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Finnegan O'Connor
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The Doran Chronicles: The Plan to Eradicate all Xiurs

THE PLAN TO ERADICATE ALL XIURS


________________________
13th Ashan, 718
Finn awoke one of Zipper’s bedrooms while the roosters still slept and dew still clung to the grass. A few shy rays of sunlight crawled over the horizon and tickled his skin through the worn-out curtains, blowing in a gentle morning breeze. He’d removed a handful of Doran figures hanging from the ceiling the night before, not wishing to be greeted by that sight again. Yet as he rolled over to his other sife, he couldn’t escape the prying eyes of three unfinished Doran’s scattered across the floor. With a sigh he closed his eyes and tried to banish the mental image.

How long, he wondered. How long would it be before she snapped again. She’d let him off the hook yesterday, he knew, though he didn’t know why. This wasn’t the first time they’d argued, fought, and then simmered down again, but each next time it got so much more tiresome. He wondered if there was any way out of the cycle, any way at all to stop them from tearing each other to piece. There was a way. If she would just stop whining about everything he did and would join him. What was her problem with Vuda anyway? True, the old fart was a bit of a creep, but he was only the Chief Advisor, not the Grand Marshall.

Bare feet pattered across the floor as he searched Zipper’s small kitchen for something to eat but found nothing. Sighing, he returned to his room, rummaged through his backpack and slipped on some fresh clothes and pocketed a few golden nels. Best way he knew to make her more agreeable and defuse the situation at least for the time being was to prepare a hearty breakfast.

More than two bells passed before he returned and then it took another half bell before he had everything prepared. The kitchen table was filled with various fresh loaves of bread, a salad, fresh juice, warm tea, and all the appropriate plates and cutlery to consume the royal breakfast. He even cleaned out the stove, replaced the firewood and boiled two eggs in hot water, as the proverbial cherry on top.

“Fi?”

He gave a little rap on the door to her bedroom. “Fi, I made breakfast for us…” He idly flattened his hair with his free hand as he waited for an answer.

No response.


“Fi? Zippo? Zipperrrrr...” Nothing still. He knocked again, a little harder this time, making the loose hinges rattle. “Hello? Fi? Hey! Wake u-!”
Last edited by Finnegan O'Connor on Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:42 am, edited 2 times in total. word count: 451
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Finnegan O'Connor
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The Doran Chronicles: The Plan to Eradicate all Xiurs

THE PLAN TO ERADICATE ALL XIURS


________________________
13th Ashan, 718
“WILL YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP?!” The voice came from outside the room rather than from within and Finn know saw that the blanket draped over a chair was moving, the Dorans upon it scattering as an angry hand emerged and Zipper flipped him a middle from beneath her chair before retreating back in. “BUZZ OFF.”

She startled him good. Good enough to make him retreat to the kitchen table in deflated silence. So much for making peace. Silently he hoped that she’d turn around, but when she didn’t emerge from her blanket fortress a bit later, he made a lonely start on the breakfast. The bread didn’t taste quite so nice and he didn’t really want the boiled egg anymore either. It was only that he’d spend quite a bit of money on it, else he’d have left that instant instead of forcing himself to at least eat something of the things he’d bought.

After five bits he gave up with a loud, drawn-out sigh. “Fiona... please. At least come sit here or something. You can’t keep living like this.”

“I’M ON PAID LEAVE LEAVE LEAVE LEAVE ME ALONE.”

“You’re living in a mess,” Finn snarled over his shoulder. “And if you keep shouting like that, you might not live here much longer. Don’t make me come over there an-”

“IT’S NOT A MESS IT’S A TEMPORARY WORKSHOP-”

For a moment it seemed to have worked. Blessed silence enveloped Fiona like a warm blanket and-

“ENOUGH!” He tore the covers away with some force, revealing the grouch hiding underneath. “YOU’RE GOING TO GET UP NOW AND WALK OVER TO THAT CHAIR” He pointed toward the kitchen table, “AND YOU’RE GOING TO SIT DOWN AND EAT YOUR DAMN BREAKFAST!” His voice was trembling as much as his finger.

“I DON’T EVEN EAT.” she screamed, curling up, pressing her face to the chair, and swatting him away. “THIS ISN’T A PREFERENCE, IT’S A STATE OF BEING.”

