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Faith
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Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:15 pm

9th Zi'da, 717
Viden Academy and it's library should be a delight to her. It had been last time she came here, but in this moment Faith would tear the place down a book at a time if it did what she needed it to do. She was here because she had thought it would be a useful thing to do, a helpful thing, but frankly she was overwhelmed and uncertain of exactly what she was looking for. In her usual fashion she had made as close to a list as she could, but it wasn't the usual very specific and clear words she was used to. No, it was a place, a ship, known phenomena, myths and legends, many different things.

When she had arrived, she'd gone to the university reception and left a note there with the receptionist, who had been initially snooty until Faith introduced herself as Professor Augustin, which had served to both make the receptionist more helpful and Faith more irritated. Still, she didn't have time to deal with stupid politics this trial, so she had handed over the note.
Dear Linika,

I don't know if you remember me but we met some time ago in the library and our discussion started with make up. I am sorry to say but I am in a situation where I need assistance and I wondered if you might be available to speak? If not, I fully understand. I am in Viden this trial only, I have to go home tonight. If you are willing, I will be in the library, where we met previously ~ or as close as I can get to there if it is busy.

I hope that you are well. Best regards,

Faith
Once the note was sent, which was very early in the morning, the young woman made her way to the very spot where she and Linika had met previously. Should Linika arrive, when she did she would see that Faith was there was a lot of books. Books on navigation, legends of the ocean, stories of the biqaj, that kind of thing. Also, books on magic and Immortals, monsters and creatures in the oceans. Lots of books.

The other things which would be apparent to Linika would be that, first, Faith was very pregnant. She was getting into uncomfortably pregnant, which might account for the fact that she also looked exhausted. Her face was pale, moreso than usual and she had dark circles under her eyes. She was sitting, though, making notes and frowning deeply. Judging by the tension in her facial expression, body language and general demeanor, she was trying to decide whether to burst into tears or throw the book out of the window in fury. Instead, she had her head lowered and was making meticulous notes.[/align]
"To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."

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Linika
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Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:16 pm

It was difficult to confirm if the gal sitting amid the bulwark of books truly was the woman "Faith", whom she had met the previous Saun, but Linika would certainly not withhold whatever aid she could provide to any of the few people who had helped her since her arrival in Viden. She could count them on one hand, and even half of them had only done so with the intent of garnering some reciprocal obligation. Even the librarian had seemed as if she was on the verge of refusing to hand over the note until the naer had signed some contract agreeing to curtail her future presence there.

As much as Linika was now motivated to try to fit in to this culture, a threatening glare and a slow lean into the librarian's face brought the desired result. So, her assimilation into this society would be set back a trial or two. She shrugged off any such concern as she turned to approach the virtual castle of stacked books. There was no denying it was Faith, as she dropped the note onto the page the ex-slave was scanning.

When the woman looked up, Linika's eyes rose in some alarm at her haggard appearance, the pregnancy not yet being obvious in her hunched, sitting position. "Hmmm...You look like I must have looked when we first met...Don't hit me, okay?" The remark was only half in jest as she took the seat opposite the human, carefully sliding a couple of stacks aside to reacquire face-to-face contact.

Her brow furrowed somewhat at the odd variety of knowledge represented in what must have been at least two hundred thousand pages, "Inconsistencies in Eastern Astronomic Shifts'?...'Marine Beasts of the Far East'?...'Tales from the Biqaji Beyond?'...'Forgotten Trade Routes: When and Why'?...'Nekhet and Beyond: Persistent Mysteries'?" she muttered as she ran her finger down a stack of spines. "So, Faith, I got your note...uhh...What's new with you?"
Last edited by Linika on Sun Apr 01, 2018 7:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:21 pm

Faith looked up in some surprise as the note she had sent fluttered down on to the page she was reading and when she saw that it was Linika, a smile crossed her face. The young human stood, her pregnancy more than evident in both her body and her less than graceful movements. For all that she looked how she did, the smile which lit Faith's face at the sight of Linika was genuine and she put her hand on the Naer's arm. "Linika. Thank you so much. I can't tell you how grateful I am you came." As for how she looked and Linika's request that she not hit her, Faith nodded. "I promise, no violence. I'm in no condition."

