• Graded • III. Fool's Gold

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Kasoria
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Posts: 1543
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:34 am
Race: Human
Renown: 935
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Wealth Tier: Tier 5

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III. Fool's Gold

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50th Trial, Ashan, Arc 718
Outer Perimeter
22nd break
Continued from here
"He ain't comin'."

"Yeah, I'm gettin' that."

Freddie wished he was wrong, but the echoes from the bells seemed to mock his hopes. They'd rang out the time and the skinny man knew that Nick's people weren't coming. They were a break late. There was fashionably late, unfortunately late, tragically late, insultingly late... and then there was simply "not coming". He sighed and kicked at a jutting cobble like an angry child.

The donkey flapped its ears gently at the gesture. Humans. So emotional.

"Fuck it, then," he snapped, grabbing the harness of the sturdy little creature and pointing its head towards the main road. "It's late and I'm fucked if we're waiting any longer. Too fucking exposed out here anyway."

"Too bloody right..."

Pork's voice was a brooding rumble that preceded his bulky form, sliding out of the shadows of the doorway across the street. Behind him, Ron's lanky form twitched and started, flaw in his blood making him look more nervous than usual. The two of them were quite a pair, one so composed and solid, the other seemingly one trauma away from shattering like glass, but they were united in their skills.

Namely, with the lengths of sharp steel strapped to their hips. Always at hand, within easy reach. "Exposed" was a relative term, with those two watching over Freddie and the fretful Clean, but he still didn't want to be out on the street longer than they had to.

Not with twenty pounds of fresh, stinking Euphoria packed into the donkey's saddlebags.

Well, almost twenty.

"Fuck you think happened?"

"No bloody clue," Freddie muttered to Clean as the four of them came together around the donkey. The furor and just plain roar of the Citizen's Market was dulling as the night wore on, seeming even quieter in the little side street they stood in. "His message said to be here, a break ago, and that was it."

Freddie looked up and down the street. Nothing but shadows and darkness and stink and an old beggar half-collapsed near the entrance, coughing wetly with one hand grasping a begging bowl. He shook his head and cursed every Immortal he could remember. He wanted shot of this fucking shipment, and he wanted his bloody money. As soon as the switch was done and they'd divvied up the spoils, they were almost out of danger.

The plan wasn't hard. The killing wasn't hard. Living to spend the proceeds... that's the tough part.

"Fuck this," he almost snarled, yanking the donkey along as he started walking. "We're away home. We'll get a message to the fat man tomorrow, find out why the fuck he bailed tonight."

There was a chorus of agreement and the foursome started walking. Same positions as before: Freddie and Clean at the donkey, Pork walking a dozen or so yards ahead, wary eyes scanning the faces they passed, and Ron bringing up the rear, doing much the same. To the casual eye, the four men didn't seem to be together, and a couple of hooded figures with an old donkey were even less likely to be stopped for any reason.

They passed the beggar one by one, and Freddie wondered for a moment if he had any spare coins. Poor cunt stank like a fresh corpse. Fates, even a few coppers for a bath would have been enough... and then he passed the derelict, and the compassionate inkling vanished along with the sight of him. The thief shrugged and kept walking, leaving Ron to give the vagrant a quick look before disappearing behind them-

The shaggy head looked up. Watching Ron's feet troop past, then head out into the street. He slid upright with a smoothness that the ravaged, torn body of a true Etzos beggar wouldn't have been capable of. He stank, he smelled, he offended most of the senses just by existing... but there was more going on in those eyes than just a desire for warmth, food, drink, and narcotics.

Kasoria had been waiting a while, too. Playing his part. Knowing his role. Now lying in a pool of piss was over, and he started shuffling after the foursome and their donkey. He peered around the corner and saw Ron's head bobbing in the crowd... and the hint of a donkey's swishing ass beyond it.

The little man slid out into the street, keeping his distance, keeping to the shadows, dogging their steps through crooked ways and dim alleys. His face was calm but his eyes were bright. Eager. Shining in their hollows like cave fires.

