• Closed • Full House

Kasoria

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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Oberan
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Full House

Sun Sep 16, 2018 3:41 pm



The 20th of Saun 718

“Name?”

“Wulford Silva, plus one.”

A slight pause. The sound of pen scratching on paper.

“Enjoy yourselves tonight, Mr. Silva. Madam.”

They nodded in response, and the line moved forward just a little bit.

“Name?”

“Edgar Endeldram”

Another pause, longer than the last. It kept on going, and the man in the line grew more and more nervous with each passing trill.

“You’re not on the list,” the nasal deathblow came, sounding very much like ‘please leave’.

“That’s impossible! I should be on the list, this must be a mistake!”

“I’m sorry Mr. Endeldarm, the list doesn’t lie.”

“But that’s--”

“Unless you can show me your invitation, I cannot let you enter.”
The clerk shared a sad smile with the man. There wasn’t any pity to be found in it though.

“Invitation! Of course! Of course. I have it right here, just a trill.” He rummaged through the pockets of his vest as well as his trousers, but his search didn’t yield any results. “Oh… I know, I must have left it at home,” he tried sheepishly. The list-bearer’s expression didn’t change. “I swear I did! Please, this is a mistake, please overlook--” He inched closer to the entrance, and immediately two bouncers stepped forward, ready to interfere. Edgar went pale, gave another feeble attempt at negotiation, then quickly left when it became clear the patience of the secretary was growing thin.

Once again the line moved forwards.

“Name?”

Oberan tugged at his revers, then grabbed in his pocket for the folded piece of paper. One flick of the wrist to unfurl it, showing the text to the bouncer.

“Johannes Vanalles,” Oberan responded confidently. He tucked the invitation back in his pocket as a man standing next to the barrel-chested bouncer browsed through the many names on the list, finger going up and down the pages. It took a little while, but then his eyes stopped moving and he looked up from the clipboard momentarily. There was something about his gaze that made Oberan feel as if the man was sizing him up, a slight frown appearing on his brow. Evidently he didn’t find anything concrete, his focus turning back to the list, where he ticked a small box next to the name.

“Enjoy yourself tonight, Mr. Vanalles,” the secretary spoke nasally, his frown not quite having disappeared just yet.

“Thank you. I intend to,” the Mortalborn stated. He then stepped through the doorway, neither of the two security guards moving a muscle as he did. A small grin tugged at the corners of his mouth, but Oberan recovered quickly, stifling it before it could fully break his façade.

Once past the next set of doors and actually inside, Oberan first made his way over to the register where he exchanged a sum of money into gambling chips, then sat himself down at one of the many tables where card games were played. A little warmup wouldn’t hurt at all, and if he lost…well, it wasn’t his money.

He didn’t really pay that much attention to the first game, losing as a result, but the information he gathered while playing would help him in the long run. Layout of the room, the amount of personnel, the obvious security guards and those that might be undercover –or maybe they were just dodgy-looking customers, he really couldn’t blame them without being hypocritical. Loads of chips were changing owners, most of them returning to the house, though some were turned over to lucky –or skilled, who could say?—customers en masse.

Tongue came out to lick his lips, but then the corners of his mouth drooped as the first cards on the table were revealed. The Mortalborn shook his head and folded, cutting his losses. No use in playing recklessly now without the cash to burn.

Besides, he was not here to waste it in the first few games he played. The plan was to be here as long as possible, make the most of his time and money. Add to the coin he possessed, not to the debt he was in.

Last edited by Oberan on Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just because I shouldn't doesn't mean I won't.

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Kasoria
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Re: Full House

Mon Sep 17, 2018 12:33 am

"Anythin' else, lads?"

"Nah, think that's the lot, sir."

"Aye, same f'me."

Thank Fuck fer that...

It had been a lot of hashing out and finger-pointing and posturing, for the most part. Kasoria was reminded more of alley cat circling each other, or dogs in a fighting pit, instead of two villains who should have fucking well known better than the first place. Better than to let petty shite escalate until their mutual master had to drag them both in by the scuffs of their necks, like Mummy would to a couple of unruly children.

