Gaze of the Mistress

I didn't know what else to call it. [Navyri, please!]

Atop a stony plateau overlooking the lands of central Idalos, and growing wealthy from the gem stones pulled from the rocky soil, Etzos is a bastion of independence; firm in its belief that man should rule Idalos, not be servants of the vain Immortals who nearly destroyed it. But can the many factions set aside their conflicting agendas and see this through?

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Kovic
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Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:32 pm

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16th Cylus, 718



They called her ‘the woman’. We don’t like her eyes, they said, for they were sharper than the tip of a blade. We trust no winged women, they said, and yet they swore loyalty to Mongrel. We hear this and that, they said, and repeated distorted canards. The woman stole my coins, a kibitzer said, purportedly. We barely see her around, they said, and yet she was still in the cave, trekking through the shadows. They said a lot of things, but Maws did not believe them.

They said many things about him, too. They called him useless, or branded him a spy. They disliked the sight of a man donning a suit rather than armor. They disliked a man branding smiles and words rather than daggers. They said Mongrel had spared him, that he was nothing to the faction but a burden, an outsider without insight for his hands were clean. They called him this and that, doubting his masculinity, claiming this and that about a possible affair with Mongrel. They said many things, but never before him, always on his back. The cave was large and spacious, and those same words eventually found their way to his ears. Those weak colleagues they cried to repeated every last word they said. They said many things, but nobody really cared to listen.

With the arrival of Cylus, everyone’s biological clock had died out. The sun being gone, sleep schedules were slowly destroyed. There was no routine anymore, for measuring time was impossible. One went to sleep and woke in the darkness, wondering how many breaks had passed, wondering if they had slept at all. Children suffered the worst of it. Many were forced inside the house, protected from the monsters that lured in the dark, and in their comfortable and warm prisons they lost their minds. Thirty trials later, they would come out in the sun changed, often for the worse. They’d beg until they reached the age of thirteen so that they could be sold as apprentices, away from those overprotective parents that had jailed them. Others would quickly adapt, and would become parasytes, afraid to face the light or exit into the street. The Al’Angyryl, on the other hand, was the complete opposite. In Cylus, they were rarely in the base. Those brave enough to face the darkness would find the ruffians stalking in the shadows.

Maws was no ruffian. Donning his dark suit, his pampered dressing shoes, and a torch, he’d penetrate the maws of the cave. The few members of the company remaining had gathered around their respective fireplace, talking about this and that whilst they ate. A polite smile was all he offered them, and they replied with a nod or a sarcastic salute. He rarely mingled with the rabble. In fact, he rarely mingled with anyone. Mongrel bored him with his monologues, and Marrow proved to be just as infantile as the feathered monster. Advancing through the cavernous system was done without haste.

Eventually, he reached where they said the woman was. Waving his torch around the cavernous chamber, Maws peered inside.
“Miss?” He called out, a gentle voice echoing in the cold and moist walls. “Hello?”
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Navyri
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Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:28 am

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Common Rakahi Gravokian
"A greedy father has thieves for children."

  • She was born in a cave.

    Spent fifteen years in darkness, and never thought the outside world could offer more. Navyri had been young then - having never tasted daylight, and when she fell in love with the sunrise, it only illuminated the betrayal that would change her life forever.

    No, caves were nice. Caves were safe and the darkness... The darkness was her friend. Because she was darkness, and she was the only friend she'd ever need. Staying with the Al'Angyryl had been an easier choice - Foster's was fine, but it smelled like old fishing boats and salty men, and while the undead pandered through some of the halls, she had found her slice of sanctuary.

    Deep into the winding caverns, in the cold damp where plenty of the humans were too scared to traverse, she had built her nest. High among the stalagmites she had brought sheets and straw, enough to keep her little nook dry, reaching it by flight. Her few belongings, the ones she would not part with, we're kept on her persons or tucked away among the rocks, where only a keen eye could find them. Below, the cavern was barren to most, a few trip wires in the process of being set up.

    It was here she rested, her physical form faded from the absence of light, she melded with her surroundings and meditated, relaxing before she was expected to run errands once more. It was the sound of footsteps that roused her, but the actual voice that followed peaked her interest.

    What was this? From her vantage she peered down, her blue eyes piercing the shadows, "Hello," she called back smoothly, imitating the same tone he had used, "Who are you?"

    His pathetic light illuminated the room, but not all of it. Navyri slithered from where she had been laying and slid down the walls, sticking to the darkest parts. It wasn't until Kovic stepped deeper that she rose from the ground like a wraith, shadows shimmering into her illusion with each flicker of the fire, "Why are you in my den?" She crossed her arms, black claws glinting when they tapped against her skin, her head cocked in cold curiosity.

