• Graded • Sugar Rush

Tirta and Paplo learn just how strong Vuda truly is.

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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Tirta
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Wed Feb 01, 2017 3:42 am

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45th of Zi'da, 716
12th Break
Tirta stepped out of the portal that one of Vuda's men had created for them to get back to Foster's Landing. She was dressed in her white crop top and parachute pants with her cutlass draped by the bit of rope at her waist. As she stepped from the warmth of the hospital into the brisk cold, she realized exactly how cold it was in Etzos. Maybe she should have looked into lifting a coat while she had been near people. For now, she would simply have to deal with it. As long as she could get back to her ship, she would be fine. All she had to do was get to the next city and start over. The malice of Etzos had already taken enough from her. A few steps away from the portal, she stopped, staring down towards the docks. Paplo would be behind her, having been caught up in her next adventure.

"On second thought, feel free to try. I give you permission to make the effort, but NOT permission to leave. I'll send Mr. Ynush with you, so he can see the level of power arrayed against him. Perhaps he will learn to shut his mouth, when I have not asked for his input!"

Tirta looked down at her right hand, where the metal ring shaped to look like chain links clung to her finger. Her gaze moved from it to her left hand, where a bandage had been placed around her wrist and pinky finger. She was now missing her small finger after having it removed to be used as a totem by another mage. The top two bones, ligaments, tissue, and skin had been expertly removed by Dr. Kevorkian himself. That man had happily removed her finger without pain medication. Tirta shuddered at the memory. The pain still pulsated beneath the bandage.

"Hurry up," Tirta said absently, starting to head down the slope towards the docks. "We need to prove this bastard wrong, and quickly. I hope you are ready to learn how to sail, since you are supposed to accompany me like some sort of watch dog."
Approximately half a break later, they were on the docks. She practically ran to the location where she had tied up her boat. Thankfully, it was still docked and seemed to be untouched. Tirta ran her hand against the hull as she passed along its side. The ropes were in place, the knots the same as she had left him. Deftly, she pulled herself over the side, landing gently in the small sloop. She looked up to Paplo, smiling. "Come aboard. The Sweet Tooth welcomes any friend of mine. Watch your step landlubber. I'm sure you don't have sea legs yet."

She busied herself untying one of the ropes, right at home on the softly rocking vessel. Her mood had changed drastically since the hospital. Tirta could feel the water again. Her bond had been repaired, just as Vuda had promised. Now she just needed to take her freedom and run, ring in hand.
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Last edited by Tirta on Thu Feb 09, 2017 2:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Kovic
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Wed Feb 08, 2017 7:13 pm

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Paplo, although smiling, felt afraid these moments. The factors of his fear were many, be it Vuda’s challenge, the many eyes he had caught watching the pair, or heading out into into open sea. Having been following after the female like a dog, Paplo had managed to conclude only one thing; she was psychologically unwell. Be it the trauma of her crimes, the abandonment of her element, Vuda’s abuse, or the loss of her finger, it all pointed towards mental instability. As such, her smile, although returned by the black suited male, he assumed to be a farce..
“Coming aboard,” he announced.

The Mortalborn found trouble in maintaining his balance, perhaps a bit too much, for his shoe stepped on a wet patch, the flat sole providing little traction. The male slipped, and what grace he displayed shattered as hard as his face slammed against the small rail of the sloop. The impact was harsh and dry, and it hurt even further than it looked. Fortunately, it had landed on the male’s teeth, which somehow resisted shattering.

Paplo quickly stood up, a hand wrapped around his mouth, blue eyes gaping towards Tirta. Not the best way to inspire confidence about his capacity to sail, which despite being minimal, was still fakeable.
“Ouch,” he said. After an awkward pause, he giggled.

After his humor died out, the male removed his shoes and rolled up his pants. Afterwards, he removed his jacket and rolled up his sleeves - something he would surely regret, for the cold was severe and the winds were frequent and he lacked a cloak. Fantasies invaded his mind, which dreamt of simpler clothing rather than his one suit, attire he desperately tried to protect despite being involved in many dire situations with it.
“I’ve boarded vessels before, yet I’ve never been part of the deck crew,” he spoke. “But I’m a fast learner, so just say the word, Captain, and I’ll do whatever needs doing.”