Sitting back down, Faith saw Linika's expression as she made her way through the list of books and the young human woman sighed slightly. What was new with her? Well, that was quite the question. Folding her hands together Faith formed the most sensible answer she could. "My husband is a professor of physics, he's just started his licentiate," Linika would know what that meant, it was the highest level of qualification there was. "His specialism is astrophysics and for his charter, he focused on the movement of the second sun in Saun." All factual, all clear. All good. Faith could do this, could give facts and statements ~ it was her default position, in fact, rather than discuss emotions.

"He found an anomaly which seemed to happen in an uncharted area in the far east of the northern seas." Faith said. She didn't elaborate on what the anomaly was, not only because it wasn't important to the story but because it was Padraig's to tell. "The academy organised for him to have a ship there, in previously uncharted water, to see if there was a physical cause which was evident there."

All of that was clear, made sense and was not emotional at all. Yet still, the disciplined young woman looked down at her hands, fingertips pressed together until the flesh was white, even more so than usual. "I am thrice blessed by Famula, twice by Moseke and once by Vri. He is blessed by Qylios and Yvithia." There was nothing in her voice other than a statement of fact. "He and I kept contact via a pair of these. Echo Scrolls, I write on one, it appears on the other and vice versa. He has a pair of boots, magical ones which bring him home. The marks of Famula, Vri and Qylios allow us to communicate or feel each other's emotions."

Faith looked up at Linika and she smiled a sad, desperate smile. "Until the fifth, all of that worked. We wrote, we missed each other, we worried, but it all worked. Then, it all stopped working. I can't feel him any more. The scrolls don't work. He hasn't come home. So I'm here to try and find a clue. Something. Anything." Her hand rested on her swollen stomach. "Thank Famula the captains just won't sail, say it's too cold, too dangerous," She'd asked, of course, each one. "Because I think I'd go if I could. I don't know what to do and I thought you might know someone, maybe, or ... " A long, shuddering sigh escaped Faith and she ran her hand through her hair. "I hoped you might have a miracle up your sleeve."
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Linika
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Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:25 pm

The naer looked on in increasing sadness at this one woman who had almost freakishly befriended her not so long ago. She found that she truly wanted to help. But she was no sailor, and her only experiences in any area remotely that far east ended in the tropical jungles around Athart. Even if she had any sort of astrology training beyond the little bits she'd picked up listening to the sailors who'd eventually dropped her off in Viden, there was no personal experience to cross-reference any of it with.

She perused the stack of books, hoping to find some spark of inspiration, but feeling nothing. Faith continued on, expressing the darkest sense of what would be termed a "deadline". The instinct to grasp at straws only served to empower the usual attempts to downplay the assumption of peril to the woman's husband: "I'm sure he's alright...he may have dropped the scroll overboard in some rough sea...whatever anomaly there may be is probably just interfering with this contact...There's probably some limit on how far these abilities can operate." She could see that Faith appreciated her effort to withhold them. She found those words as empty as Faith looked to have found them.

She felt the beginnings of the same desperation forming in her own heart that she could see in the other woman's eyes. How could she, the bright and inventive student of Augiery, chosen at such young age to embark on her mission, now blessed by the Immortal of Intellect, and living in what was considered the most enlightened city on Idalos, draw such a far-reaching blank?

Faith's last words lingered in her mind, mostly unregistered as far as content. It was obviously just some rhetorical hope expressed by a believer in such things as 'miracles'. Yet, something......She couldn't place what seemed to be trying to pique her notice. She ran the comment through her own mind, in her own voice, with her own accent, and it suddenly clicked!

