Shedding Some Light [Adrienna]

The Rhakriis snare a delegation

A blistering desert that stretches for hundreds of miles around Nashaki, with very little relief from the baking heat.

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Shedding Some Light [Adrienna]

Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:12 am

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Shedding Some Light [Adrienna]
5th Trial of Cylus, Arc 717
In the more temperate zone of the Crescent Peninsula, where the city of Athart dominated, Eddrick had never really felt the cold season's sudden impact as he did now in the Hotlands. The irony was not lost on him. The fact of inland climate dynamics had as much to do with it as did himself having grown accustomed to the dry extremes of heat in the desert lands to the east. The Rhakrii Raiders generally did their runs in the eastern portion, and then returned to their stronghold in the west, where it was actually slightly warmer in the cold season and cooler in the hot season.

This time though, their mission was near their stronghold. Eddrick would not normally choose to pursue a heist in such close proximity. But this was not a case of plunder. This was politics. This was pervasive. This was priority. It had the potential to tie many odd and random details of Eddrick's experiences into a profound and lucrative package. A number of peculiarities had strings attached to distant events and causes, and the answers and advantages could all be here for the taking. This could be a revelation, and Eddrick was not going to let it slip by.

He'd received word that the scouting escort would put up no fight. Naturally, he was not inclined to take this at face value. But that bridge had already been crossed. One of these men, a man speaking in accents consistent with a native of Athart, had already sold out the route of bypass that this delegation intended to make use of. Watchful and suspicious, Eddrick sent his own scouts ahead to watch for ambushes, but they had all returned with the "all-clear" signal.

The scout from the delegation had asked only that he and the other scouts be allowed their freedom after the betrayal of the delegation. It gave a caution to Eddrick's belief that there was something afoot with this deal. He had no idea why these men seemed so eager to give their party up. If they were truly from Athart, it was almost as if they wanted the war to become some prolonged affair. He could only assume that the Athartian slavers were making a haul on enslaved refugees.

He reasoned that since Nashaki chose to indulge in the slave trade, they had no right to complain when they were on the receiving end of it. Slavery was no longer his problem. The Rhakriis did not engage in that trade, and usually freed them when they came across them; those that did not join their ranks in gratitude at any rate. but there was something puzzling about this. Well, that would be just one more question he could have answered when he put these delegate to the question.

He did not expect them to be particularly spineless men. Nor did he expect them to die before spilling their secrets. He'd seen many men, women and children branded with slave emblems. They all had screamed and offered all they had to be spared. He looked at his collection of irons and figured these politicians would do the same; offering up information instead of material wealth. He would tell them it was all about ransom. That would lead them to believe there would be a reason to keep them healthy and unharmed. Well, life was full of surprises...

Now the jaws of the trap were set. Theses scouts must be mercenary after all. Either that or fools. They were leading the delegation to the exact narrows the man had said. A rock slide in front of them, a dozen men to target any trying to retreat over the bridge a mile behind them, and another dozen on the high cliffs along the kill zone should convince the delegation to surrender. If not, Eddrick knew his men were competent enough with their bows to deliver only disabling shots. He didn't want his prizes killed before they could give up their intelligence.
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Shedding Some Light [Adrienna]

Sat Feb 18, 2017 6:40 pm

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She could still sense it. The subtle shifts in the air as the tension of importance followed them from the caves. This was to be yet another ambush. Or so she was told. Sometimes, she figured that others might just speak to her in simpler terms because of her lack of Common. The inability to communicate properly irritated her many times. Yet, even though she was told this would be another ordinary job, through the blanket of self-interest, Adrienna picked up on certain subtleties. Not many as her time with the Raiders has been short so far to fully grasp the habits of the faction, but she was fast to learn and faster to clock things.
They were to intercept a delegation. The knowledge of it was easily accessible. News travelled fast even across the sands to remote locations such as their caves. Although Adrienna still was not familiar with the channels that the information got passed around through, it was not surprising when it popped up on their radar. There were many opportunities in capturing people of such importance. Silks they wore was just an icing on the cake. Ransom was the first idea that sprung to her mind. Along with the order to not kill or lethally injure anyone, it seemed almost reasonable to believe. Yet, even though she has been with the order for but a season, kidnapping anyone just did not feel as part of the faction's strategies.
The Raiders were mobilised and organised as per usual ambush plans, but what was the intent behind eluded Adrienna and raised curiosity as well as suspicion in her. She knew little of Eddrick's past. She was not one for stories as they were more often than not blew out of proportions. She would much rather go to the source, but chances did not permit her yet to have that conversation with Eddrick, nor did Adrienna have any particular reason to pry into his past.
Now, she was stationed near the bridge with few more bandits on either of her sides, ready to step in the way of anyone who'd want to make a run for it. As they were safely hidden from sight when the delegation passed, the air was still, save for the steps of the horses and a quiet conversation of some of the delegates. Adrienna had her eyes closed as she listened to the mass pass by. Even in the breezy weather a light whiff of the sweat of the horses was carried through the air. Crinkling her nose, she did not move otherwise lest the animals would be alerted. After all, she would not be surprised if they picked up on an oddity further down the path, but then it'd be too late for any of them to escape.
Whispers to her right of those she was to call comrades but felt little to no attachment to then alerted her that the delegation has passed far enough for them to emerge from their hiding. Silently, they shifted to watch their targets, moving around to be stationed with an advantage that cut off the escape route. The trap was moving like the body of a snake coiling around its prey's body, ready to devour it.
"Lorien"
"Common"
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Shedding Some Light [Adrienna]

Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:55 am

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Eddrick sent his hawk, Arrow, over the heads of the train of riders. The first pass would alert them. This did not matter, they were already in the trap. The second pass of the hawk would do more to display the disposition of the escort squad. He had to smile with the confirmation of their collaboration, as not a bow was raised against Arrow.

Eddrick waved to the south, and Arrow responded, drawing the eyes of the target away from the immediate threat, which he now triggered with a wave to the northen squad. Lines were pulled, slipping carefully-placed pegs from beneath logs that held back a rock slide of gathered boulders. There were not enough of them held back by the logs to block the trail, but as they rolled into the ravine they dislodged twice again their number to settle in a roar of crashing and a cloud of dust.

Eddrock smiled anew at the futile threats rising from the trapped entourage. It was, after all, only the leaders that would be foolishly self-important enough to flaunt their impotent authority this way. It only made things easier, having the diplomats reveal themselves this way. The others sat quietly atop their mounts, hands on weapons. It was to be expected.

"I would like to express my gratitude, worthy gentlemen, for your cooperation." Eddrick called down to them from the ridge top. He waved to the half dozen men taking up the rear of the party, "You've done your part as agreed, good sirs. I give you leave to depart. You know who to contact about the rest of your payment."

Even from the top of the slope, you could see reddened outrage color the face of the fanciest of the men-at-arms. He was a well-known and respected bodyguard, frequently used by the towers to protect their members. He roared a litany of profanity as he turned his horse to pursue the departing mercenaries. Eddrick laughed at the spectacle, knowing the man would most likely die at the hands of the men he now vilified as traitors. There were, of course, a select few back in Nashaki that knew what had been destined to become of this diplomatic party. Eddrick had let it be assumed that ransom was the purpose of this interception. But truly that was the lowest priority of all.

Not that he was particularly concerned if Nashaki came to believe the Rhakriis were expanding into kidnappings and ransoms. They could just add that to the reprisals they could assume came from their withholding of the amnesty they had promised the previous arc. No it was more that those who knew what the game truly was, were the ones with the most to lose. And it would either be the Rhakriis or the headman's axe to whom they would lose it.

Eddrick eased his poko down the steep side of the ravine. Only those who rode with him on the back of the insect came down with him. There was no real threat of attack by the silken-clad emissaries. And with Grovallo, the bodyguard, rampaging towards the bridge, the diplomats knew they were on their own. But Eddrick had several men on poko-back with him, so Grovallo had not been a real concern anyway.

The insect skittered up to the silk-shaded wagon, the horses drawing it becoming uneasy around the big bug. As a cousin to the notorious Sand-Lion, it was understandable. The Nashaki delegation sneered as one, their heads lifting in defiance almost if choreographed. "So, we are to be ransomed, pig?" the apparent leader asked, spitting on the ground for emphasis.

"Actually, the name is Eddrick, sir, but I suppose that after we fought at the Claypan with the understanding that we would receive amnes-..." Eddrick began before being cut off.

"There will never be amnesty for pigs!" he hissed. he sat there with a look of vindication immediately after his outburst. This proud look began to wane in the face of Eddrick's extended glare. The bandit stood slowly, stepping down from the back of the poko, his eyes locked with the delegate. The other men made subtle efforts to create a bit of space between the diplomat and the bandit as Eddrick walked to where the reins stretched across the backs of the horses tied to the wagon.

He waved his companions over and they took a few bits to untie the hitch. Eddrick cut the far end of the reins off where they connected to the horses' yoke, and suddenly turned to swing it like a whip at the offending dandy. In truth, it was only because the man put his hand up in reflex that Eddrick struck him. The man hissed in pain clutching his welted hand. "You BEAST!" he snarled, following up with a retreating motion as Eddrick launched himself onto the ornate buckboard to grab him by the beard and lift him to his feet.