The silent killer allowed himself the briefest hint of a smile at the analogy. It worked, but only up to a point. Served more to mock than to elaborate, although there was no denying that once Bangun Vorund put his foot down, that was that. No more brewing street war, no more bodies in gutters or brawls in contested locations. Half the reason that Vorund had been able to survive for as long as he had, was because he was useful to the Powers That Be. Because he was able to control and regulate the animals on the South Side, and had the pull and numbers and money and sheer fucking grit to stamp down on trouble before it could become a matter of public alarm.

He kept things quiet. Quiet and profitable and in the shadows or the gutters. He'd be fucked if these two idiots would bugger that up for him.

"Good," the man at the head of the table said, getting to his feet, signaling the summit was over. His two underlings did the same, and the pair of bodyguards-slash-lieutenants they'd brought with them took a step forwards. "It's settled. Efram? You get the toping house an' the knocking shop. Shaun? The street corners, whether it be cunt or powders or herbs sold on 'em."

Both racketeers were a league or two below Vorund, but they had ambitions. Dreams of expansion into bigger rackets, deeper purses, that their names would ring out louder and bloodier across the underworld. But they were right next to each other, and that had resulted in... friction. Now the man they both paid every season for the privilege to operate had settled their dispute. The rackets along the section of the ring they'd been scrapping over had been neatly divided and, as far as Kasoria could see, rather fairly.

Another reason the old man's stayed around for so long, he thought as hands were shaken and drinks emptied. He makes money for everyone.

But that wasn't the only reason, and he knew it. Another big reason was, well... him. More and more visible, this arc. Out of the shadows and his comfortable disguise of "The Raggedy Man", which had become more a whispered tale than an insult. He could see the muscle they'd brought and hell, these middle-league gangsters themselves cast wary looks at him. Standing so quietly and politely at the side of his boss. Sweeping a cool, neutral gaze across all of them as they'd entered the room and taken their seats.

There were six of them to his one (two, counting Vorund, and he knew that old stoat still had some killing in his bones). Outnumbered, and yet he could almost hear their assholes pucker when they saw him.

Been a busy arc, he reminded himself. Those Yoof thieves, Styes and his boys, Stacks... not to mention that shite in the tunnels.

That was the clincher, he thought. Fighting a Shadow Bitch and living to tell the tale. Not that he did, of course. He wasn't nearly so stupid. But word got around, like it always did. Walls had ears and all that bollocks, but he suspected someone had talked. Marbry, the bearded man whose name he never got, someone else who put the story together... and no-one was going to ask him, of course.

"Right. Now get out an' give me some a' yer money." Vorund let the poor attempt at humor pass with more laughter than it deserved, before gesturing them to the door of the spacious backroom. "Go, go, out with you. There's chips on tick for yeh both at the register, on me."

"Thanks, Mister Vorund."

"Much obliged, sir."

There was more of that, more hand shaking, more muttered oaths of loyalty and obedience. Kasoria did his best not to roll his eyes, at least until the door had closed again. Then Vorund turned back around and chuckled at the unimpressed face of his enforcer.

"Didn't think much a' that?"

"Heard it before from dead men. No-one's a traitor, 'til they are."

"Fates and Fucking," Vorund said with a mock-dismayed shake of his head. "Cynical cunt, aren't you?"

"Learned from the best."

"Fuck you, too."

Both men smiled at each other. A rare moment of camaraderie, from two who were not comrades. One was master, the other servant, and the former knew the latter was only thus because of an oath sworn long ago. Were it not for that, and the favor he'd done for him eleven arcs ago, this man might very well take coin to open his throat like hundreds before him. But Vorund didn't think too deeply into that. Instead he finished his own drink and nodded at the bottle. Kasoria slid it across the table to him.

"Do me a favor? Send Ilos in on yer way out, he should be arriving."

"Youse don't want me in here?"

"With Ilos?" Vorund snorted, nose crinkling. "Think I can handle him if he gets lippy, Kas. Nah, get out an' keep an eye on those to cunts, leastways until one of 'em leaves. Don't want too much booze an' whatever the fuck else they're sellin' at the bar an' in the privy makin' 'em think they can scrap in here."