The new ability she'd been graced with, to instinctively know the source of a language or accent! Faith was clearly newly come from Scalvoris with that accent, yet it was an accent slightly adjusted by its ground floor of Rynmere, and even the hated Athart! She had noted something like that before and given it no significance.

It was not that she thought there was any now, but it recalled the man who had spoken at the time. An old pirate, one of those fled from Scalvoris in the last couple of arcs. Oh how he'd gone on about the cowardly way his lifestyle had been squeezed out of his island home. The collusion, the betrayal, the politics of ambition! As well as the oath of vengeance he blathered on about, as if the Immortal of Conquest would hear and avenge him. He'd made the same sort of statement about 'Rask'larn pullin' a meercle from 'er sleeve'.

She took a quick look back at the stack of books before them and scanned the titles more attentively this time. No, there was no such book. There were similar types, but none from the perspective of any pirate clans or crews. Would it make a difference? It very well might. Pirates knew of places no one else did. And guarded these secret locations jealously.

It was not the fear that Faith's husband may have fallen afoul of pirates that energized her suddenly. It was the thought that where some exotic clue may be missing from these conventional sources, some pirate tale may touch on the obscure. She tried to repress her hope. When someone accepted a harsh truth, it was a terrible thing to get their hopes up anew, only to let them crash again.

"Umm...Let me check something. I doubt it will help, but you never know." She tried to sound as if she was resigned to eventual disappointment, but she may have fallen just a bit short. She hurried to what was essentially the "True Crime" division of the non-fiction section. She did not, in truth, even know what she was actually looking for, but some new sense of belief kept her at it, shelf after shelf.

And then it seemed almost to glow on an upper shelf, just to catch her eye. 'Lost Treasures and Lost Tales: Episodes of Piracy Turned to Legend' She snatched it from the shelf and returned to the table, an irrepressible skip in her steps as she laid it down before Faith. Again she tried to prepare for failure, but somehow she had a strange hope in the tales that came from such an unlikely source.

"If you actually find something there, I'll see if I can find this old pirate I know who may be able to shed some further light on it. He'll most likely be drinking at The Devil's Advocate. It's a shady inn some ways across town. It will take me a break or two to get there and back, depending on how cooperative he is, IF he's even there. But I am certainly willing to do it for you."
Last edited by Linika on Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Faith
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Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:09 pm

Linika looked at her and Faith saw the conundrum on her friend's face. Were they friends? Faith thought so, believed so. Linika and she had met in a very strange manner, but as she had once told Padraig ~ she had few enough friends that she needed to recognise the people who were. Linika didn't give her meaningless platitudes, didn't tell her that it was going to be alright, or that Padraig was safe and for that Faith wanted to kiss her. If one more person told her that they were sure he was fine.... He was alive, there was no doubt to her. For all the Immortal marks, all the magical items, the most important link they had was not broken and she would know if the half of her soul which was Padraig Augustin was gone. He was not. However, as much as she knew that, she also knew that he was not alright. Absolutely and unequivocally. How, in the name of all the Immortals and the Originals before them, could either one them be alright? Like this? Separated and terrified. No, he was not alright, and he would not be, until he was home and saw her again. She knew that, just as she would not be alright until her eyes met his once more.

So, Faith smiled gently at Linika and she saw that the Naer was thinking, considering and then came up with an idea. But even that, she did not over-sell and Faith nodded. Then, she brought a book. A book on... pirates?! Faith looked up at Linika and the unmistakable light of hope shone in her eyes. "Pirates?! Linika that's... of course. Why didn't I think of that?" If there were going to be strange and weird legends about unusual phenomena in places where people didn't go then of course, pirates might be just the place. "Whether there's anything or not, Linika, this is a good idea. Thank you. So much. Hope is a gift in itself." There was no doubting that in Faith's mind.

