• Graded • Bone and Metal, Blood and Fire

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?

Moderator: Maltruism

Post Reply
User avatar
Kasoria
Approved Character
Posts: 352
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:34 am
Race: Human
Profession: Scratcher
Renown: +225
Character Sheet
Prophets' Notes
Plot Notes
Templates

Contribution

RP Medals

Bone and Metal, Blood and Fire

Fri May 04, 2018 3:54 am

Image
37th Trial, Ymiden, Arc 709
Outer Perimeter
22nd break
Continued from here



Blackjack.

The word flashed through Marcus' mind as soon as the skinny little fucker showed them who he really was, and the greenie was the first to suffer for their mistake. Marcus knew that's what it was, too. Street instincts kick in when the first punch was shown, and he was kicking himself for letting his anger take over and lead them both down winding alleys and deserted passages to...

Somewhere nice and quiet for this cunt to kill the both of you.

The stranger burst forward, a blur of flesh and cloth in the half-shadows of the alleyway, and by the time his partner had got a hand around his sword-

-the little man stomped hard on the boy's thigh as his leg jutted out, frozen in the motion of lunging for the man. Even Marcus winced, body twinging for a trill in sympathy as it imagined every nerve in his limb going insane with pain, then dead and unresponsive. Gabriel went down to one knee, cursing and howling. But he was still a game lad, tried to draw his sword-

Fuck me, he's fast.

Whoever he was, the Wee Cunt wasn't going to give them an inch. His arm shot forward like it was fired from a catapult, open palm striking out-

-smashing into Gabriel's wrist just above where his hand was gripping his sword, keeping trapped in the sheath, and as it drew back-

-his other hand lashed out in a short, surgical jab at the space under the greenie's helmet. There was a thick, wet sound like a brick falling on a melon, and Gabriel toppled backward with his pretty young nose spread all over his face. But now he was put the way, and Marcus didn't have to worry about hitting the wrong man when he-

Now!

-made his move, lunging forward and leading with his cutlass. Wee Cunt saw him coming, or reacted like he did. He stepped forward, into the blow, under his reach, left forearm shooting up to smash into Marcus', stopping the sword swing before it even got to him-

"Little cunt-!"

-and Marcus gave him a face full of Blackjack helmet for his presumption. His head butted down and smashed his armored crown into the Wee Cunt's forehead. Not as low as he wanted, but the man was so blasted short he didn't have much of an angle. It did the job, though. The man staggered, feet rubbery as his vision crackled and crumbled into stars and bursting shadows. Marcus drew back his arm, cutlass gripped tight, grinning as he thrust for the man's belly-

-only to see the curved blade slice through the air as the man twisted hard to one side, right hand grabbing Marcus' wrist as it sailed past, left arm swinging up into an open-palmed strike that seemed to be powered by a savage roar of rage-

Marcus joined it a trill later, as that strike connected with the back of his own elbow. he felt something fracture, dislocate, break, he didn't know and it didn't matter. The result was the same: his arm on fire and his cutlass falling from his hand and-

-then his legs were swept from under him and the grimy alley went sideways, then up and away as-

-he landed hard on his back, useless sword arm still being held by the stranger, face contorted in injured rage. Marcus opened his mouth to yelp but before he could get it out the man seemed to collapse on top of him-

-knee first-

-crouching on Marcus' throat, pinning him down, cutting off air, killing words, driving all conscious thought and tactics from his mind and leaving him desperate and sputtering and flailing at the waist of the man who-

Kasoria didn't let him suffer long. His fists moved up and down in a frenzy, and with every impact he seemed to scream a fraction louder. He unleashed a dozen brutal punches against the man's face, only stopping when he saw the lights go out in Marcus' terrified eyes. He was just squatting atop a bubbling, wheezing pile of meat and that was not where he wanted to-

"S... Stop... inna... inna name..."

Something young and plucky and pissing blood was rising from the cobbles by the wall. Kasoria rose at the same time, cocking his head at the kid with the bloody smear across half his face, hobbling badly, trying to pull his sword with his off hand... and failing. He could get his hand around it but the angle was wrong. Kasoria flicked a glance up and down the panting figure.

Probably got his cup in, so one to the balls is out. Need to finish this faster, anyway.

