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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Kasoria
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Re: Where few want to be found [Underground]

Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:51 am

The room was speaking to him.

All of it, apparently.

The Raggedy Man, as he had just been named, tried to focus on one voice, one direction, a mouth, a form, and gave up after the first paragraph of hissing speech. Every shadow and crevice seemed to be giving voice to the thing he'd been desperately trying to butcher moments before. Every nook and patch of darkness chimed in, like a chorus that was not complete unless all throats were raised as one... but when they were.

Kasoria swallowed and even that simple gesture seemed to hurt. Blood pitter-pattered from his wounds, down his back, into his boots. He was leaking like a fucking sieve and he didn't have time for lessons in fucking etiquette from some-

Victory, eh?

That sounded good. Good enouugh for a ragged smile to match his sobriquet split his bearded face, crooked and torn into flesh like a wound with teeth. But it did not last. His guard stiffened and the smile vanished as a flash of light revealed a flash of-

Something else. Something that was a nightmare of a woman. Something too stretched, too thin, with fingers like blades hammered into hands and eyes that burned in the darkness. The after-image was all he seemed to see. His eyes had barely focused, widened in shock, and then it was gone. A very real hiss followed, and Kasoria was sure that whatever these shadow creatures were, that was their true form.

Then the voice spoke one more time - it was hard to think of it was a person anymore - and Kasoria resisted the urge to snort with foul humor. Oh. And he was supposed to just believe that, was he? What fucking world did she think they lived in?

Still... you ain't dead. Best capitalize on that before you collapse, boy.

Kasoria gave his answer with his actions. Steps as careful as if he were dancing with a roused scorpion, he slowly made his way to the doorway, lit by the torches behind hit like a golden rectangle. He turned as he moved, facing it the once, then faced back the way he'd come, unsure where the blow would come. Because it would bloody come, he was damn sure of that... and yet...

His free hand grasped the handle, and ripped it open without any fanfare.

Light spilled inside the black room. Not enough to illuminate it completely, but enough to cast a blaze of illumination around the Raggedy Man in the doorway. Only then did he dare to relax his guard. He briefly considered grabbing a torch and tossing it inside. Plenty of kindling. Paper, wood, parchment, dust, cobwebs... it's burn fast and keen and whatever was inside, well... light was bad enough for their kind, but burning and choking? That would finish what he'd-

Now it was his turn to his. His wounds clamored from his mauled skin. He needed to go, and not waste anymore time. But before he did, he spoke-

-and not to her.

"Hey? Hey?!" Once he had the attention of the bearded man, he jerked his hand quickly to the door and grunted again. "Fuckin' come on if yer comin'."

Murderer he may have been, Kasoria was willing to give the man a chance. A slim one, offhand and no elaborated further, but he'd earned that much... even if the question of why he'd been following did require an answer. Probably not when he was dribbling blood from several different spots.

Once Oberan had taken the hint and scuttled away from the half-dark room inhabited by a fiend from hell (wise man, if so), Kasoria would be left... somewhat along with her. Peering into shadows and nothing, into the abyss he'd read about in a book he'd devoured without remembering the writer. The thought made him sneer for a moment, and his karambit went back into its sheath.

After he wiped it clean, for it was slick.

If it bleeds, it can be killed. If it retreats, it knows fear.

They're not immortals. Not even close.


"Until that day."

Those were the words he gave to her. An old Sunberth saying, challenge and farewell and oath and grisly promise all at once. Fatalistic or good-humored, depending on the speaker, audience, and circumstances. Kasoria had heard it a hundred thousands times. Between old friends leaving the drinking house, hand clasped in hand before their parting. Over a fresh grave, with loved ones leaving their gifts and promises to light the way for the departed, until they could be reunited again.

In the air between bitter rivals, final mortal skirmish delayed until another time.

They, and the slow, definite nod that came after. 'Twas was all the respect the Raggedy Man could give to anyone enough of a bastard to try and knock him off. But he gave it nonetheless. He nodded to the shadows, and then was away, following Oberan, and making damn sure he kept his limping, bleeding arse to the glare of torches.
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Oberan
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Re: Where few want to be found [Underground]

Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:18 pm



She admitted defeat, her pride torn to shreds, her clever tactics rendered useless, her last resort proving to be only a postponing of her execution. Oberan thought he could hear frustration seep into her voice, but no shame. Because of the skill of her opponent? Perhaps. He couldn’t be sure.

The Naerikk continued to speak, making promises to the Mortalborn now, at least for one sentence before switching back to address the beggar. Oberan managed to grin despite the few moments of attention he got. He’d been unable to really participate, and yet he’d proven to be a major pain in the Naerikk’s butt. That was enough for him, and he suppressed the urge to retort. Better not taunt her now.

