’t said what I did, would I have had the chance to see you again?”

She didn’t say anything in return, though she merely managed a shrug after a while.

“You see what my predicament was? Call it a move of desperation. I would never really betray you Sel. That first time was a huge mistake. And I paid for it by turning on the Widowmakers for the sake of you and your friends. Can we finally call it even?”

Again, she didn’t see fit to say anything in response. But she did nod after a while. A large grin emerged on his face, and he smouldered her in a hug, twice as hard as the first time.

“Mister Brown, there was…” The pudgy blonde woman froze in the doorway of the sitting room, her eyes as wide as saucers. Selina guessed that she had finally decided to announce her arrival, except she was already in the house and talking to ‘Mr Brown’.

“Mrs Priscot, what did I say about interrupting me?” Rob snapped at her, annoyed by the undue distraction.

“I’m sorry sir, I did not realise you had a guest,” Mrs Priscot apologised, even while she shot daggers with her eyes at Sel as she excused herself from the room. The best kind of revenge, Sel gloated to herself.

“I’m sorry,” he repeated when she was gone. “I want to hear everything about what’s happened to you this past month… and with everything that I’ve missed.”

Selina reflected on the ogres, on Aidan, on Anise and then on Caden. Stuff had happened, it just wasn’t exactly newsworthy material. “Nothing much,” she said as she moved away from him to take a seat before the marble table. He followed suit, moving in close.

“A lot has happened for me over this past month,” he offered, assuming that she wasn’t in the mood to speak. “I’ve had a dozen new fighters sign up. That sylvari that you might’ve seen earlier was just one of the few. They all come with their own baggage, debts they need to pay off, frustration they need to work out. I simply provide the means.”

“And you make a hefty profit providing the means…” she pointed out rather bluntly.

“I do. Though my profits in large come from our audiences, and the bet-taking system we have in place. Much like what we had before, but I’d like to think it’s much more organized this time.”

“How do they get in touch with you?”

“Hearsay. A good word travels quickly. I’m rather well known around town right now, even if I do say so myself.”

She gave what he’d told her some thought. She imagined a multitude of people crowding into a space, cheering on fighters in a ring. The sounds of fist pounding and bones cracking drowned out by the roars of the excited audience. She had once been one among the many spectators, revelling in the sport. “Do you still host anonymous fights?”

He chuckled. “In a much much larger way now. In fact, we insist in our written contract that all our fighters keep their true identities undisclosed so that it will give the fight a kind of a randomness to it, and should any mishap occur when fists are exchanged, we will not be held liable for any of it. All our fighters conceal their identities by way of masks, scarves, hoods… and I guess with creativity, the sky’s the limit. The fighter with the fancier mask tends to find more favour with the crowd, and the more excited the crowd is, the better the fighter tends to do in the ring.” He found a glimmer of doubt on her face at his suggestion, and he shrugged it off casually. “It might sound like superstition, but this tends to happen a lot. Sometimes it becomes a matter of who has the better costume, more than the fight itself. Adds to the entertainment value.”

She nodded as she listened to him speak passionately about his work. All this was appealing to her in a way that he might not have guessed. Like Rob’s guests, she too had issues she needed to work out, and that whole concept of anonymity was what really sold her on the idea. “Rob, do you think you can put me in the ring?”

His jaw fell. He meant to impress Sel with his accomplishments, not convince her to become one of the fighters in the ring. “No no, this is for registered fighters only. But I’d be glad to provide you free tickets to watch.”

“Register me,” she insisted. “I want to do this.”

“Sel,” he looked at her sternly. “People only do this if they’re strapped for gold. Gold is the least of your problems. I can buy you whatever you need.”

“I’m not doing it for the gold,” she argued. “I’m doing this for myself, you don’t have to pay me a copper. Come on, let me in the ring once or I’m walking.”

“Sel, do you know how vicious some of those fights can get?”

“Nothing fazes me.”

He frowned, realising that he was about to lose the argument. “Why are you so desperate to get in that ring?”

“Everyone has their reasons. You’ve named some, and I have my own. Do a favour for an old friend, will you?”

Rob rubbed his forehead. He had imagined this conversation going a lot differently. But Sel wasn’t exactly a defenceless maiden. If he had to be honest, he could imagine her with a moderately good chance to win in a fight. And… if it would win some favour for himself, why not? “Alright,” he finally relented. “I’ll set it up for you.”

“Perfect!” she smiled, for the first time that day.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #84 on: March 20, 2017, 07:58:28 AM »

“Legate listen to me, that woman Estelle, she led the mission into ruin! She was so conceited, she wouldn’t budge on her plans – even with everything at stake! I barely survived the onslaught!” Andrea Brennan, standing before the former Minister Caudecus, put on the performance of her life. She knew that with one wrong move, the White Mantle legion would turn on her, regardless of her connection to the Separatists. She had cast upon her the appearance of having barely escaped with her life; burns to her flesh, blood stains down her beautiful party gown and a soot smudged face.

Caudecus’ right hand man leaned over and whispered something in his ear while keeping an eye on her. She hated being judged, gossiped about. But she was fairly confident in the story she had concocted… mostly because for a large part, it was the honest truth.

“You say there were no other survivors?” the former minister asked, tapping his fingers upon the frame of his seat.

“Trust me when I say I tried, and almost lost my life because of it. But the Shining Blade came upon us with such fervour – I suppose they are relentless when it comes down to their precious Queen. When I realised that there would be little hope in saving lives, I decided to return directly to you, that I might provide a full report on what exactly had happened at the party.”

Once more, the right-hand man leaned in, and whispered something into his ear. He nodded solemnly, and after a pause, “Seeing as you are the only survivor, I have no option but to trust in your account of the events.”

Discreetly, she let go of a breath that she had been holding. “Legate, you must flee this place. Surely the Shining Blade will come for you next.”

“I have my guards stationed up front, and my men will lay their lives down for mine, should it come to that. I have built my home up like a fortress. I’d like to see the Shining Blade try to get in here.” There was an air of smug upon Caudecus’ face, as though he was looking forward to taking on the Shining Blade himself. Since his original plans were first thwarted, he’d never fully gained the revenge that he sought. “But you should return to your people, report on what has happened here. Once the members of the Shining Blade have been dealt with, we will convene once more and plan for a second collaborated attack.”

Andrea made a curt bow, a fist over her heart. “I will do just that, Legate. May you be granted success in battle.”

He lowered his face in response. “And you. Send my greetings to Goodman.”


“And over the waters, you’ll see the lighthouse still standing tall,” he pointed out of the tinted carriage that he had specially arranged to bring Selina around the city.

“Mhmm…” she replied, with barely a flicker of a glance in his direction. She was still taking sips out of the bottle of whiskey that he had given her, staring out of the window at seemingly nothing in particular. He’d really thought she’d be more impressed by all of this, and yet she had been distracted for the most part of the tour.

“Sel,” he tapped the roof of the carriage to get it to stop, leaned forward and took her only free hand in his. She turned to him, surprised by the intensity in his eyes, she put the bottle aside for a bit. “What is the matter with you? Did something happen over the past month?”

She winced, and shifted in her seat. “I don’t know. I guess I’m just at a crossroad, not really sure where to go next.”

“And that’s why you’re being experimental,” he concluded, referring to her enthusiasm at getting into a pit fight.

She smiled, and raised her bottle to him. “Well, you know me best Rob.”

He picked up a new bottle and raised it to her. As much as he appreciated the compliment, he wondered if it was premature that she had warmed up to him this quickly. There were questions he intended to ask, but he wanted to word them just precisely in order not to aggravate her. “Sel… about your brother…. I’ve wanted to ask you about him since the last time I…”

“You want to know if I hid the fact that I had a brother,” she completed his sentence for him. He nodded apologetically.

She began sipping again. “No I did not. I found out about him shortly after I got out of the dungeons. He, a noble, volunteered as a sponsor… my sponsor, which was suspicious in and of itself. Turns out curiosity got the better of him, he’d been tracking me for a few years before then. The mysterious half-sister,” she smiled, albeit bitterly.

“So… the son of Thomas’?”

“Uh huh…” she nodded. “Who would’ve guessed the bastard would run off and have another kid, after he’d ranted on and on about what a curse I was.”

“Damn it…” Rob chimed in, taking the top off his bottle and having a swig.

“Damn it is right,” she agreed. “I did warm up to him after a time though. He’s the only blood relative I know of right now.”

“What I’d like to know is how he ended up with the Brennans? They’re quite a big name, even around these parts – with their fancy wine and properties.”

“Adoption.” Selina’s mind wandered to Andrea Brennan’s great betrayal, and she decided against sharing any of that with Rob. Aidan’s predicament was much too complicated for a casual chat in a horse carriage. “By the way, I’m only telling you this because I’d let it all slip a month ago, and you’ve proven to have been pretty trustworthy so far.  You don’t want to be letting me down.”

“Everything we say is between us only,” he assured her. “I assume his adoption is not common knowledge?”

She considered that thought, realising that that might have changed. “Well it wasn’t, I’m not sure any more. Just keep it to yourself for the time being.”

“Of course. Does he know where you are now?”

She shook her face. “He has enough worries of his own. Sometimes I feel like it’s better when I’m out of his hair.”

 He shifted closer to her. “Have you had no one looking out for you?”

She sighed. “Rob, I know what you’re trying to do. I’m not looking for a relationship. Right now, I just want to get into that pit and work out my issues.”

His sheepish grin told her that he was not put off by what she had said. “Does that mean you’ll be hanging around for a while?”

“I can find lodgings…”

“That will not be acceptable!” he patted the hand he held. “You will live with me. I will have my most lavish guestroom prepared specially for you, and you will remain for as long as you want.”

Her expression broke out in laughter quite abruptly. “Lavish guestroom? Since when do you talk like that?”

Cheerfully he held his shoulders up. “Comes with the trade. One has gotta exude professionalism to have a profession. If it makes you uncomfortable, you can always share my bed.”

She chuckled. “The guestroom will do. My my… I’ve got to get used to this new you.”

He tapped the ceiling of the carriage again to get it rolling. “To your liking, I hope?”

“I don’t know,” she said quite honestly. “You’re just different.”

“You’re different too,” he pointed out.

“I guess I am.  What difference a few years make.”

Rob leaned back in his seat and looked at her thoughtfully. “Sel, have you ever wondered what life would’ve been like if we’d ran away. Just the two of us. All that bad stuff would’ve never happened to either of us. I bet we’d still be the naïve young teenagers we once were.”

The smile faded from her face, and her eyes turned cold. “Take your head out of the clouds, Rob. These are our lives now, deal with it!”

With that, she turned back to her bottle. Rob didn’t speak again for the rest of the journey. With nothing more than the sound of gravel on the wheels, they sat in silence till they returned to the mansion.