So, she lowered her head and started to read. A lot of it was irrelevant, but after a relatively short while she lifted her head to Linika and she slid the book over. "Look, there. he's writing about the "dead zone" in the far east, look. They don't go there, it's ..." she stopped and frowned, swallowed and then said, "considered to be bad luck. Death is all that awaits." Well, she hadn't really expected to find out that there was a well known resort there, had she, Faith considered to herself. Where the service was so good that even Padraig couldn't be bothered to pop back? No. Not likely.

"Would you, Linika?" Faith asked, looking at her with a tense smile. "I'm sorry to ask but... if he knows anything. Anything at all, I'd be grateful." Then, she put her hand out and touched Linika's arm. "Thank you. Truly."
"To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."

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Linika
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Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:10 pm

Just a simple touch of the hand. Until this very moment, Linika would have never guessed it could be so...potent. The need to help this woman surged in her heart in a way she'd never previously felt. Even as she smiled and nodded, even as she turned on her heel and hurried from the library, she wondered if she'd ever truly had a friend before. She'd had her clique back in Augiery, but that was not so much friendship as a mutual acknowledgement of competence and complementary talents.

Several arcs ago, she'd unexpectedly developed an affection towards a sev'ryn child she'd taken as hostage to force the hand of that insufferable Sel'ma. She'd been essentially washed up near Desnind, trying to complete a mission, knowing her retrieval ship had been wrecked in a storm. Sel'ma's interference and threat of exposure had forced her to take the child, to ensure Sel'ma's obedience. For arcs now she'd rationalized that necessity, never having too much difficulty in doing so, as it followed the principles of the culture of dominance in which she'd been raised. Victory was essential, failure not an option, it had to be done.

Now though, as she hurried to the Devil's Advocate, she found her throat tightening, as tears formed anew for the loss of the child, Ber'ine. The death itself had been an accident, one for which she still found the ability to levy the bulk of blame elsewhere; primarily the father, and Sel'ma. Had they not attacked, escalating the close quarters, the child, tied as she was, would not have been knocked into the turbulent waters.

Guilt spiked suddenly, as her forced beliefs that it had been some sort of baggage in the boat - an extra sail, rolled up and leaning against the rail, a coil of rope, a bundle of supplies, wrapped tightly against the damp - that she'd hit with her body as she'd wrestled against her enemies, fell short of absolution. They had been the ones that knocked Ber'ine overboard. They had done it! She had come to admire the child's courage too much. She couldn't have done it!....she couldn't have...

Her knees were suddenly freezing, and she looked to find herself kneeling upon them; her face growing frigid as the tears began to freeze on her cheeks. She heard the whimpering of terrible grief, growing slowly in volume, and realized it was her own voice. Gripping her emotions tightly, she rose back to her feet, shaking her head to clear it. The past was irredeemable; what was done was done. It would help nothing to let it overwhelm her now.

In addition, the naer exile still clung to the hope that what had appeared to be a hateful rejection by Audrae, in the form of the assassination attempt, following Linika's part in the shadow attacks of 716, was in fact only a new means of reinforcing her cover as an "eill", a loathed exile. If that was the case though, she'd once again be expected to have nothing but contempt towards people like Faith.

Her steps wandered slightly, her pace fluctuating, as her mind warred with itself. She was a mass of emotional turmoil as she entered the seedy tavern to search for the old pirate, "Knots". The barkeep, Linus, recognized her immediately from a past confrontation that had culminated in him being on his back with Linika crouching tauntingly overhead, knife at his throat.

She tried to keep her temper as the man assailed her with threats of calling the guard. Linika knew that his warnings had been backed up when the charges were dropped. She was ordered never to set foot in the place again. So she did what the situation demanded; she ignored him. Every eye was turned her way, eager with anticipation of trouble as the naer made her way through the hate to present herself before the crusty old man. In a sense, she was glad of the hostility. It helped her shed the guilt and focus on the task at hand.