"Then there will be no Imp-cursed amnesty for you either!" he shouted in the quailing man's face before driving his fist hard into the man's stomach. Normally, he'd follow that up with a knee to the face, but opted instead to propel the man face-first off the raised seat into the dirt. The man was still choking for air as Eddrick landed beside him. He stuck his foot under the delegate's shoulder and put some spinning leverage into kicking him over onto his back to face up into the bright sun.

Eddrick leaned over to block the sun, making a shadow of his face with the sun behind it. "Ransom works best when there's a few less-important oafs to kill first as object lessons to the rest of the hostages, as well as those who will be paying. And I happen to know you are not as important as you make yourself out to be!"

Eddrick waved up to his men, still positioned with bows atop the ridge, "Guard them. Shoot any that try to leave the wagon." Then he turned back to the now-cringing diplomat, with a smile colder than the Cylus night. "My friend here has a little appointment with the bridge."
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Shedding Some Light [Adrienna]

Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:12 am

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An uneasy break later Eddrick returned to the unhitched wagon. One of the hostages immediately stepped forward with an air of authority. "Surely you realize that we are all honor-bound to die before revealing anything."

The Bandit gave a look that was equal parts amusement and distraction. "I don't need you to die to reveal anything. The more you people volunteer to act as if you are the man in charge, the more of you I can cross off the list of who might actually BE in charge. You're trying to protect the Head Delegate by pretending. But that's okay, I expected as much. And we'll sort this out soon enough."

A wave of his hand in the direction of the overlooking slopes brought a number of bandits down to form casual ranks. A few pointed looks were exchanged, along with a few subtle nods. Eddrick continued, "So, rather than play that game, I want you all to come with me...Now, please." Coarse shouts and a few enthusiastic shoves and kicks got the delegates moving toward the same bridge that the first delegate had not returned from.

That detail was clearly not lost on the diplomats as worried tones began to rise from their group. Demands for explanations and justice became ever more frequent. Mostly they were answered by kicks, fists or orders to 'shut up'. But now and then, Eddrick would respond with accounts of his own victimization by miscarried justice, adding that they ought to be explanation enough.

They got to the bridge, and the eyes of the delegates were all immediately drawn to the stout spike driven into one of the wooden planks, where a heavy brace ran beneath it. There was a securely tied loop of rope around this spike, the rest of the rope extending to hang over the edge of the bridge, where a fall of several hundred feet would greet any that had nothing more than gravity to keep them airborne.

Eddrick nodded to a trio of his men, who lifted the loop of rope, struggling slightly against the divided weight of the man dangling by tied ankles at the other end. Eddrick smiled patiently, "Now, those three strong men can hold your fellow delegate's weight for quite some time. But I wonder..." he said distractedly as he seemed to ponder a choice, "...how long can...YOU...hold it, all by yourself."

He pointed to one of the delegates. The man immediately paled and shrunk back as a pair of bandits dragged him to where the three men were holding the rope. They forced the loop around one his hands and shoved it up far enough up his arm that he was unable to unburden himself before the three released the weight to be handled by him alone.

He was immediately pulled off his feet and started being dragged toward the edge of the bridge. He shouted in alarm, his one unburdened arm and legs flailing ineffectually, as muffled cries could be heard coming from below the bridge as well. Two more of Eddrick's men dropped on the rope to take the burden off the man long enough for Eddrick to step up to him with an exaggerated sigh.

"You want to let him fall? He's not important enough to save? Then go ahead and free yourself from that rope. But I just want information, and maybe no one needs to die. So for now, I want you to hold that rope as long as you can while the rest of us talk, unless you feel that holding his weight is too much of an inconvenience to you. Do you understand?"

The man screamed in fury and anguish, vowing the vengeance of the gods as Eddrick and the two men helped him to his feet once again, the rope still hooked around his arm. Eddrick's tone became almost fatherly as he patted the man on the burdened arm. "Now you just do your best, when we let go of this rope, okay? Brace yourself now. You just had a good test of how much a man's dead weight is, so bear that in mind when we let go, in...three...two...one...now."

The delegate was more prepared this time, and after a brief shriek as he slid on the dry surface dirt, he managed to catch his feet and struggled to hold the weight. It took only moments for sweat to start forming on his brow. He repeatedly cast desperate looks at the diplomatic party as Eddrick just stood there watching, asking no questions.

"I thought you were going to talk!" the man gasped, "You said you wanted information! Why aren't you asking anything? I don't know how long...I can...hold this!"

Eddrick continued to look over the alarmed and calculating looks fluctuating on the faces of the unburdened members of the diplomatic party. "I AM getting information, friend. I'm finding out how long one of you politicians can handle the dead weight of one of your own, how hard you will struggle to save him, and how you will all react when you fail, which you know you ultimately will."

