Where few want to be found [Underground]

Atop a stony plateau overlooking the lands of central Idalos, and growing wealthy from the gem stones pulled from the rocky soil, Etzos is a bastion of independence; firm in its belief that man should rule Idalos, not be servants of the vain Immortals who nearly destroyed it. But can the many factions set aside their conflicting agendas and see this through?

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Vidao Reymisi
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Where few want to be found [Underground]

Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:34 pm

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Chink!

Vidao heard it, and his mind understood it. Whether it was armor under the wily man's shirt, a fortuitously placed belt buckle, or something else, something had partially blocked his abdominal attack. He felt the cut into flesh but knew it wasn't as harsh or as deep as he had wanted. This assessment, in the expedient processing of his brain took but an instant.

Wommpp!!


A severe stinging sensation, and a jarring of his senses as Inky kicked his head. Fortunately the foot got him in the thick part of his skull, rather than his jaw. Still hurt though. Reymisi had no time to wince, this fellow was quick. Surprisingly acrobatic for what Vidao thought was a simple street thug. The other scumbag was moving, he could sense it, but was not the immediate concern.

"Hooooh!!!"

Still crouched, Vidao exhaled with an audible grunt as he swung his leg and foot out in an attempt to take out Inky at the ankle. He attempted to do this while the thug was still balancing on one foot after the strike to Reymisi's face. Of course, he may not have had the speed to do so, but would attempt to trip the bastard anyway. Immediately after this attempt, it was back up and lunging for the goon with his combat knife. The mercenary's broadsword was dropped behind him, away from the entire situation. It was too cumbersome here, anyway...
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Oberan
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Where few want to be found [Underground]

Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:05 pm

Perhaps Oberan would have changed his mind depending on the situation and his assessment of it. The thief didn’t quite like the feeling he got from the ragged beggar type pushing past the woman. Call it intuition, a sixth sense of sorts, acquired from decades of experience. The intuition of a person who’d been getting into trouble ever since their childhood and hadn’t stopped. Trouble was like an old lover he enjoyed flirting with every now and then, who kept calling his name. Who kept looking for him, and he for her. After many arcs, he would recognize her from a mile away, pick out her voice in a cacophony of wails and cheers.

And he recognized her here too, for she left him enough hints to pick up on. His little guide had made it too obvious to overlook. Trouble walked side by side with the ragged man, kissed the cheek of the woman who’d been hiding in the shadows.

But it was not the sort of trouble he was looking for.

This was a different, nasty sort of business he was better off steering away from.

Oberan very nearly did.

However, he thought he recognized the telltale edge of Gravokian in her voice, as well as that frigid coldness in her tone most Naerikk seemed to employ. No longer could he simply walk away now. He’d said he’d push through, and he would too.

“I don’t believe in dead ends,” the Mortalborn spoke with a smile that did not reach his eyes. “A cave-in is no more of a problem than a pebble on the road.” His glare was hard and challenging, though his tone of voice was as level as a frozen lake. Just like his father had taught him, way back when.

The ragged man brushed past the woman, going on ahead. The tension between the two was palpable, like a field of static electricity. Perhaps this would be useful. Maybe the ragged man would prove to be an asset when dealing with the Naer.

Small footsteps distanced themselves, and Oberan turned just in time to see his guide disappear deeper into the tunnel, going back the way she’d come. Was she merely keeping out of sight and out of the way, or had she decided to go back entirely? If the latter, he’d probably not be making use of the Finders anymore in the near future. In fact, he was fairly certain he’d get some trouble on his hands when he showed his face in the underground again. No matter.

He shrugged. Problems for another time.

When he turned back, the Naerikk had left her position as well, now stalking further into the tunnel, heading in the direction of the beggar-looking fellow. She had something nefarious in mind, no doubt, and Oberan decided to follow rather than head straight for where he needed to go. Without a guide he’d probably get lost anyway.

Besides, if he annoyed the Naerikk with his presence, so much the better. If it thwarted any plans she had, even better still. If it helped the beggar… well, that really didn’t matter.