Kasoria nodded and didn't question further. The casino was a floater, but quite an advanced one. Locations for the season were chosen far in advance, with all the furnishings and luxuries required purchased ahead of time. Word was sent out the night before to those trusted to spread it around only to those with coin and discretion... and lo! Come the next night, there was an orderly and well-dressed trickle of swells and gamblers and minor nobility, seeking fortune and adventure in the hidden gambling hall.

Vorund was not about to let a brawl break out here. Hence why he was sending Kasoria.

Seems to be a trend, the assassin thought to himself as he went outside and was immediately assaulted by all the sounds and smells of a thronged, lucrative gaming parlor. Want something done, send me.

Now, now. Don't get cocky.


"Getcha somethin'?"

"Water." He said to the bartender, choosing a spot at the bar where he could keep an eye on Efram and Shaun both, and their respective duos. "With honey."

Probably the first time he's heard that tonight, Kasoria thought, but damned if the man didn't come back without a word, and with his order. He took a sip and gave a wry toast. The 'tender just snorted and dirfted away, already assailed by a dozen waving hands demanding service. Kasoria kept his gaze roving across the casino. Tagged and burned those two faces into his mind, and kept them always in sight.

But soon his gaze wandered. Moved around. Looked for extra threats and problems, because the one you were looking for was rarely the only one. Over rolling dice and cards revealed. A couple of spinning, colored wheels, surrounded by men and women who held their breaths as they waited for them to stop. Colored bricks and tiles, slapped or slid down into esoteric formations. All games of chance, winners and losers all, bent and seated around them like supplicants at altars.

And the boss gets a cut of it all, Kasoria thought with a smirk. Because the house always-

The cup paused halfway to his face. The thought ended as if he'd been hit by a baton across the eyes. His eyes latched onto a familiar face, five tables away.

Or, more accurately, a familiar beard.
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Oberan
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Re: Full House

Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:42 pm


Fuck.

None of the three other leftover players folded.

With each person revealing their cards, his brow grew sweatier.

Four of a kind.

Flush.

Full house.

Two pair.

The last hand was Oberan’s. He cursed loudly, and slammed his fists onto the table hard enough to make the stacks of chips the dealer was sliding towards the lucky winner topple over. The dealer shot him a dirty glare, a warning of sorts, and Oberan swallowed his tirade, let the accusing finger fall back to his side, and plopped back into his seat.

Well, for just a moment, then he realized he was out of chips, and angrily got up again.

“Shouldn’t gone all in,” the winner snickered. “Actually, you shouldn’t even play at all with a tell that obvious, and a garbage hand.”

Oberan mimed the man’s words back at him, likened the man’s mother to a dog’s asshole, then quickly backed off as the dealer began raising his arm to call over some security. The rules of this place were clear to everyone inside, and the staff were all to eager to enforce them.

“Alright, alright,” he complied, “Easy there, I’m calm. Calm as a placid ocean.” Just before the storm wrecks the shore and drags all ships into the deep, he thought, but he didn’t add that in. Instead he straightened his tie with enough indignation to make an insulted noble jealous, and strode off muttering curses under his breath.

Meager winnings, lost. Starting chips, lost.

All he had left was the rest of his ‘borrowed’ coin. It wasn’t even half of what he’d started out playing with, which hadn't been a whole lot in and of itself. The Mortalborn left the bustling crowd in favor of a more isolated space where he could actually think, and where he hoped the wall of cigar-smoke would be less thick. No such luck in regards to the latter, but away from the playing area and the bar there was less commotion. Tall tables with those taking a break from the entertainment, either to mope about their losses, or gloat about their victories. There were also those who simply didn’t dabble in the various ways of losing money. They were the smart ones, for sure. Smart, but boring. No risk, no reward. No stakes, no thrill –and wouldn’t you know it, thrill was part of Oberan’s identity.

He ignored the conversationalists, let his gaze sweep over the various activities, and considered his options. Stop playing, and leave with the money he had left. Nah. Dive back in, cross his fingers and hope he win big. Winning big would do wonders for his mood, if he left with much more coin than he entered with, well, he might even return the clothes to the man he’d locked in the closet.