“WELL YOU’RE GONNA!” If she wouldn’t come to the food, the food would come to her. He stomped over to the table, picked up a perfectly boiled egg and-

Barely stopped himself from lobbing it at the dishevelled, bad-hair-day, curled up, electrified, psychopathic maniacal creature that called itself his sister. With a thud he sat down again, his back turned toward her. There was a clatter of cutlery, and then another thud as he dropped his head flat on the table and furiously blinked at his feet. He snivelled. Once. A few more awkward trills passed before he stormed off towards his room, grabbed his backpack and stuffed his belongings back into it. He barely glanced at Zipper as he rushed through the kitchen and aimed straight for the door without another word.
Last edited by Finnegan O'Connor on Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 505
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Finnegan O'Connor
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The Doran Chronicles: The Plan to Eradicate all Xiurs

THE PLAN TO ERADICATE ALL XIURS


________________________
13th Ashan, 718
When the now-repaired door wouldn’t budge open, he knew he’d gotten Zipper’s attention at least.

“Is every,” the voice was closer now, she was moving, her footsteps slow and heavy, “Thing in your life run, run, run, run?”

He kept leaning against the door-turned-solid before finally, after a long while, turning around at snail’s pace. He blinked a little too often, looked a little more red-faced than normal, but kept himself together for the time being.

“Food’s for you. I don’t eat.” She repeated. She didn’t head for the door as he might have expected, didn’t try to corner him against it. Instead she threw onto one of the table chairs, her forehead banging down against the table; just a relocation of her sleeping area. The Dorans on the table clattered in protest.

“You know,” he started feebly, “I could blow this to pieces and just… walk out.” That wasn’t true, of course, she always had another trick up her sleeve; always had another facet of her magic she would whip out to crush whatever meagre arcane accomplishment he showcased. If he broke the world, she probably had a magical hoohaa that could fix it with a wave.

“Maybe,” she said, her voice muffled against the table. The fact that she was patronizing him rather than threatening him was galling. “But then you’ll miss out on the vacation trip.”

Finn puffed his cheeks and slid down against the door, his eyes darting toward the ceiling, a choice quickly regretted as he was yet again met by a familiar grinning-

“That might’ve worked when I was six or something,” he snapped back. “But you are six,” he preemptively said in a mock voice. Another sigh. “So when are you going to let me out? I’ve actually got a job to do.”

“After we have a talk. Then you’re free to return to your new masters.” she said. This was an odd sight to behold; she was usually a morning person.

“What? You’re going to tell me I made mistakes? As if I don’t know that already. I’m not perfect, okay? When are you- When will you stop trying to make me-” He pulled up his knees to his chest and rested his chin on his kneecaps. “If you have any ideas on how to fix this,” he gestured broadly, “I’d give up everything to just have a calm, normal fookin breakfast…”

He heard the footsteps, and then a voice much, much closer than he was comfortable with until she was standing just a few steps away from him.

“I thought about taking a leaf out of your playbook,” she said. “We’re running.”
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Finnegan O'Connor
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The Doran Chronicles: The Plan to Eradicate all Xiurs

THE PLAN TO ERADICATE ALL XIURS


________________________
13th Ashan, 718
“Running? You?” Trained Black Guard or not, he knew he could outpace her. She probably knew it too. Since when did she voluntarily sign up to a game she’d inevitably lose?

“Rharne’s good.” she said. “Lousy with immortal worship, too much booze, obnoxious energy, but it’s something.”

His jaw slackened a little. “Are you serious? You want me to give up-” But he stopped there, he hadn’t forgotten his own words just yet. “How do you know it’ll work? What about your business?”

“I’ll chalk-” she waved her hand at the entirety of her visible house: the Dorans on the table, the Dorans on the coach, the Dorans covering every 2nd inch of her floor, the Dorans hung up with the curtains because she ran out of space. “-it up as a failed venture.”

He laughed. Not sarcastically, not with venom, not at her but rather at the absurdity of it all, further adding to the neighbour’s confusion. When he’d finally regained control over his voice his face grew serious. “Well, let’s go then.”

“Okay,” she said evenly. “Let’s go.”

He stood up, wiped his sleeve over his face then frowned. “You’re not going like that are you?” Not that he minded much how she dressed, but rather that she carried more than shirt and a make-believe cape made out of blanket.

“How long are you going to humor this?” she asked. “You don’t want to leave.”

“No? I have every reason to leave, to go somewhere where I won’t be chided by Gangui or almost get killed by pirates, somewhere where even Vuda can’t see and where you don’t feel tempted to tell me how poorly I am doing every five trills.”

“Patriot of the city one day, recluse the next. I don’t buy it.”

“I wasn’t done yet.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “No such place exists, and even if it does, you’re too chicken to go anyway. Give up all of this? For me? For us? How much time exactly have you spent looking for mum and dad, huh? Remember that time you said you didn’t have the letter anymore?” He narrowed his eyes. “If my problem is running away, then yours is sticking around, cowering in your house, hoping no one will come disturb your perfect valhalla.”
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The Doran Chronicles: The Plan to Eradicate all Xiurs

The moment the word ‘running’ flew out of her mouth, Zipper knew it wasn’t ever going to be an option.