He stalked forward and some feral part of him was gratified to see the boy stagger back a step, despite his attempts to preserve his authority. No, he wasn't just some "little cunt" anymore, was he? Not after taking the two of them apart without anything in his hands. Which was to change, when he pulled his own gladius from its sheath. A queer, rotting stench filled the air and Gabriel finally got his sword free, waving it move like a boy with a stick than a man with his weapon-

-Kasoria knocked it away with one swipe and with a backhand-

-slapped the cold, smelly blade across the boy's face, making him yelp, drawing a wild swing of retaliation-

-as he dropped down low, gladius going with him, tight to his side, then stabbing out-

Another yelp. Another spurt of blood from Gabriel's one, remaining, undamaged leg. Now there was blood spurting from the shin and he tottered back down to the cobbles. Gabriel cursed and tried to keep talking even as the man circled him. He knew... yes... he was going to die. This thing... it wouldn't stop. It took apart that bastard Marcus like he was a child, and now him... he closed his eyes and tried to prepare himself. He could feel the pain begin to leave him. Maybe the old ones were true. Maybe true death was painless. Just the slow dimming of the senses until there was nothing-

"Scarf Rot."

The words were proof that at least his hearing still worked. He blinked but his eyes were... no... they worked, but they were so heavy. He was suddenly so sleepy, so weary, even with his aching face and legs and the hot, pumping sensation from his wounds. He tried to get up again, but his body was heavy, too.

"It'll put you under." The voice was so far away, but he could still hear every word as if it was whispered to him. Calm, almost bored, resentful that it had to waste time like this. Why wasn't he dying, too? Why wasn't he being killed? He didn't understand. "You don't die today. Yer welcome."

Gabriel tried to manage a laugh, but what came out instead was the ghost of a chuckle, thick and toneless and without mirth. The shadows were sweeping over him now, warm and soft and unyielding. He couldn't feel his body anymore. No pain, no pleasure. His eyes were covered in cotton wool and yet his ears... his ears still worked.

Past the point he heard a queerly-pitched whistle, echoing off wet stones and from dark corners. Something more than a bird's call, reminding him of the thieves he'd hunted with Marcus and the others, communicating by whistles and calls without words. A sliding, grinding sound accompanied it, like... like a grate being pulled aside. There were feet. Quick. Lively. Eager to obey.

"Leave the kid," was the second to last thing he heard. "Get the legs of the other one. I'll get the arms."

That was the last. Gabriel tried to move, one more time, arm flopping into a puddle that splashed his face. He thought of the river he'd swam in as a boy. He saw, for one blinding moment, that might swell of brown and blue and the bobbing boys who thought it a paradise, himself among them. Then the shadows swallowed everything up, and he let the poison take him.
Last edited by Kasoria on Mon May 07, 2018 5:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
"This is the life we choose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see Heaven."
User avatar
Kasoria
Approved Character
Posts: 352
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:34 am
Race: Human
Profession: Scratcher
Renown: +225
Character Sheet
Prophets' Notes
Plot Notes
Templates

Contribution

RP Medals

Bone and Metal, Blood and Fire

Sun May 06, 2018 2:03 am

Image
Reality didn't return to him in dribs and drabs, slowly caressing his mind back into consciousness. Whatever mercy there was in Idalos, the Fates had deemed him unworthy of such gentle treatment that night.

He'd awoken before and it had felt like his soul was rising from the depths of an ocean. Coming up from the blackness hundreds of feet down where the suns had no power or purchase, until the waking world was a soft, shimmering thing he could barely make out, and then... then he felt himself breath, and it was in his lungs. He felt his eyes open, and his body was his own again, breaking the surface and returning to life from the Dreamworld.

But that night? Reality was a bucket of ice water, and the Fates jammed his head into it without warning.

"About time."

Everything struck him at once. The squalid, aged room. The pile of dusty bones next to him. The ropes at his knees and ankles and elbows and wrists. The gag across his mouth. The stench of decay and putrescence and something else, stinging his nostrils. The pain in his face whenever he took a breath and the fact he was naked, why in the fuck was he naked?! But most of all, there was the figure squatting in one corner of the room. Calmly munching at a loaf of bread, hands resting on his drawn-up knees, watching him through a tangle of shadowy hair.

Marcus tried to tell him how stupid he was being, did he know who he was, he would pay for this, just let him loose, he'd show him... or that's what Kasoria assumed all that was about. Little hard to tell with a gag strapped firmly across the big fucker's mouth.

