• Mature • "I like these calm little moments before the storm." (Graded)

With the escalation of hostilities between Etzos and Rhakros, a series of small walled towns is being established as a network of early warnings and defenses against Rhakros' reprisals. Only the very bravest and most formidable of characters should risk themselves on the Witches' Wilds frontier.

Moderator: Maltruism

Post Reply
User avatar
Kasoria
Approved Character
Posts: 634
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:34 am
Race: Human
Profession: Scratcher
Renown: +330
Character Sheet
Prophets' Notes
Plot Notes
Templates
Medal count: 4

Contribution

RP Medals

"I like these calm little moments before the storm." (Graded)

Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:20 am

100th Trial, Vhalar, 718a
Lowgarden, Southeast of Etzos Prime
20th break

Continued from here





They didn't want to go down the stairs. Better to wait for him to come to them, always. Defenders always have the advantage, and they even had the higher ground, like they were in some castle facing down besiegers. They had food and water in their rooms. Not much, but enough for a trial, maybe the night following it. Someone was bound to come up before then. From what Rory could make out, it was just one man. One man against three seasoned sellswords.

Turner didn't count. He was management, not muscle. It was their job to flex for him, and his place to supply the coin. Rory... well, Rory wasn't a fighter. Corner him like a rat and he'd bite like one, but that was hardly a good use of his talents. So, it was three against one... but only if the fucker walked up those stairs.

According to Rory, he wasn't. He was just waiting. Downstairs.

"Fuck this." Turner eventually lost his patience, as was bound to happen. Standing at the end of his bed, fully-clothed and with a short sword in his hand. The giant Gladee at his side, Rory seated against the wall, massaging his skull. "Quint? Eril? Get down there."

The two men outside in the hallway, braced by the bedroom doorway and the one across the hall respectively, shared a black look. They didn't like that idea. Always better to wait. Let the enemy make the first move. Eril licked his lips and turned the dirk in his hand over a few times.

"Mister Turner, we should wait. He's gotta come up some time-"

"We don't have all night."

"Beggin' yer pardon, sir," Quint chimed in from across the hall, Rharne accent shining through despite his poor diction. "But we sorta' do. Food, water, even a place to sleep. We can stay here all night an' all day, no worries."

"I gotta be here all night?!"

For a beat, all eyes were on the outraged, pouting figure at the very head of the bed. Cross-legged, cross-armed, cross-faced, like some life-sized carved doll of an ancient, vengeful goddess. She was all soft skin and smooth curves in the right places, with hard eyes that said every one of them came with a well-chosen price. Turner like Maureen. She was tidy and pretty and experienced. But now a few breaks and a bath were turning into a day or two, holed up with smelly men, with more smelly men waiting below to do them murder, and that wasn't going to fly.

"Damon, I ain't staying here all day an' then some. I have places to go-"

"I don't care if you have other men waiting, Maury," Turner snapped without turning all the way around. His eyes were still fixed on the hallway, smoldering and glaring at the empty space, and the restlessness the absence represented. "I care about acting like we're afraid of this bastard."

"It's not afraid, acting it or otherwise." Gladee contributed his part, too. Voice deep as an ocean trench. "It's smart. It's patient. It's-"

All good advice, but with the wrong words. Turner's sword lashed out and buried itself in the bed post nearest to it. He bared his teeth and yanked it out with a grunt, gouging a hefty chunk out onto the floor as he did.

"Patience? I'm done with fucking patience! Seven arcs, I was patient. Now I'm two trials from home and I have to wait longer? Because of one man?!" He spat onto the floor in front of him, as if the puddle of spittle would somehow challenge a man who could neither see nor comprehend him. "Hardly an auspicious return. Quint, Eril, get down there and bring me this cunt's balls." He paused, clearly doing some quick math and inventory, before adding, "Hundred gold ones to each of ya, for the trouble."

Another look. Less black. More golden. Then one many shrugged and the other nodded, and they moved towards the stairs. Covering each other as they went, close enough that any attack on one would leave the attacker open to the counter from the other. Descending slow. Molasses across a flat board slow. Past the painted walls and the carpeted stairs. Down into the foyer of the lodging house, a grandiose term and yet Old Thorne made it accurate. He'd knocked down walls and banged rooms together, made the front of the building one big cavernous room. His desk was at on end, facing the front door, and he was still behind it, a fresh frown on his face-

"Wh... What are you two-"

Quint made a "quiet" gesture, backed up by a stare as hard as the head of the hatchet he carried. The hotel owner's face ran the gamut from curious to angered to afraid and then just... blank. He backed up from the desk and kept backing up until he was in the little office. The two sellswords ignored him as he closed the door, keeping their heads moving and their field of vision open. Into those same alcoves. Any patches of shadow. Back up the stair. Outside windows...

