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Author Topic: Ride the Rushing Billows  (Read 34239 times)

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Ride the Rushing Billows
« on: April 08, 2016, 12:45:11 AM »

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

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

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

She stopped, and so did her companion. They gazed from the peak of a slope, down at Lake Delavan that sparkled from the reflections of the setting sun.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2016, 11:14:29 PM by Talia »

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Re: The Story
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2016, 06:05:25 PM »
Caden Mullins

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

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

While following her out of the city he studied her closely. She seemed rather closed off to him and mostly kept to herself. As they neared the lake he proposed to make camp since it would not be light much longer.

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Re: The Story
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2016, 07:02:26 PM »

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

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

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

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Re: The Story
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2016, 10:43:49 AM »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She gripped a fist around the edge of her cloak and pulled it off her face. Her travel companion had fallen asleep. She leaned a little closer, just to make sure. She only let her guard down the moment she was certain, and picked herself off the ground. It was finally time to do what she'd come here to do. And she would have to get it done before dawn.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2016, 11:15:56 AM by Talia »

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Re: The Story
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2016, 11:35:34 PM »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"What is it?"

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

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

Selina touched the corner of her cheek. This wasn't the confirmation she needed - she would have to dig further to know the truth. That capsule was no accident, at least that much she could be sure of. One thing at a time... the perp would eventually come to be made to regret his actions. But first... she knew she had to quickly return to her camp site before Caden knew she'd been gone.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2016, 08:27:18 AM by Talia »

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Re: The Story
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2016, 02:00:27 AM »
Caden Mullins

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

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

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

After warming himself for a while he laid back down and stared at the sky while he listened for any sounds.

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Re: The Story
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2016, 01:25:27 PM »
Selina Knox and Caden Mullins

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

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

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

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Re: The Story
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2016, 01:33:02 PM »
Aidan Thomas Brennan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Since the day of the wedding numerous people had called at the house. Some intending to comfort the family, others well wishers who had not heard the tragic tale yet, others simply curious or perhaps hoping to see if the gossips were right. Neither Aidan nor his father felt much up to the task of receiving them and the house staff had been instructed to not allow any visitors. One day though, Jenny, one of the maids informed Aidan that there was a mr Kovenito to see him and Aidan though dreading to tell the tale again, felt he could not refuse his friend.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 03:58:19 AM by Mokuren »

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Re: The Story
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2016, 05:05:55 PM »
Kovenito Zeiswielder and Aidan Thomas Brennan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Approaching the second door, he knocked again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"You too" Aidan nodded at the man gravely.

Kov put his hand briefly on Aidan's shoulder before he turned and left the house.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2016, 09:23:42 PM by Talia »

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Re: The Story
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2016, 12:47:51 PM »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Re: The Story
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2016, 06:04:01 AM »
Aidan Thomas Brennan

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

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

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Re: The Story
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2016, 08:34:45 AM »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Caden" he stated simply.

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

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

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

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

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

"Do you know I nearly got killed?!"

"Whaa... what?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selina shook her face in aghast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Fine," she responded.

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

Chuckling lightly Caden pulled his pack a little higher on his back. "Well, lead the way Bran," he said, clearly amused.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2016, 08:38:59 AM by Talia »

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Re: The Story
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2016, 04:22:34 PM »
Caden Mullins, Selina Knox & Brandon Turner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She answered quietly as she left his side to retrace their footsteps. "I will do what needs to be done." Stopping shortly, she bent down to pick up the axe that sat in the dirt where it was embedded with its handle sticking up in the air. So it was an axe that had been flung at her while she sang... lucky for her, her instincts had narrowly saved her life. She turned around to the barely coherent bandit, who sat with his back to a mature gummo tree. And with a quick fling of her wrist, sent the axe to split his skull in half.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2016, 02:59:38 AM by Talia »

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2016, 01:37:22 PM »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Doc Howler? Is that some bandit?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kovenito walked off, glad to know that Selina traveled with people she knew, but he couldn't help worrying that she was about to get in over her head in the coming conflict.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2017, 07:10:37 AM by Talia »

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2016, 02:42:41 AM »
Caden Mullins & Brandon Turner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Yeah thanks" Caden said as he followed after Bran

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2016, 12:52:55 PM »

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

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

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

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

She would allow herself to indulge just for a moment...
« Last Edit: April 28, 2016, 07:40:11 PM by Talia »

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2016, 06:38:32 AM »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Kovenito, thank you."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"True... This Priory/Whispers joint mission will take some getting used to though..."
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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2016, 02:25:45 PM »
After taking a small supply of muffins from the jar Caden made his way outside. Taking in the fresh air he stretched and readjusted the pack on his back. "Which way?" He asked turning his head to look at Bran questioningly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I met her three days ago"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Unless what?" asked Caden.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Fine, let's get this over with, so we can get back on the road as quickly as possible," Kov responded, taking the cue to hit the road north.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2016, 11:47:37 PM »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Is it?" A gleam cut through her face, up to her cheeks.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2016, 11:50:01 PM by Talia »

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #19 on: May 12, 2016, 04:02:04 AM »
Caden Mullins, Brandon Turner & Kovenito

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"You know Doc Howler?" asked the second.

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

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

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

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

"The Fearsome Four."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I expect to speak with her."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

"Your sister?" Caden asked curiously.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

"Hmm?" he replied questioningly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After a few moments Kovenito rejoined them, sitting down on a chair next to Bran.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2016, 06:05:53 PM by Talia »

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2016, 11:25:27 AM »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I will. Now let's get this show on the road."
« Last Edit: May 14, 2016, 01:54:34 PM by Talia »

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2016, 11:00:30 AM »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2016, 03:47:42 PM »
Aidan Brennan

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

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

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

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

Dear Selina,

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

Kind regards,

Carefully he folded the letter and sealed it after addressing it to the small farmhouse Kovenito had arranged during his absence.
He sighed as he put it down on his desk. He hoped his sister would forgive him for using his birthname, he could not risk their bond being discovered however. As he wondered if they would be hiding this secret forever he put himself back to bed and after some time finally dozed off.

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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2016, 08:42:16 PM »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Sir?" came a voice.

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

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

"Just spit it out!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Yes, if you don't mind."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kov put on the chains according to the instructions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Understood" Kov said curtly.

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

The prisoners rose, and solemnly followed with Cassie at the head, Caden and Bran at both the sides, and Kov guarding the back. They left the seraph camp with a worded letter from Willem, who did as he'd promised. He had written a letter of recommendation in a short span of time, and had Cassie hold on to it for safekeeping.

  • Talia
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Re: Ride the Rushing Billows
« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2016, 12:15:44 PM »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There was a lot of mystery in the woods, but she wasn't there to investigate or to even give a damn. She was there for one reason, and one reason only. Turning her face to the many huts that hung ay various heights in the higher canopies, she soon realised then that there was one fatal kink in her plan. How in the world would she be able to find Doc Howler among all these? And there was the whole other matter of getting out of Brisban, undetected... But she immediately decided that she would handle one matter at a time. Deal with the Doc first, then decide what to do after. Taking a second glance about the huts surrounding her, she figured she'd best get to it soon. At least before sunlight touched the compound and woke up the entire squadron.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2016, 01:21:52 AM by Talia »