Enough waiting. Enough searching. Soon the hunt would end.
word count: 815

Appearance

  • Habitually dressed in boots, breeches, tunic, and cloak.
  • Long hair down to the shoulders, usually swept back or in a rough ponytail
  • Prefers a trimmed beard and mustache

Mutations

  • Star-shaped scar on each palm.
  • Air around him seems to thicken and become more turbulent the closer a person gets to him.
  • Pitch black eyes, from tear ducts to the pupils.
  • Arms from shoulder to palms appear as if heavy chains are wrapped around them.
  • Wisps of black smoke constantly drifts around his body, forming the rough outline of a cloak. The more agitated he becomes, the thicker the layers get.
    Note: the torch-motif medallion Kasoria wears negates the visible effects of this mutation.
  • Roughly circular pattern across breastbone, constantly transforming, and resettling
  • Sunken, closed eyes in the back of hands; they open when stared at
  • Skin takes on the tone and quality of whatever material he's just Transmuted
User avatar
Kasoria
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Posts: 1543
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:34 am
Race: Human
Renown: 935
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Wealth Tier: Tier 5

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III. Fool's Gold

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Wide Nick behaved himself after Kasoria's... demonstration. Once he understood just how badly he'd erred in keeping from Vorund's emissary that the men who'd stolen from him had been in touch, well, he was very eager to make amends. He'd been a torrent of words, explanations, promises, and Gerald had sat in the corner. Massaging his bruised throat. Trying to breath properly and instead making some very peculiar noises.

The bull-necked thug stared at Kasoria hard and hot enough to draw his gaze. Kasoria returned it for only a couple of trills, matching heat and sizzling anger with an indifference that barely seemed to take note that he existed. He let that impression fall across the man with the bruised throat, then turned back to Nick, and forgot about him completely.

"I-I-I can set up a meeting!" Nick finished saying (eventually). He spread his pudgy hands, smile tentatively back on his face. "J-Just give me a little while, I'll have to send a message, and they'll send a message and-"

"Just do it."

Kasoria had waited in the warehouse that smelled of rat shit and beets. Cleaning his nails with the same karambit that Nick had nearly got so intimate with. Whenever the fence got close, his eyes were dragged to it, almost against his will. His ruddy features paled for a moment, as if a spotlight were thrown on his face, and then he scuttled away.

The little man waited in his chair and focused on his grooming. Already he was organizing the rest of his day. The tools he needed. The clothes he would require. The manner he had to adopt. The persona, the route, the risks, the words... but to the fence and his lackey he was a scruffy little man with a big beard, cleaning his nails. He could tell in their stolen sneers and mutters that's what they thought.

What they still thought. Some people never learned.

Motivated as only a fearful man can be, Nick was true to his word. Messengers were sent scampering off and returned with word, second- or third-hand though Kasoria knew it probably was. The bounty on their heads would be burning up the cobbles in every street of Etzos: this band of murderous morons wouldn't be sticking their heads up unless they knew the deal was good.

And as far as they know, it is.

Which is a roundabout explanation as to why Kasoria smelled like shit in a gutter.

Think of it as immersive acting, only in Kasoria's case, it was a role that required a very extreme... aroma. So he'd gone back to his house and changed into the tattered, torn, smelly breeches and cloak and shoes he always had for such an occasion. He walked to the quiet side-street and scooped down to claim a handful of dog turd as he did. Wiped it on his cloak. Across his breeches.

Ah. There we go.

"Would you look at the fuckin' state a' that?"

He'd groaned and he'd slurred and he'd peered up at them from under his cloak, through his beard, stinking and smelling and acting as a living etstament to where drink, drugs, and poor decisions got a man. They seemed to buy it. All four faces (four of them, good) crumpled into various expressions of disdain and disgust. Even the donkey appeared taken aback, shucking away from him as they led the creature into the street.