Knots was not cooperative however. He found himself the center of more celebration with every belligerent word he cast her way. His grin grew wider with each cheer that erupted, as he continued to grouse down her request to accompany her. But Xypha came to her rescue. Her cold stare caught his squint and held him with a silent challenge to his "balls" to maintain eye contact.

She could see him waver briefly, but pride took over and strengthened his resolve to hold this gaze. Now she sent a Xypha communication, the image of Faith, teary eyed, pregnant, and looking desperately through books. His hard glare cracked slightly and Linika followed up the image with a silent comment, 'Her husband is missing and she needs your help.'

His mein cracked a bit more, and Linika pressed the issue, 'If you come with me, I will give you twenty gold nel.' A new spark gleamed in his eyes now, but he did not respond. Linika leaned in just a bit, 'Okay, thirty.' She leaned in just a bit further, '...and if you don't come now, your tongue will be the meat in tomorrow's stew.'

His eyes flicked instinctively to see her hand twitch on the hilt of a dagger he'd not noticed before. They turned back to her eyes then to find nothing but fearless sincerity and icy resolve...

A little over a break later, they stumbled, Knots first, into the library to plop into a seat across from Faith. Linika lightened the grip on the hilt of her dagger and smiled coldly, "Faith, I'd like you to meet 'Knots', the gentlemen I told you about. He has volunteered to help you any way that he can."
Last edited by Linika on Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Faith
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Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:43 am

Faith was a very disciplined woman who was more than used to being patient. When she had been a slave, she had knelt in position for breaks at a time, but now? Every footfall of Linika's as her friend had walked away had been like the ticking of a timepiece, or the passage of grains of sand in an hourglass. She didn't want to wait but, while she did, the former slave poured over the book. It was enlightening, terrifying, worrying but it was, for the very first time since he had disappeared, it was a lead. It was beyond tenuous, but it was something. So, the pregnant young woman sat and tried not to let her impatience show on her face, tried not to tap her fingers and tried, oh so desperately tried not to worry. It wasn't good for her, wasn't good for the baby, but it was all just so hard.

But all the Immortals bless Linika, she was back in just over a break and with someone. He looked like a colourful soul with a rich and varied life, Faith thought with a smile. "Hello, Knots. Thank you for helping me," The crusty old pirate looked at her and he had a look of almost disgust on his face. Of course, Faith didn't know that it was as much at himself as it was anything else, for having allowed himself to be coerced into doing this. In fairness, though, Faith also didn't care.

"I've found some things here, it talks about a 'dead zone' where no ships go." Faith showed him the map, the book next to him though she didn't want to either assume or not assume that he could read. She looked at him and then Knots sighed and spoke. "Your husband went in a ship, there?" Faith nodded.

"There's stories. Legends. The end of the world, it isn't somewhere people should go. Weird, unseen barriers, you pass through 'em and you're the other side of the world, or your ship's on fire or you're dead." He shrugged and looked at her, almost sympathetic but not really able to be. "Or any two of the above."[/b] Faith's face was a study in composed as he spoke. She didn't flinch, she didn't cry, there were not even any tears threatening. In front of Linika, her friend, Faith was more emotional, but not a stranger.

"I see. Thank you. Could you tell me, how reliable is your knowledge of this?" The pregnant Zuuda asked and Knots looked at her like she'd developed a third eye. "Everyone knows it, lass." Faith smiled and nodded. "Yes, I understand that. But who do you know that's seen it? Experienced it? Been there? Have you ever been there?"

Knots shook his head and looked at her like she was very, very challenge. "No one goes there, miss. No one.". A muscle in Faith's jaw twitched and she explained, quietly and calmly, "He did. In an expedition sponsored by the university. Have you heard of anyone coming back from this area?"

Knots looked at Linika and sighed slightly. The Naer knew him better, of course, and might have more of an idea if he was withholding or misrepresenting information. Then he looked at Faith. "Not that I know about, no." The look Faith gave Linika was almost- hopeless, not sure what to ask now to bring about more useful answers.