It took him a moment to realize the beggar had opened the door. His mind didn’t register the light streaming inside at first, nor did he really hear the start of the man’s words. Oberan blinked a couple times, shaking the daze off him, then fought gravity to get back on his feet. He felt as if he was made out of lead, and his body didn’t respond as fast as he would have liked.

Still, he stumbled his way out of the doorway and into the tunnel, taking back some of what he’d given the ragged man. Enough to make dealing with the lethargy a bit easier, though it wasn’t enough to really dispel it. He could take more, but he figured the beggar needed to retain some to not succumb to his injuries and exhaustion.

Not yet, at least. The thrill would wear off within a couple bits now all the excitement had died down, and when it did, the man’s body would begin to let him know just how much strain had been put on it. On the other hand, Oberan’s lethargy would take a bit longer to vanish, yet he’d be feeling rather energized afterwards.

He glanced over his shoulder to see if the beggar was following, then sighed when it dawned on him that his little guide had ran off a while ago. So much for getting out of here quickly. Wandering around blindly while relying on his own sense of direction really wasn't appealing to him at the moment.

“I don’t suppose you know the way out?” he asked the man behind him, though he wasn’t getting his hopes up.

Just because I shouldn't doesn't mean I won't.

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Re: Where few want to be found [Underground]

Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:53 am

Marbry and his temporary bodyguard stepped out into a curiously darkened passageway. It was not that darkness was an usual feature of the Underground, but it was usually more efficiently offset by consistent torch lighting at regular intervals. Only a slight gleam of one such torch now showed, and it was only displayed by the indirect light on the far end of a corner that turned to the left. Then it also went out, leaving only a few torches lighting the pathway to their right.

A pair of blurred shadows entered the floor space from that direction, the blurring showing their sources to be still some distance off. Marbry decided to give Vidao his thousand gold right then, before there was any chance the two approaching men would see any indication of such resource. The big merc asked a couple questions as he tucked the coin sack away. Marbry answered as best he could.

"Velvet is one of the bigger dogs down here, yes. Not THE biggest, nor really one of the bigger outside the Underground, but here in the dark he's big enough. It's why the arrangements he makes are always centered on any follow-up meetings having to be conducted here, where he holds sway. Up on the street, you look out for The Fence, The Cauldron, the other big "V", Vorund's crew, and the new bunch in town, Al Angry Bird. He's been consolidating all the little gangs into one big one, along the North side."

Vidao's next round of comments and questions were met with eager agreement by Marbry, "Believe me, big fella, nothing would make me happier than for no one to know who did this, but Velvet is naturally going to suspect me, seeing as the two thugs were last seen with me, tasked to kill me. There's no way Velvet is going to believe that I killed them both my...self..."

His words trailed off as the shadows became more clearly defined, the bodies indicated with less stretched distortion. A smile of opportunity crossed his face as he stepped out into the hallway to confront two men, one of whom was draped in every aspect of a drunken street bum, the other of far better dress, but a plainly sour disposition. Marbry ignored the second man in preference to displaying a surprising eagerness to greet the man in the filthy rags.

"Sir! Good sir! You could not have come along at a better time." he stopped, briefly taken aback by the obvious sign of wounds borne by the man. "Oh Dear, you are already wounded. Might I inquire if you'd be interested in a few hundred gold to...inject your presence into a scenario that would save me a great deal of trouble? Several hundred nel's worth of trouble?"

Marbry actually made a point of stepping to a point where he'd hinder Vidao's ability to interpose himself in a manner a bodyguard would probably feel obliged to take. He waved behind him for the big man to stay back. "Let me explain..." he said to the wounded 'beggar'. "Is it still true that your...employer...is not a fan of Mr. Velvet?"

Without really giving the man a chance to respond, and knowing he probably would not wish to anyway, he pressed on, knowing those few words had already said a great deal about his situation. He went on to explain the source of his disagreement with Velvet, and how the big man behind him had showed great courage and honor in undoing the cowardly behavior of Velvet and his thugs.

"I realize of course that this is really no one's problem but my own. But I thought that if you'd go and just make a mark or two on the corpses, or the walls, if you prefer; enough to give Velvet cause to consider the possibility that I...enjoy that level of favor with your employer, it may well encourage him to let things fall as they have, and pursue it no further. And like I said, I have the uh....I have what those thugs were...Oh Imp shit! I'm not fooling anyone here. I have the money they were going to take from my dead body, even though it was five times what I actually OWE Velvet."