Where they waited. Two of them crossing the street and vanishing into the shadows of a doorway, clearly there to watch for trouble. The two others stayed by their donkey, and the cargo it carried...

Kasoria's nostril's had quivered when it trotted past. Euphoria. Just a whiff, the suggestion in the air, but thirty years of street life told him what it was. He'd frowned in his hood, though. Something odd about it. But he didn't dwell on the thought; couldn't afford to. The Citizen's Market was roiling and rollicking just down the way, and Kasoria had to focus his hearing to keep a rough track of where his quarry were.

Two in the doorway. Two by the donkey. You could do it now. Take a couple by surprise with the beggar bit. The other two... tougher. But not impossible.

Then a burst of noise would smash his plans to pieces. The Market was too close, and it was late, but not late enough for it to be deserted. The foursome decided a break was long enough, and Kasoria cursed silently. It would have been better, to do it in the street... or would it have? Vorund wanted an example made. A message sent. He had an idea of how to do that, but... he would need time. A brawl in the street within screaming distance of the Market would not grant him that time.

Kasoria made his decision in the time it took for him to get up and start shadowing the group.

Which was perhaps the wrong word for it. Shadows are attached to their bodies, after all. You never fail to see your shadow, as long as you look for it. But Kasoria made sure to keep his distance, stay detached. Just another vague, blurry shape bobbing in the crowd. The lanky one cast his eyes backward so often it was almost as if his head was on the wrong way, but Kasoria knew his trade.

Once the crowds thinned, he tracked as much by sound as by sight. Waited around the corner for their clip-clop of hooves and babble of voices to fade... then peered around... saw their shadow or departing forms... and scuttled through the shadows to that corner. They led him unknowingly for most of a beak, and finally the smell (such as it was, over the stench of his cloak) began to... thin. There was a freshness in the air, an absence of all the tastes a tongue got smeared with when it smacked city air.

Kasoria turned the latest corner and saw the great blackness beyond the rim of the city. Faint, distant spots of light were almost smothered by the expanse of night, the endless nature of it. Fields and forests and woods and plains and the river roaring, rushing somewhere in the gloom. The houses down the street seemed darker, less lamps, less candles, most of them lifeless, soundless husks.

Apart from the one at the end. The foursome led the donkey around the back, and Kasoria heard a door open. A candle bloomed into life behind a window... and the door slammed shut. Figures roamed and circled in the candlelight. Furious, exasperated movements, to his eyes. He watched from his cowl and from the shadows and from his position of acute interest, and he smiled.

Not happy, are you? Another night wasted. Another trial you might not survive. Well, fear not, lads.

There was a rustle in the night as Kasoria shucked his shoulders and the cloak fell to the ground. Under it was a neat, clean tunic, and his gladius at his hip, as always. But these things would not gain him entry to that house. He slid the parchment from his pocket, and this, too, was not a magic ticket. It was, instead, the words he had. The knowledge he possessed. And how he chose to use it.

Teeth, bright and white and hungry, flashed for a moment. Then the predator was drifting towards the trouble house.
Last edited by Kasoria on Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 1276

Appearance

  • Habitually dressed in boots, breeches, tunic, and cloak.
  • Long hair down to the shoulders, usually swept back or in a rough ponytail
  • Prefers a trimmed beard and mustache

Mutations

  • Star-shaped scar on each palm.
  • Air around him seems to thicken and become more turbulent the closer a person gets to him.
  • Pitch black eyes, from tear ducts to the pupils.
  • Arms from shoulder to palms appear as if heavy chains are wrapped around them.
  • Wisps of black smoke constantly drifts around his body, forming the rough outline of a cloak. The more agitated he becomes, the thicker the layers get.
    Note: the torch-motif medallion Kasoria wears negates the visible effects of this mutation.
  • Roughly circular pattern across breastbone, constantly transforming, and resettling
  • Sunken, closed eyes in the back of hands; they open when stared at
  • Skin takes on the tone and quality of whatever material he's just Transmuted
User avatar
Kasoria
Approved Character
Posts: 1543
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:34 am
Race: Human
Renown: 935
Character Sheet
Character Wiki
Plot Notes
Templates
Wealth Tier: Tier 5

Contribution

Milestones

RP Medals

Miscellaneous

III. Fool's Gold

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Timing. That's what it would come down to. But until then, it was about the mask, the performance, and Kasoria spent a few moments outside the tanwood door, preparing himself.