The sloop was a small sized vessel. In consequence, its movements were easily noticed. The rocking of the boat, the gentle impact of the waves, and the few droplets that sometimes landed on his features shook the male in terror. He couldn’t help but imagine how easy he would sink were he to fall, fact he managed to partially hide. However, his superb care in his step, and the hands that often lingered around different points of the ship spoke of how much he attempted to avoid any misstep.
“Before we begin, I’d like to apologize about lying to you. I vowed to you I worked for no other party, and whilst that remains true, I must admit that part of my actions worked in the favor of Vuda.” Small and simple, Paplo shrugged. “By the way, do you have something to eat? I never got the chance to eat breakfast, so…”
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Thu Feb 09, 2017 2:38 am

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Tirta was keeping the corner of her vision and about just as much of her thoughts on Paplo as he boarded her ship. She was mostly concerned about getting out of Etzos as quickly as possible, so her main focus was untying the knots and releasing the sloop from its moorings. She was just about done when he slipped, startling her enough to stop what she was doing and turn to him. A head wound would have been severe had his teeth not taken the brunt of it. Even so, her jaw hurt from the thought. Her sloop may have been small, but all wood used to build ships was generally thick and hearty. Tirta ran her tongue over her teeth before clicking it. "Careful. Don't want to break that pretty face of yours."

She finished the last knot, pushing gently against the dock to provide a wee bit of distance between her vessel and the pier. Just before she pulled herself back, she managed to catch a glimpse of the water beneath. It lapped against the thick, wood columns that supported the docks, slapping them gently with the tide. She allowed herself a brief second to reach out with her ether, to see if she could feel the water like she had before. For a moment, there was nothing. Then, there was something. It was cool and fluid, the bond between her and the water. Tirta sighed, releasing her grip on her ether before pulling herself back onto the boat. "You won't need to do much of anything Paplo. I'm a mage that deals with water and a sailor to boot. I have managed this ship by myself for arcs now." Tirta chuckled, sweeping past him.

She was just about to get behind the helm when he spoke about lies. At first, she had hoped to ignore that the whole situation had taken place. Instead, it seemed he wanted to be bold and address it now. "What is done is done, Paplo. We all lie. I just hope this is the last time I find you lying to me." She waved her bandaged hand dismissively before looking over her shoulder with a playful, quirky smile. Certainly it was a stretch to ask for complete transparency, but Tirta was naive and hopeful. She fully intended to continue lying, cheating, and stealing as long as it benefited her. "As for food. I should have some dried rations somewhere. Check the chest below deck."

If, and when, he went below deck, he would find that the cabin was small, just enough to a small table, hammock, chair, and chest. There was not much inside the chest. Several plates and eating knives, a rolled up map, toiletries, spyglass, tinderbox, and the rations she had mentioned before. Even if he wanted to snoop, he wouldn't have much to work with. Tirta did not have a lot to her name. While he was below deck, she took the help. The sail was tied down, giving her complete control over the ship as the current sucked it away from the pier. Tirta closed her eyes, enjoying the roll of the ship on the waves as she reached her ether out. She was careful as she reached for her bond with the ocean, somewhat hesitant that the way she had used the ocean before had been an extreme stresser upon their relationship. She did not push at the current or suggest that it move a specific way. Tirta simply wanted to know which way it was going. In and out, it seemed to breath against the dock. Slowly, she moved the wheel so that the rudder of the ship would resist the current and guide the nose away from the dock and nearby ships. Soon, they were away and headed for open water.

"Did you find them?"
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Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:24 pm

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The Mortalborn did not find much to loot within the vessel’s interior. He was somewhat surprised at the size of the cabin within, having been expecting something smaller due to the dimensions of the boat. It seemed cozy and appropriate for a vessel designed to be handled alone, and Paplo liked it. He looked where he was told, and after ruffling through the chest, he found two boxes of diverse items wrapped in papers and tied with a small cord, which he assumed were the rations. He dug some more, yet found no more of them, something that troubled him. Perhaps this experiment would be over soon, and he could return home to sleep. Testing Vuda’s would be somewhat pointless, for not knowing aggrandized his power.

Paplo lingered below deck for a few brief moments more than he required. There were no wind currents within the cabin, and it not being exactly warm, it felt much better than the exposed deck. It wasn’t until Tirta’s words that he didn’t surface onto the daylight.
“I did, thanks,” he said, offering the second ration to her, glancing towards her bandaged hand. “You should eat, Captain.”

The teacher hadn’t realized they were already on the move, for the docks have been left behind. The bay slowly drifted away, or it seemed too, for Paplo always imagined land moved and the vessel remained still. With every wave they conquered, the more uneasy he felt with whatever it was that would come. His eyes found the female’s frame once again, watching her work in silence.
“I’ve never been fond of boats,” he confessed. “However, the Sweet Tooth looks very cozy. I wouldn’t mind having a ship of my own one day, similar to this one. Would you be willing to teach me how to sail?”

Now, the male retreated to the entrance of the cabin, where he leaned his derriere against the wood, fingers nimbly unpacking the rations. Below the envelope he found some wrapped beef jerky, some meat in tomato within a jar, a variety of dried fruits which included apricot and peaches, fruit bars that reeked of lemon, some hard biscuits, and what appeared to be hard candy.
“Forgot the cutlery,” he sighed, re-entering the vessel only to resurface shortly after. He’d offer a spoon to the female before opening his jar and delighting on the meat.