As promised, Rob had Mrs Priscot prepare the guestroom on the upper floor, just a hallway apart from his own room. He hadn’t expected Selina to stay, but he was glad that she’d decided to do just that. Whatever it was that had driven her to sadness had driven her into his arms. It would be mere foolishness of him not to harp on the opportunity.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 11:27:08 AM by Talia »

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #85 on: March 27, 2017, 11:43:53 AM »

The Pits, or as it had now simply become known, was situated underground, right at the back of a bar that had been carved into a cave on the west end of Lion’s Arch. That alone made it a prime location for evening activities, safely tucked away from young eyes and the easily offended.

At the time Robert and Selina arrived, a line had already formed at the entrance. A massive grey hued Charr stood at the front of the queue with a clipboard in its paws, scribbling away furiously at the pad of paper in front of him. “That’s Horace,” Rob told Sel as they approached. “He’s in charge of the door. Every guest must pay a token and be registered before they’re allowed entry.”

Horace looked up from his sheets, and waved the moment he noticed them. “Mr Brown,” he greeted, opening the door almost immediately, even as he kept a curious eye on Sel.

“She’s with me,” assured Rob, and Horace granted both entry without another concern about the guest.

“I assume I won’t need to register like the others?” she asked as they continued into the Pit. She was fully clad in a leather ensemble that Rob had provided her, one that came equipped with a hood and a scarf that was attached to the fabric on the hood. It provided her the security of anonymity while it allowed her the freedom to move around the city. A fine compromise.

“No, you don’t. You will have to register as a fighter though, but that only requires an alias – one that you should begin thinking of now.” Before them stood the atrium. Descending layers of seats and railings encircling a ring of sand, encased by some kind of force field that rippled cobalt strips of energy, sliding diagonally in sluggish waves like a lazy brook.

“That force field, what is it for?”

“For keeping the fighters in, what else?” he laughed at the simplicity of the question as he guided her to a balcony that provided one of the best views of the fight in the atrium. There were only eight seats on that balcony, as well as a voice amplifier – albeit a much more technologically advanced one than the one in Bran’s cave. She inferred that the host of the match would be sharing the balcony with them, thus the need for the amplifier.

“I mean, you’ve never needed a force field before. The old rings, they used to be wooden boundaries hammered into the sand, painted a shade of bright red. I recall the rules were; stay in the ring or be disqualified immediately.”

He chuckled. “We can’t live in the past. Modern times call for modern and creative uses of cutting edge technology. I heard the Pact had discovered ancient arenas in Auric Basin during their war with Mordremoth. Those arenas utilized the same intravenous-plate force field technology that I had adopted for our very own mini arena, here in Lion’s Arch. It’s proved to be extremely effective, and brings in a whole new form of gameplay in regards to the skirmishes within the ring.”

“So you can’t get a win by tossing someone out of the ring…”

He nodded. “You’ll have to render him unconscious, plain and simple. That, or have him surrender,” Rob raised two fingers up into the air. “That’s the mark of surrender.”

“Mr Brown,” a thin coffee colored sylvari in a tuxedo came before them and bowed. “I see you have a guest this evening.”

“I do,” Rob replied, turning to Sel. “She’s my… erm… she’s here to be a fighter.” She raised a brow. He’d stumbled over his words in his introduction of her. She realised that since she’d arrived, they hadn’t formulated a plan to explain her presence. Being back in Lion’s Arch, and with Rob, nonetheless, had been surprisingly overwhelming – both mentally and emotionally. It wasn’t like her to be this unprepared, especially since it was her own request to be a participant in the Pits, but it didn’t mean she wouldn’t try to formulate a false identity on the spot.

“Enchanted to meet you,” said the sylvari, offering a hand to her that she took and shook firmly. “It isn’t like Mr Brown to seat a fighter in…”

She knew where this was going. She stood up, and found herself on eye level with the sylvari. He stopped speaking, just a tad intimidated by her abrupt reaction.

“I’ve made an exception today Neville,” Rob explained. “I won’t go into details, but this woman is more than a mere fighter, she’s my guest.”

“Ah!” he cried. “Forgive me if I made you feel uncomfortable. My name is Neville Ambrose. Our common friend, Mr Brown, hired me to be a presenter in the Pits some years ago.”

A momentary silence lingered between Sel and Neville as he watched her quietly, waiting for her to reciprocate with an introduction of her own. “And I am…” a hundred pseudo names ran across her mind as she struggled to pick one. She thought of her journeys through Tyria, and the individuals she had met along the way. “The Wayward Thorn.” She blurted out.

“Miss Thorn,” Neville replied with a smirk. “Now that’s a catchy name. Shall I assume that administration has your details?”

“We’ll have it sorted out shortly,” said Rob.

“Excellent, I look forward to seeing you in the ring tonight.”

“About that,” Rob rose to his feet. “Miss Thorn will unfortunately not be available for a fight tonight. She..”

“No, I’m very available today,” Sel insisted, ignoring the frown that Rob cast at her. “After I get myself registered, I wish to get into the ring and start trading some punches.”

“Enthusiasm,” cheered Neville. “I love it!”

“Sadly,” Rob intervened. “The fight roster must be full today.”

“Actually, we’ve had someone cancel at the last minute…” Neville pointed out, taking out his list of names to look over. “I was about to cancel his opponent’s match. But if Miss Thorn…”

“I will fight him,” declared Sel.

“If I may ask, who is the opponent?” Rob inquired.

“Barker,” came the response.

Rob didn’t seem pleased with the answer. He scratched the stubble upon his chin, then addressed Neville, “Isn’t OneShot in a match today?”

The sylvari looked over his sheet and nodded.

“Schedule Barker to go against Darrin’s opponent, and bring OneShot down to battle the Thorn,” ordered Rob.

Neville grinned to himself, and immediately set to work making the changes on his sheet.

The entire back and forth coded exchange began to vex Selina. “What did you just do?” she asked him.

“I gave you a worthy opponent,” Rob answered. “By the way, if you’re planning on fighting today, you might consider moving over to the fighter’s corner. We’ll get you registered on the way there, and I’ll just run through some basic rules.”

“Should I assume that Miss Thorn doesn’t have any experience in these fights?” asked Neville.

“I’ve had plenty of experience elsewhere,” Selina snapped defensively. “I’ll have you know that I once had the largest Jotun anyone has ever laid eyes on, single-handedly slain. And that while being chained to the ground.”

“You must surely be joking,” Neville retorted levelly – clearly lacking faith in Sel’s bragging credibility.

“Fill that in as her guest introduction,” Rob pointed to Neville’s sheet as he escorted Sel away before she could blow up in Neville’s face. Rob knew full well that she never liked anyone doubting her claims.

Especially not the big ones.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #86 on: April 03, 2017, 11:26:15 AM »
The fighter’s corner was a large room lined with lockers and un-walled showers, mostly filled with large sweaty males, both beast and man, and just one other female norn in the corner, all bulked and rippled in every area of her body that remained exposed. The majority of them had their faces fully exposed to Selina’s surprise, and they glared at her the minute the door was shut and bolted – to prevent the cowards from fleeing, was the reason they gave her, right after her application had been processed. Around the hips of each fighter sat a belt with a number on it – she could tell that the belt that she had around her waist had been used multiple times before for the leather was deeply worn, and it reeked of the collective perspiration of twenty other individuals. They had to fold and pin up the remaining portion of her belt that was unused in order to accommodate her frame. After eyeing the size of the other fighters and the width of their hips, she began to understand why.

“Greenhorn?” snorted a Charr that sported an old wound across the side of his face that was absent even of the brownish-red fur that grew on every other part of his body.

The piercing sound of feedback from speakers embedded in the walls caused most of the fighters to shudder. And as the sound faded, a single voice came through. Selina recognized it to belong to Robert. “May I remind all fighters that no blows should be exchanged in the fighter’s corner, or the offender will stand to be terminated from his contract immediately. You cannot see us, but we can see you, and we are watching throughout. Once your number is called, please step up to the plate on the west side of the room, according to the colour you are assigned…”

Selina spotted the dual plates, just as Robert had explained before she had entered. It was so much more technologically advanced than she would’ve expected. Some of the lost asuran technology that had been derived from Auric Basin, Robert had said.

“Hey Greenhorn,” the Charr that had addressed her before, continued to speak over Robert’s voice. “The disguise is for the fight, not in here.”

He was referring to the scarf over the lower half of her face. “I’m staying in character,” she replied. “And I’d prefer you not to refer to me as Greenhorn.”

“I’ll call you whatever I like,” retorted the Charr defiantly, stepping even closer. His spit flying onto her left shoulder. “Greeeeeeen-horn.”

Selina considered the cameras in the room, not wanting to cause a fuss before the fight even began. She decided to simply wipe the spit off herself, and reply in a calm manner. “Keep the testosterone in the ring, will you?”

The Charr roared with laughter, as though she had said the funniest thing to him that day.

A sharper voice to her right drew her attention. “Arena,” it corrected her. It was then she noticed an asura sitting comfortably in a golem, partially obscured by shadows, sipping a drink in a cup out of a straw. “Get with the times, bookah.”

“Arena,” she repeated in a mocking manner. Just minutes in the fighter’s corner and she already knew that she liked none of these individuals – but she hadn’t come here to make friends, so she didn’t plan to cosy up to any one of them anyway.

“What skills do you bring to the Pits?” he asked. She could see his form outlined behind the reflection upon the dome of glass that he hid behind, but she could not make out his features or his colour.

“Isn’t this a battle of fists? How are you in a golem and not disqualified for sitting in a moving weapon?” she just had to ask.

“This golem is dynamically connected to me, and reacts correspondingly to my every movement. It is neither equipped with any projectile nor instrument for attack or defense beyond what any of you yourselves can offer. As such, it is qualified as a technical extension of myself and is most certainly, not a weapon.” He answered self-assuredly.  “And you did not answer my question.”

She didn’t agree with the verdict on the golem. She’d seen some of them in action. And even though most of what the asura had said was probably true, riding in a golem would most certainly give him some kind of invulnerability over the competition. It was more likely that he was allowed in there on a technicality. Some rule that he’d twisted to his favour that Robert’s team had not anticipated. “I don’t see why I need to,” she answered haughtily. Wasn’t hard being rude to someone she had no respect for.

That drew some surprised laughter among the crowd. Obviously disrespecting the asura wasn’t a common sight. “Well well… I’ll give that to you, since you’re the Brown’s little ward. You may be a princess out there, but in here, I’m the king.” It was then that the golem reared to life and moved into the light. Selina could see that the asura had grafted a sharp fin-like extension on the top of his golem, and painted a large grin in the mouth position – a toothy grin consisting of dozens of pointed teeth.  “King Shark, know my name, bookah.”