They reached an office building of sorts, which the ragged guy had been ransacking if the mess was any indication. He frowned, and paused in the doorway, once more questioning how deeply involved he wanted to become in this whole deal. Turning back now was unacceptable however.

Moreover, the Naerikk had begun a spiel in a very haughty manner that got on Oberan’s nerves immediately. He was already here, perhaps he could mess with her a little bit—

Darkness.

Actually, that wasn’t entirely accurate. It wasn’t dark. There was simply nothing in sight. He couldn’t see a thing.

Blindness.

Panic.

Why did he not feel his breathing quicken? Why did he not hear anything?

No sounds. Not the Naerikk, not the beggar. Not himself.

Deafness.

He couldn’t even smell the pungent scent of the tunnels anymore, nor the sweat on his clothes, the stale air of the Underground itself.

No vision, no hearing, no sense of smell.

He didn’t even feel any part of his body. Was he moving? Was he frozen in place? Was he upright? Had he collapsed? There was not even any pain, no pressure of a floor against him, no discomfort of an arm or leg being pinned to the ground in an uncomfortable position.

One of his senses was one thing, but all of them together?

He felt trapped inside a void, without anything to focus on. Only his thoughts, thoughts that raced with doom-scenarios, of images of himself waking up to something horrific he did not want to see. To a body that was completely mutilated and useless.

Or that he perhaps wouldn’t wake up at all.

Perhaps he already was dead, he just didn’t know it yet.

Maybe he was in limbo.

In the waiting line until Famula had time to deal with him.

Despite infuriating him, the thought did calm him down somewhat. Death wasn’t the worst he could go through. Not waking up was better than waking up without limbs.

And he would either wake up in one piece or not at all. Why? There was no reason for the Naerikk to waste time on him. He’d not given her any cause yet. He’d either be disposed of quickly, or not at all. Simple.

If he did wake up though… oh, there would be hell to pay. To use Naerikk tricks on him? To trap him in a prison he could not escape? A sentence he had to sit out for what felt like an eternity? To feel as if time did not move at all, or as if thousands of arcs were passing while he was stuck in this nothingness? Utterly unacceptable!
Just because I shouldn't doesn't mean I won't.

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Where few want to be found [Underground]

Wed Jul 11, 2018 9:38 pm

A miss can still be a success. In the case of Inky, perched on one foot, with the other in the process of completing a swinging kick that struck an unbalancing degree of resistance, the sight of his opponent's incoming sweep/kick brought him to hop up as it passed beneath him.

But his landing was unstable at best, failure at worst, and somewhere in between in reality. He landed on the same foot, but most of his weight was on only half the sole. He immediately stumbled away, the wall he slammed into doing more to help him regain his balance than anything he'd done with his feet.

The impact knocked the knife from his hand though. And as is so freakishly often the case, given how small a percentage the toe of a boot takes up of all the possible landing spots, the knife hit right at the tip and caromed off into a corner, a couple of sparks giving the only testimony to its direction.

Inky did not hesitate, he ran up the tunnel to pull the lid from a barrel, and snatch up a reasonably thick piece of wooden dowel. It was his hope that the big brute he was fighting would think he was running away, and would now turn his attention on Crank. The barrel was one that had a handle on its lid and he held it like a shield. The dowel was a bit longer than he liked, but chances were it would be broken off to a more wieldy length in short order.

Crank was no fool either, he may have lacked much formal education, but the lessons one learns on the streets of Etzos are for a lifetime, long or short. He shouted epithets after his partner, hoping to reinforce the impression that it was now only himself that the interloper had to contend with. He knew Inky would be back.

The lifetime lessons were long, in the case of old Mr. Marbry. Old and frail as he'd become, it was to his credit that he'd lived long enough, in the shady spheres of the Underground, to become that old. For now, he made no attempt to resist whatever direction Crank swung him; the better to get total surprise when opportunity presented itself. And that bastard sword was lying there pretty much forgotten...
Among all the foes and marks Kasoria had ever faced, it was doubtful he would remember such a total reversal of facial expression, as the one he now witnessed on Raellen Charone. Smug, gloating self-assurance flashed into stunned, panic-stricken paralysis. Instinct took over, however, and she whipped her body into a remarkably agile contortion to allow the leap that saved her life. Even at that, she gained a burning slash along the back of her right ribcage. And only then did the state of Klutch's body register in her eyes.