He closed his eyes, and he remembered. Faces and voices. People he'd met. People he'd killed. The brief splashes of personality they'd revealed in the time he'd known them, and then he expanded that to people who know him better... then himself. Kasoria was hardly a natural actor, but he know how to wear the mask. He did so almost every day, to hide himself. This was something similar.

More or less.

He rapped on the door and when his hand dropped down to his side, so did his stoic mask drop away. His face became mobile, jaw slacker, eyes wide, looking up and down the street as he swayed back and forth lightly. Footsteps banged up the hallway and slid open the little hole in the doorway. Suspicious eyes peered out at him.

"Fuck do you want?"

"N-Nick sent me," Kasoria whispered, leaning close to the door as if he were imparting secrets worthy of empire. "He, um, he sent me to-"

"How the fuck did you find us?"

The man behind the door hissed and cut him off, anger flaring in his eyes... and more than a touch of fear with it. Kasoria swallowed and plowed on. He'd anticipated that one.

"I-I don't fucking know, man! I just deliver the messages! Th-They told me to-to-to come here and drop this off to whoever opened the door! Look, j-just open the door, an-an-an-"

"Give it here. Through the slot."

"He told me not to let it go un-un-until I put it in your hand!"

"That's what you'll be doing!" The eyes rolled and their voice soured like milk left out for a season. "Through the slot, into my hand-"

"H-Hey, you don't know what Nick does to people who don't follow orders!" Kasoria moved closer until his face was all the man behind the door could see, wrinkled and lined and sweaty and tired and frightened. Or so he hoped. "He-He said, walk in before you hand it over, so-so-so anyone watching or following won't-won't know it's-"

"How the fuck do I know you won't try something?"

"Oh, for fuck's..."

Kasoria's face and voice and very bearing were jittery and put-upon, but inside his skull he cursed savagely. Damn. He needed to make this really good. Very convincing. You only accomplished that by sacrificing something. So he stepped back, undid the sword around his belt, and let it drop to the cobbles. Once the man behind the door had seen that, he spread his arms and stepped back.

"There! Happy now?! Now open up so I can-can deliver this and I swear to fuck, if some cu-cu-cunt steals my sword while-"

"Yeah-yeah-yeah, shut the fuck up and wait."

Bolts slid across metal and wood and the door creaked and no matter what, Kasoria did not smile. The kept the mask on his face and in his limbs. Stole another quick look down both ends of the street and hustled inside like he was being pursued and-

The smell struck him. Not that it was rank or putrid or hideous or foreboding, but it was-

Familiar. Too familiar. And it showed on his-

"Hey? HEY?!" He blinked and snapped back to attention, finding Ron scowling down at him. "The fuck are you waiting for?"

"Oh, yeah, right..."

He dug into his pocket for the parchment, eyes flickering around-

Hallway empty. Voices from the room at the end. Scraping, metal, plates, someone in the kitchen. That smell, you know that smell-

"Here y'go."

Timing. It needs to be perfect.

He held up the parchment and as Ron raised his hand to snatch it from his left hand, his right arm drifted a little closer to his back-

"Oi, what's his problem?"