Unlikely though. Very much so. One huge victory netting him a heap of playing chips? Low odds. If he wanted to rack up winnings, he would need to play safe. Bet on those roulettes, black or red, small winnings, small losses. Some fun to be had with that. It was essentially still fifty-fifty.

Or he could go back to the cards. Cheat. Win.

Naturally, the dealer was a problem. In pubs and taverns there were no dealers. Cheating there was easy. Just slip a card or two into your sleeve, get better odds at winning. No such thing possible with a dealer though. Bribing wouldn’t work either, he didn’t have the coin for it. Besides, the folks running the establishment probably payed better to keep cheaters out.

There were other ways to cheat though, one in particular Oberan had a monopoly on. But he’d have to keep it up for a long time, which would result in nasty consequences he wasn’t willing to face. Not because he’d get caught mind you. They’d never find out. Still, it wasn’t feasible. Maybe he’d save that for the last game, if he really started to get desperate.

What was left then? Loaded dice weren’t subtle, and he didn’t have any to begin with, so that wasn't an option either.

As he thought, he felt nothing but empty glass beneath his fingers. The little bowl of nuts was empty now, and he hadn’t even realized he’d been eating them. Their salty taste still lingered in his mouth, coming from the little morsels stuck between his teeth. Clever bastards. Now he needed a drink.

With a sigh he pushed himself away from the table and headed into the throbbing mass of people trying to get the bartender’s attention, waving their hands, yelling their orders, slapping coin on the mahogany counter. Of course the drinks wouldn’t be free. What did he think this was, charity?

He pushed past the first layer of squirming patrons, slipping in between little spaces where he could find them, not bothering to try and get to the bar in a straight line. This was no different than a busy market in the Commercial Circle, a veritable tide of people that would swallow you whole and drag you along unless you knew how to navigate. Slip through here and there, skirt past people without pushing and forcing it. Working with the crowd, not against it, and you could pass without too much problems.

It gave him an idea. Brilliant, simply brilliant. Why hadn’t he thought of this before? What use was there in a fox pretending to be a chicken in a chicken coop, trying to fill his belly with the fodder the farmers fed their poultry with? There was a whole hunting ground right before his eyes! Why take the chicken feed if you could take the chickens themselves?

No-one would even expect a pickpocket roaming around at an exclusive gambling event.

Naturally, playtime would be over if he wasn't subtle about it. People would notice if they were suddenly all missing their wallets. There was a way around it however, and Oberan was fairly sure his hands were swift and light enough to get away with it. Nothing too farfetched, he simply had to put the wallets back after taking some coin or chips. Nothing too difficult in a dense and unsuspecting crowd like this one right here.

And when he deemed he'd gathered a respectable amount? Why, he'd go right back to gambling, of course!
Just because I shouldn't doesn't mean I won't.

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Kasoria
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Re: Full House

Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:20 pm

It wasn't that he was seeing the angle; he simply wasn't expecting to see the angle that was true. The biggest obstacle to being truly insightful, isn't being stupid or ignorant or lazy, it's not having the imagination. To step back from the room, the board, the setting, the story, and think that anything is possible.

Honestly, he had no excuse. Forty-five arcs old in Etzos... anyone is capable of anything. But back that, on that night? All he saw was the stupid sod who'd helped him. For some fucking reason.

Wonder what he's drinking?

That was Kasoria's first thought as he slid off his stool, keeping his eyes on the bearded man. He was walking around quite a bit, from the bar to the privy to the tables and the games, apparently not having much luck with One so trying out Many instead. That wasn't unusual.

He seemed to bump into people quite a bit. That was unusual. So unusual that some ancient, nameless, omniscient corner of Kasoria's mind stirred and hissed into life. Always sensitive to the suspicious and questionable. It gnawed and buzzed for a moment, but he batted it away like an errant gnat. His eyes were still full of the sight of the man, the memory of him, giving him power that he did not understand, to hold his ground against a murderous bitch made of shadow and injured pride.