The shock of Kasoria's unaffected existence did not wear off quickly either. Even as she gained her feet to achieve a trill of safe distance, her eyes swung back and forth between Klutch and Kasoria, mouth hanging agape. "How?... You can't... it isn't possible!" She looked down at the ravaged form of Klutch as his eyes looked back in pain and terror. Twin daggers had appeared as if by magic by the time she'd finished her dodge, and she rolled her wrists to loosen them in preparation.

A lifetime of torment and murder returned to guide her feet now as she circled her foe; the confidence radiating from him in an ever-increasing affront to naerikk female superiority. Very well...she'd been handed a reversal of advantage. But she was still a naer, one of her mother's elite, even if she served The Fence, and not Augiery. She would take this sloppy, stinking fool and add the smell of his entrails to the reeking aroma of filth and vomit already soaked into his very essence.

As she circled past Klutch, she swept an edge of a blade through his throat. He'd served her well, and she would not see him linger in such a state. She continued to circle when an odd humming sounded in her ears, accompanied by a slight, but growing feeling of disorientation. She looked around quickly, always coming back to mark her enemy's location, and came across a serious complication.

The bearded man, the one who had foolishly followed her, the one she'd whimsically stricken down with the gift, when she thought it would be of no significant consequence, now stood as barrier to a full half of the room. Her shadow essence would backlash on her if she approached him too closely. She would essentially become the quivering, helpless huddle of doomed flesh; prey to her enemy's "mercy", if she was not careful.

She could withdraw the shadow from him. And while that would free her up to move through the entire room unhindered, it would also present a second antagonist. For surely, whatever his aim had been in following along, his mood would not be cooperative once the shadow was removed. Worse yet, each bit she kept the gift imposed upon him taxed her endurance. She needed to end this quickly.

She suddenly charged, knives flashing a pattern of slashes that she fully intended to change radically once she came in range. Where a flashing silver "X" pattern of blades rushed in, she pivoted suddenly to her left and spun and crouched to try and hamstring her opponent, counting on being able to leap from the crouch whether she was successful or not.
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Vidao Reymisi
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Where few want to be found [Underground]

Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:04 pm

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"That's it run, yuh coward!" Vidao called out. The big warrior quickly erected himself to standing as he yelled after Inky. He shook his head, and then began to look for his broadsword. Not immediately seeing it, he looked at Crank, who continued to hide behind the other man, seemingly their captive.

"You best be lettin' him go."
Reymisi began. He didn't know the dialect of those under the city here in Etzos, but he knew enough to know that each place had their own barbarized version of the common language. So he did his best to try and sound as low and simple as he could.

"He means nothin' ta me, but I'll enjoy cuttin' yuh all the more if yuh stings him."
Vidao added. He smiled a wily, almost insane grin at Crank as he began to lift his combat knife and move closer to the vagrant. All the while, he was watching the restrained fellow, to make sure he made no sudden moves that might cost himself, or Reymisi their lives.

"I imagines your partna be comin back shortly. He gots no weapon, so you best be hopin I'm in a forgivin mood." Vidao stated with a continued smile. He kicked at Inky's dagger, making sure it slid well away from Crank and Marbry.

"Are you gonna move?" Vidao grew a little impatient now, as he waited for Crank. In the back of his mind, was the smaller Inky, whom he hoped had been smart and ran far, far away...
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Kasoria
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Where few want to be found [Underground]

Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:42 am

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He didn't think. Not in a way that others might recognize as such. Men had triumphed and perished in the time it took to string thoughts together in the middle of a duel. Now his muscles and tendons did much of the thinking for him, and the rest was-

analysis observation guesswork approximations gash on side wounded but recovered quickly experienced two blades twice the threat confined surroundings debris bodies


-all of it rattling and rushing through his head like ice chips through a cave, and through it all Kasoria was the eye in their jabbering storm. But looming over it all was that undeniable, unshakable emotion, grating against the clinical stream of angles and possibilities his tactical mind was compiling. Because he felt the scrape of bone against his blade. Because his grin had only gotten widen when his ears drank in the stunned, incredulous tone of her voice.