"Don't see anything."

"Me neither," Eril agreed as the two of them stepped into the middle of the narrow little foyer. "But that don't mean he ain't-"

The wooden board creaking was almost like a bone snapping in front of them. At once Eril stopped talking and both of them faced the front door. Still nothing moved beyond it. More long trills. Long breaths, coming out slow, seeping from out of noses since their mouths were pressed hard together. In almost matching combat stances, empty hand forward to ward and balance, weapons cocked and pulled back, ready to cut to ribbons... who, exactly?

Eril was about to ask that, when there was a glint at the corner of the window in the doorway. A sliver of silver that was there for a moment, long enough for him to cock his head, and then vanishing. His mouth opened again and a sound that wasn't quite a word blurted out before-

-a small, compact little man in filthy breeches and a clean shirt swept through the door-

-and the two sellswords readied themselves for a charge as their nemesis finally revealed himself-

-only to stop, as his arm came up and leveled a crossbow-

"Fuck."

TWANG
Image
Last edited by Kasoria on Fri Nov 23, 2018 6:33 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 1115
"This is the life we choose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see Heaven."
User avatar
Kasoria
Approved Character
Posts: 634
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:34 am
Race: Human
Profession: Scratcher
Renown: +330
Character Sheet
Prophets' Notes
Plot Notes
Templates
Medal count: 4

Contribution

RP Medals

Re: "I like these calm little moments before the storm."

Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:53 am

Image
It was not peace. Just a quietude. A pause. A lack of frantic movement and bloody energies. He didn't march from the corpses he'd made to the ones he'd yet to produce, with no break in his step. There was more to consider, on this job. He'd been briefed well by Vorund, because the man himself had been well-educated as to what was coming.

Returning, rather.

"Comin' up from the over the sea, I hear. Made a name fer himself in Rharne. Signed up a couple of local gangers in Fosters, along with some big bastard he's had on retainer for years... an' a mage."

Kasoria had blinked a couple of times at that. The only outward sign that he considered this something worth knowing. The wrinkled gangster across the table smiled around his pipe and when he chuckled, his mirth was smoke.

"Aye. Attuner, 'parently. He can... feel people. See them, with his magic. Knows the people around Turner, tells 'im if they're gonna play false, or that's the idea. Ain't perfect, but it's worth the coin. An' even if it's tricky with negotiations, it's handy fer-"

"Knowing if someone close is there to cut his throat."

Vorund had nodded at the Raggedy Man. "Aye, Kas. Exactly."


A mage. A wizard. A practitioner of Attunement, which Kasoria was not unfamiliar with. Zipper was a master of that intrusive, irresistible discipline. She could look at a man and pick apart his secrets and intents as if she were reading one of her precious files. She could find the song a man's soul made, and use that sound to track him across the city. Not idle stories, either. He'd seen the woman in action. This mage, Kasoria didn't know his quality, but if he had half the talent of ZIpper-

Can't just rush in. Have to think it out. Wait for Turner to be Turner.

Which explained why he walked around to the front of the Brazen Bull, leaned up against the wall next to the door with that crossbow in his hands and just... stood there. Watching the drizzle come down. Listening to the sound of Lowgarden trudge on through mud and mediocrity. Eventually he closed his eyes, cocked his ears towards the door, and listened.

He won't wait up there for me to come. It's not his way. Not what a boss does.

Kasoria smiled softly, for but a moment. He didn't consider himself a great scholar of the human mind, yet he knew men like Turner, oh, very well. He'd been around them his entire life. Men like Turner, exiled or not, would never allow a scratcher like him dictate actions to a boss. Never would Turner allow a slave, a servant, and underling, force his masters, his betters, to hole up like frightened chickens away from a mangy fox.