His eyes, however, laid atop the dried fruits, which he craved for quite intensely. Fruit was absolutely the best.
“What do you think is going to happen?”
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Sun Feb 12, 2017 4:35 am

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Kovic did not know how his questioned would be answered. Vuda was no sailor, this was primarily why he was determined to secure Tirta's obedience. She was a woman of the sea, with no pressing debts or duties to anyone else. She could therefore devote her time to his pursuits without the genuine draw of obligation that might counter the empathic hold he had on her through the ring. As long as her time was free, it was his to dominate.

The sailor Vuda now consulted with had many such duties in Foster's Landing, so his obligations would have made the ring largely ineffective. But he was not so constrained as to be unable to sit and give an estimate of how long it would take Tirta and Ynush to set sail into the bay. Vuda knew they had ruptured to the port, so there was no serious travel time to consider. And she certainly had no desire to wait to set sail. Vuda had probably not needed to add the "command" to leave in her boat. It would not have taken hold yet even if he had. He was not yet wearing the matching ring to the one he'd manipulated the woman into wearing.

She would still be unable to bring herself to remove her ring, but other commands required his connection, regardless of whether he'd issued them previously or not. "Oh, let's give them a little more time, Sheb." Vuda said amiably as the two shared another drink, toasting their successes.

They engaged in a bit of small talk for a short while as food was brought to their table. Vuda was a man that liked to get out and about the city streets from time to time, to better gauge the mood of the citizenry. 'Second-hand reports were second-rate reports,' he liked to say.

The food gave him the idea he was searching for. He'd thought of simply imposing a wall of refusal at some point, to which she would simply insist on turning around, no matter what anyone said. But she might rationalize a reason that made enough sense to make it unclear that it was his control at work. And he'd told Paplo to see if he could talk her into resisting his control, the better to let him know what he was up against as well. He slipped the matching ring on his finger...

"I wonder...have you met my man Paplo, Sheb?" The other man's expression turned somewhat sickly. Vuda chuckled softly. "Yes, that's the one. Do you know what causes that...degeneration?" the sailor shook his head, still chewing on a bite of mutton, clearly apprehensive about why the chief adviser was bringing the subject of the afflicted minion up at all.

Vuda eased back in his seat, his plate momentarily ignored, "Lack of food. The man has a freakishly swift digestion or something. He needs to eat impressive amounts of food, and rather frequently as well, or he sort of...eats himself...from within or something. I can not help but wonder if our dear Tirta has brought enough food along on her little excursion."

He took a leisurely bite, washing it down with his wine, "She is not aware of this affliction of his. I'd rather like it to remain that way for now. In fact..." he said pointedly, "I believe she should sail back to the Landing and stock up on more food." He seemed to finger the ring absentmindedly as he said this. "Yes, I rather think she should become aware of her need to return for more food."
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Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:13 pm

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The current was pulling the boat out to see. She lifted the dangling box next to the ship's wheel, popping the compass open. It was time to head east. Straight out of Foster's Bay. Once they were far enough into the bay, she would check the wind pattern and open up the sails. Wherever the winds took them was where they would go. Battling against the winds would make their journey longer, and that was not something she was interested in. She just wanted to get out of her and soon.

Suddenly she sneezed. Her body was jolted forward at the abrupt onset. That was odd. It wasn't dusty out here. She didn't necessarily feel cold, but then again, she still hadn't looked into a cloak either. Was she getting sick? He came up with the boxed rations at that time. Food actually sounded pretty decent at this time. She left the helm after checking the compass again and looking the dangling rope around the wheel to keep them on a straight course. Tirta took the offered ration, sitting on the barrel next to the door. While she dug through the box, he went to get the utensils. When did she get spoons? Maybe she had procured them along the way. Last she had checked, she just had eating knives. Ah well. She took the offered utensil, setting it next to her. The rations had similar items with a different twist in each box. Her fruit bar was blueberry and her dried fruit included banana chips and peaches. She picked up the jerky, giving it a sniff. One time she had gotten something that had been awfully spicy and she had not been inclined to eat one again. This was smell normal, with a lot less tang. She started with that first.

"Sure, I'll teach you how to sail with your ship. I don't teach people to sail my ship. The Sweet Tooth is my girl and I wouldn't put her in a landlubber's hands. No offense of course." Just as she was about to take another bite, she sneezed again. She manage to save the box, but the jerky was loosed from her hands. It fell onto the deck and rolled idly away from her. "Oh for U'frek's sake!"