Because he could see it in her face. That thing she felt twisting in her guts, climbing up her spine with cold, implacable hands.

Even as she circled him and her rotating wrists readied both her blades. A slash, a flash, a spurt of silver and red, and the man he'd mangled died by her hand. Cruelty? No, more like mercy, but he wouldn't know. He'd pinched off useless assets like clinging turds from his arse before, when their value to him had cratered. Why wouldn't he think a woman who took such sadistic glee in making people helpless sacks of flesh would have a similar attitude? But it reduced her allies by one, and the bearded man was not yet a threat to either.

But she wouldn't go near him, and he saw that. Kasoria frowned minutely, and before he could think further-

She came at him, all whirling blades and savage intent. Her short daggers were spinning like comets in her orbit, back and forth and up and down and Kasoria knew that was the point. There was not intent behind them, just speed and movement and theatrics and-

-distraction-

There was her real move. She pivoted, graceful as a dancer, lithe and limber form twirling low and to his right. Those daggers were flashing for him again, twin fangs from this snake-like bitch, and he could guess where. Come in low and from the side, take out his leg. Leave him limping and bleeding... so at least he couldn't pursue, if she chose to bolt. But Kasoria doubted she would. No, she was too much like him.

He could see it. The humiliation. The betrayal of her gifts and her body, so cherished and trusted trills ago. The fear she'd let wash over herself and exposed to all these... lesser beings. Six arcs before, he'd felt the same way. There was only one way to erase that stain; only one option for people like them, to take back what the other had taken.

But you have to get me first, bitch-

Kasoria slid across the floorboards and away from her, turning to her as he did, sweeping both her blades low at his sides, as if beating the air next to his shins. Maybe his karambit would deflect the blade questing for the back of his knee, but more likely he'd just avoid her. The room was close and already crowded, even if it was a bloody tip. He got some distance between her, back and arse smacking into the table, knocking debris off onto the floor, a shower of scrolls and paper and-

distraction screen asset weapon now


The little man snarled as his gladius and the arm gripping it swept across the surface of the table to his side... and flung the content of it towards Raellen, like he was using her as a living garbage disposal. A veritable cloud of broken inkpots, spoiled scrolls, opened letters, and various other trinkets and doo-dads once would expect from a writing station were suddenly hurtling her way.

Little in the way of sharp or dangerous. But that would just be a bonus. It was the sight of it, or more the sight they obscured, the trill or two it bought him-

gamble risky two blades could slash again wounded side will protect it turn other to you weakens blade on that side


Then the time to think was over. He couldn't waste time, not when the play had already been made. Moving behind the screen of flying junk, Kasoria darted forwards towards Raellen. His gladius swung at her chest, through the cloud even as it flew, two feet of straight, sharp steel, driving her back, tempting her blade to come and smack it away-

Which was the point, too. Give him some space for the real strike, or draw her blade. Because right behind it would be his karambit, striking lower, evilly-curved blade aiming to lay open her thigh like a shank at a butchers. A normal blade like hers would do some damage, but the karambit was designed to inflict gaping, gruesomeness with every strike. Kasoria wanted this woman dead, over, finished, so she'd never come for him after tonight, but first he wanted her to suffer-

Because he saw it. He saw her fear, as alien to her as it had been for him, and he could smell it through the cold confidence she still summoned. His grin didn't change, but as his blades flew through the air she would hear a shriek like a daemon's come with them. A blast of hellish noise designed to disrupt and surprise as much as express emotion. But there was no hiding the unholy joy behind it. A rare and radiant thing, that he almost never allowed to surface in a fight.

But this was different. This was historical. Personal. Intimate.

Now you have to find out how good you really are.
"This is the life we choose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see Heaven."
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Oberan
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Where few want to be found [Underground]

Sun Jul 15, 2018 3:43 pm

Oberan figured that the Gift of Shadow experience could actually be a rather pleasant and relaxing experience, if one was mentally prepared for it. It was extremely disturbing to have all your senses suddenly cut off from your consciousness, but if one were to expect it, it might not be too bad. He guessed that it was actually akin to a deep meditative trance, where one was so deeply concentrating without concentrating at all, that all awareness of what happened around them vanished. No awareness of their own body, no disturbance due to sensory input, nothing. Just the mind, free to wander and think and focus, without any opportunity for outside forces to distract.