He knew it was a longshot. But he was actually on fairly good terms with Mr. Vorund.This might end that association, but what did he have to lose?
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Re: Where few want to be found [Underground]

Sun Sep 16, 2018 4:55 pm

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The nervous old man spun his tale, and did so with gusto. His arms jabbed and whirled. he pointed back where they'd come from, at the shadows that hid corpses and blood spatters arced across the walls. The little man in rags listened with the same stoic, frowning expression he usually adopted... only more so, because he was cleaved in a few places, bleeding through his clothes, and fucking exhausted. But beyond his irritation at being stopped by this voluble old man and his hulking protector - he knew a bodyguard when he saw one, and could smell the sweat and blood emanating from the man - was a far more pertinent question.

Who the fuck are you again?

Money was mentioned. The possibility of a deal. And a name. Velvet. Kasoria's glare hardened a little more. Ah, of course. In this patch of the underground, it would be that wanker who's carpet he'd be scuffing, wouldn't it? Memories and gossip started to surface. Click together as the puzzle formed itself. He'd heard something about Velvet. A grudge he'd had against a man who owed him money, a grudge that should have been settled in the Arena but there had been... complications.

Velvet. The cheat. And one who perhaps knew Bangun Vorund...

"... you're Marbry."

It wasn't a question but a statement, so all the old man could do was smile nervously and nod. The killer was silent again for a few moments, keenly aware of Oberan still behind him. Probably not enjoying the pause and yet still by his side. Odd duck, that one. He flexed his shoulders and came to a decision easily made by a man with so... clear-cut a perception of his role in the way of things. Kasoria did not make deals. Not without the authority and backing of his master. When he spoke, it was threats, or warnings. Rarely at a negotiating table.

"Don't need t'carve m'name inta' some cunt f'that. Ain't got time f'that, anyway," he said, nixing Marbry's first Cunning Plan, then plowing on with the rest. "You wanna get in good with Mister Vorund? Y'go talk t'him. Make a new deal. Long as yer useful, deal'll be made, price'll be set... Velvet'll mind himself." He allowed himself something that passed for a smile. Friends he and Vorund were not, but he did appreciate the man's ability to clinch a deal. "Sure they'll come t'an understandin'."

He started walking, and paused just as he passed the man. He looked across at him, eyes turning into molten lead for a moment. The bodyguard stiffened and Kasoria paid him no mind. He wasn't one to start fights where there was no need, especially when he was already ran through a fucking thresher, by the looks of him. But he liked his chances. Liked his odds.

Big ones always rely on being big. Big muscles, big sword, big moves. But big ain't shit, compared to being quick, and knowing what you're doing.

"An' keep yer fuckin' money," he growled, as if the mere suggestion was an insult he would not brook. "Dun'need it. Not from youse."

Kasoria kept walking, waving a hand over his shoulder as if to beckon Oberan to follow him. He passed the bodyguard and locked eyes with him for a long moment, the closest men like them could come to a nod (without actually knowing each other). Whatever Marbry wanted from Vorund, he'd have to talk to Vorund about it. No bloody way was Kasoria going to bind his master's name and reputation to a notorious cheat who'd sullied the Arena, got in deep with one of the lords of the Underground, and now apparently topped two of said lord's thugs. No, Marbry would have to make his own way.

The money was part of it, too. He took no money, because taking a man's money meant you were giving him something. Mayhap not goods or even services, but a part of yourself. You bound your soul to him, in Etzos understandings of such things. A man who didn't take money, or only took it from one source, was a strange and terrible creature to the citizens of that city. Because if coin and greed could not impress, and muscle could not overcome, what else was there?

Oberan heard a snorting sound that he probably assumed was the ragged little monster trying to spit more blood onto the tunnel floor. He would have been wrong. Kasoria hid another smirk and kept stumping down the tunnels, torches flashing light and then leaving shadow across his face as he went. A few more turns and a rickety ladder. Then they'd smell surface air again, sweet and clear.

Well... relatively. This is Etzos, after all.
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Re: Where few want to be found [Underground]

Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:55 pm

The ‘beggar’ seemed to at least know his way around, so Oberan followed silently, keeping an eye to the shadow at all times, just in case. Perhaps looking for a thrill signature would be safer, but the focus that required would wear him out rather quickly, and if something happened he might not have the energy to respond in time. Their best bet now was to stick to the light, and trust that the Naerikk was indeed too wounded to return.

Which shifted Oberan’s focus to the man in front of him, bleeding and hurt, but still limping on despite all that. Now the Mortalborn had little idea to who the Naerikk was or why she was there, but he’d seen her fight and there was no doubt about her skill. Without amplifying his own thrill or reducing hers, he wouldn’t stand a chance, as frustrating that was to admit. Of course he could easily defeat her if he absorbed all he could hold, but his base skills were still lacking. He clacked his tongue.