His eyes slid around Ron's shoulder and he nodded at... nothing. But Ron didn't know that. He was still reaching, only now it was blindly, because he turned his head to look where Kasoria was-

-saw there was nothing at the end of the hallway, just as Kasoria pulled his karambit from the sheath at the small of his back-

"Eh? Fuck're you talking ab-"

Ron never finished the sentence. Nor would he ever get to utter another. He turned back to the twitchy little cunt he'd opened the door to and found cold, black eyes staring up at him. But he only saw those for a moment. A blink. And after that blink, with the words still on his tongue, an arc of sliver flashed up from the little man's waist, almost blinding-

-speed so fast it choked him, only it wasn't speed he was choking on-

-it was blood, and shock, and he tried to scream-

Because then he felt the pain hit him. Like a sledgehammer smashing into all of his nerves at the same moment. The forward-curving blade of the karambit punched into the side of his neck and impaled or severed so many vital things inside it. His mouth gaped and Kasoria felt his body tense and before his hands could move to save himself-

-he ripped the blade out of his neck... through the front. Carving through flesh and tendons and muscle and arteries, not to mention his voice box. Ron's eyes were bulging so wide they were fit to pop out of his sockets and go rolling around on the floor, but all his fury and fear were nothing to him now. They couldn't save him as he saw his own blood explode from the red mouth the little "messenger" had ripped under his chin, splashing over the man as he slid out of the way. Spraying the wall. The door. The floor, as he felt his knees buckle under him.

"Fuck was that?"

It was still loud enough and Kasoria scowled at the disembodied voice. The house was smaller than it looked from the outside. A man slumping to his knees and wheezing wetly through a mortal wound was... not loud, but enough to give a warning to the others. Unseen figures got to their feet. Chairs slid back across the floor. A plate was dropped in the kitchen and judging by the noise.

He's alone in there.

Kasoria adjusted his grip on his weapon, and move towards the kitchen. Ron fell against the locked door, and died with his eyes open.

Continued here
word count: 1139

Appearance

  • Habitually dressed in boots, breeches, tunic, and cloak.
  • Long hair down to the shoulders, usually swept back or in a rough ponytail
  • Prefers a trimmed beard and mustache

Mutations

  • Star-shaped scar on each palm.
  • Air around him seems to thicken and become more turbulent the closer a person gets to him.
  • Pitch black eyes, from tear ducts to the pupils.
  • Arms from shoulder to palms appear as if heavy chains are wrapped around them.
  • Wisps of black smoke constantly drifts around his body, forming the rough outline of a cloak. The more agitated he becomes, the thicker the layers get.
    Note: the torch-motif medallion Kasoria wears negates the visible effects of this mutation.
  • Roughly circular pattern across breastbone, constantly transforming, and resettling
  • Sunken, closed eyes in the back of hands; they open when stared at
  • Skin takes on the tone and quality of whatever material he's just Transmuted
User avatar
Oracle
Posts: 728
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 12:28 am
Race: Prophet
Profession: Seeress
Renown: 1000
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Wealth Tier: Tier 10

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III. Fool's Gold

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Kasoria

I always enjoy reading your stories, and I love that this is a continuation from another of your threads that I reviewed. Your attention to detail is so wonderful. I could really get a sense of the grimy, stinking Etzori streets as Kasoria stalked his targets. The scent and appearance of Kas as a beggar was a little chilling. He is committed to doing his job extremely well. Your work in establishing the setting of your story is excellent. You also have a clear plot structure that is present in every thread in this series. Kasoria has a goal and it's clear that he intends to fulfill it. He is a great character and I can't wait to read more about him! Well done!

Points

XP:10
This may not be used for magic.

Renown

None

Loot

None

Knowledge

Acting: Playing the Fearful Underworld Bottom-Feeder
Deception: Luring Targets Out with a False Message
Deception: Bluffing Your Way Inside With a Convincing Story
Stealth: Following At a Distance
Tactics: Planning For Likely Questions
Tactics: The Ol' "What's That Behind You?" Trick
Non-Skill Knowledge
Etzos: No Walls Beyond the Perimeter, Just the Wilderness[/tab][/tabmenu][/align]
word count: 215
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"Without the dark, we'd never see the stars"
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