"Yeah, I'm sure yer really scary, mate," he said, the weariness of a long night plain in his tone. He studied the food in his hand and nibbled around an offending patch of mold. "But if I was you, I'd save my strength." He pondered his own words for a moment, then snorted, shoulders bobbing suddenly, then shrugging. "Or don't. Doesn't much matter at this point."

Marcus apparently had a differing perspective, and insisted on spewing it intelligibly at him while he finished his snack and got back to his feet. The room hadn't changed much in two arcs, which was why Kasoria had chosen it, of course. Deep and forgotten in the bowels of the labyrinth that was the Etzos Underground, there was a layer of dust on the floor that probably hadn't been disturbed in decades. Or that would be the case, in countless other little nooks just like it.

But Kasoria knew this one. He knew the pile of bones. He knew the silence, or the closest the underworld got to such a thing. The way he could close his eyes, tip his head back to rest against the wall... and hear little but a low, distant roar, and his own heartbeat.

Usually. Not tonight.

"Don't worry about yer armor, or yer clothes. They're in a sewer somewhere... I dunno, back the way we came. Bloody Immortals'll be back in Etzos before they dredge that lot up again. Well, all except-" Terrified, alone, naked, and bleeding, Marcus still found time to look freshly enraged as the bearded man shook his purse in the air. "-this, of course. You ain't gonna need it."

The other half of the "we" was blessedly gone. Not Ryder, the kid from before. Vorund had called him away for some deed that Kasoria hadn't queried, for it was not his place to question the man. Instead he'd had to make do with the street rat that had alerted him in the first place, sending a messenger scurrying to Lydia's brothel with word. The man - well, that was generous - was still watching and waiting when Kasoria had arrived. Spilled words out of his mouth about the big man and the smaller one and the Blackjack and the girls crying and shouting and-

Kasoria asked a few pertinent questions about what they looked like, and got the right answers. Then he spent a few bits remembering the area, trying to think of how best to do this... and remembered the sheer irritation of that fucking alley that wound and twisted and shrunk and until it revealed... a brick wall. Honestly, who in the Fucking Fates designed that?

But he remembered how private it had been. And there'd been a sewer grate nearby.

Marcus was always going to end up in this room. The only question was how, how long would it take, and would he need help. Kasoria got all his answered that night, and now... there was one thing left to do.

Two, actually.

"Y'know," he said, pressed-together words becoming almost a grunt as he pushed himself upright. "I'm not much for talkin' on the job. Not professional, really. I ain't hired for my charming conversational skills, y'know? Heh. Sorry. Questions... kinda stupid, you being gagged and all. But I wanted you to know why. I think any normal bloke would have figured that by now. But you ain't normal, are ya, Marcus?"

There was a smile about Lance-Corporal Marcus Jobe of the Black Guard of Etzos. Buried somewhere in the shadows and the hair. He could see it, white and yellow teeth slashed into flesh like a knife wound... but there was no light from the man's eyes. No amusement. No mirth. The more he looked for it and the less he saw, the more he realized it was a snarl.

"You're the sort of cunt that cuts up people for no reason. Which I'd have no truck with in the usual run of things, fucking lunatics like you running around hurting folks just because you feel like it..." The man squatted down. "But you? Hiding behind that armor, that oath? And not even doing anything interesting with it? No real scams, no rackets, nothing clever. Nothing inventive. Just acting like a fucking animal and laughing while those girls cried over what you did to them."

There was the sound of sloshing liquid. Marcus' eyes grew wide when he realized the liter bottle didn't smell like alcohol. It smelled worse.

He started to thrash like a madman when Kasoria began pouring the lamp oil over him.

"She was a good woman," he said, words a calm, indifferent monotone as he marinaded Marcus in the stinking liquid. Watched him shit and piss all over the floor with no clothes to hide the spewing mechanics of his body. Watched him wriggle and squirm and throw mutated shadows in that ash-stained room. Watched and felt nothing but cold, steady satisfaction. "I made sure she didn't suffer. Dead before she knew it. But you?"

He got up, he walked to the lamp, he picked it up, and he turned around. Then he waited. Long enough for Marcus to stare at him with his body shining from crown to toes. Long enough for him to realize and imagine what was about to happen to him. Tears started to leak out of his eyes, this big, tough man who'd cut hardworking girls to ribbons for laughing at his undersized pizzle.