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #87 on: April 05, 2017, 11:22:26 AM »
After returning to the commandpost near the outskirts of Divinity’s Reach and passing on the message Garren asked him to, Aidan’s search turned into a lot of travelling around. He quickly found out captain Thackery had left the camp to assist the Pact Commander in the attack on Caudecus’ Manor. After travelling there he received news that Anise had taken Valette Wi with her and it was suspected miss Wi might know more, thus Aidan returned to the capital to catch up with Anise.

When he finally managed to get a hold of the two he was glad to learn Valette was eager to redeem herself. As he questioned her he felt that she even seemed a bit sympathetic towards his cause. She was able to tell him that his aunt most likely ran to Ebonhawke fortress where she had contacts. After Valette had supplied all necessary information Anise sent her out of the room. She then instructed Aidan on how to proceed. The first thing to do was meet up with a contact in the Ebon Vanguard by the name of Diana Princee and thus after only a short rest Aidan found himself stepping through the portal leading to Ebonhawke. 

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #88 on: April 11, 2017, 12:38:07 AM »
As the show progressed, more and more fighters stepped up to the plates, were transported to the arena. Those waiting their turn could watch the ongoing match through a window that opened into the fight space. They were on an elevated platform, so the view was relatively unblocked. King Shark was exactly as he had declared, the king of the ring. The cheers for him rang through the roof, and he took down the norn with a horned helmet that had been assigned to him, in spite of the clear height difference - then had his golem stomp on the unconscious giant before lifting its arms to the air in a victory pose. The Charr who had spoken to her before, employed the use of leaping back jabs to take down his human opponent, they worked well for him, catching the human off-guard time and again till the man could no longer stand.

There were just four more fighters left in the corner. Two sylvari, a charr, and herself to represent the human race. She eyed them carefully, curious as to who this ‘OneShot’ character was - surely he was among them. “New girl?” asked the more stalwart of the two sylvaris. He was standing tall practising some of his moves while the other was seated, back facing her, hunched over.

“Aye,” she replied. “Are you OneShot?”

The sylvari traded looks with the charr next to him, and both chuckled. “That would be him,” replied the Charr, pointing to the seated sylvari. “Guess you’ll soon find out why they call him OneShot.”

“Didn’t he pick that name out himself?”

“It wasn’t his original nickname. Let’s just say it’s an earned name,” said the sylvari ambiguously.

A few other questions sat on the tip her tongue when her number came up. She took one of the plates and watched as the sylvari rose slowly, and lumbered over with some difficulty. As he neared, she could see a dozen or so injuries on his body that was still in the process of healing. They were obviously causing him some discomfort.

“What happened to you?” she asked – a little less enthusiastic about getting into the ring if her opponent was in such condition to start with.

“Less talking, more fighting,” he growled.

Light beams rose from the ground and pulsed the plate beneath her feet as the fighter’s corner disappeared before her, and she entered the arena without taking so much as a step. She noticed that OneShot had appeared at the other end of the sand filled ring. He looked a little more energized now, fists raised in a defensive stance, cutting through the space between them slowly.

“Presenting our very own OneShot verses a brand new competitor to the arena, the Wayward Thorn!” Neville’s voice rang clear over the amplifier to somewhat unenthusiastic applause. She stole a quick look around, and though it was hard to spot the expressions of the spectators over the blinding lights of the arena, she could clearly hear lots of conversations going on all at once. As much as she hadn’t signed up for the fights for the attention or the applause, she couldn’t help feeling annoyed that the audience wasn't half interested in their fight.

Taking a few steps forward, she focussed her attention once again on her opponent. He was right before her now, and she could see dried sap lining a deep gash just above his eye. His brows were furrowed, and his fists hovered right in front of his face. There was a fierceness she didn’t expect from him, especially after witnessing how he had literally limped over to the plate before. She raised her own fists to counter his.

With the loud blare of the horn, he swung his right at her – a move that she had already anticipated from the shift of his weight, and dodged nimbly. Regaining her position, she swung her left into his ribs that threw him off his balance, spinning him around before he lost his footing and fell onto the dust. A little surprised by the effectiveness of that one jab she had delivered, she remained where she stood, waiting for him to rise again. But OneShot remained on the ground, unmoving.

“Aaaaad it seems like OneShot is out cold… yet again!” came Neville’s voice.

Yet again? Selina didn’t like the sound of that. “Psst…” she whispered as she neared him. Probably a bad idea as it would leave her ankles vulnerable, but she had the feeling he wasn’t going to get up, at least not anytime soon. “OneShot?”

Neville began a countdown from five that the crowd chimed in for. Selina knew that at the zero mark, she would be declared the winner. But she didn’t want to win like this. The fight would be completely unsatisfying and frustrating if this was indeed the end. She lowered her fists and crouched onto the ground as the numbers dropped. “Wake up, OneShot!” she cried over the looming voices around the arena, nudging his shoulder desperately.

And just as Neville officially declared to the applauding crowd of her victory, an eye opened, glared at her with a gleam of chafe. She leaned away from him for a second, giving him room to rise from his fallen state. But his eye only fell shut again. She was about to move him to shake him again when she felt hands around her arms, and noticed that it was the Pit staff that pulled her to her feet. “Wait,” she told them, resisting their action, “I think he’s awake.”

“It’s over Thorn, time to leave,” one of the staff replied, and they continued in their attempt to get her to leave OneShot behind.

Neville made a comment that the Wayward Thorn didn’t seem to want to leave, that she probably intended to hog the limelight, and that made the audience holler with laughter.

She resisted the grip of the staff again, but this time for a different intent. “Don’t touch me,” she snapped. “I’ll walk out on my own.” The staff left her on her own, and she stepped onto the plate by herself. Being in that arena had left a bad taste in her mouth, and she suspected that the entire spectacle was somehow the fault of Rob’s. He would certainly get an earful of this and more…
« Last Edit: April 11, 2017, 05:50:20 AM by Talia »

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #89 on: April 24, 2017, 04:03:21 AM »
"What in the six gods were you thinking?" Selina could only bear to hold her breath till they got to the carriage before she began raging on at Rob. "You totally rigged the fight! I told you I wanted to participate, that does not at all count."

Rob gazed solemnly out the window, displeased by her attitude. "You really should show some gratitude. I've taken you into my home, given you everything you could want, even wedged you in the show last minute for no cost at all, and this is how I'm treated."

"Do you think I would be here if you hadn't threatened me first?"

He turned to look her firmly in the eyes. The wealth of kindness that he had shown her before was stripped away in that glance. It surprised her that he was still standing his ground. She was so certain that he would be utterly embarrassed by his actions by now, and for a moment, she began to wonder if she'd overstepped her bounds. "This isn't the first time you've thrown that at me. Have somewhere else you have to be?" he snapped.

Somehow he knew that she had nowhere to go. As much as she'd convinced herself that she was with Rob removed from her own volition, fronted with the question of staying and she realised that a part of her wanted to remain with Rob just so she'd be able to hide from her other issues with Caden, with Aidan.. perhaps even with Dahr. Robert Brown represented a sense of stability she hadn't felt for a while now, from a time when she knew exactly where she was headed. She opened her mouth to speak, but when no words came, she decided to close it.

"The only reason I paired you with OneShot is due to your inexperience in organized arena fights. And if you think I'd specifically singled you out because of your association with me, you'd be wrong. I would've done the same thing with any other inexperienced fighter. Everyone has to work their way up, and you are no different." His tone had mellowed. His explanation was delivered in an assured matter-of-fact manner that she found she would be wrong to refute.

"He went down with just one hit. I wasn't even trying my best..." Her complaint sounded more like a whine.

Rob shrugged. "OneShot insisted to get into the ring even with all the injuries that he'd sustained through previous fights. Perhaps it wasn't so much your attack on him, but that he just needed a little nudge to go off to sleepyland. I know you have some energy you need to vent, and you're frustrated that you didn't get a more challenging fight. You're welcome to try again if you'd like. I promise to pair you with someone... a little more sturdy, the next time."

Something perturbed her though, almost as much as the disappointment of the fight itself, "Rob... but it seemed like he wasn't really out. He was just pretending."

Rob chuckled at her. "You're giving yourself much too little credit, Sel. You may be an inexperienced organized arena fighter, but you've definitely shown training from elsewhere. That will carry you far, should you plan to continue fighting in the Pits."

It didn't take her long to consider his proposal. She was still aching for a good fight, and an escape from the memory of the bridges that she had burnt. Somewhere deep inside she also hoped to see OneShot again, to get to the bottom of what actually happened out there.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2017, 06:17:09 AM by Talia »

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #90 on: April 25, 2017, 06:12:50 AM »
Rob had shown her little attention that evening, right up to dinner. She chewed her greens while Rob remained pinned to some news he had received while they'd been away. The servant would occasionally enter the dining room to clear the previous course and serve the next one. It was a luxury that she had gotten acclimatized to in Aidan's household - the more guttural voices of protest of wealthy privilege mostly silenced, aside from the occasional urge to help the servants with their chores so she could quench her guilty conscience. This wasn't one of those days.

"What is the news about?" she asked between sips of her tea.

He lifted a lazy glance towards her. "Oh, just some political drama at Divinity's Reach."

"Divinity's Reach?"

"The Separatists made an attempt on Queen Jennah's life."

She looked back in surprise. "What? Really? I assume they failed."

"You would be right," replied Rob, putting a slice of potato in his mouth. "Kinda hard to get past that wall of Shining Blade Jennah's erected around herself."

"You're disappointed." She surmised.

"Aren't you? I recall you hating the woman more than I did."

She leaned back in her seat. Much had changed, and she didn't know what to think of Jennah or the Shining Blade anymore. "Let's just say I'm glad she's not someone worse."

"I see living with the elite in the Reach has altered your opinion. I would never in my life have imagined you to be a Jennah sympathizer."

"I'm not!" she instinctively snapped. "I may have softened my views on her, but I'm far from being in her camp just yet."

Rob folded up the news and placed it on the table. "I suppose I can't complain about maintaining status quo. The Separatists though... they're going to wish they had never failed. The Shining Blade is known to be brutal to their enemies."

Selina thought about Bran getting beat up at the Shining Blade safehouse, and she shuddered. This led her to thinking about Aidan, and his involvement with the Shining Blades. She wondered if Anise had gotten him involved the hunt for Separatists. Even if she had, Selina knew she would the last to know. Anise had shown little compassion in the way of reuniting her with her brother. The Shining Blade had simply used her to bait the White Mantle, and ignored her the moment she stopped being useful. She finished her tea and put down the cup. Just thinking about the entire situation made her bristle. She didn't know whether to be more upset with Anise or Aidan.

"Silver for your thoughts..." said Rob, observing her state of disgust. "Had your own encounter with the Shining Blade?"

"I'd rather not talk about it."