It might actually be very close to being asleep. One had no access to their own body, but the mind still worked, though what it did wasn’t entirely coherent. Also, time passed without the sleeper having any idea how long they’d been asleep. It could feel as if it had been only bits, or sometimes entire trials, with the opposite being true.

Perhaps he should try it again when he had nothing better to do.

Or when he was prepared for it.

Now he really wasn’t. He felt like an onion stripped of its layers, though in his case, the layers were his senses. Someone had stolen his senses and had given him nothing in return, leaving the part of his mind that was usually tasked with deciphering the boatload of information presented to it by his five senses to twiddle its thumbs. Which basically meant Oberan was involuntarily focusing on the only thing he could focus on, which were his own thoughts. All of them that entered his mind, big or small, even those that would have gone unnoticed, drowned out by more important things, were now heard, which only aided the chaos created by the Nearikk ability.

Even when there was no panic in the foreground, there was still worry in the background. Whispers of doom and calamity hiding underneath the important questions that plagued him in the moment.

Would he tell the ragged man to back off so he could finish the Naerikk himself?

But what if she’s already cut off all your fingers while you were out?

If she were exhausted, should he give her some thrill to restore her combat abilities to full so he could humiliate her fully by still defeating her? It wouldn’t be too hard. After all, the normal levels of hysterical strength were nothing compared to the heights of physical performance his ability could raise him to. The backlash would be rather severe, indeed, but it’d be worth it.

But what the Gift had messed up his body on a fundamental level and he’d never walk again?

Perhaps he should just interrupt the fighting, demand the Naer to kneel before him, then sap enough thrill to steal away her ability to stand so she’d fall on her knees? As if her body automatically responded to the command. Would that be even more humiliating?

But what if when this wore off, he’d notice he’d collapsed in an unfortunate way, having lost a lot of blood due to injury? That he’d be lucid for only a few trills before passing out and finally dying?

What if he woke up naked, chained to the wall in some sort of sex dungeon —actually, that wouldn’t be that bad.

Apart from the constant awareness of thoughts floating in and out, he was also presented with memories, most of which being ones he didn’t want to remember. Things that made him cringe. Memories that stung or outright hurt. Memories that filled him with rage or sadness, or shame, or all of them. Memories he desperately tried to repress. Things he tried hard not think about, which –ironically—made him think about it even more.

Focus on the revenge plans, Bran, focus on those.

Fortune smiled down on him however, and for a moment he thought it another figment of his imagination. But no, there it was again. Noises. Faint and muffled, as if he was locked inside a glass cage which denied him to hear clearly what happened outside. Something he could focus on, something to distract him.

He clung to it as a drowning man clutching a piece of driftwood.

Intently he listened, ears pricking up in an attempt to pick up even the faintest of sounds.

There it was again. Some kind of thud. Clearly he wasn’t hearing everything yet, only the loudest things made it past the Gift, but it was something.

Perhaps, soon he’d be—

He’d have liked to smirk, but had to settle with a mental image of it.

Yes, soon.
Just because I shouldn't doesn't mean I won't.

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Where few want to be found [Underground]

Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:23 am

'Best to keep the big bastard talkin' Crank said to himself as he leaned back to lift Marbry mostly off his feet, and start edging his way to his opponent's left. To facilitate this strategy he began to improvise, "Means nuttin' to ya, say, chummie? Why'nya get outsa da Grounds den? Ya go ploppin' it right on da big man's toes, butcha all talk up not carin' 'bout nuttin'. It don' folla no logic. I can give ya leeways fer ya're new un', butcha gotta go now. If'n he's no meanin' to ya, I don' see no logic'n ya stayin' 'round. Boss man'll giv'uppa free pass on yer ass dis one time, for ya beena new un'. Ya takes it, ya go. Boom...jus' likee dat."