"Well... now you know why. See you in hell, Marcus."

The bound man screamed so wide and loud that the gag may as well not have been there. The sound was like a fireball behind a thick door: muted, but still scorching to the ears, and a trill after the blazing lamp shattered on top of him-

Kasoria stepped back and shielded his face with his hand. Breaks in the gloom and darkness had dimmed his eyes, made them weak against the sudden blaze that seemed to leap out at them. Marcus was writhing hard enough now to break his bonds, agony and terror giving him strength... and the flames burning away the cloth binding him, of course. His lips melted along with the gag, and a shriek seemed to issue from his mouth without them, or a tongue, or even a throat. He reached for Kasoria even as his flesh seared from his bones, limbs burning down to muscle, greasy spots of fat sliding down his frame and onto the floor.

The killer circled him, watching, face unsmiling. Marcus could no longer see him, no longer try to drag him into the inferno with him. The more he thrashed the more the flames found new morsels to devour, and soon he was blackened and still, one last great shudder ending with a sob that the fire muted entirely. Kasoria watched until the smoke became too much... but until he could see bone starting to gleam through the charred flesh, too.

No-one will be putting a name to that anytime soon.

He stepped out of the doorway into the tunnel, greasy smoke already pouring out the top and puffing along the ceiling. He would have ducked low, but when a man was five-three at the most... well, it was unneeded. He walked away and left the fire to eat itself, consuming flesh and hair and organs and fat until there was no food left for it, and it starved into embers and smoke.

He'd been there before, after all. He'd made people vanish before. Not just die, murdered to be found fresh and wet that night, or bloated and stiff days or seasons later... but just go, as if the city itself swallowed them.

That was what the letter called for, and Kasoria could guess why.
"This is the life we choose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see Heaven."
User avatar
Kasoria
Approved Character
Posts: 352
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:34 am
Race: Human
Profession: Scratcher
Renown: +225
Character Sheet
Prophets' Notes
Plot Notes
Templates

Contribution

RP Medals

Bone and Metal, Blood and Fire

Sun May 06, 2018 2:37 am

Image
"They didn't want a fuss. The Blackguard, I mean. Rather than have a trial, or an inquiry, about one of their own being a raping, mutilating, sadistic sack of shit, it would just be easier for the fucker to... disappear. I don't know for sure and I'm not going to ask, but I thought-

"I don't care."

The voice was so small. So fragile. There wasn't even a tone of anger or bitterness in it anymore, just an airless, lifeless quality, like the words were pushed out from lungs that resented even having to form them. Kasoria stilled his tongue and flicked a glance at the woman by the window. She was sitting in a wooden chair, peering outside through the crack in a curtain. Just a crack, mind. She didn't want anyone to know she was watching.

She said she didn't want to scare the children again.

The assassin sighed and rubbed his face, at a loss. Oh, a fine man he was. Give him the name of some mountain-with-hair, maybe a few of his mates, and he'd take them apart like a cat would a nest of mice. Do a bloody good job of it, too. Give him a man welshing on his debts, or being stubborn wit Mister Vorund, oh, and he'd straighten the fuckers out. They'd lose a finger or three, but never would their condition be repeated. But now, in that shabby little room next door to Lydia's, smelling of soap and rubbing alcohol and wounds that weren't healing, he was lost.

But not nearly as lost as her.

"They won't find him, is why I'm telling you," he continued, choosing his words carefully. Something soft and furry rubbed against his legs, but when he reached down to pet it, the cat was gone. Swanning off to jump in her lap. Purring. Affectionate. Her hands moved... quickly, it seemed. As if the love from this little creature was so important to her. "I didn't want you to think he'd fled the city, or had been forgotten, or was still out on the cobbles-"

There was a laugh like old leaves being crushed. Dry and lifeless and bleak.

"You think he'll come back? My days on my back are over."

She turned. Just enough that he could see fresh contours and valleys where once there were features. Red and stark and pitted with stitches.

"Or couldn't you tell?"

Kasoria had seen worse. He'd done worse. He'd even thought, in idle moments, that a face marked with scars wasn't the worst that could happen to him. That's why the Fates made whores, after all: so even ugly bastards could shoot their seed into something other than their hands. But women were different? Especially this kind of woman. He'd not met many working girls who were still on the cobbles or filling brothel beds into their forties or fifties. It was a step, a phase, a process of making good money, which you invested into something else. If a woman had wit and charm and looks (especially that last one), why not use them in a city where commerce was so warmly embraced?