Lions do not fear jackals, he thought, remembering Vorund's words, long ago. Though in quite a different context. All you have to do is wait. He has four men. Three, since the mage is... well, a mage. The giant, he'll keep close. So, the other two-

"Wh... What are you two-"

Kasoria's ears pricked and his breathing stalled when he heard Thorne's trembling query. Not just it, but that it was cut off, answered without words, and then... creaking floors. Footsteps. Far apart enough that the unobservant might not mark them as such, but Kasoria was being observant. He opened his eyes and withdrew his gladius. He held it up by the corner of the window set into the door, angling it just right-

-for him to see two blurry figures in the polished steel. Dirk and hatchet. Ready for a fight.

Good.

He sheathed the gladius, and then opened the door with his left hand-

-warm air and perfumed censor on Thorne's desk struck him at once. Gone was the chill and the damp, now he was in a civilized place, with men who would kill him. He saw them both in that trill as his arm rose. One with dark hair down past his shoulders and a tattoo peeking out from his collar. Another who was younger, leaner, face tanned by time in hotter lands.

Kasoria saw them both and made his choice. As the crossbow came up and his free hand joined it, holding it steady for the extra moment he needed-

"Fuck."

TWANG

-firing the bolt at the middle of Eril's chest without so much as a word. The bowstring strummed sharp as a twig snapping, and the sellsword had time enough for that one spat curse and to try and throw himself to the side-

-too slow, bolt striking home-

-but higher, under his shoulder, making him scream out in pain as he went crashing into the wall behind Quint-

"Fucking-"

Kasoria didn't give him the chance to charge. His arms snapped out and hurled the useless hunk of empty wood and string and metal at the sellsword, just as he braced himself to leap at the little assassin. Instead, his momentum was ruined, form trounced, arms force up to ward away the cumbersome weapon as it crashed into him. He batted it away, protecting his face, arms stinging but it was a trifle, an annoyance-

-a buy for time, just a trill or two-

Shhhkkk

Enough for for Kasoria's hands to vanish behind his back, and when they returned to their sight-

-a karambit filled each one, curved silver claws sprouting from the bottom of his fists, and Kasoria came at them with a yell come straight from the Nether.
word count: 963
"This is the life we choose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see Heaven."
User avatar
Kasoria
Approved Character
Posts: 634
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:34 am
Race: Human
Profession: Scratcher
Renown: +330
Character Sheet
Prophets' Notes
Plot Notes
Templates
Medal count: 4

Contribution

RP Medals

Re: "I like these calm little moments before the storm."

Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:27 am

Image
Three trills in, and they were down a man. But Quint didn't have time to weep or worry about his buddy. Whoever this evil little cunt was, he wasn't going to give them a moment. He cursed savagely in his father's tongue as he had to spare a precious trill to ward off the crossbow flung at him, batting it away as his arms rattled and stung. The moment it was clear, he would come in swinging-

-then he heard a shriek that crashed off the walls like a damned soul, and his vision was filled with the little bastard-

-now armed, a blade in each hand, charging towards him, and Quint swung with his hatchet-

But the little man wasn't there anymore. The charge was a feint, direction changing to throw himself sideways at the wall on the other side of the foyer, and Quint's hatchet swung at nothing-

-Assassin kicking off the opposite wall, flying back at Quint from his right, arm backhanding as he came-

Quint screamed as the karambit sliced through his bicep almost down to the bone, then the sound was crushed as the Assassin smashed into him from the side, knocking him against the wall. The hatchet barely stayed in his grip and he swung at the man, who was already backing fast away-

-Eril roaring and lashing out at him with his dirk. Long dagger now switched to his other hand, under the shoulder not impaled by a fucking crossbow bolt and thus much more useful. The Assassin was forced back a step and Eril pressed harder, stabbing out low for his guts-

-screeching as the Assassin's arm swung low as he sidestepped, karambit slashing through his forearm, then backhanding as he stepped forward-

"Eril, back-"

-slashing open Eril's chest, and before the man could get far enough away, he remembered the man was carrying two of those weapons-

Quint couldn't do anything but watch as the Assassin's right fists slammed into Eril's chest one-two-three times, vicious, savage jabs only there was a curved blade leading every one, so by the third-

-Kasoria's knuckles were soaked with blood, and the fourth blow was a left hook straight into Eril's throat-

-that buried the karambit blade into it, then he ripped it free with another yell, tearing a grisly opening that blood and rushing air exploded out of.

"Sh-Shit!"