"You were wise to leave that life behind, Sellie. You'll find the Lionguard a lot more... accommodating toward challenging situations."

"Is that why you've chosen to live in Lion's Arch?"

He nodded. "And I just enjoy reveling in the mix of races and cultures. There's a lot more freedom of acceptance. Divinity's Reach can be... somewhat stifling."

"Can't argue with you there."

He let silence settle between them as he tapped his fingers on the hardwood of his dining table. He finally stood up, walked over to a display cabinet, opened it up and operated a gadget seated on one of the shelves. In an instant, the room filled with the tinkling sounds of music being played, emitted from the gadget in Rob's hands. He looked over to judge her response. "Do you like it?"

"More technology from the west?"

He smiled. "A musical band in the comfort of your own home. The asuras are quite the inventors."

"And you're quite the keen collector."

Rob crossed the room and stood before her, stretching out a hand. "Dance?"

She hesitated, staring at the hand that was held before her. He realised that he had made her uncomfortable, and instead brought his hand to her cheek, cupping it gently. "What's happened to you Sel? Have you lost your glow?"

She stood up and met him eye to eye, picked up the hand at her cheek, and removed it. "I'm sorry Rob, I'm just... tired from the day. Perhaps another time."

"Sure..." he replied, a tad disappointed.

Then she excused herself and headed for her room.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #91 on: April 26, 2017, 07:35:55 AM »
Still furious Aidan clenched his teeth together as the Vanguard surgeon went about cleaning the large gash Andrea's sword had left in his arm. Of course there was no point in being angry with Sax, he should've known better than to involve a civilian, but Andrea's narrow escape had him feeling rather unreasonable. He considered sneaking out in the night to avoid being stuck with the norn and sylvari again. Maybe he could go back to the Reach, perhaps Selina might help him. He pondered the notion of asking his sister for help for a while, but he knew the blood loss had left him too weak to travel far alone. Besides that, it would be quite a while until he could fully use his left arm again.

Though he knew it was pointless he went over the past days events again. After his arrival in Ebonhawke fortress he sought out Diana, who oddly enough seemed to be accompanying a wounded sylvari. He shook his head as he realized they should never even have taken Sax out of the fortress. That got him a comment from the surgeon who demanded Aidan lay still as he set about stitching the wound. His mind drawn back to the present Aidan glared at his arm. The surgeon must've done something to it because the stinging pain seemed to turn into a warm tingling sensation.
So why did he agree to let Sax come he wondered. Because she argued her hound would have no issues tracking down the farmer boy, but even so, he never used to be this lax. Normally he would've found another way, so why was he so distracted now?.

The question kept playing on his mind even after the surgeon had dressed his wound and left him to rest. In the end Aidan had to conclude, no matter how much he disliked to admit it, that Andrea was getting to him. Tracking down Andrea wasn't like any other case, it was personal. After some more pondering Aidan finally fell into a fitful sleep.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2017, 10:34:48 AM by Mokuren »

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #92 on: April 27, 2017, 10:24:18 PM »
True to Rob's word, Selina found herself opposite a buff human brawler named Recon just the next day. Not that all those layers of muscles could've saved him from what was coming. How she'd gloated when she took him down to his knees in a bare-fisted fight that stretched on and ended before the ring of the bell, it was especially befitting for one who had began the fight by mocking both her frame and gender. The fickle crowd that showered more favor on his side at the start of the fight, now rang resoundingly for her as she stood with a foot wedged upon his shoulder. With one simple kick, sent him sprawling onto the arena dust. With nothing more to show for it than a bruise on her left cheek where he'd gotten her once at the beginning, and battered fists that had become numb with the offensive jabs she'd employed on the sides of his temples, she could finally bask in the glory of a good fight. The lights on the arena continued to blind her, but she made sure to acknowledge the whistles and applause with a curt wave before leaving.

After some persuading, Rob had promised her a third fight the day after the next, one that would definitely satisfy. She didn't know what he meant by that, but she was rearing and ready to tackle that head on.

As she returned to the fighters corner, she was met with the Charr that had called her a 'greenhorn' on the first day. He had introduced himself as the Iron Gladiator during his set, and as a means of living out that moniker, would don a menacing iron helmet that caged up most of his face in bars. He had the helmet on again, she assumed his number was coming up soon. "So... the greenhorn has had a victory," he said through a toothy grin.

"Two," she corrected him.

"One," he insisted. "Yesterday's doesn't count."

She frowned, as much as she'd think to agree, it remained officially two victories. But she'd let her score speak for itself, she didn't care to carry on a juvenile debate with this beast. The conversation made her look about the fighters corner though. When she didn't find the one sylvari that she sought, she asked the room with no one in particular, "So where is OneShot?"

"With his master, I suppose," came a response from an asura dressed in what seemed to be chainmail, even though it seemed a lot lighter than any chainmail she had ever seen. She had never met this asura before, and she quickly noted that he wasn't in a golem like King Shark was - she wondered if that still gave King Shark the excuse to be in one then.

"His master?" It was a strange choice of words, she assumed the asura was being cynical or something.

"Leif Arrowbrand," answered the asura a matter-of-factly, but stopped shortly the moment Iron Gladiator stared him down.

"The asura meant OneShot had one too many rounds in the arena and is getting healed up before he comes back," elaborated the Charr.

Selina gave the asura another look, and he merely nodded back. Something was amiss and she knew she wasn't getting any straight answers with these lot, so she merely smiled and said, "I hope he doesn't go down in one hit again, what an embarrassment!" There was some laughter in the room, and just as quickly as it had erupted, died down shortly after.

On their way back to the carriage, a leggy beautiful brunette dressed in yak furs stopped them on their way to hand Rob a card from a business associate. As she placed the card in his hand, she flirted at him with her eyes, and he promptly responded by kissing her on the cheek. The woman giggled, touched him on the shoulder and left. Rob then proceeded to enter the carriage, silently ignoring the blatant glare by Selina. He had been getting mixed signals from her, and he was beginning to have less and less sympathy, history or not. After the previous night's response, he was ready to dump her back on the streets where she had come. It was beginning to feel like she was more trouble than she was worth. "Happy with your fight?" he asked for the sake of conversation.

She exaggerated a shrug. "It was fine."

He snorted and thumbed the card that he had been given.

"What's that?" she asked, pointing to the card.

"Someone wants to work out a deal in regards to some of the fighters."

"Made lots of deals, have you?" she asked pointedly, and he looked at her suspiciously. It felt as though she had something more she wasn't saying.

"Are you trying to hint at something?"

She hesitated, then shook her face. "I'm just asking."

"Look Sel, don't lie. I know you're pissed off about something, so just spill it." He'd fully expected her to rattle on about the brunette, but what she had on her mind was something quite different.

"Who's Leif Arrowbrand?"

"Why do you want to know?"

"You asked me to spill it," she complained.

He stopped, a little embarrassed that he'd jumped to the wrong conclusion. "He's a shareholder. How did you come by his name?"

"What's his connection to OneShot?"

Rob raised a brow, Selina was racing down a track she didn't belong on. "He's an... interested party. In this line, you need spectators, especially shareholders, to be interested in particular fighters, otherwise just winning fights alone aren't enough. It's as much as popularity contest as it is a battle of brawn."

"What do you mean he's an interested party? From what I've heard of OneShot, he's been losing a lot. Who would bet on a loser?"

"Like it or not, there's a loser as many times as there is a winner for each fight. Losing isn't all its cut out to be."

Selina was obviously confused. "So someone is interested in a fighter due to his ability to lose? Does that mean you guys are rigging fights?"

"No," he snapped defensively. He had about had it with Selina. "Can you stop suggesting that? I run a fair and honest business, and I built it with my bare hands from the ground up to be a distant memory of what the Widowmakers had intended for the Rings to be." At the back of his mind he wondered why he found himself explaining the Pits over and over to Selina. She would never trust him, why did he think he'd ever get a second chance? He sighed loudly, and spoke the words he never expected to. "Look Sel, I didn't want it to come to this, but I think this really isn't working out between the two of us. It looks like you'll never stop clinging to the past and I..."

He stopped when Sel practically lurched from her seat and planted herself onto his lips. Her arms wrapped around his back, while he, too surprised to react, had to admit that he didn't at all mind having Selina Knox taking him on like that. They were locked in that position for a while till she finally untangled herself from him, and he found himself breathless and still reeling from what had happened. She settled herself back in her seat, and looked at him coolly. "You were saying?"

Straightening himself out, he found he couldn't remember what he was talking about. "What... why did you...?" was the only thing he could say.

"You said I couldn't stop clinging to the past, and I just showed you that I'm way past that. And I will stop asking about the Pits and what goes on in the background. I trust you, and I'm just here to fight. You're providing that service, so I thank you."

Rob found himself smiling sheepishly. He didn't expect the one-eighty by Selina, but it made him very glad. He had been on the verge of asking her to leave, but now he would never think of it. Finally... and just in time, Selina Knox had come to her senses.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #93 on: May 03, 2017, 06:09:54 AM »
Recap of April 25th roleplay session:
The following morning Aidan discovered, to his dismay, that Andrea had not only badly damaged his arm, but also rendered his armor unusable. He decided to order a new jacket at the local leatherworker. Before he could leave for the market however he was handed an envelope sealed with a shining blade seal. It turned out to be a letter from Selina, reading as following: "Aydan, I am werried aboot you. Pleese rite back. I will be chacking your home for maile."
After reading it Aidan told Sax and Diana he'd be going to the market. There he ordered a replacement jacket after which Sax and Diana caught up with him. It turned out they planned to go to the brand to continue Sax's research. Before they left Diana told Aidan that the Ebon Vanguard scouts had returned empty handed. They had followed Andrea and Goodman into a field of harpies where they apparently had lost track of them completely. Sax invited Aidan to come along to the brand but feeling more important matters were at stake Aidan declined and returned to the vanguard's quarters to tend to his correspondence.

Back at the vanguard's quarters Aidan sat down at the table and took Selina's letter out of his pocket. He read the three short lines again and placed it on the table as he considered them. He wondered how Selina managed to get a letter sent to him through the Shining Blade. It had to have gone through Anise, he knew she'd seen her. But then why hadn't Anise given him the letter himself when he met her a couple of days ago. He poured himself a glass of water as he tried to make sense of the situation. After some time he gave up and decided to just answer Selina instead.
He put pen to paper and started to write his reply.
Thank you for your letter. Please do not worry about me..."

However halfway through a thought creeped into his head and he stopped. What if he did ask Selina for help. After Diana told him they lost track of Andrea and Goodman the first thing he wanted to do was go after them himself, but of course his arm prevented that. Asking Sax and Diana seemed like a bad idea, but Selina... Not only was she experienced, Andrea might not suspect it, considering she wasn't present for any of the events that transpired in the caves. Besides that, she might know more about this Goodman, or at least where to look for him.
After some more consideration he crumpled up the paper before him and tossed it into the fire. He took a new sheet and started again.