Tirta bounced off the barrel, setting the box next to the canned meat to retrieve her jerky. She picked it up and rubbed it against her pants. After all, food was food. Suddenly it dawned on her. "Speaking of, how many rations did I have down there?"

The ring tingled on her finger and she gave it an absentminded rub with her thumb.
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Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:52 pm

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Paplo ate absently from his jar of meat, which he found tasted quite delicious compared to his standard, raw and fresh meat. Adding a bit of salt was already quite the improvement of taste, yet now it wasn’t only salt what he tasted, but also black pepper, some sort of vegetable oil, and inferior cooking skills he nonetheless appreciated. The texture was appealing, for the sauce was not too thick nor too thin. So appealing, truly, that the male couldn’t help but let out a small moan upon flickering his tongue upon the mysteriously-present spoon, cutlery whose origins none of the crew could explain. The teacher made an effort to eat slowly and delight on the food rather than just pushing it down his throat, a challenging task for something like himself. So focused he was in his manners that Paplo forgot how much his teeth ached from his fall.
“None taken,” replied Paplo to the female’s response. Having no true interest in sailing, he’d need to find a different sort of activity both of them could practice in order to grow closer. Maybe dissing Vuda would work. “It’s a shame our employer doesn’t pay. I would’ve managed to buy said boat much faster were it not for his desire of cheap labor.”

Unlike Tirta, Paplo took very good care of his own food, so much that, the moment the female’s jerky flew to the deck, the Mortalborn wrapped his hands tightly around his ration, as if suddenly the waves would rise in attempts of stealing this little charade of a meal. Those calm and educated manners of his ended, for now he ate like a rodent, barely letting the spoon kiss the air as he basically poured the can within his maws. Furthermore, his eyes flew to the sides, suspiciously, paranoidly, as if the waves were to truly attempt a robbery. Thankfully, Tirta’s presence avoided this lapse of judgement to last too long.
“Oh, ugh,” he muttered, raising his almost-empty can of meat. “These two were the last ones, unless you’ve hidden some under the bed.”

Considering her bed was actually a hammock, perhaps she’d notice the hint of humour behind said statement.

Even if stil chasing some meager jesting, Paplo was worried. Vuda had made a promise, issued a challenge. What would it entail, however? Would the waves rise and block the way out of the bay? Would the boat simply sink? Vuda was a powerful individual. The first time Paplo had met him, the mortal born was captured and tossed in a cell owned, apparently, by Vuda himself. One little mistake, one missing meal, had made him go insane with hunger, and before he realized it, he had been eating through the Etzori crowds. Thankfully, it was only a whore what he had eaten. He still remembered he reasoning for this; she sold her body as a good, and Kovic had made it clear he'd get his money's worth of the good she sold. Even so, the whole problem began with the fact that Vuda knew about his... condition. From that moment forward, Paplo had been slowly trying to work his way behind Vuda, so that a knife could plunge into his neck and the secret of Paplo's monstrous nature could die with the Advisor.

Tirta could be used. Even if they didn't have much of a connection for now, Paplo would work his magic on her, so that she could serve as a surrogate for Kovic's betrayal. She was a mage, and Vuda wanted mages. Perhaps she could either convinced or manipulated to do Paplo's dirty work, to bury the secret she would never expect from such a fine man the Mortalborn played to be. Even he didn't realized that he needed her more than she needed him, and seldom were the ocassions when this happened. The teacher often felt in control. However, whenever he recalled Vuda, he wondered if the advisor could see right into his head. Perhaps he knew what Paplo was trying, and so he'd kill them both just to be sure the insurrection never happened. Perhaps he'd turn Tirta against him, and be there to witness how Paplo, once again, made a mistake he'd have to pay.
Last edited by Kovic on Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Sat Mar 03, 2018 5:06 pm

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Name: Kovic

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Injuries: A throbbing jaw for the next two trials.
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Points: 15
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Comments: First, thank you so much for your patience with this thread review! Second, I'm so sorry to see that this was unable to be completed. I remember reading part one of this story, and it was such a promising start to an epic plot involving Vuda, Kovic, and Tirta. It's also a really cool opportunity for Maltruism to showcase Vuda's powers - which are truly quite terrifying.

There are few lines of yours I want to call out because I really enjoyed them:
"...for Paplo always imagined land moved and the vessel remained still."
"...the mysteriously-present spoon, cutlery whose origins none of the crew could explain..."
"Those calm and educated manners of his ended, for now he ate like a rodent..."
"Furthermore, his eyes flew to the sides, suspiciously, paranoidly, as if the waves were to truly attempt a robbery."

Love the imagery! Looking forward to reading more of your threads in future.

If you feel I've missed anything or if you have questions about your review, please don't hesitate to send me a quick PM. Thanks!
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