Zipper O’Connor despised Etzos. She hated the people, she hated the grubby culture, she hated the way things ran on the outside and she hated the way it was ran on the inside, in the deepest, blackest pits of government conspiracy. She hated her job, she hated her boss, she hated her boss’ boss that had now set his damned sight on her brother, and she hated the very idea that she had to engage with all this to survive - not that she had a choice to begin with. The moment a 15 arc old her was dragged out of that seeker cell was the day that participation stopped being voluntary.

But it was, in a sense, still her home.

She would leave it in a heartbeat for a better city, if there even was one. For all its failings, Etzos stood alone as a threshold against Immortal rule, the likes of which no other civilization could compare.

But being forced out under duress? Being driven away by a secondary machination of the shadow tyrant wizard that ruled this city for arcs?

No. No, it was unacceptable. That was not ever going to be a Victory condition.

“It’s called a break,” she said tersely. She found that, admdist the distress of this whole Vuda nonsense, she was genuinely annoyed that he had chosen to take her little Doran-making break as some sign that she was some horrible shut-in in a house that she had barely stayed in these last few seasons.

Workaholic she took as a compliment rather than an insult, but this…

“You call this a break? It’s a waste of your time, your talents.” There, he said it. “You can blow up half the city without blinking and what do you do? Whittle little fuckin Doran figures. Are you sure we have the same parents?” She knew Finn still had his eyes on the letter, knew that in a bout of anger he might’ve left without it, but she recognized that greedy little look in his eyes.
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The Doran Chronicles: The Plan to Eradicate all Xiurs

Normally, she would have gone on a lengthy diatribe about what she was aiming with this seemingly idiotic venture, but she stayed her tongue now.

Because he was, willing or not, with the enemy now.

Because every mage in Etzos had passed through the crucible of Vuda before and she knew how connivingly persuasive that old spider could be. She had met him a few times - and those few times were more than enough. It wasn’t that she did trust Finn -okay, she didn’t- but that she understood that he was fundamentally a sucker.

And suckers were liabilities even with their best intentions.

“You could ask them,” she said, turning away from him and returning to the table. She needed, fuckin’ needed a distraction. She reached out and grabbed one of the unfinished Dorans. “Oh wait.”

Finn rolled his eyes at her and gave the door a little jab with his elbow. “I wasn’t going anywhere.”

“Yes, you just love marveling at doors.” she said, setting up the ether field around the Doran. It was muscle memory by now, given the dozens, maybe hundreds of time she had done it over the past few trials.

She might think him a moron, but at least he was bright enough to recognize what she was doing and he reluctantly sat down at the table again. “I suppose you’re going to tell me something?” A sly smile tugged at the corner of his lips and his eyes lit up suddenly. “Is it a boy or a girl?”

“I drank some herbs. Your nephew or niece is dead.” she replied, not missing a beat and not looking up. This Doran was going to be… Doran Da’udon, a version of Doran raised by Xiur to be his Champion of False Hope. Captured as a baby, the vile Godling had raised him to become his greatest weapon in his war to instill subjugation in the masses. But Doran proved that his particularly righteous nature bested Xiur’s pathetically weak nurture. He rose above his upbringing, raised an army against his lie of a father, and struck the killing blow.

She never thought about being a playwright.

After thinking of dozens of ideas for these figurine lines, she still wasn’t thinking about it.
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The Doran Chronicles: The Plan to Eradicate all Xiurs

Finn cleared his throat, loudly. “As much as I adore your talent at making creepy dolls, I don’t actually have all day.”

“Then say your piece, because I have a lot to say on mine before you go off.”

“Fine.” He kicked back a little, more hanging from his chair than actually sitting on it. It didn’t look remotely comfortable, but it was a natural pose for a disgruntled teenager. “I’ve told you the truth. I work for him and there’s no easy way out, even if I wanted to.” He gave a little shrug. “I’m not sure what I want, but I know I don’t want to keep fighting with you like this over and over and over again and again until the end of time. I’d leave in a heartbeat if I knew for sure that we wouldn’t kill each other on the way to Rharne or wherever but… ” he looked at her seriously now, “I did what I had to do. I hate Gangui as much now as I did then, when I warned you against him, the sooner I can get away from him, the better. Right now, the fastest way is to grit my teeth and do my job and do it well, then perhaps we’ll have a chance, in a few arcs or so, to go someplace else. At least…” he bit his lips. “If you want-”

“We don’t have a few arcs.” she said. Focus on the Doran, Zipper, focus on it. She found her rising anger curbed by focusing it all into the tiny alchemist. Oh, Finn might very well survive his arcs of service under Vuda but it would erode away at his very being, and she would much prefer an idiot to an obedient husk that obeyed His orders.