If, of course, such existed.
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Linika
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Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:11 am

Linika's face broke into a snarling mask as she grabbed a handful of old gray hair and pulled it back to loom over him, face-to-face, "Quit playing games, Knots! I won't let you dodge this question. Why should we listen to this crap, when you can't give us one good reason to think it's anything more than the crap you throw around at The Advocate for free mugs? Details, Knots! We know you can't prove it here and now. But give us details!"

The old man would have cringed further if his head was not held in place by Linika's white-knuckled grip. "But I don't KNOW no details!"

The naer's eyes burned into his. "You know more than THIS shit, Knots. More than this 'No one goes there because no one goes there' crap! Back when people DID go there, what did they say? And don't say they never came back. SOME of them did, or there'd be none of the legends you talk about! Now what did they say that very first time?"

"That time were before my time, Nikki. Aaaaagh....Leave me be!" he groaned as she twisted the handful of hair, wrapping in around the palm of her hand for better leverage.

"You'll be bald long before that, you old rat. A date...a name...Ship or captain's name...a monster...a freak storm...a damn falling star! What started this legend? I saw a lot of weird stuff coming all the way north from Augiery, Knots. But nothing that would make a pirate afraid to sail!" Something in his eyes prompted her to release his hair. She came around and plopped her hands on his thighs as she leaned in, speaking softly now, good cop and bad cop, rolled into one.

"Come on, Knots. She's counting on you." she pleaded with a tilt of the head in Faith's direction, "WE'RE counting on you." She dropped down into a squat to look up into his eyes, giving him a sense of importance as he now looked down into hers. "There's something you're holding back. There's gotta be."

The old man sagged with a sigh, "People laugh at me when I start telling them that one." his voice was a mumble.

"We won't, Knots. I promise we won't....please." the softness of her tone wrapped the steel of her sincerity.

"Ksamknai," the old man muttered. Looking into their eyes alternately for signs of scorn. Linika had an odd look for a moment, but it was not scorn. Knots misunderstood the look, thinking she's just never heard the word. "It's a sea serpent in the east. Rumor says they was a peaceful type, but got changed somehow. In that book there..." he gestured to the 'Pirate Legends' book. "Find any bit about them serpents and you might find what you're lookin' for."

"You're not saying it right..." Linika muttered, seemingly to herself, repeating the word softly with different inflections each time. Xypha suddenly kicked in, as she sat up straight. "Nekhet...It's the language of Nekhet, but I don't know what it means."

"None of the crew did neither, Nikki. But the Cap changed the name of the boat to that. Said them serpents guided him east across the sea to reach the west. But everyone knows them things attack ships, not guide them. And you sink or burn or disappear if you try to push past. But Cap came back with stuff from Melrath and Nayhair. So you tell me."
Last edited by Linika on Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:52 pm

Faith watched, wide eyed, as Linika spoke to, grabbed, growled at and persuaded 'Knots' in a very specific manner. It wasn't a level of violence the young human woman would ever be happy with, personally, but in that moment she could have cheered. It was bad of her, she knew, bad of her to have that reaction, but she needed this information ~ and she was equally completely unable to imagine herself doing it. Yet Linika managed the man beautifully and she seemed to have just the right mixture of scary and yet, somehow, compassionate and even understanding. Of course, Faith considered, that might just be her. Knots might feel somewhat differently, and fairly so.

Right now, Faith could kiss her.

And then, Knots started to talk and Faith had an entire and clear understanding of the phrase being careful what one wished for. She drank in the information. Sea monsters? Things which attacked boats? But.. "I am notoriously very bad at maps," Faith said and she tried her best to smile at that. It was very, very true - her sense of direction was abysmal and her ability to translate that into a map was even moreso. "But guiding someone east until they reach the west seems to indicate that the world is round? I mean.. but why don't we?" She paused and shook her head, trying her best to get her thought process around this.