He waved, and made a gesture of turning around. But clearly it was only the first part of a routine pantomime involving him then turning back around with a phony act of being surprised, "Wha?...you still here? I caught'cher common thick enuff, chummie. You bes' be catchin' mine." He rattled the old man to show who his next remark was referring to, "This'n ain' nun 'o your'n, chummie. Got no props, no biz, no claim on 'im, right-o? Whatcha needin' then. Ya big toughie? Need me to say please, do ya. Nopee do, chummie. An' you try-all saves 'im only mak-ee dead."

He made an effort not to look past Vidao, to where Inky was soft-stepping his way behind him. And to help cover the sound, that even the stealthiest of thugs would make, given the boots they had on, he made sure to knock into some piled debris as he continued to hoist Marbry. Right as Inky got to the position from where Crank figured he'd make his surprise charge, he suddenly slammed Marbry's head into the wall and dropped him in a heap at his feet, as he pulled his knife free and charged, howling his own attack cry.

From his position behind the big interloper, Inky could see that the old man had swung his hand up to soften his head's dazing impact with the wall. It appeared that Crank had not noticed this detail. As he charged in, intending to ram and hold the big troublemaker against the wall, so Crank could gut him, he saw his worry confirmed. The old man swung his arms around Crank's feet, transforming the lunge into an immediate top-heavy face dive into the floor. Crank instinctively dropped his knife to better brace this impact with open hands.

Both men rolled away from the vulnerable position, but it was Marbry that came upon Crank's knife first. Inky came in and saw the sudden change in advantage and turned his attack on Marbry, successfully batting the knife from the old man's hand. Marbry howled at what was probably a few newly broken bones in his right hand, and automatically tucked his legs to ward against a follow-up bash from Inky. But the thug instead swung the makeshift club back ferociously to where he figured the big do-gooder would be charging him from, and assuming he'd be doing it with his head kept at the same level.
It was the nature of the Gift of Shadow to be applied upon the target's senses to equal degrees. But the backlash of its return, even the small increment that her proximity to Oberan had released was not done in such equal measures. Raellen found her hearing just a bit muffled, and the sudden storm of flopping, fluttering pages reduced the surety of her vision as well.

She could still smell the bugger, that was not in doubt. but scent was more for a trail to follow, not to give immediate knowledge of whereabouts the moment the target moved. She knew that by the time she recognized any new waft of odor speaking of the little assassin being that close to her, she was already dead.

Fortunately for her, Kasoria made the mistake of uttering some banshee shriek as he burst through his own cover of flying debris. She knew precisely where he was before his form cleared the mess, and went for the inside stroke, parrying the chest high blade to plant her follow-up dagger in the open chest.

But lessons clicked into place. His stroke forced her off balance to complete the parry, his arm crossing the very torso she sought to impale. There would be that split trill of delay before she could maneuver her free hand to stab at his chest. And in that instance she knew her vulnerability.

Fear would not be allowed to return now that the initial shock of her Gift's betrayal was over. If anything, it gave her one more reason to prevail. She would find out how the little prick had defeated it. But for now, there was acceptance of the pain she was about to feel; the satisfaction of returning it in kind.

Knowing she had to alter her stroke to a less lethal variety was more painful to her than the hit she would take on her thigh. The chest-high blade she held now swung down his following arm to slash through the bulk of his forearm, even as she twisted to take the karambit on the outside of her thigh, rather than the bleed-out stroke in the inside.

She managed to get a reciprocal slash across his back to return the favor of his slash on her ribs as he went past. She immediately went into a back-pedal; not just to put some space for preparing the next attack or defense, but also to gauge how crippling was the new wound on her thigh. It was only pain, she told herself, as she stifled a grimace. There were now two reasons to hurry. The slow debilitating effect of holding back the shadow, and the knowledge that the thigh would weaken pretty much all of her stances, pivots and leaps. He would know that any subsequent leaps powered by her left leg would either be feints or weak.

She leaned back against the desk to await the start of his approach. There was a letter opener on the far end of the desk and she moved to grab it. Again, the slight hum of backlashing shadow stung her equilibrium, but she moved back from that event horizon to ready her decoy. In the dim light, the letter opener would hopefully look enough like a dagger, in flight, to convince her foe that she'd made a foolish move that would render her only partially armed.