Would have killed me, too. But he helped me. I'd be dead without him.

Kasoria sighed softly, and nodded almost imperceptibly. He didn't have many lines. He had a code, but you could scrawl it on your palm and still have space for a short shopping list. He lived in a world where loyalty and honor and trust weren't just laughable concepts, they were alien to most and lethal to the foolish. He was seen as somewhat of a freak for the "loyalty" he exhibited to Vorund, with very few realizing that had more to do with two unknown lives far to the west of Etzos, rather than him being such a darned decent guy.

But the bearded man saved his life. He stood between everything he was and had and could be, and all of it being snatched away and cast into oblivion. The killer did not forget a thing like that, and he felt he had to repay... erm...

"Fuck," he muttered softly, finishing his glass of water "Gotta sort that out, first."

Aren't you on the fucking job, boy?

Which was a good point. As he moved through the swirl of bodies, sliding and slipping around the Well-To-Do and Eager-To-Wager, he kept his gaze flickering back to Efram and Shaun. The two were still keeping their distance from each other, and the same went for their guardians. They were at their own tables, bodyguards at their shoulders, enjoying the free chips, the looks of fear they mistook for respect, the power it seemed to give them.

But most importantly of all, they weren't playing silly buggers. Good. All he needed to know.

Kasoria kept moving, kept walking, until he found that crown of messy brown hair in front of him. He'd been quite squirmy, in point of fact. Gone on a weird route that took him across the room and them boomeranging back to the bar again. Kasoria guessed he didn't like the look of the tables, and a made a point to ask why. With his neat appearance and clothes, the man did have the slight whiff of a gambler about him... and since he had magic, Kasoria knew that meant he had to be watched.

The unseen but indefatigable. Shite you don't want around games of chance.

"Lucky night?"

That was all he said, as he planted his arse on the stool next to Oberan and smiled at his brief, stunned look of incomprehension. He wasn't quite the hideous, stinking, feral animal the man had met in the tunnels. His clothes were a fair bit poorer than the finery around them, but they were clean, and pressed. Hidden weapons were tucked in various places, even up his sleeves, but right now all he wore openly was his old gladius. Then again, age didn't mean much to steel, so long as you kept it sharp.

"Least I can do is buy youse a drink," he said without any other preamble, holding up a hand for the bartender, who knew better than to keep this one waiting. "An' ask yer name."
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Re: Full House

Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:29 pm



He was on a roll.

Unexpecting targets were easy prey, his fingers felt supple and flexible. Swift and light of touch. Coin and chip both switched owners, practically flowing into Oberan’s pockets. One hand removed wallets from their hiding spots, the other grabbed some of what was inside, then the first placed the purse back. He had to be focused to work this fast, losing himself in coordinating every single motion of his hands and every deliberate collision with his target, in detection of the opportunities presented to him, in the subtlety it required. Anything could go wrong at any time, without warning. Someone could be watching him, seeing his actions for what they truly where.

Not that he’d know before he’d be grabbed by the security; he could not also divide his focus to what wasn’t in his immediate vicinity. He’d falter, slow down, and lose his subtle touch. This was all he was capable off at the moment.

Back in the trial, he’d scoffed at this level of skill, call it amateurish. Call those who took pride in it fools. Now? Well, now he was the one taking pride in the skill he’d regained, even if it was but a sliver of his former glory. To equal his prior abilities, he’d have to be faster still, his touch would need to be unnoticeable, so he wouldn’t need to distract the people he was pickpocketing.

Then again, it had taken him twenty arcs to get to that point, refining his technique as much as possible, cutting out all that wasn’t needed. Now he didn’t need to figure all that out anymore. He didn’t need to condition his muscles to remember. They already did. What he needed was to get faster, without losing control over his fingers. Every season he improved, little by little.

Before he knew it he was at the counter, hands gripping the smooth wood of the oblong shape, pockets heavy with chips. Oberan took a moment to transfer them into his own wallet, movements just as practiced and swift as the ones used to get the money out.