    She had not been expecting guests.
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Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:13 am

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Her form was distorted, unstable as the source of light. Only one detail could be clearly made out; those piercing blue eyes. They micked his own, ironically opposite; whilst hers seemed as cold as stone, they hid emotion inside. Maws’ were warm and soft, and yet they were as fake as her illusion. Fate had made them meet, two opposites standing before one another. The teacher offered a smile, warm and somewhat unfitting in this underground world of treachery and crime.
“Excuse the intrusion, miss,” spoke the male with politeness.

No matter his words, Maws stepped forth. Gracefully, the swan-like gait sought to approach the female’s location, doing so almost as if asking permission. Were she to step back or show discomfort, it would be immediately aborted.
“I do not believe we’ve been introduced. I am Maws. I founded this organization along with Mongrel, my feathered and scowling friend. Surely you remember him. Disclose your moniker with me, please.”

Blue eyes never flickered away from hers. In fact, they chased after her gaze, wherever it went. It seemed like a natural stare, not one meant to intimidate or persuade. Whatever type of stare that was, it remained. The man itself stood firm, with a correct posture, and yet he seemed so keen to please rather to seek his own pleasure his being seemed quite feminine. The beard discredited a biological reason, of course, but one could wonder what this sort of individual did in such a monster-riddled cavern. Whether he got an answer or not, and whether he was allowed to approach or not, Maws’ proverbial nickname was honored as he proceeded to deliver a speech.
“I have been told you’re excellent at moving items, big or small, with stealth. That is why I require your services, immediately so, for the benefit of our little clandestine group. Whether you’re interested or not, it is still very nice to have met you. I will wait by the entrance of our cavernous headquarters. If you decide to join me, please be aware it is quite frisky outside.”

It felt more like a storyteller sharing a fairy tale rather than a man who stood evenly with a creature as vile as Noth. In fact, it could be considered a plain lie, given how short he fell compared to Noths’ standard. With his words finished, a brief smile was flashed before the man spun on his heels and made his way towards the exit. The sound of his heels striking the rock was timed with the droplets of water that fell somewhere in the darkness.
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Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:01 pm

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Common Rakahi Gravokian
"A greedy father has thieves for children."

  • Navyri did not tolerate disrespect, or not for long at least. But this man, with his beard and soft words offered manners not seen by many of the other members of the crime organization. Even her employer, upon finding her again, had woven not so subtle threats in his job offer. What was someone so well mannered doing down here?

    "Excused," she assented, arms still crossed while he introduced himself. She found herself feeling a wave of surprise and the Naer blinked slowly, absorbing the interesting information. A co-founder? So this man was on the same level as the intimidating half breed she had conversed with on occasion? He... didn't look as scary but looks could be quite deceiving

    Mongrel and Maws. Navyri had only ever known Noth as the Prince of Eternal Mercies. It was a dramatic title, more so than she would expect from the partial Avriel but she nodded all the same, "I am the Mistress of Wind and Shadow, but Mistress is suitable enough." As soon as she finished speaking, he stepped forward and she felt her spine go rigid as their gaze locked. Two monsters watching the other. Her gaze was indeed cold and calculating, a strange counter to the smile he flashed. Maws spun on his heels and headed towards the door, so odd in his word choice and straight to the point. She watched him as he left, listening to the sounds of his footsteps fading in with the world around him.

    It sounded like a job needed to be done, and as the light faded, so did her form. She hovered for a moment, and then returned to her nest, plucking up her weapons. Two daggers on her thighs, her whip around her waist. She slung her bag on her shoulder, along with her lockpicks, spyglass, her tinderbox and a vial of lantern oil. Then her leather boots and finally, a golden brooch, which she fastened to the inside of her collar. 

    It didn't take long for her to collect these things, Navyri worked efficiently if she could help it and her items were neatly placed. Down the halls Maws had disappeared in, the sound of voices and a crackling fire soon replaced the steady drip of cave water. Stepping into the illuminated room, she began creeping past the others, not interested in idle conversation or insults, turning her head only when a small hush fell over the room. She had not been seen in this form in trials, only one of them spotting a pair of glowing eyes in the darkness - eyes, not unlike her own. They had avoided her since.

    Just as she was about to leave, she snatched up a heavy jacket laid across a large boulder, rolling her eyes when one of the men snapped that it was his, "Take it up with someone who cares. I have work to do." She shot a warning glare over her shoulder and then ducked towards the entrance, feeling the cold air hit her skin as Maws came into view.

    He was tall - taller than she had given him credit for in the shadows of her room and she began to slip the outerwear on, "So," In the moonlight she became far more visible, her flesh smooth and unblemished, the ethereal wings draped outward from the bottom of her new coat. Already, she was mentally calling to Curio who had been soaring through the night skies and sending subtle feedback of what he saw, "I'd rather we not suffer bullshit."