Eril fell back against the wall and died much like Xander did. Throat torn open, weapon far from his grasp, and his killer not even giving him the respect of observing his passing. Instead, Kasoria turned to the other man. The blonde, with his hatchet in one hand and his bleeding bicep in another. Looking frightened, now. Realizing the threat the little man truly represented. Unsure... unsteady...

Then he swallowed, and for that brief trill, he was... no, not unafraid... he was master of his fear. Kasoria respected that. But it changed nothing.

The Hatchet Man roared and came at him wildly, slashing left and right and forcing him back. Kicking out between his leg and Kasoria sidestepped the kick, left hand punching out and down as he did-

-making the man scream as the karambit punched a hole through his thigh, ripping blade severing a tendon on the way out, but still he lurched onward, vertical blow looking to bury the hatchet in Kasoria's skull-

-only for the little man to burst forwards, under the swinging blade, zipping past Quint's right-

-karambit carving open his stomach as he flew by, sound like a pork shank being split open making Quint's heart jerk to a stop when he heard it.

But still, he fought. When Kasoria spun back around from behind Quint, and the sellsword managed to do the same, he was still holding his weapon. Only now his bicep bled freely and unobstructed; now the hobbled, crippled young man was trying to hold in his innards, as they poked and pushed between his crimson fingers. Kasoria cocked his head to one side, impressed.

To the end, then. Good man.

Then Quint came in for one last charge, a furious swing at his stomach that he jumped away from, back towards the front door, and Quint pressed his attack, even on his ruined leg, swinging at Kasoria with a backhand, only this time-

-a fist came up to block it-

-and Quint gasped in wordless agony as the karambit blade impaled his forearm, stopping the blow before it could even come close to Kasoria's neck. The two men were frozen there for a moment. Uninjured assassin staring at the kneeling sellsword, seeming to hold up his arm by the blade jutting out of his fist, and then he twisted-

-shattering bone, drawing a scream of unblemished, unbelievable pain-

-hatchet falling-

-other karambit hammering into Quint's throat from the side, punching over and over and-

-the scream became a gurgle, a choke, a whimper-

-wave after wave of blood filled its passages as the karambit tore them apart, ripped them open, exposed them to the world and with a grunt he ripped both his blades free from the man dead on his feet.

Quint managed one more hateful glare before he fell. Throat cleaved to the bone. Forearm and bicep and leg made useless. Stomach spewing forth grisly, stinking offal. Still he managed to summon the strength to purse his lips and-

Kasoria didn't blink as the bloody spittle struck his face. He just looked the boy in the eye... and watched the spark smothered by all he had wrought upon him.

Until that Trial.

The sellsword slumped down, never to rise again. The assassin straightened up as he rose, snapping his blades out to the side and flicking the excess blood off them. He started walked towards the stairs, wondering idly what that mage upstairs was making of all this. It was a queer thought, imagining some wizardly type observing events like a voyeur from the Emea, but it still made Kasoria snort.

Let him watch. Let him know. Let him tell what he sees.

Let him tell them whats coming.


Concluded here
word count: 1046
"This is the life we choose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see Heaven."
User avatar
Cervantez
Approved Character
Posts: 240
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:59 am
Race: Lotharro
Profession: Mercenary/Assassin
Renown: +85
Character Sheet
Prophets' Notes
Point Bank Thread
Medal count: 1

Contribution

Re: "I like these calm little moments before the storm."

Fri Nov 23, 2018 6:02 pm

Image
"I like these calm little moments before the storm."

☠ ======== ☠ ======== ☠ ======== ☠ ======== ☠

Points awarded: 10

Knowledge:
Acrobatics: Boosting Off a Wall to Allow a Higher Attack
Dual Wield: Karambit x Karambit
Dual Wield (Karambit x Karambit): Focus On Bladed Punches to the Body and Slashes to the Limbs
Psychology: Knowing the Etzos Criminal Mindset
Stealth: Using a Reflective Surface to Peek Around a Corner (or through a window)
Tactics: Letting Your Targets Come to You, Not Vice Versa

Notes: This was fun to read, as I could feel the fear and dread one gets when faced against someone like Kas. It seems to be building into something good and juicy at the end. Not sure if some of the sentence structure was intended to be the way it was, but besides that, you did amazing as always Kas.

Your review request is here

Please include the following stamp to your review request:
Image

Code: Select all

[center][img]https://www.standingtrials.com/gallery/image/15325/medium[/img][/center][/center]
word count: 172
Image
Image
Post Reply

Return to “Outlying Cities”