The man began slipping bit by bit, his breathing labored and terrified. He kept looking back for some sign of rescue. Eddrick gave him none, "There's no hurry...take your time...And don't worry, you'll have your turn at the other end of the rope soon enough. Unless someone wants to tell me who is really in charge here. I have my guess, but I'd really like confirmation."
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Shedding Some Light [Adrienna]

Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:37 pm

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One of the men who'd managed to stay relatively unnoticed up until now, stormed forth, righteous outrage blazing in his eyes. "You Monster! Does this make you feel powerful? Clever? Triumphant? Some great folk hero you are! Pitting unarmed non-combatants against each other this way. Very well! Congratulations! I am Ambassador Fillani. Head of this delegation."

The man holding the rope showed visible relief at the revelation, though not so much as to let go. But clearly he was on his last legs. Eddrick did not move, nor did he motion to any of his men to relieve the delegate of his strain. The man looked confused and the previous expression of anguish heightened, along with the tone of his voice. "What are you waiting for? He has revealed himself! Take this rope before I collapse!"

Still Eddrick made no motion, except to wave men over to stop the other delegates when they stepped forward to help their compatriot. The man holding the rope was now quivering with strain, his clothes drenched with sweat, "I - I can not...hold it...please...PLEASE!"

The Ambassador was incensed, His pacing erratic and trembling, "What more do you need? Relieve him! There's nothing more to tell! Are you so stupid that need to resort to this to get us to confess that we fear that we are losing this war, and must go to Yaralon to obtain mercenaries? Surely you're not going to debate some point of honor over the hiring of mercenaries! It is none of your affair anyway, dog!"

Now Eddrick reacted, jerking suddenly erect, his hands fluctuating between fists and claws. "None of my affair..." he sneered, "How true that is, Ambassador. But it WAS my affair when Rhakrii men joined YOUR war on YOUR side, only to have the promised amnesty denied after so many were killed. So save you flattery and your indignation for someone who has reason to care!" he turned and nodded to one of his men, who stepped forward and slugged the man with the rope hard in the stomach.

The delegate doubled over, with no chance of retaining his hold. The rope zipped over the edge of the bridge and vanished. the shocked cries of the delegation drowned out most of the muffled cry that shrieked from beneath the bridge. Several of the party fell to their knees, screaming oaths of vengeance against the Rhakriis.

The Ambassador stumbled forward in disbelief, "You...how could you? I told you what you wanted to know! Nothing will save you from Nashaki's wrath now!" His voice gained furious strength as he waved to indicate all the bandits. "We have allowed you to exist up until this day. But that is over now, you fools. You are all dead men! ALL of you! You will all burn for this! Do you think that anyone will not know who did this?"

The bandit chieftain laughed mirthlessly, "There's a vast area to check, Lord Ambassador. They may just find your smashed bodies washed ashore just south of Yaralon. And you did not tell me what I wanted to know. You did not even ask what I wanted to know. Don't you suppose that the man who told me where you were going also told me why? No Mr. Ambassador, what I want to know has nothing to do with recent events. At least, not as far as I know....yet."

Turning away from the Ambassador, he walked over to the delegate that was still huddled on the ground, gasping for breath. Standing beside him, he pointed to a different member of the delegation, "Bring another rope. Give it to him, this one is too weak to hold it, so he can be the one on the other end this time."

One of the bandits immediately went to fetch another prepared rope. The delegate on the ground looked up in terrified confusion, praying he had not heard the bandit chief correctly. Eddrick smiled and said nothing.
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Shedding Some Light [Adrienna]

Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:03 pm

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The exhausted delegate found a surprising reserve of strength, as he struggled to resist, but he was ultimately lowered over the side of the bridge with his ankles tied. Eddrick shouted down, "Quit thrashing, idiot! You'll slip loose and fall all the sooner."

The Ambassador's face was dark with fury, "What difference does it make? You're going to kill us all anyway. Maybe we should just jump, and deny you the satisfaction." Of course, there was little enthusiasm among the remaining delegates in response to this suggestion.

The blank expression on the bandit chieftain's face turned equally dark, and he strode slowly toward the diplomat, "Maybe it would...Maybe you are the one responsible for the lies that led me to this end. I could always tell myself that as I watch you fall. I can still ransom the rest of them." He was within inches when he suddenly chest-bumped the diplomat, knocking him off balance and setting himself up to be repeatedly kicked and shoved until he tumbled, screaming and groveling, within a yard of the cliff's edge.