"So, he might have run into these sea serpents who might normally attack the boat but who instead might have taken him out of range? I don't think there is a range?" She said to Linika. "I mean, I have an echo scroll that I use to speak to a friend in Andaris. I...why might magic stop working?"

What if those creatures had attacked his boat, Faith thought wildly? What was known about them? "Thank you, Knots. You've given us a whole new angle to look at and I am deeply grateful to you for that." Killer sea monsters who might have sunk his ship or taken him somewhere else notwithstanding. It meant that she had to accept that he might be so completely out of the area that she thought he was that a search party, by the time she could get one, would be completely pointless. He could be somewhere else on the planet by that point.

Faith turned her gaze to Linika and smiled. "Thank you, both of you. Now, Knots, please, let me pay you for your time. Have you agreed an amount?" Looking between the two of them she smiled at Linika. "I can't thank you, both of you, enough. Maybe there'll be clues in the name, perhaps. I hope. It's something else to look for." Did Knots know anything else, she asked, but she suspected not.

If he did, Linika was just the one to get him to talk, Faith thought with a slight smile.
"To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."

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Linika
Approved Character
Posts: 294
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2015 8:32 am
Race: Naerikk
Profession: Apothecary
Renown: +74
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Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:26 am

The old pirate looked like he was ready to ask for nel from Faith, but hesitated as Linika gripped his shoulder with just a subtle shake of the head. The naer turned to the human to let her know, "We already settled payment. Unless there's still something you know, old fella."

The mild hesitation in his face caused Linika's brow to furrow slightly. She hardly heard the thanks Faith was extending to the two of them; mostly nodding out of the awareness that a comment had been finished, and needed a response. Knots however, gave into near panic as Faith commented on her intent to look for more information about the name. "NO! I told you everything. It's all in this tale about Cap'n Briggs. Ain't nothin' to find under them beasties' name."

He started to reach for the book, but Linika was ready with a wrestling hold, slipping her arms over his shoulders and inside his from behind; locking her knuckles behind his back to pin him to the chair. In truth, the bulk of the information under the name was essentially the same, where it referenced the journey of Captain Briggs. But there was one detail of interest left out. A symbol, mystically tattooed, in some unknown fashion, upon the shoulders of the survivors of ships whose crossings had been denied by the sea creatures, was shown in a rough sketch.

Linika could feel the pirate twitch, and his struggle to get out of her grip grew almost manic. Eventually she let him go, but hooked a sharpened naerikk nail into the shirt's seam of his right shoulder as he rose, tearing it open with an insincere but obligatory apology and a promise to buy him a new shirt.

For a moment he glared at her furiously, slapping his hand over the newly exposed shoulder. But the damage was done, Linika, if not Faith as well, had caught all the glimpse they needed to see that the old pirate sported the same tattoo on his shoulder. He looked at the doorway, but Linika was already stepping into blocking position. "C'mon, Knots. Give. What else do you know?"

"I know we burned to the waterline!" he hissed, in terror of the memory. "I was a dead man! And I gave meself up to the sea; passin' out as I drifted, waiting to be eaten from beneath the whole time. You got any idea what that's like? To expect to die every damned tick for a half a trial? Until you finally pass out? Even then, yer last thought is that if you don't get et, yer gonna slip from your piece of wreckage and drown."

Linika made an emotional effort to maintain eye contact as tears glistened in his, "But you're alive, Knots. What happened?"

His eyes rolled as his voice turned mocking, "'What happened' she asks!" Any intimidation Linika may have inflicted upon the old man was shattered by the intimidation of his memory of the ordeal. "Aye! I'm alive! And I'd like to stay that way! I did my run. I owe nobody nothin'."

Linika continued to press for details, but doing it with a tone of desperation nearly matching his. She showed no reluctance to grant that he owed no debt, but did not relent that there must be something he knew. Maybe something he didn't know he knew.
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- Poison -

"Shelf Life'...What an ironically contradictory concept."

- Linika Amarinthine -
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