Bree had all of those things. Marcus had taken the last. He'd carved it off her face as if she were a festival boar over a spit. The first two... he could see how much they had shrunk, withered, retreated, once she'd seen her face in a mirror and realized her life was over.

There were bandages around her wrists. Two trials ago she'd tried to open her wrists, so Lydia said. Now one of the girls was in the house with her at all times. The madam looked after her girls, even if she was firm with them. But they all knew that the oldest profession was no longer Bree's so, she couldn't be in the brothel.

She'd been cast out like a leper, cut out like a tumor. Shuffled into this cramped, simple abode that Lydia hadn't gotten around to making into something more... appealing. Now it was perfect for the woman by the window. Stroking the cat with mechanical fingers. Lips parted as she stared out at a world that would not be kind with her.

Kasoria remembered his sister. A wound all but itself, where mortal eyes could not see. Deep and always open within him. He got to his feet, knowing with pure, unshakable certainty that Lilith would not be afraid of this girl. So he would be brave like her, strong like her, and move soft as her ghost across the cheap carpet. When he was next to her, looking down at the craters and atrocity that Marcus' blade had done... he would speak.

"He paid for what he did, Bree," he said softly, as she turned, realizing that he was next to her, looking at her. "He won't-"

"No! Don't!" The cat mewled and leaped and she was up a moment later, voice a screech rank with madness. "DON'T LOOK AT ME! DON'T LOOK AT ME! DONTLOOKDONTLOOKDONTLOOK-!"

"Fucking Fates, man, what are you doing?!"

Bree's melted decimation of a face was inches from his and her voice filled his ears and he was stunned and sickened and sorrowful and the door flew open and the other whore was there and it all happened in trills so fast he was sputtering apologies as she grabbed his arm-

-and the other whore yanked him away, him letting her lead him as Bree became smaller, sinking down into the floor as if she wished it to swallow her, raking her face with her nails until there was blood in her tears. Every word cracking with anguish as she cried.

"Don't look at meeeeeeeee!"

"Bree, Bree, love, come here, now..."

He stood outside the door with his hat in his hands and watched the girl talk to one who was no longer listening. No longer even there. She rocked back and forth on her haunches and she sobbed into her arm and would not speak to her friend. The light from that single slash of sunlight fell and departed as she went. The cat squatted in one corner, eyes bright and curious and pitiless. Kasoria closed his eyes for just a moment and-

You can't do anything here. You can't help her. Stupid of you to come.

He left without another word. There were none fit to speak.

Thanks to Rumor for the template
"This is the life we choose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see Heaven."
User avatar
Alistair
Approved Character
Posts: 2265
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:12 pm
Race: Human
Profession: Doctor
Renown: +520
Character Sheet
Prophets' Notes
Plot Notes
Player Review
Personal Journal
Letters

Bone and Metal, Blood and Fire

Sun May 13, 2018 10:11 pm

Image
Kasoria


Knowledge
Endurance: Fighting Through a Helmet Head Butt
Intelligence: Communicating Via. Coded Whistles
Politics: Sometimes It's Better for All Parties if a Troublesome Subject Just... Vanishes
Unarmed Combat (Ki'Enaq): Stomp Kick
Unarmed Combat (Ki'Enaq): Leg Sweep
Unarmed Combat (Ki'Enaq): Neutralize Sword Arm by Striking Elbow

NPC Marcus Jobe: Sadist, Rapist, Mutilator, Blackjack, Died Screaming and Aflame
NPC Bree: Former Whore, Broken By Marcus
Etzos Underground: Perfect Place to Make People Vanish
NPC Vorund: Contacts With the Blackguard
Etzos Blackguard: Better One Disgusting Blackjack Die in Silence, Than The Whole Order Be Tainted By Him

Loot: N/A
Injuries: N/A
Renown: Slight (+5)

Points 10

Comments: Lol, if anyone deserves unarmed combat knowledges it's you! So detailed, descriptive... and deadly, brutal. Kasoria's threads are so distinct from everyone else's; they're all a pleasure to read, and they really immerse me in a more underworld setting. Much love~
Post Reply

Return to “Etzos”