Eddrick grabbed him by his silks and hoisted him halfway to his feet. Just a look in the direction of the emptiness brought a cry of "Mercy!" from the Ambassador. Eddrick scowled in disgust and dragged him back from the brink.

The two men's faces were only inches apart as Eddrick snarled through his teeth, "You still don't even know what I want to know. You've had several bits to ask; several as I roped up your man; several more as as I lowered him over the side. Oh, you had plenty of balls to vilify me for my actions here; to call me names and threaten revenge. But you don't give a thought to asking why. You continue to disregard that which might save you and your subordinates. Why is that, Ambassador? What is it that you're afraid I might ask?"

The bandit slammed him to the ground and took a step back, loathing written across his features. There was an odd look in the Ambassador's face now, a hesitation and an attempt to hide a grave apprehension. He was an experienced diplomat though, and covered it before the bandit could be certain of what he'd seen. "Fine then, you pig! What is that we are all dying for? What is it you want to know?"

The man holding the rope appeared to have several bits of strength left in him, so Eddrick did not relieve him. "Several arcs ago, as you may know, I was a soldier of Athart, one of their Slave Raiders." The Ambassador nodded slightly, and Eddrick continued. "I'm not sorry to be removed from them, but the manner in which it occurred left me no choice but to become what I am now. And once again, I have Nashaki to thank for it."

He looked over at the rope again, but made no move to have anyone tend to the now struggling man. "About five arcs ago, a diplomatic party, some of your bunch, came to Athart for some diplomatic thing, I don't know what it was about, but there was a woman, a Qi'ora among them. I had somewhat of a...'thing'...for this woman. But she was murdered and I was framed for it. But there were some odd details that have bothered me ever since. I've never had the chance to ask anyone who might know something. But I do now."

The delegate holding the rope was starting to ask for help, his feet randomly slipping inch by inch as he tried to find new muscles to tax with the effort. Eddrick ignored him, as did his men. The Ambassador looked up, incredulously, "What? You think I would know about a murder in Athart, five arcs ago? I was not even a member of the Tower then! I can not provide you information I do not have."

The bandit's expression did not flinch as he tapped his fist lightly to his chin, "That's too bad." he turned and nodded to one of his men. The bandit rose and walked toward the one with the rope, his fist already preparing to strike.

The Ambassador blanched in horror and tried to rise, crying "NOOO!". Eddrick shoved him back to the ground as the man screwed his eyes shut, and covered his ears against the sound of the punch and the combined screams of the remaining delegates and the echoing cry from below the edge. Tears of fear and outrage stood trembling in his eyes as he looked up into the bandit's blank face. "You...monster...There is no curse sufficient to do justice upon you."

Eddrick's face remained blank, "Get another rope."
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Shedding Some Light [Adrienna]

Sat Apr 22, 2017 4:02 am

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The casual tone of Eddrick's voice, as he recounted some of the seeming incongruities of his departure from Athart, only enraged the Ambassador as yet another aide was lowered over the side. The cries and begging of the man as his voice grew more and more distant brought Ambassador Fillani's teeth to grind in frustration and anguish. As the next man struggled with the diplomat's weight, Eddrick went on. Each time he recounted an odd detail of his accusation, he was really allowing the Ambassador an opportunity to come clean with some information to save the man. But the Head Delegate persisted in his silence.

Eddrick had already spoken of the Athartian Slave Raider friend that had obviously been surprised to see Eddrick still in Athart, even though the meeting where they'd supposedly been told of his alleged guilt, in the matter of the murdered Qi'oran diplomat, had not occurred yet. This had ultimately corresponded with the dropping of yet one more delegate over the side, as the Ambassador still refused to speak anything but curses and threats.

Then he'd brought up the inconsistency of how he'd left the woman for only a few bits by the docks where the slavers berthed. She had been expressing her displeasure with the institute of slavery, when the call to meeting had been sounded. He'd run into his friend on the way there, he said in his ongoing casual tone. "Curious how I left her only a few bits earlier, yet the news of her murder was already being whispered among the ranks."

He paced as if he was trying to work it out himself, but the scowl on Fillani's face made it obvious that he was feeling pressured to provide the answer. Eddrick went on, "Naturally I ran back, horrified to think I'd just been there, but needing to see her dead body for myself." The bandit plastered an exaggerated look of wonder across his face, "But no...her body was found drowned on the shore of the Windfall River, along with one of the Shadow Wings."

He feigned sudden realization of this being difficult to reconcile, "Hey...Wait a minute...You know, even if she'd been immediately grabbed by the Avriel, which would have been noticed, and flown up to the top of the Stone Forest to be dropped, as they like to do, it would have taken longer than it took for me to hear about her death...strange isn't it."