    A puff of her breath was visible when she spoke - the result of a chilly Cylus, "What's the job?" 
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Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:11 pm

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Maws stood gracefully where he had promised to be. Something strange was seen in his being, although not extremely obvious. The man’s frame released great quantities of vapor, which rose up from the folds of his clothing and even more in his exposed features. Perhaps he was suffering a terrible fever, and yet the male seemed the vivid image of health, surely bathed in milks, filled with all sorts of beneficial teas and fed with the highest quality foods one could find in the Etzori lands. His torch flickered in the occasional gusts of air, never quite strong enough to kill the flame. When the female joined him, there was a slight crack in his educated façade; when he turned to her, his eyes drifted down her flame, shamelessly so, and inspected something around her midsection. It could easily be interpreted as a leer, for even his tongue came out to relish his lips before he realize what he was doing. The man’s eyes rose, fearfully so.
“-- Oh my, my deepest apologies, Miss Mistress.” A blush came to his features. “I… That was very unprofessional of me. Sexual harassment in the workplace is something I am thoroughly against. Please forgive me; it will not happen again.”

The male’s features were so red by now that he had to divert his gaze, gesturing with his head to the infinite directions they could follow. His gait began, as feminine as one could imagine from such a feminine man, who was careful in his step to avoid stepping on muck, seemingly more concerned with the integrity of his shining shoes than with a quick job.
“We are preparing for some renovation of our headquarters. As such, we need materials. Given the illegal nature of our organization, we’re not quite free to order such materials with the consequent workforce required. Thus, you and I, Mistress - is it okay if I call you Mistress? - are to claim a batch of materials. Your task is that of figuring out a way of smuggling these materials into our headquarters without leaving a trail that could lead the authorities to discover our location.”

Male and female advanced through the woods surrounding Noth’s cavern. The terrain was treacherous, full of dead bushes and frozen snow, lit only by the torch the male carried. It was somewhat daunting to peer into the darkness, for children could wonder what sorts of monsters lurked in the shadows. Given that these were Noth’s claimed woods, there were all sorts of possibilities.
“I expect the shipment to come in the form of a wagon, although I am unsure if we will have a horse to drag it. Given that this is your area of expertise, I will merely show you the location we’re to, umh… acquire, the necessary goods. Whatever your diagnosis and consequent plan, I will be here to assist you in any way I can. Feel free to ask any questions.”

A period of silence whilst they moved through the woods.
“May I ask a rather personal query?” Maws looked over towards the female, still somewhat afflicted by the previous display of boyish shame. “How does it feel? Flying?”
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Thu Feb 22, 2018 5:47 pm

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Common Rakahi Gravokian
"A greedy father has thieves for children."

  • He was different.

    She couldn't quite place her finger on it. Maybe it was the way he sashayed in his step, or the gentle quality to his voice, but when Navyri went to meet him, she did not expect the leer that followed. The curious thing - the true reason she felt confused - was that he did not look at her face or even her chest, as some men tended to do. He looked lower, to what or where, she wasn't quite sure, and she blinked, a bit at a loss for words when he brought attention to himself. Such an apology and a blush seemed hardly necessary. With a slow nod, she watched him, "You're a curious one, aren't you?" It wasn't so much a question as a statement.

    How could someone so shy and easily flustered survive in an organization such as this one? Either he was very smart or very deceptive... "Lead the way."

    Navyri made sure to stay focused, carefully creeping along in the darkness, her form fluctuating between solid and something more ethereal as they walked side by side. They hadn't been gone long when Maws spoke, inquiring about the wings. Everyone always wanted to know about them. Were Avriel pestered in the same way?

    "Flying?" she mused, stepping away from Kovic's flame and into a rather dark corner of the forest, her body suddenly vanishing among the trees. Her form was gone, yet her voice traveled. It was the barren treetops she appeared next, poised upon a branch like a watchful cat, shimmering into existence as the moonlight struck her skin, "Like freedom and damnation all at once." 

    Her voice softened and she listened to the wind. As he circled to create a perimeter, Curio sent her flashes of the forest, which seemed mostly undisturbed in the late hour and so she continued speaking, "I found these wings in a place of nightmares. They kill those they touch; I am only spared because I side with the Immortals the Etzori hate so much. Such is the way of the world. You do what you must to survive."

    Navyri smelled the air, felt its icy grip enter her lungs and chill her, "I've been all over Idalos," she muttered, gripping the branch and sliding her feet from beneath her. She hung for a moment before falling to the ground with a soft crunch of snow, "Etzos is a boring pile of rocks."