Thank you for your letter. As it turns out I am in need of your help. If you are able, please meet me in Ebonhawke Fortress. I will arrange a room for you in the inn near the Postern Gate by the name of Starling. I'll come and find you when you've arrived."

He folded the letter and sealed it, after which he wrote another letter. This time to the Shining Blade, updating them on his progress and asking for any further information that may be had about Andrea's contact Goodman.

After both letters were finished Aidan went out to find two birds to send them to their respective receivers. He then proceeded to the inn he mentioned to Selina to have a word with the innkeeper. He knew the man well from his previous stay and was certain he would have no objections to keeping a room for his visitor.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #94 on: May 04, 2017, 01:01:52 AM »
"I appreciate the thought, but this seems excessive." Selina sat lazily on Rob's bed, a plate of half eaten pastry beside her, wrapped in fur blankets, propped up on a downy pillow, flipping through a catalog full of sketches by a renowned tailor residing right there in Lion's Arch. It was the same tailor he used on his formal suits, and he wanted Selina to have one of her own. One that would cater specifically to her tastes, and her needs. She flipped through a few more pages of elaborately drawn chest pieces and their matching accessories. "I mean... how does one even choose?"

Rob grinned. He loved his wealth, and how he was able to lavish her with whatever she could ever want. He was vaguely aware of the gold that was generated for the Widowmakers through the Rings, but now that he could actually hold it all in his hands, he despised them even more for depriving him of such a life for years. He admired Selina as she glowed in daylight. He despised the Widowmakers for depriving him of what they could've had in their youth. But he finally had his second chance, to have the life he'd always wanted, the life that he felt he deserved. "It doesn't have to be today Sel. You have all the time in the world to pick just the perfect one out."

She turned her eyes up from the catalog. They were soft, grateful... loving. He had a hand up, and the other buttoning the embroidered cuff at his wrist. But his hands froze as he sought to capture this moment forever. Just the two of them, locked in each other's gaze. As though she had thrown him an invisible lasso and was drawing him in, slowly, he moved towards her in large strides, and fell into her embrace. One that she met with the fiery passion that he'd remembered of her, before all those years they'd lost. She cradled him in her arms as he rolled to her side. He was fully clothed, ready to head for work, but he was incrementally fighting himself to stay.

"Oh Rob," she said sweetly between kisses around the crown of his head. "I'm going to be so bored when you're at work."

"I know babe, I'm sorry, but I'll be at an important meeting, and unfortunately the clients won't appreciate having a fighter listen in. I guess you could always sit outside, if you don't mind?"

She frowned dramatically to relay her response. "I don't want to sit outside. Why do I have to?"

"You can always stay in the house like you'd planned earlier. Mrs Priscot will get you everything you need, and I'll be back before you know."

"I'm going to be bored!" she complained and thrashed her legs around like a little child throwing a tantrum. "Would you mind if I walked around the house to amuse myself?"

"Of course not! Help yourself to..." he began, and as a thought struck him, continued his sentence with more caution. "You can be in any room, look into any desk or wardrobe that you'd like... as long as you don't go into that little room in the study. It's small, and dusty and boring anyway. Everything else is yours to have."

Her eyes opened wide. "There's a little room in the study?"

He pressed his lips, and wondered if he was saying too much. "It's more like... a closet of sorts. Just a boring old record room. You wouldn't be interested. You'd love the garden that I have being constructed out back though. Maybe you can make some suggestions as to what foliage I should fill it with."

"A garden?" she said with much delight. "That sounds fun. I'll definitely take a look."

"Wonderful!" He remembered the meeting and knew that he would be late to it if he didn't tear himself off her. "I'm sorry babe, I really have to go." He gave her one more parting kiss, a reluctant wave, then rolled off the bed.

"Bye darling," she replied sadly as she pulled a long face, and watched him leave the room. Heard his hasty footsteps down the stairs. She dragged the fur sheets with her as she left the bed to peer out of the window. There, she found his carriage coming to life and trotting down the street, away from the house. When she knew he was far away enough, she slammed a fist into the sill. The truth was that she was glad he was finally gone so she could stop playing on this charade. Rob clearly wanted a woman at his beck and call, and maiden he could fawn on with all that wealth of his, and if she intended to stay, she had to embody that person. As she stepped out of the sheets and reached for her clothes, she thought about how she'd almost retched in her own mouth with all that sweet talk. Rob didn't seem to have a clue, that went to show her how much he really knew her at all. That felt hurtful and validating all at the same time for what she was about to do.

As she stepped out of the room, she knew there was just one other person in the house that she would have to get rid of before she set to work. With another glance out the window, she confirmed the presence of a group of kids that she'd noticed, meeting everyday in the field nearby at about this time to play sockball. She'd picked up a stray ball one day on her way to the Pits, Rob had told her that one of the boys' mothers would make a ton of those balls out of old socks and a heavy elastic material that the boy's father spent his work hours manufacturing for the harbor. Something about protecting the ship's hull from being damaged when coming to dock. Those balls though, tended to be scattered all over the place after a game. The result of lots of old socks and unwanted elastic material, and a group of boys too lazy to pick up after themselves. She'd kept the ball she picked up, mostly to amuse herself. But it would now come into handy.

"Mrs Priscot!" she yelled out the door. This summoned the plump little lady who arrived promptly and answered politely, even though it was clear that she still wasn't pleased with Rob's new guest.  "I'm just feeling a bit peckish," said Selina. "Would you be so kind as to run downstairs and make me a sandwich? Specifically, a bacon and cheese sandwich grilled just right so it's crispy on the outside and soft on the inside."

"Of course," the help answered, turning to leave.

"Oh and..." said Selina, running over to the bed. Mrs Priscot turned back, trying her utmost to hold her tongue. Selina returned with the plate of half eaten pastries, and handed it to her. "You can take these away, these aren't good." Mrs Priscot took the plate and looked grimly at the pastries that she had woken up when the sun had not risen to bake, just as her guest had requested. Hot and fresh... she had said. Selina waved her away. "Bye bye."

As Mrs Priscot walked off, holding her head as high as she could, Selina felt a tinge of guilt for treating the woman the way she did. She knew that by this point, the woman would likely kill her in her sleep if she could, but Selina did swear payback for the poor welcome the woman had given her, and Mrs Priscot hadn't yet given her a reason to reverse that decision. You get what you give, Selina whispered under her breath, and headed to the pack she had arrived at Rob's home with. She removed a grappling hook fixed with a tethered rope, walked over to the window and secured it just at the sill. When she had tested it with strength, pulled up the scarf over her face, and worked her way to the second floor. She knew that by that time, Mrs Priscot would be in the kitchen, getting busy with her sandwich. Most likely with her back to the windows that faced the street. Selina pulled the sockball out of her jacket, swung it in wide circles, as far as the sock would expand, took aim, and when she felt sure, let it fly. With a swift hurtle, the sockball crashed through the window and sent shards of glass all over the kitchen floor. As soon as she heard Mrs Priscot's shrill cry, Selina quickly moved back up the wall and tumbled into the room.

"You boys!" Mrs Priscot continued shrieking as she sprinted madly into the street, bread knife still in her hand. What a day the woman was having. Selina had noticed through the last few days that Mrs Priscot was a meticulous woman when it came to cleanliness. She knew that cleaning up that floor would take up a whole bulk of her time. Time that Selina could spend poking into Rob's study.

After retrieving the grapple and stowing it away. Selina tugged on her gloves, and made a beeline to Rob's study where she easily found the room that he was talking about. She tried the door. But of course it was locked. Something important she'd learnt through her career was that people don't lock doors or drawers unless there's something they want to hide from the world. She assumed this secret would be as big... or perhaps just half, half as big as the Andrea reveal. Pulling out her trusty lockpick set, she got to work, turning those mini gears.

When everything clicked into place, she turned the knob and looked into... a closet. Rob wasn't lying about that. But it certainly wasn't dusty. Like Andrea's desk, there were all kinds of files in that closet. She pulled a couple out and saw that they were contract sheets. Contracts with the fighters, logs of their wins and losses, reward money imparted. There was an entire shelf on accounting and finances. The records showed a steady income from ticket sales, but more majorly from stocks and private donations. Private donations that added to ungodly sums, and the eventual withdrawal of these sums with a minutely reduced overall total. She lowered the papers... the movement of money in and out of the Pits looked suspiciously like the Pits were being used as an unofficial banking system. There were several names attached to the donations. One of the biggest donors being Leif Arrowbrand. Why wasn't she surprised? She pulled out a notepad and copied down a few of the other names. There were too many to get all of them without risking Mrs Priscot returning to find her there, so she decided to pick out just the largest donors and find out who they were at a later time.

Footsteps... there were footsteps coming up the stairs. Had Mrs Priscot cleared up the glass shards and made the sandwich already? There couldn't have been enough time. The footsteps, they came closer. Selina ducked out of the closet, shut the door, pulled the scarf off her face and tore her gloves off her hands. With a leap, she made it onto Rob's desk while sticking that piece of paper into her back pocket, just as Mrs Priscot poked her head into the study. She saw Selina seated on Rob's desk, legs crossed, watching her intently. "I thought I heard some movement from here," commented the maidservant, eyeing her suspiciously.

"Yeah, I got bored of lazing around on Rob's bed. Thought I'd come in here and wait for him to come back," she replied.

"Are you even allowed in the study?" asked Mrs Priscot. Selina noticed that she was absent of the sandwich she had ordered.

"Rob gave me full reign of the house, but like that should matter to you," she said defiantly, sliding her legs onto the desk to assume authority. Mrs Priscot looked on in aghast, but didn't dare say anything in response. "Aren't you forgetting my sandwich?"

"I came here to tell you that we are out of bacon. Would it please the miss to have tuna instead?"

"Tsk..." complained Selina. "Just a simple request and you're even failing to see it through. Fine, I'll have to settle for tuna instead. Go hurry up, I'm getting hungry."

Mrs Priscot removed herself from the room without so much as a response. Selina knew she was dangling on threads with the woman. All the better to keep her away. She had to credit this all to Divinity's Reach's wealthy, they had a way of really getting under people's skin without so much as lifting a finger. That thought amused her for a while as she picked up her gloves and knelt before the door to the closet to get it locked up again. She knew that the key to a good secret heist was restoring everything to their exact same positions so no one would ever suspect that they had been invaded. Without suspect, they wouldn't know what hit them. Selina took due note of the direction each item faced every time she would have to pick it up, or move it for whatever reason. Even the angle at which it was turned, if it was tilted. She even made it a habit to bring a bag of grey tinted powder along with her to simulate dust should anything be shaken. Nobody ever suspects anything was moved when dust cloaks an environment evenly. And a coat of dust in itself is a deterrent. Nobody likes sneezing.