He counted off on his fingers distractedly, as he ignored the delegate currently burdened with the rope, "Or, if you add the time it would take to actually drown someone instead, and taking into account the avriel aversion to water..." he paused as if considering, then shook his head, "Well damn if it just doesn't add up!"

His arm slashed the air in a dismissive wave as the next man with the rope dropped to his knees in exhaustion, the weight slowly pulling him towards the edge. Eddrick displayed no interest in the delegate's struggle, "Oh well, I guess all this contradiction doesn't matter if you just dump all the blame on me, right?"

For the first time, the man with the rope spoke up, red-faced and trembling, "Why the secrecy? He already knows Nashaki will not grant him an amnesty! What matter if he kno-..."

"SILENCE, FOOL!" Fillani interrupted with a shout, "You gain nothing by pretending that you know anything about it!"

"Our LIVES, Ambassador! We gain our lives. Is that nothing to you?" the man choked as Eddrick took a step in his direction.

"There will be a lot more li-..." The Ambassador began, his face suddenly blanching as he realized what he was on the verge of saying. A cold smile began to form on Eddrick's face as he slowly turned it back toward the diplomat.

"Excuse me? What was that? 'A lot more lives'? What?...More lives...lost?...More lives...at stake?" He crowded his face just inches from that of the furious Ambassador. But the diplomat turned his eyes away, locking them on the distance, refusing to say more.

The bandit chief raised one hand, preparing to signal one of his men. The Ambassador swallowed hard and screwed his eyes shut in anguish as he heard his subordinate gasp with the impact of a punch; which was followed by the muffled scream of a man falling to his death beneath the bridge.

This time it was Eddrick's voice in a quiet hiss of rage, "You bastard! You really will let them all die for your secrets, won't you? He was only going to confirm that Nashaki blames me for that death. It's old news, but still remembered...Enough so that a mere aide knows. Why would it be on people's minds now? You said it yourself! a LOT of lives lost or at stake! Why would it make any difference now? Differences in lives? Lives lost...in war?"

Ambassador Fillani stared ahead in silence, only diverting his gaze now and then to give a withering look of hatred to the bandit. Eddrick sneered, "Well, you've got one man left...and YOU get to hold the rope this time." he snapped his fingers and one of his men came forward with another rope.
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Shedding Some Light [Adrienna]

Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:27 am

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It took no time at all for the last aide to be subdued and tied, dragged and dropped over the side, the rope clutched in the desperate Ambassador's hands. Eddrick's expression was a caustic blend of sympathy and scowl, "It's heavy isn't it? The weight of a man's life." The Ambassador turned furious eyes toward the bandit, but Eddrick held his hand up, interrupting.

"Save your breath Ambassador. You didn't care about the men before him, So don't get your hopes up that I'll think you care about him either. But you may want to consider that there are no men left now but you; and no underlings to hold your rope. Now since I see how readily you sacrifice the men counting on you for leadership, it stands to reason that you will never say a word to save your own, noble life." Eddrick's sarcastic tone could have withered a desert cactus.

"You know perfectly well what I want by now. There's been enough subtle slips to confirm that you know. But let's recap, all the same, shall we?" he started to pace, counting on his fingers. "The avriel did not come after me when I ran from Athart, so they either didn't know or didn't care about an allied diplomat being murdered in their own city."

He stopped his pacing long enough to give a highly skeptical look to the Ambassador. "Now I know the avriel, sir. They may be rude and impulsive, but I honestly think they'd want to have words with me, if they thought me guilty. The Slave Raiders actually went so far as to warn me; or at least my friend did, but he knew before he should have, so it was planned."

The pacing attitude was resumed as fingers once again were counted, "So whoever wanted me blamed, did NOT want me caught. I can only assume then, that the other details I mentioned are therefore important. The ones I would have known right away if I had stayed. So the story reaching Nashaki is only about me killing the woman. Yet the story in Athart is me killing both her AND a Shadow Wing member, which would be tough enough now, and pretty much impossible back then, in my untrained state."

Anger had him stalking toward the struggling diplomat as he spoke, "So why, Ambassador? Why the need for two different stories? And your men even now pretty much confirmed that it's important not to have it brought up. I have to assume the very fact that there ARE two different stories is important. But there weren't two stories then! What was she going to do? Something important to both cities..."

The dread on the diplomat's face grew with every word, as if they were a flame getting closer to scorching his flesh. "What do our two home cities have in common, that a diplomat cou-..." He stopped, his eyes narrowing "...a diplomat...You're a diplomat... What were you-?...You were going to get mercenaries in Yaralon...Your men suggested worries about lives lost...They didn't say it, you stopped them, but it sounded like it had to do with the war."