However, that was besides the point. This guy right there, that hairy, ragged, smelly creature had gone toe to toe with that woman for … well, he wasn’t sure how long he’d been out. A while. Oberan couldn’t be sure if the beggar had been winning or losing at the time he came to, but the possibility existed that the man hadn’t even needed the assistance. Not that he’d know about that, of course. For all the little guy knew, Oberan had just been lying there uselessly the whole time.

Anyway, his skill with the blade was nothing to laugh at. For all he looked and smelled to be, this tattered piece of mortal was no ordinary beggar. Or a beggar at all, most likely. Perhaps a mercenary, though he’d be on the small side. And they wouldn’t look and smell like they didn’t know what a razor and a bath were. Thief didn’t really stick either. His marks would smell him coming from a mile away. If he tried to pick pockets, Oberan imagined the crowd would simply give him a wide berth. The way he moved was all wrong too. Also way too… slasher happy. The way he’d fought? Not something he’d ever attribute to a thief.

What remained then was—

Oberan’s focus snapped back to what was around them as his ears picked up a voice. Somewhere in a tunnel in front of them, coming closer, by the sound of it. Until it didn’t. That is to say that it stopped, died out. An attempt to go unnoticed perhaps? A pretty poor one, if it was.

Unlike what the Mortalborn had been expecting, there was a rich looking guy and a hulking mass of muscle. Merchant and bodyguard? Here? Not the kind on the right side of the law then. The vendor spoke up and called out, and for a moment, Oberan thought he was being addressed, pointing at himself in confusion.

“—already wounded. Might I—”

Not him, but the beggar. Suspect indeed. No doubt remained. His eyes narrowed ever so slightly.

Negotiations were going on, or would be if the merchant wasn’t being brushed off so easily. Names were dropped, underground politics mentioned, and Oberan paid attention to all of it. He usually didn’t bother to care about such things enough to do some digging on his own, but if they were slapped into his face… only a true idiot would ignore it. However, that didn’t stop him from feigning boredom and disinterest as he eavesdropped on the conversation.

The beggar said no to the money, no to the deal, no to setting things up so it looked like ‘Mr. Vorund’ had something to do with the corpses the bodyguard had created. Oberan was tempted to accidentally bump into the man and snatch that fat purse without him noticing. Five times what Velvet had been promised was probably a lot.

When the ragged beggar beckoned though, the thief’s better judgement won out and he merely followed, eyes lingering on the purse for a few trills as he passed by. Wasted opportunity. Perhaps if he’d been alone—

Some noise emanated from that hairy face, and Oberan thought for a moment that the man was choking, or was maybe trying to remove some bloody phlegm from his throat, but nothing splashed into the shallow puddles or onto the stones.

Oberan simply shrugged and kept walking, following until they reached the ladder and after that, the streets, where he would seemingly vanish the first time the beggar’s eyes left him.

Just because I shouldn't doesn't mean I won't.

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Vidao Reymisi
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Re: Where few want to be found [Underground]

Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:34 am

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After listening to the man's explanation of circumstance, and how things worked underground, Vidao took the gold quickly, as it soon became apparent that there were others nearby. Moments later, the mercenary was listening to his new found benefactor discuss their current predicament with some ragged looking wretch, and a slightly more put together fellow. The negotiation, as it was, did not seem to go well. Why Marbry wanted to even associate with the homeless fellow was beyond Vidao's understanding initially, but as the conversation continued, it became clear. The bum was not simply a coinless scoundrel, but rather was someone who knew someone. Unfortunately, Marbry would not gain the assistance of the rag clothed fellow on this trial. The man along with him seemed just that, along with him, and not with Marbry. Vidao stood firm the entire time, and locked eyes with the tunnel urchin as he passed by. No deviation, no looking away, for to do so was to admit submission.

Not likely.

As the two strangers moved away, Reymisi leaned in to Marbry.

"That did not go as you hoped, but as you expected?"
the question was half inquisition, half rhetorical. It was also spoken quietly enough that the two strangers, still nearby, would be hard pressed to make it out.

"If they're gonna refuse your suggestion, than I suggest we make haste, 'cause now two more than us know what transpired here. I'd rather the memory of my face be brief to them."
Vidao offered. The blood on his skin was starting to dry, and stiffen it. The cool of the undertunnels was now invading the adrenalin warmed temperature of his skin. It was time to go, either way. Vidao needed to either hide out, or get out...of the underground, and perhaps the entire city. Soon.
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