The thought of the 'dim light' gave her another idea, one she would only use in desperation. She immediately marked where the candles were, as she suppressed the feeling of shame that came with the thought of what she was keeping in mind for such a contingency. She "accidentally" snuffed the candle closest to her as she readied the fake weapon.

It was time to lure him in. There was no need to fake the slight hitch in her step from the wound, but she did play it bit more severely than necessary, as she side-armed the dagger with a scream. She charged at him before it even reached him, one hand empty, but ready to snatch the real weapon now tucked into her belt behind her back.
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Where few want to be found [Underground]

Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:30 pm

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The man's pigeon common was almost entirely gibberish. Vidao was sure that Crank himself only understood half of what was coming out of his own mouth. Vidao was also sure that his own expression was one of confusion.

"Slow down there tool." Reymisi suggested. No odds, the man just kept jibber jabbering. The jist of his words, best Vidao could tell, was that the man had detected the critical fault in the mercenary's ruse. If the captive was of no value, than why did he get involved in the first place. Oh well, so much for trying to pull the wool over his eyes. The goon also seemed to think that Vidao should best leave while the going was good. Haha, fat chance.

Some more word salad, and then suddenly things changed. Crank moved, slammed the older man into the wall. Then the captive moved, Crank moved again, noise came from behind, and suddenly Vidao was ducking reflexively.

But a blow never came. Not upon him, anyway. The fighter instinct took over, and in one smooth movement Reymisi thrust his combat knife towards Inky's back, just as the man passed him while swinging at Marbry. Vidao had his own code of conduct, his own code of honor, but backstabbing an attacker in the heat of battle, was not on the list of don'ts. These two idiot grunts were gonna pay. Vidao really didn't care for the old stranger, but now it was a matter of principle. Now the battle had begun, and there was no going back...
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Kasoria
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Where few want to be found [Underground]

Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:38 pm

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Steel flew. Blood sprayed. Moves were made, like pieces slid across a board or regiments deployed in battle. But when they fell apart apart, one warring mess of limbs and metal becoming two once again, there was no conclusion. Just a stalemate, with fresh wounds and hotter hatred.

Kasoria welcomed both. You had to be alive to enjoy them, and so he most assuredly was. More importantly, pain was a teacher. It had new lessons for him.

Stop underestimating her.

He bit back a snarl as his strategy drew blood but still failed to end the fight. Blood spurted from his right forearm just as it did from the gouge in her left leg; she stumbled back, and he snapped back into a defensive stance. His teeth ground and champed like an angry horse's as he felt the white, searing stinging in his arm. Not too deep. Nothing severed or made useless. He gripped his karambit tighter and... yes... it'd bleed like a bastard, but nothing more.

Then he remembered that raking, scraping feeling along his back, when she'd gone for another dig at him as he flew past. His chain-mail has saved him, there. People simply didn't expect him to be wearing it, hidden under his stinking shirt and coat. Who would, after all, seeing a shit-smelling beggar shuffling along? But the fact she'd even connected gave him... some pause, at least.

She's fast. Really bloody fast. Faster than you, and you're already bleeding. Can't draw this out.

It was barely a handful of trills, but seemed much longer to him. He watched the wounded woman slam into the desk and grope for... ah, yes. The letter opener. He'd clocked it when he'd walked into the office. He'd been practicing Ki'Enaq for longer than this little bitch had been alive; before he even knew what the name of the art was. Scanning any room that he entered for potential weapons was as natural to him as breathing. A length of metal in the rough shape of a dagger was unlikely to go unnoticed.

And he did notice. Kasoria noticed that, and the way she hobbled as she righted herself. The way she snuffed out the candle, hands growing clumsy already as she palmed that blade. But through it all... no, around it all, he noticed that constant, etheral buzzing, just beyond his grasp. The sound he'd already linked to this Naerikk's power, her spell, Gift, whatever it was called. She was still casting it. Still maintaining it.