The Ambassador finally relinquished his pride, begging for aid with the weight on the rope. Eddrick only paid enough attention to tell him not to disrupt his chain of thought. The man screamed as the rope began to slide through his hands. Eddrick spun on him, "The alliance! Between Nashaki and the avriel! That's the only thing they have in common! You were getting allies, that's what diplomats do. But you already had an alliance with Athart."

The rope finally slipped as the Ambassador made a hopeless lunge to stop another cry of anguish sound from under the bridge. Eddrick stormed up, lifting the man on unsteady feet and walking him toward the edge shouting in his face, "Your Turn, Sir! There's no one left but you!" He hooked his grip in the man's silk shirt with both hands and leveraged him off his feet, walking toward the edge, shouting even louder now, to be heard over the Ambassador's shrieks of terror.

"It's the alliance, ISN'T it! Something about the ALLIANCE was going to be revealed that Nashaki needed STOPPED, wasn't it. She was going to TELL, wasn't she! WHAT WAS IT, AMBASSADOR? WHAT WAS SHE GOING TO TELL? WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THE ALLIANCE?!" Eddrick planted the man's back on the railing and started leaning him over the edge.

The howl echoed in the ravine below, "THERE IS NO ALLIANCE! THERE NEVER HAS BEEN!"
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Last edited by Eddrick Brodon on Tue May 09, 2017 7:25 pm, edited 2 times in total. word count: 801
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Eddrick Brodon
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Shedding Some Light [Adrienna]

Sun May 07, 2017 9:18 pm

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The words were still rebounding from the walls of the ravine as Eddrick's jaw dropped open, realizations stacking upon each other as the ramification of what he'd just heard took shape in his mind. He still held the struggling diplomat halfway over the edge of the railing as his thoughts assessed the depth of Nashaki's need to prevent this truth from coming out. The man's wails were a blend of demands to be pulled back, begs to hear acknowledgement that he'd now revealed what was required, and tears of shame that he had done so.

Eddrick's face hardened, and for a moment he was tempted, but he pulled the man back to his feet, though he pressed him against the railing still. The ambassador's face clearly showed his concern over the uncertain soundness of the railing, it still being the only thing between life and a two-hundred foot fall. "I see..." Eddrick muttered, largely to himself.

The diplomat cringed slightly as Eddrick turned his focus outwardly once again, "Yes...I see...but how? How could Nashaki ever gain the cooperation of those feathered freaks if there was no alliance? What motivation would there be? They want to take over the world as much as the Empire does. Common enemy, sure; but they'd be served as well by letting two enemies waste themselves against each other, rather then stepping in to bolster one. Especially the one right next door to them, that could be their first conquest."

"That I truly do not know. No! Really! I don't think anyone alive still does. It is simply a secret that all of our diplomats keep. Some Grand Aeolian in arcs past struck some deal that was never put to contract, and it has been honored ever since." the man explained.

"Well...why not simply MAKE it official then? Write it up for real this time! Then you don't have to worry about it." The bandit countered, pulling his face close. "Then you don't have to kill some woman over it. Or blame some poor innocent fool for the deed." he sneered through gritted teeth.

The Ambassador was shaking his head long before Eddrick finished. "We dare not!" The words came out as a whispered, pleading gasp; as if the diplomat was afraid that Athart would somehow hear him. "What if they then wished to ensure that it matched the previous contract; to be sure we had not altered it to our favor? There wouldn't be one. They'd assume we were keeping it hidden from them, violating it somehow, deliberately of course!"

There wasn't any doubt in Eddrick's mind that this would be a likely result. but he kept this to himself as the diplomat rambled on, "No, no...it is better that we leave well enough alone. We can never let them know. You know how they are! If they had any reason at all to feel that they'd been tricked, they'd assume that we'd have been laughing at them behind their back all this time! If it could have been corrected long ago, perhaps...but it had already been this way for an hundred arcs or more by the time our current administration became aware of it."

Hie eyes burned with the same intensity as when he'd thought he was going to be flung over the side. But this time his fear encompassed the entire fate of the eastern continent, not just himself. "They might just turn sides on us on an impulse, not realizing how they'd ultimately seal their own doom. And then their damned pride would compel them to see it through. All Idalos would fall to the Empire with the avriel on their side!"

A measure of skepticism darkened Eddrick's expression. He doubted it would be that drastic, but he could not deny that it might look that way to the people of the very first major city that would feel the brunt of such a powerful and hostile alliance. And Korlasir would never make such a stupid mistake as to leave the terms of such a pact unwritten. He suddenly felt the morbid impulse to laugh.