    It should have occurred to her that Maws was from the region and could take offense, but he seemed more... cultured than the men that hid within city limits, "How did you come to this place? To the Al'Angyryl?"
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Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:33 pm

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The path would be long and uneventful; so much was clear to the Mortalborn. The forest which Noth hid in was chosen for a reason; it was a short walk when traveling either north or south towards or from Etzos, but it, on the other hand, stretched out horizontally on the plane. Although travel time and difficulty would greatly improve if they circled around it, the task at hand, and pretty much anything related to the Al’Angyryl, demanded secrecy. Thankfully, the winged female did not seem as annoyingly smug as either Mongrel or Marrow, men whose pride weighted more than their footing on reality.

Although calm in nature, the male’s eyes tried to follow the sneaky female. One moment she was beside him, then she was gone with the shadows. When she emerged, she was up in the trees, and as quickly as she had either flown or climbed, she was back down again. Brow raised, there was nothing but admiration in those blue eyes of his. Even so, he allowed a few moments for her words to settle in.
“Me?” He asked at last, with a gentle chuckle. “I’ve always been from around here, even if I’ve traveled throughout the land. I suppose Etzos has a special place in my heart, given that I helped build it a long time ago.”

The male seemed to drift into thought for a thrill.
“I remember when it was nothing but a small settlement of shabby wooden houses. Back then, our biggest concern was trying to survive the wolf packs that roamed the now extinct woods. Everything around the current Etzos used to be large, maple and chestnut tree forest. I--” Maws cut his story short, shaking his head. “I’m rambling. Anyway, Etzos has changed a lot, and by chance, I stumbled upon our Prince in this very forest. One thing let to another, and with a third associate, who I’m afraid past away, we created our humble operation. It was never meant to be this big, of course, but I guess our Prince had other plans.”

The terrain was tricky to navigate, and the torchlight did not offer much of a help. A bulge created shadows that did not allow preplanning one’s steps, and Maws found himself staring at the ground, and even if somewhat frustrated for not keeping his gaze upon the agile female, he refused to let his expression changed from anything but humble.
“I’ve got questions for you, and given that you’ve admitted siding with Immortals, I assume your answers were truthful. Mine were, too. I appreciate honesty, something that lacks within our little faction. Now, I’m interested to hear about those wings. You said you found them? What is this place of nightmares you speak of? What do you mean ‘side with the Immortals’? Have you met an Immortals? If so, what do they look like?”

The trek had quickly turned into an interrogation, but even so, it would soon come to an end, for the trees grew scarcer, and the darkness of Cylus became more and more bereft of trees and details. The farmlands shouldn’t be far.
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Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:20 am

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Common Rakahi Gravokian
"A greedy father has thieves for children."

  • Our prince?

    Your prince.

    She appreciated Mercy, along with his ruthlessness, but she was employed by the coin - Navyri did not follow him because she felt any overt sense of loyalty to the half breed, nor did she believe in his ideals. He was a means to an end. She wanted to get richer and provided goods he would inevitably pay for. Whether he conquered Etzos or not was entirely irrelevant to the woman, as long as she got paid.

    Nevertheless, she smiled coyly and continued to weave through the foliage, keeping her footsteps to the roots and rocks as best she could, wondering just how old this man was. He had seen the beginning of Etzos? How… how old was he?

    Having recently turned fifty-five arcs… well, she had not known Etzos to be developed in her short life and this man… He did not come close to looking older than her - not as a human. She watching him from the corner of her eye, suddenly quite curious. When he spoke next, she could not stop the chilling grin that twisted her lips.

    “Those that value honesty are often the most dishonest of us all, for we know the price of the truth.”

    Her eyes burned with something devious and she shrugged with a wave of her hand, “A little adage from home.” Navyri made up the proverb, but was turning over the possibilities of what this man was or why he would lie. Interesting indeed.

    “Now, to answer your many questions,” Emphasis on the many, Navyri listened to the sounds of the forest, deciding how much to share, “The wings were locked away, in a place called the Miasma.” She did not want to speak more on the subject, and decidedly jumped to his next question, “And I have met Immortals. A few, to be exact. They seem to like me for better or for worse.”

    Slowing, Navyri’s attention seemed to shift to caution, Curio sending flashing of the thinning forest from above, but no sign of human activity yet caught their eye, “They look…”

    Delroth was beautiful but twisted - his limbs elongated just enough to accommodate the overwhelming wealth that covered him from head to toe. He had been blonde, he had been brunette, but his eyes… his eyes were always the same.

    Belaera on the other hand - was something else entirely. So otherworldly, and yet recognizable. Dressed in red, wearing a mask without features, the voice was neither male nor female, and yet… The Naer repressed a shudder, her next words muttered, “They look as how they wish to appear…. Haunting. Unforgettable.”

    The trees were sparse now, and she stuck close to the trunks and crouched in the snow, eyes glazing over as she interpreted her familiar’s vision, “We’re here.” The Naer blinked and was suddenly present again peering at her company, “Now what?”
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