With a final glance about the room to make sure everything was in place, Selina returned to Rob's room and slipped the note into the bottom of her pack before she removed her clothes and slipped back into bed for a nap. Rob would be back soon, and she would have to resume the great charade. Better to keep a sharp mind when doing so.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2017, 11:28:24 PM by Talia »

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #95 on: May 04, 2017, 10:24:33 AM »
When Selina woke up, she found herself looking directly into Rob's face. He'd returned, as bright as the sunshine with a bouquet of roses pressed against his chest. She smiled and stretched. "Hey Rob."

"Hey babe." He leaned down for kiss, and placed the roses beside her. "Did you have fun?"

She yawned before replying. "I walked around the house for a bit, hadn't gone to the garden before I decided to take a nap so as to speed up time spent waiting for you."

He laughed abashedly, and sat beside her. There was some hesitation in regards to what he'd planned to say next, but he decided to take it step by step. "About tomorrow's fight..."

"What about it?"

He winced as he broke the news. "You've been taken out of tomorrow's fight."

She sat up, prickled by what she had heard. "What? Why?"

He knew that she was upset, as much as he could've expected. He stroked her shoulder in an attempt to calm her down. "There's something I must admit to you. I fixed the fight when you'd been pressing me constantly about setting up something challenging. In a fit of rage... I... set you up with Iron Gladiator."

Mental screenshots of the Charr who had mocked her on the first day swam through her mind as she tried to imagine taking him on. He did seem rather formidable, but she wouldn't exactly declare him as someone who would be beyond her. She could see herself taking him down. "Sounds like a fun match to me."

"Have you seen what the Iron Gladiator does to his opponents?" asked Rob rather intensely. "One of them won't be walking any longer. Another one had to be treated for a concussion. Yet another lost four of his teeth. He packs quite the punch."

Even though none of that frightened her, it soured her opinion of what Rob had discreetly intended for her - whether or not done in a fit of rage. As fun a friend as Rob was, there always remained that dark selfish streak that she wouldn't let herself trust. One that she had sworn once upon a time never to be fooled by again. "And so this is your idea of protecting me? To remove me completely from the fight?"

He had two hands on both her shoulders, she assumed to reassure her that he only had the best in mind for her. "How can I claim to love you, and on the other hand, bear to see you bruised and battered? It was why I didn't want you to get involved in the first place. And I wouldn't, if you hadn't first insisted."

Dread filled her mind. Rob's idea of protectiveness would put an early end to her career in the Pits. And she had since become obsessed with OneShot, Leif Arrowbrand and the names she had collected from Rob's closet. Being in that environment would help her learn more without looking to much like she was trying to investigate. "Rob, as much as you want to protect me, you have to give me my freedom. You have witnessed for yourself that I can be skilled and efficient in the arena. I won't allow myself to be bruised and battered. Don't take me out completely, I do want to delve more into this sport. If Iron Gladiator makes you nervous, then pair me with someone else."

Rob fell into a thoughtful silence. "You really like fighting in the Pits?"

"Isn't that what I've told you?"

"I thought you were doing it to vent off steam. That whole issue with your brother seemed to have you hot and bothered. I figured it'd take you one good fight to let it all out. Haven't you already had that?"

She took his hands off her shoulders and placed them together, wrapped in hers. "I may be bothered about my brother. But fighting in the Pits, relishing the cheers of the spectators, standing over my fallen opponent, those are things that I can live for. And it has nothing to do with my personal problems, I swear."

Rob began to laugh a little uncomfortably. "Wow... you are certainly a strange gal. But I understand where you're coming from. I suppose I really shouldn't be holding you back."

A smile dawned on her face. "So am I back in the roster for tomorrow?"

He let out a sigh. "Not with the Iron Gladiator, but I'll see if I can put you with someone who's more your size."

"Great!" she squealed, and gave him a hug. "Let's celebrate my re-entrance to the Pits tonight. I'll dance to your music box if that's what you'd like to do."


She nodded happily, and squeezed him again.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #96 on: May 04, 2017, 03:42:23 PM »
It had been two weeks since Selina left them at Bran's cave. Caden had stayed the night but left early the next morning as well. He went home to his parents, like he had told Selina he would. His parents and of course his grandmother were ever so pleased to see him and for a few days, the change of company managed to keep Caden's mind in the present. It didn't last long however and as soon as he found himself settling into some sort of routine, he found his mind wandering. He could not get Selina out of his head and he relived the moments by the lake a hundred times, mulling through all the ifs and buts.

Restless he had worked through the days until he found he could bear it no longer. One evening he simply announced that he would be leaving the next morning to travel to the Reach to see if there was any news from his friends, and thus he left.

It was in the late afternoon the next day that he reached Aidan's house and knocked on the door.

After a few minutes a surprised Siri opened the door. "Good afternoon mr Mullins" She said politely. "Hello Siri" Caden greeted her pleasantly. "I come to inquire after Aidan." He followed. Siri frowned and looked around. "You had better come in" She said, opening the door further to allow him entrance. After the door shut behind Caden Siri made her way up to Aidan's study. Expecting Caden to follow her she started talking. Master Brennan hasn't been home for some time, but he's sent word to not expect him for a while, however this letter for miss Selina arrived 5 days ago and it is his handwriting." She said, showing him a sealed envelope addressed to Selina. "She came by checking for mail regularly, but I haven't seen her in more than two weeks." She continued and looked at him. "She mentioned staying with you, could you perhaps deliver it to her?"

Concerned Caden took the envelope and stared at it. He was half tempted to open it but knew he shouldn't. "I'll deliver it to her" He said finally. "Thank you Siri." "Will you be leaving straight away or can I fetch you some refreshments perhaps?" Siri asked him. "Hm.. oh.." Caden looked up from the envelope. "I think I'd best leave straight away, it's already late in the afternoon and I have some travelling to do before dark." Thanking him again for the effort Siri escorted him to the front door, not letting him leave however without a packed sandwich.

Once back on the street Caden pondered the situation. It worried him that Selina had not been checking in on Siri for mail, and he wondered exactly what this Robert had imposed on Selina. He felt somewhat glad about being entrusted with the letter however, it gave him a good reason to seek her out and with that thought in mind he started to make his way over to the asura gate that would take him to Lion's Arch.

In Lion's Arch he pondered his options. He remembered the conversations he had with Sel about her past during their nights at the shack and finally decided that the bar would probably be the best place to look for a lead.

He decided the bar in the cave was probably his best shot and he headed there directly. Once arrived he took in his surroundings and found a spot at the bar. He ordered an Ale at the bartender and took a large swig from it after he was served.

The bartender leaned over the counter and grinned at the newcomer. They'd been getting newbies in spats, but not too recently. "I haven't seen you around these parts," he said.

"Probably because I"m not from around here" Caden said as he placed this mug on the counter.

"Ah, new to Lion's Arch, are you?" A glint from the bartender's one golden tooth sparkled as he pointed to the ale in front of Caden. "Then let that mug be on the house. We love visitors to our humble abode."

"Ah thanks" Caden grinned at the man. "Allow me to pay for some food though, travel makes one hungry"

"Certainly, what would you like?" The sun was soon setting and the bartender knew that he would soon be getting waves of crowds headed to the Pits. The kitchen might as well get their stoves warmed up.

"Got any recommendations?" Caden asked, after which he took another swig of ale.

"Turkey. We had a batch of it just come in yesterday. I can serve that with bread if that's what you'd like."

"Sounds great to me, thank you" Caden replied.

The bartender gave him a nod, wiped his hands on a piece of cloth, then headed to the back to start on the meal.

The moment the bartender departed, a straggly old man with a grey beard moved from the end of the bar over to Caden's bar. "Pssst..."

"Hm" Caden raised an eyebrow as he turned to look at the man.

"Interested to place your bets for tomorrow's fight?" he whispered.

"I'll have a look first if you don't mind" Caden said, "I just arrived today"

The old man produced a paper with a list of stage names, each with a price for a starting bet amount. "I'll be hanging around right here. Look for me before tomorrow evening if you're intending to put money down." He gave Caden a pat on the back, then moved back to his original place.

Caden nodded and gave the list a look over.

After sometime, the bartender returned with Caden's meal and placed it right in front of him. "Fresh off the stove," he promised.

Caden folded the paper and tucked it away while looking at his food. "Smells amazing, can I have another ale with that?" He said, placing a few coins on the counter.

"Certainly." The bartender pulled out a cup, and with swift motions of the hand, had Caden's next mug of ale poured in the most graceful of movements. One that he obviously had practised over time.

"Thanks," Caden said before digging into the food. He washed a few bites down with the ale and looked around, noticing it was slowly getting busier in the bar. "Say, can you perhaps tell me where to find Robert Brown?" he asked the bartender.

The bartender chuckled at Caden's question. "I was wondering when you were going to ask. I think we serve great ale here, but that question seems to pop up a lot." He pointed two fingers at the entrance of the cave. "Out that way, on your left through the center of town and to the cluster of wealthier estates up there. It's the one just north of the empty field."

"Thank you, lots of people come looking then I take it?" Caden asked while finishing his meal.

"Mr Brown, he does lots of business with the community. Every one wants a piece of that pie."

"Just as well if they all buy ale then" Caden said lifting his mug at the bartender. "You got a nice thing going here."

"I can't complain," replied the bartender.

After finishing his mug of ale Caden got up from his seat. "Well, I suppose I ought to be on my way. Thanks again" He said to the bartender and headed off in the direction the man pointed him in. It wasn't hard to find the estate the man indicated and from an alleyway Caden observed the building, trying to figure out what security measures wer in place and where the possible ways for him to gain entry were.

Selina had had a couple of glasses of wine in her before she began to move her body to the tinkering music that swam through the room. It felt good to let go and let loose, even though she was discreetly keeping mental notes about the number of glasses of alcohol she had consumed so that she would not fall prey to the loose tongue like before. She wouldn't be able to afford it this time.

As Caden was observing the house the sun started to set and around him more and more lights were lit. Lights also shone through the windows of Robberts house, but there was one room in particular that drew his attention. From where he was standing he could see shadows moving around in a brightly lit room on the groundfloor. Carefully he snuck closer so he could have a better look at the inside of the room.

Robert had a wonderful view of Selina prancing around the room from his seat, but he decided that it wasn't enough. He rose to grab her hand, and twirl her into his arms. She laughed like a child, slipped under his arms, and pranced away. "Playing hard to get, are you?" he faked a growl, chased her down and caught her again.

She giggled, didn't fight him this time, and together they swayed to the beats that had slowed, gotten more meloncholy. Rob placed his chin on her shoulder and closed his eyes to savor the moment.