"You know what the real beauty of this is?" he said with a tone of disgust. "This probably goes back to some cheap tactic by some avriel aristocrat's minion, trying to scandalize their boss' rival by leaving it incomplete to embarrass him. Then, the wrong guy dies, the wrong paperwork is lost, this or that avriel keep their mouths shut to avoid making waves that would backlash on them, and no one ever checks into it, assuming it to be what has now been accepted. And they're all dead now anyway."

The Ambassador nodded and was quiet for a moment, then ventured hesitantly, "So...."

Eddrick turned back to face him, a new understanding in his expression. "Yeah...okay...I won't tell. Keep your secret. But you know it's probably going to come out some time." he sighed, "Let's just hope it's not in our lifetime."

Ambassador Fillani sagged in relief, but his gaze still wandered in grief to the side of the chasm, his head sagging also in shame. "I had not believed you could possibly be a man that would not try to hold the world hostage with this knowledge." tears started to form in his eyes. "And I...I let them all die...for nothing." his voice shook with emotion on the last few words.

Eddrick patted him on the back, an odd look in his eyes. "Hey I have to live in this world too. I don't want to see it happen any more than you." He turned and clapped his hands and one of his men brought a horse around from beyond the bend in the path. It had a stout towing harness strapped to it. The man took the end of the tow line and dropped it over the side as the Ambassador looked up in confusion.

"Bring 'em up." Eddrick ordered, as realization dawned on the diplomat's face.

"Yo- you...YOU BASTARD!!" he shouted in fury as a couple of Eddrick's men interposed themselves between the bandit chieftain and the diplomat, who had already started to step toward him in rage. "YOU LET ME THINK I HAD KILLED THEM!"

Vengeful satisfaction was sufficient to allow Eddrick to maintain a calm tone as he responded, "And you let a whole city think I had killed her! Consider yourself lucky Ambassador. You still have ransom value to me. No one need ever know there was any other purpose behind your abduction."

As his men were brought up, one at a time, the Ambassador found himself relieved to the point of tears. Eddrick sat beside him. "Diplomacy takes many forms, Ambassador. And you've just learned a new one. Consider your ransom to be my payment for your lessons. Congratulations! You've passed."

Despite the terror he and his men had been subjected to, the Ambassador found himself laughing.
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Shedding Some Light [Adrienna]

Wed May 17, 2017 2:09 pm

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Eddrick


Points!:

Story: 5/5
Collaboration: 5/ 5
Structure: 5/ 5
Knowledge:

Athart and Nashaki have no alliance
Athart and Nashaki have never had an alliance
Athart and Nashaki: A "Grand Aeolian" struck a deal which has been honored ever since.
Detection: Differences in behaviour between leaders and troops
Intelligence: Don't take information at face value.
Intelligence: Likely sources of information.
Interrogation: Not asking questions can be effective
Interrogation: Pointing out flaws in answers
Interrogation: Being clear what information you want
Intimidation: Easier when you're in a position of power
Intimidation: Sudden actions can be very unnerving
Intimidation: Using the sun to be more authoritative
Intimidation: Make them aware of how unimportant they are
Investigation: Identifying leaders and troops
Leadership: Giving orders to direct troops.
Leadership: Maintaining order in a panic-stricken group.
Leadership: Sometimes, leadership and intimidation are much the same thing.
Leadership: Establishing a hierarchy
Negotiation: Make your request sound more reasonable than the alternative
Negotiation: A deal too good to ignore
NPC: Ambassador Fillani: Head Delegate
Tactics: Point out the flaws in the enemy plan
Tactics: There's not point to make enemies you don't need to.
Tactics: Be surprising. Always be surprising.
Torture: Leather straps for stinging pain
Torture: Slow hanging
Torture: Is sometimes more effective when you ask no questions
Torture: A silent promise can be sufficient torture
Unarmed Combat: Brawling: Facial hair is a vulnerability


Loot:
None
Fame:
-10 (yeah, they're going to not like you!)
Devotion:
None
Magic:
These points may NOT be used for arcana
Adrienna


Points!:

Story: 2/5 - thread abandoned (as per peer review guide)
Collaboration: 1/ 5 - 1 post (as per peer review guide)
Structure: 0/5 - thread abandoned (as per peer review guide)
Knowledge:

Detection: Picking up on the subtleties around you
Detection: The sound of those passing by
Intelligence: Know your network of information
Stealth: Moving silently in a group

Loot:
NA
Fame:
NA
Devotion:
NA
Magic:
These points may NOT be used for arcana

Overview:

Story What a clever twist! I loved it! A great story and a really intriguing read. I was hooked from the first post - fantastic fun! I'm so pleased that he didn't kill them all ~ I could really see Fillani's face as he realised. Well played!

Structure No issues all good.

Please do PM me if you think I've missed anything or you have any questions!
word count: 409
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