Kasoria was not a wizard, but he could put things together. Magic was not easy. It required energy, and concentration. Things that were finite, and took effort to maintain. He was still feeling it around him... so he could deduce that she was still casting her wyrd, and it was taking a toll on her.

Wounded and cornered and draining. Not your n-

Then she was on him, flying across the floor but before her body was that opener-

-zipping across the carpet of parchments and books, now trampled to kindling by their brawling, straight towards Kasoria-

-who slid to the side, moving more out of instinct than design, faux dagger careening past him to bury in the wall-

Raellen charged him while it was still in flight. Screaming, roaring, every bit the savage as he'd been moments before, and Kasoria readied himself to-

Empty hand. But she didn't lose the knife, so-

There was no time. All he had time for was his gladius to swing across his torso, blade straight up as it went in front of him, warding off the dagger in her left hand-

Like you. She fights like you.

Her right hand was at her back. Out of sight. An assassin's sheath, designed to be worn hidden and drawn with a slash of steel exploding from below the mark's line of sight. How did Kasoria know that? Because he wore his karambit the same way. Had repeated the same draw-and-slash a score, a hundred times before.

But he had only a trill. Less than that. Only time enough to grit his teeth and come up with the bare bones of a plan that he did not bloody like because it would bloody hurt-

-snarling as he pivoted from left to right, no longer showing his side to Raellen as he parried her left-hand dagger. Her right would come up for him and he would be twisting to face her again, gladius drawing back and away, opening his chest-

-but as one went away, so another approached, and his karambit would be punching out towards he right arm as he rocketed towards his chest, or stomach, or groin. Aiming to impale her forearm or punch through her elbow. Render that limb useless as her surprise attack came for him... and probably wouldn't be stopped all the way.

The chain-mail would help, but...

She's fast, Kasoria thought again in the last fraction of a trill before their blows connected. Young and fast and wants me dead.

Whether he crippled her or she gutted him, or both, Kasoria would throw himself back either way. He needed time, and space... and instead of getting those, the Fate's would decide he would trip over Oberan's prone, now drooling body and fall flat on his arse.

"Oh, fuck me!"

Then the queerest thing of all would happen. The stranger would heave in a breath like a man raised from the bottom of the sea, and find a bleeding, armed, pissed-off Kasoria half-atop him.
"This is the life we choose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see Heaven."
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Oberan
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Where few want to be found [Underground]

Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:38 pm

This madness continued unabated.

The darkness remained. He could hear things now, vague and quiet as the sounds may be, muffled by the Gift of Shadows. He was fairly sure a fight was going on, but he didn’t need his ears to know that much. The Naerikk’s intent had been clear. Oberan heard grunts of pain, loud bangs, the clashing of steel on steel.

But no more than that.

He kept himself busy with possible scenarios of what he’d do when this annoyance wore off, and by focusing on trying to pick up as much sound as he possibly could.

Time seemed to creep by slow as molasses, as if Ralaith himself had decided to play a prank on Bran.

He wasn’t sure how long it took until his vision started working again. Just like with his hearing, it wasn’t much he could see. Some vague shapes, mostly cloaked in semi-darkness. Two humanoid shadows moving too fast for him to follow. They traded blows and swapped places, and even if Oberan had known who was who, after a couple trills of watching he’d already have lost track.

One of them came closer and closer, and then he was out of the Mortalborn’s field of vision. However, a long part of the shape was close to his face. So close, in fact, that he could identify it as a limb. Close enough to recognize raggedy fabric wrapped around it.

The other combatant was closing in.

This wasn’t good.

If he was correct in his assessment of the situation, then the beggar type was now on top of him. Which meant game over. The Naerikk would close in and---

Hell, she didn’t even need to. If she had some skill she could probably hurl a dagger into the both of them from across the room.

Oberan couldn’t let this happen. Now that he could at least get his bearings a little, he decided to try and interfere in the only way available to him. He wasn’t able to determine if she was close enough for him to try and use the God Key so she’d involuntarily open her hand and lose her grip on her weapon, thus he opted for the ability with a little more range.

He focused, and tried sapping a bit of her thrill, passing it into the beggar on top of him, as Oberan himself was still unable to move.
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