Caden's face darkened as he observed the scene inside. He didn't know what he had expected to find here, but not this. Selina had been reluctant to come here, troubled even but that was not at all what he was seeing now. Part of him wanted to punch a hole in the wall and another part of him wanted to run away but he found himself nailed to the floor as he looked on. He reminded himself of the letter and told himself it had to be delivered. There was no way he was going to catch Sel alone however. After some time he collected himself and made his way to the front door where he simply knocked with a grim face.

It was Mrs Priscot who came to the door. She opened it just a foot wide, and glared at him. "Yes? Are you here to see Mr Brown?"

"I have a message for Selina" He said coldly, disliking the woman instantly.

The woman gave him an exasperated look and told him to wait there while she went to fetch Selina. The door shut for a moment, the music stopped playing, there were some murmurs from within the house. Then the door opened again. Selina stood wordlessly at the entrance, Rob just behind her, both surprised by Caden's visit but for different reasons.

"Siri asked me to bring you this" he said, as he took the letter from his pocket and handed it to Selina.

"Siri...." Selina mumbled, picking up the letter as she realised what it was about. She quickly turned to Robert, and whispered to him about giving her a little privacy. That this was likely about her brother. Robert nodded, backed off, and Selina shut the door behind her. "Caden, when did you pick this up?" she asked, she felt prickles all over her body. Standing there in the doorway, he was the last person she'd expected to see.

"It was delivered to the house five days ago" He stated matter-of-factly.

She stared at him a moment, there were things she wanted to say to him. In fact she wanted to tell him everything about Robert and the charade she was playing. She wanted to tell him about the Pits, and the suspicious activity that had been going on there. But instead, she merely tore the envelope in her hands, and opened it up quickly to read its contents. The letter was brief, to the point. Aidan needed her help. It sounded urgent. "Aidan wants me to meet him, says he needs help," she told Caden, showing him the letter.

"Will you go?"

"Of course I will." She took a moment to think about it as she turned back to the house. "In fact, I will go right now. Let me get my things." She was just about to head back into the house, when she quickly checked back with Caden. "I hope you aren't leaving just yet? Please stay."

"If you want an escort to the ebonhawke gate I'll be waiting outside" he said, turning towards the door. He didn't care to be in the company of Robert Brown nor did he wish to witness any goodbyes between the pair.

Selina understood how uncomfortable Caden probably felt, and she blamed it all on the misfortunate timing he had arrived. But these were things she didn't have time to dwell on just yet. She stepped back into the house. Robert had been pacing the room, waiting for her. He looked at her questioningly as she continued to hold the letter in her hands. "It's my brother," she began, making sure she expressed the concern she had for Aidan in heaping amounts to convince Robert to let her go. "He's in trouble, he needs my help. I have to go to him."

"Now? Right now?" asked Robert in dismay.

She nodded. "I'm sorry Rob... I suppose you can keep me off the roster for now. Family comes first."

"He wasn't family not too long ago," grumbled Rob.

"But he is now. And... he's all I've got. You've got to understand," she begged tearfully. "I've lost everyone."

She felt Robert's heart melting as he ran to her side to hold her. "I understand Sel. Take all the time you need. Would you like me to fetch you to him?"

She shook her face. "Aidan's friend is waiting right there to take me to him. He'll know the quickest route."

"Alright," answered Robert after a momentary delay. "Should I assume that you'll be coming back?"

"I will," she replied. "I promise."

He gave her a kiss and sent her on her way. She ran up the stairs, gathered everything she had, strapped on her pack, and descended. Rob met her with one more passionate kiss. "Be careful, don't get into any trouble," he cautioned her.

"I won't. Thank you." And with that, she left the house and hurried to Caden's side.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2017, 03:53:08 AM by Talia »

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #97 on: May 04, 2017, 03:43:34 PM »
Caden waiting outside the door, his face like stone. When Selina finally came out he didn't even turn to look. "Ready to leave?" He simply asked.

"I have everything I need," she replied. And as they started to leave, she continued, "Thank you for coming here to give me the letter, Caden. I... I've missed you."

"I knew how long you've been waiting for a reply so of course I would bring it" He said softly.

She smiled and walked alongside quietly. "I would've returned earlier, but the way we had left things... I thought it best to give you your space."

Not knowing how to reply Caden silently continued towards the asuran gate. "What do you suppose Aidan needs your help for?" He said after several minutes of quiet.

"I think it's Shining Blade business. Did you hear about the attack on Divinity's Reach?"

"I did. We've been steadily supplying herbs and medication to the city to help with the wounded."

"Oh, you've been busy," she commented, then carried on. "We know that Aidan's been away on Shining Blade business, perhaps he's hunting down the people responsible for the attack on Jennah. Why they aren't keeping this in-house within the Shining Blades though... I wonder if they need me to perform a task that's out of the law."

"If they even know Aidan called on you. If it had gone through the Shining Blade they would've known where to find you. It wasn't too hard to track you down after all."

She considered what Caden had said. He made a valid point, and she began to wonder if Aidan had a personal problem he needed handling. "It sure took long for a message to come back though. I wonder what's been going on."

Caden nodded, and Selina fell back to silence. She appreciated him being there with her, even though she could feel the tension between them. And she knew that even without speaking, Caden had strong disapproval for what he'd seen between her and Rob. That would be no surprise. She would've disapproved of it herself. She'd considered a few times about telling him of what went on in that house, but she stopped herself for various reasons that included bad timing, awkwardness between them, him being unhappy about the danger in what she had been doing, history of him probably being offended by what had happened before... There were lots of reason not to bring it up.

They passed through a portal that brought them into Divinity's Reach. The city mostly looked the same, save for increase in the number of seraphs patrolling the streets. Selina had to ensure that she would not be recognized, bowing her already concealed face to the ground each time they passed someone.

They wormed their way through crowds to the portal to Ebonhawke, and it hurtled them there. As they stepped out of the portal into the lone human city in the vastly Charr region, Selina was immediately hit with old memories of having been here before. Something about hiding from pursuers. She couldn't quite remember the details.

"Where did Aidan tell you to meet him?" Caden asked as they walked away from the gate and into the city.

"At the Ebonhawke Fortress. He says he will arrange a room for me in the inn near the Postern Gate by the name of Starling." For some reason, in spite of holes in her memory, Starling sounded incredibly familiar, and instinctively she knew where to go. She pointed in the direction that her mind directed her to. "It's this way," she told him. And began down cobbled streets.

Caden frowned at her, and then moved to follow her.

In no time, both Caden and Selina stood before the Starling. It was exactly how she pictured it in her head, and she knew for sure that she'd been there before. "We're here," she said, dreading that Caden might find the reason then to leave for home. He had every reason to. She hadn't expected him to accompany her this far. But for the benefit of the doubt, Caden always surprised her.

"I'll wait with you until Aidan arrives" Caden said. "He arranged a room for you right?"

She nodded thankfully and entered the inn, stating her name to the innkeeper.

"One moment miss." The inkeeper said and walked away from them, yelling into the kitchen "Johnny, go and fetch mister Brennan and the Vanguard's will ya?" He returned to Selina and Caden and gestured. "Come with me please." He lead them upstairs to a small single bed room. "Johnny's just gone to fetch mister Brennan I'm sure he'll be around shortly. Can I offer you some refreshments while you wait?"

She nodded, and ordered a glass of whiskey.

"And you sir?" He asked as he looked at Caden.

"Ah, I'm not staying long, thank you" Caden said quickly.

The innkeeper nodded and turned to fetch Selina's whiskey.

Her heart sank at Caden's statement, and she moved over to his side. Knowing that she would probably not have the right words for the moment, she subtly brushed the back of her hand onto his, and held on to his littlest finger, hoping to hold onto him for just that little bit longer.

He froze as her hand touched his and for a moment he stood nailed to the ground. His heart pounded in his chest and his hand tingled where she'd brushed against it. He left it there, only for a moment remembering all the ifs and would be's he considered the past weeks. He could not shake the image of her and Robert dancing happily however and with a jolt he pulled his hand back. "Selina" He said, as he let his head hang. There were so many things he wanted to say to her, to ask her and to resent her for, but it would all have to wait. He took a few steps through the room and prayed Aidan would arrive soon.

She stood there baffled that he would snap away so quickly. She knew that he was upset with her, but it was then that his true feelings were measured out for her. She retracted her hand, and wrapped her arms around herself. "Is it impossible to go back to the way things were?" she mumbled quietly.

The innkeeper then returned with a glass of whiskey for Selina. "Will you be needing anything else?" He asked?

"Nothing else." She said absently. At least nothing that he could give her.

The innkeeper left. From the hallway they heard him say "Ah mister Brennan, are you healing well sir? I'll bring you a glass of wine right away." "Yes, Thank you" They heard Aidan reply right before he appeared in the doorway. Upon seeing Caden and Selina he bowed, which was an awkward business with his left arm in a sling. "Thank you for coming Selina. Caden, I had not expected to see you but thank you for coming as well."

She noticed his sling right away. "What happened here?"

Caden who had intended to leave was too shocked by Aidan's appearance to do so immediately.

"Aidan looked at his arm and sighed. His shoulders dropped slightly. "Here you are sir" The inkeeper proclaimed as he entered the room with a glass of wine and some small snacks on a plate. "Ah thank you Bron, please put them on the table and close the door behind you when you leave. We'd like some privacy now" Aidan said and waited for the innkeeper to leave. He then helped himself to a chair. "I"m afraid I have my aunt to thank for this" He said, while nodding in the direction of his arm.

"You met Andrea?" Selina asked in disbelief.

Aidan nodded. "After the attack on the capital countess Anise pulled all agents that weren't doing anything vital back to the city. With the info you gathered and some extra tips they deduced that Andrea had a large part in the white mantle and the attack and they wanted her found." He drank a sip of his wine before continuing. "It took me a while to get a handle on where she was but eventually we got a tip that lead us to Ebonhawke fortress. Anise told me to meet up with one of the Ebon Vanguard and track her down." He paused and forced himself to stay calm. "Things did not go as planned however. There's no point in going into details now but suffice to say Andrea managed to get away and the Vanguard has lost all track of her. I was hoping you could help me track her down, I'm in no state to do so myself at the moment."

Selina nodded. "I'll do anything you need." She pointed at the sling. "How serious is that injury? Should I be concerned?"

"It's no longer life threatening but the wound was deep and it will still be some time before I can use my arm again."

Caden meanwhile kept quiet in the corner of the room, conflicted between offering his help and leaving to go home.

"So give me the basics of where she was last seen, the direction she was headed and who she might be with, and I'll handle it from there. You can rest easy here," Selina offered.