“We don’t,” he agreed, albeit for a different reason. She had suspected it would come to this, he’d mentioned it before, though never with the gravity that he did now. “I want to find mum and dad, and it can’t wait several arcs. I’ll have to run again,” he said solemnly before his eyes locked with her. “We’ll have to run again. I- I can’t do it alone. You have the letter, and all the skills.”
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The Doran Chronicles: The Plan to Eradicate all Xiurs

“One step at a time,” she said. By the look on his face, he wasn’t happy about the letter being diverted again. Maybe she should really burn it this time. “I’m going to ask Gangui to reorganize your duties as a squire; you will be assigned to-” She closed her eyes, as if it pained her to say it. “-Doran Doran as a craftsman. I’ll bullock something up about discipline, the free market, the joys of labor and-”

“I doubt he’ll bite.”

“Then I’m going to bite his head off. It’ll happen.” Should she add a sigil of Xiur to Doran’s forehead? Was the Xiur in this narrative that possessive of his adoptive son, so vain? Of course he was. “It’ll cut your time doing Vuda’s many labors in half.”

“What if he wants to keep me around for longer? He seemed impressed that I knew two magics alrea-” He could feel her glare at him and quickly shifted gears. “Sorry, but you gotta understand, I didn’t have much of a choice. I killed a Black Guard, maybe more than one, I don’t know, but if he wanted to, he could have us charged and hung tomorrow.”

“He’s been amenable to Gangui’s requests, for some aching reason. Something to do with aiding him in tackling a Lotharro Becomer and his Rupturing toady.”

“Maybe, but I am not sure he likes me much yet. Might like me more if I do a good job. I guess I just… need to do it faster, somehow.”

“One: This conversation never happened. You do not mention it, you do not insinuate anything about it, you do not so much as speak a peep to whatever handler Vuda has assigned to you - who is it?”

“Tagley, from the Citizen’s Office. I report to him. But Gangui sent one along too, he’s called Iwan, he expects me in less than a bell.”

“Let’s make this quick then. Nothing was said here, nothing was done here. I am oblivious. I heard nothing, and you say nothing. Do whatever they ask you to and if it’s anything excessively dangerous? You come to me.

He nodded vigorously. “And then, when it’s over, we’ll go far away and find mum and dad!”

That again? “Sure.”

He jumped up, gave her a quick, excited hug before jutting his chin in the direction of the letter, resting atop her desk. “May I…?”

She stood up and handed it over to him with more enthusiasm than she felt.

“One last thing: I need to be able to track you. Stay still.”

It took her only a bit to re-establish the old Attunement bond they shared, the one that had been ripped from her when she saw that thing in the jungle with her third sight. She graced his frequency with the gentle brushstroke of a painter, and a brief glance across the canvas of his soul was fear and hope and-

“Go,” she said. “We’ll get through this.”

She was certain she would, the problem was getting HIM out in one piece.
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The Doran Chronicles: The Plan to Eradicate all Xiurs

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Finn


Knowledge
Skill
Stealth: Leaving Zipper's house without waking her
Stealth: Preparing a surprise breakfast undetected
Strength: Yanking Zipper's blanket from her clutches
Tactics: Making a mean comment preemptively so it can't be used against you
Tactics: Coming up with a plan to shake Gangui and Vuda
Discipline: deciding not to throw eggs at Zipper even though she deserved it
Socialization: recognizing the tell-tale signs of a disturbed recluse.
Socialization: admitting your mistakes
Socialization: giving Zipper a compliment
Etiquette: setting a table, properly
Intimidation: shouting commands at Zipper

Non-Skill

Loot: N/A
Injuries: N/A
Renown: N/A

Points 15

Zipper


Knowledge
Skill
Attunement: Frequency - Finn
Attunement: Note - Hope
Attunement: Note - Fear
Detection: Sensing greed
Intimidation: The Death Glare
Tactics: Mitigating a liability
Woodworking: A narrative to go with the carving
Woodworking: Contemplating design
Woodworking: Salvaging unfinished work

Non-Skill

Loot: +1 Letter to Finn
Injuries: N/A
Renown: N/A

Points 15

Comments: Wow, this was a really good thread - it seems like all of the Zipper/Finn threads are totally fascinating. I love how you did 4-4 instead of 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1, back and forth; it was a really unique touch that I'm sure you guys could only do with great communication. Sure it was like two back-to-back solos in a way, but it melded together so well and I loved it.

Props.
word count: 247
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