"Does the name Goodman mean anything to you? He was her contact in these parts apparently"

"Goodman?" Selina ran that through her memory. Something was very familiar about that name. "He's closely linked with Andrea?"

"I'd say so. She was on the run when she came here so she must've trusted him."

As he spoke, she began digging into her pack, and out of it she pulled a stack of folded paper. Opening them one by one, she finally picked one out and put down the others. "I thought that name rang a bell." She turned the sheet of paper to Aidan. Right at the top was scribbled the name Sarah Goodman, and an address. "Any relation?"

"She's his daughter, lost for years, where did you come across that name?"

"The stack of papers we copied off Andrea's files, I made my own copies before I handed the lot to Anise. Sarah Goodman was the one name I could not place in all of this. And to add to that, that Andrea had listed a specific address when she didn't for the others... even for yourself."

"Are you saying she is involved as well then? That is unfortunate." Aidan frowned.

Selina was puzzled at Aidan's statement, as though there was a conversation that'd taken place before this that she wasn't privy to. "But at least we have an address, that's a start, isn't it?"

"It is" He pondered for a while. "As for Andrea, I last saw her in a cave system to the north east of here. She fled the place together with Goodman. Vanguard scouts followed them but they reportedly disappeared in a field full of harpies to the north of the cave."

She took note of those details, folded the sheet on Sarah Goodman and kept it in her jacket pocket. Pulling the scarf off her face, she looked quite sternly at Aidan. "I'm going to do this favor for you, but you need to know that I haven't let you off the hook about abandoning me out of the blue. I waited for you. I waited for the longest time. You never told me where you were, and I was forced to deal with that woman Anise."

"I know, I'm sorry Selina" He said, bending his head. "I wanted to be away from everything, to try and make sense of everything that has happened. I should have taken you into consideration."

She looked at his sling. "This is your idea of getting away from everything? You could've gone somewhere nice, and safe. Had drinks on a beach, perhaps."

"This is what happened after Anise pulled me out of my previous assignment, it is not what I had planned." He said, annoyance sounding in his voice.

Selina slapped a hand over her forehead. Anise and the rest of the Shining Blades were really getting on her nerves. It would seem that they had no sense of timing nor of privacy. "Whatever the case, I will get to the bottom of this." She got up, drowned the whiskey and put the glass down on the table. "Tomorrow.... I'm tired and..." She stole a glance at Caden. "I don't think there's much else to talk about."

He nodded and turned to look at Caden. "Allow me to arrange a second room for you Caden"

Realizing all attention in the room was suddenly on him Caden uncomfortably shifted around on his feet. "I uh.. I actually didn't plan on staying"

Selina shrugged bluntly at this, trying her best to appear as nonchalant about this as possible.

"It's late, I'll get you a room and you can be on your way in the morning." Aidan said as he finished his wine and got to his feet.

"Goodnight," she said to the two men as she stowed her pack beneath her bed, took off her boots and lay down on the only bed in the room. In spite of the two men being there watching her, she felt as if she didn't care about what anyone thought anymore. She would do anything for Aidan, but she was beginning to sense that if he did not need her help, he would never reveal where he was to her. She hung her head low. It felt that the world had turned its back on her. Even her own brother looked upon her only as a tool. Everyone had an agenda, and she was just a pawn to be played.

She pressed her face into the pillow, desperate to rid herself of such negative thoughts. She knew it would only make it harder to help Aidan if she allowed herself to despise him. But that didn't make the sinking feeling go away.

"Goodnight Selina, thank you again for coming" Aidan said softly and left the room, waited for Caden to do the same thing and then closed the door behind them.

"Let me arrange that room for you Caden he said, as they walked through the hall. "It's too late to travel now, you can be on your way tomorrow."

Seeing the sense in that Caden accepted the offer after all, though he spent more time pacing around his room than sleeping that night.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #98 on: May 07, 2017, 10:48:12 PM »
Selina hadn’t had a restful sleep, even though she managed to drift off in parts. But each time she woke, she woke up in anger. She did that till she decided to let anger win and stopped fighting with it by getting up completely. The sky was still dark, though the dawn chorus of several birds in the region had begun. If it would be light soon, then she figured it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get an early head start.

There were two options open up to her. One: Checking on the address belonging to Sarah Goodman. Two: Tracking down the harpy camp that Aidan had gone on about. While the address stood out as the easier of the two choices, it also seemed the less likely to lead directly to Andrea Brennan. While she’d seen harpies before, she hadn’t gone toe to toe with one. The creatures had colonies and nests, but remained listed as one of the lesser races of Tyria. Buckling up her sword in the sheath around her waist, she sussed she’d stand a good chance outsmarting these beasts – getting them out of the way so she’d be able to search for the path that Andrea and Goodman had taken to flee the conflict. And if for some reason, the path was truly lost, she still had… she patted the note in her pocket. Plan B. She gave it some thought, then quickly removed the note and scribbled a third copy to leave on the desk for Aidan, should he need it. Beside the address, she put a side note for Aidan – “Sarah’s adreess, should you need iyt too.”

As she made sure the stack was wedged under something heavy to prevent the sheets from flying away, she reflected again on the previous night’s events. There’d been two weeks for Caden to go home and cool off and yet he remained indignant and icy cold towards her. It baffled her that he could at all be resentful that she’d tried at all to flirt with him at the lake. In her mind, a man would either take up the offer, or reject it. As simple as that. This wall that he’d erected between them completely confused and infuriated her. It wasn’t often that Selina Knox would find herself left at a lost, but Caden often found ways to push buttons she didn’t even know she had.

She whipped out her pack from underneath her bed in an unseemly savage motion, and struggled for the longest time to put on her boots, only because of how badly her fingers were shaking from the sheer rage bubbling beneath the surface. She knew that if she did not get herself out of the inn right that moment, she would probably start clawing the walls apart.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #99 on: May 10, 2017, 11:39:37 PM »
After a restless night Caden had enough. He debated on whether or not to talk to Selina all night and in the end decided that he should at least try to apologise for his own behaviour. He slung his pack on his back and made his way over to Selina’s door, lifting his hand to knock on it. Before knocking however he hesitated. He hadn’t considered the time, he suddenly realised.

Selina had prepared to leave and she opened the door, just at the time Caden had arrived. She was taken aback, not expecting to find anyone there, much less him. For a while, they both stared at each other.

“S…sel” He managed to mumble, completely shocked by her sudden appearance. “I uh…” he lowered his arm.

Her expression hardened. She’d spent too much time over the night marinating in anger toward him, it wasn’t about to dissipate fast. “Still here? You keep talking about leaving, so why haven’t you?”
For a moment he completely lost track of what he had come to say, but after a few moments, managed to gather his thoughts. “I wanted to apologise for my behaviour on the way here.”

She didn’t know what she expected from him. An apology seemed to be the right cure for what ailed her, but everything within her still yelled for her to run off. “You baffle me Caden, warm one moment, cold the next. I don’t know what to expect from you and find myself being hurt all the time. I know I made a mistake. I was mistaken about you being interested in a romantic affair with me and I was wrong. I’m sorry! I know you’re still holding it against me, will I never be forgiven?”

“On our way here I was angry with you” He said softly, “But I realise now I had no right to be. You’re not the one who needs forgiving Sel.”

“Why?” she asked, expecting him to yell at her about changing the nature of their relationship. “Because I opened my mouth, or because I spent two weeks with Rob?”

“Perhaps both,” he said as he looked her in the eyes. “I’m sorry I hurt you Sel, it was never my intention.”

Caden seemed so sincere in what he said, it just made her feel that much more guilty about being mad at him. “I’m sorry as well, I guess I was just so desperate to reverse what I did. I didn’t know what to do, or what you wanted me to say.” A smile beamed on Selina’s face, “I’m glad we’re not mad at each other anymore. I really don’t want to fight.”

“Me neither,” he said, less tense than he was before.

“Look… before you came in I was about to leave. I want to get an early headstart on this Andrea thing. I appreciate the conversation we just had, I hope you don’t feel like I’m cutting you off.”

“I wouldn’t dare stall you,” He said with a small smile.

Selina smiled in response. She took a step forward, then said to him, “I’ll see you when I get back? We can go get drinks or something.”

“Are you sure going alone is a good idea? Aidan did mention a field of harpies,” Caden said, looking somewhat concerned.
“They aren’t too bright I hear. Shouldn’t be difficult to outsmart them.”

“They flock together though, there’s strength in numbers you know.”

“Nah,” she waved away his concern. “I’ll be just fine.” As she passed him, she placed a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry.”

“Let me come with you then.”

She put a hand on the hip as she considered it. “That’d be fine with me as long as you won’t get bored. It’ll mostly involve searching for footprints in the mud, that kinda thing.”

“I somehow doubt it’d be boring, but at least let me watch your back while you’re staring at the mud.”

She smiled at the thought. “Alright then.”

As she left the inn, she said to him, “You never did tell me how you spent the two weeks.”

“I helped my family.”


“The business. Mostly spent my time gathering herbs and helping grandma sort them and dry them.”

“That sounds…” she thought about how passive his time had been compared to her two weeks. “…fun?”

“I wouldn’t describe it as fun, but they welcomed the help. When the white mantle attacked the city, the need for medication rose.”

“Oh, I didn’t know you were involved as well. When I first heard about it from Rob, I primarily thought that my brother might get roped into the madness.”

“They directly attacked our capital and our queen. Of course we would try to try to aid wherever we can. I know you’re not a fan of the queen, but even if you don’t agree with her politics, an attempt on her life is never the way.”

Selina shrugged nonchalantly. She felt her stomach rumble and remembered she hadn’t had breakfast, and in her hurry she had failed to pack any.

“Are you hungry?” she asked.

“I thought you weren’t going to ask,” chuckled Caden. "I have a sandwich from Siri but it's two days old." He threw it away.

((wanted to record this part of the session for Sister, but I couldn't keep up transferring the chat to words so I'm just going to summarize))

Selina suggested to take food from the Warrior's Crown camp. And while Caden disapproved of her actions of stealing, he decided not to pursue the subject lest they get into another fight. While in the camp, Selina removed four loaves of bread and even found a full faced helmet lying in the corner that she took for herself as well. It began to rain then so Caden and Selina ran for shelter under an overarching rock. As they ate a loaf each, they began discussing Queen Jennah and her stance on the war between man and charr. Caden and Selina quickly found themselves on opposing sides, and Caden decided to end the conversation before it got heated. Selina pointed out that while she appreciated his company, she couldn't understand why he insisted to follow her in spite of their vast differences in morals and ethics, and the fact that they were getting on each other's nerves every few minutes. Caden thought about it then replied that he liked her in spite of the differences, that none of her opinions defined who she was inside, and that their different circumstances had helped to shape their varying view of the world. Even as he said that, doubt began to creep in, a hesitation that Selina noticed but decided not to address.