Bartender didn’t pay him any attention yet. The man was too busy serving others, darting to and fro with drinks and liquor, seemingly prioritizing those with finer clothes and the look of impatience painted on their face.

Oberan supposed he maybe should have robbed someone wealthier. He could match the haughtiness with which highborn nobles looked down their noses at the rabble, and his hair and beard were groomed to make him appear more distinguished, but the clothes made the man, and at the moment he was just a more-or-less well-off merchant.

He possessed some measure of patience though, so he didn’t mind too much. Well, until he noticed the bartender considering whether or not to serve him or someone else first, and deciding on the latter a couple times. Brow furrowed, finger started tapping the wood impatiently.

The voice from beside him startled him, head snapping to that direction almost immediately. Oberan was sure there hadn’t been anyone there mere trills before. He let his eyes explore the other man’s face, not sure if they’d met before. Something about this guy did spark a sense of recognition, but what exactly remained uncertain.
“Could be better,” he responded, still putting the pieces together.

Small stature, long hair, beard… but it didn’t fit. No gag-reflex inducing smell clinging around him, no tattered rags wrapped around his body, and—

Oh, of course.

“The new look doesn’t suit you,” the Mortalborn stated, trying to remain calm even as his mind was racing. If he was here, then his boss probably wasn’t too far away. Oberan had done some listening since last time they’d met, keeping an ear out for the names that had been dropped in the tunnels of the Underground. It was surprising how much information could be obtained by simply being in the right place willing to pay attention to the conversations around you.

No surprise then that he felt the cold sweat start to prick under his armpits.

He hadn’t known at the time, but this one had a bit of a reputation –not that he needed rumors to tell him he’d rather not get on the bad side the ‘beggar’. Or on his master's. Currently though, he was very much aware that he was treading on thin ice. Very thin ice.

Fuck.

As if compelled by magic, the bartender rushed over as soon as he saw the little man waving, not quite looking nervous or afraid, but certainly uncomfortable. “Very generous of you,” Oberan said, “Darington Whiskey, please.” The bartender’s eyes flicked to Kasoria then, waiting for either the man’s order, or to be dismissed, after which he quickly set out to fetch the drinks. Within less than two bits the beverages were placed before the two men. There was no need for payment.

“Thank you very much.” The thief raised his glass a little, then sipped of the amber spirit, letting it burn in his mouth a little before he swallowed. “My name’s Oberan,” he continued, having considered giving the name of his cover, but there was little doubt that the ‘beggar’ had seen through it already. No need to keep up the charade. “You’re Vorund’s dog, aren’t you?” He paused for a moment, gesturing with a hand that he was about to rephrase that. “Well, not a dog… Bloodhound.” It wasn’t meant or said scathingly.

Oh, yes, Oberan had done his homework, but not on this place. He’d caught wind of it only a trial ago or so, when he’d come across the invitation on the job. At the time he’d been ecstatic, smelling opportunity. Now, despite the scent no longer wafting off the little fellow next to him, Oberan smelled death. His own. There was no doubt that the killer would be able to lethally wound him before he had time to react –be it with his body or his gifts—should the hairy fellow go for the kill. Yes, Oberan could knock out the Ragged Man for a couple breaks by just taking his thrill away, but that didn’t mean he would last long enough to manage.

Things were looking grim. The Mortalborn wasn’t sure how Vorund ran these places, but he was fairly sure that picking pockets of the guests would be a one way ticket to the afterlife. Setting an example and the like. Cheating would probably not be taken lightly either, but the legitimate guests would probably get a stern warning. Oberan… most likely wouldn’t get a warning at all, since he wasn’t invited in the first place.

It was a good thing he hadn’t acted on the desire to take the purse of the guy on his other side right before the little killer arrived.

Maybe it would be best if he behaved for now, and watched his step tonight. Now he no longer was a face in the crowd, he would be noticed by at least one set of eyes, and suspicious behavior wouldn’t escape scrutiny. Oberan needed more chips to actually make a profit tonight though, and he still had to gamble as well if he had to fit in. With what he had now, he wouldn’t be playing a lot of games.

What to do?

For now, he’d enjoy this whiskey, and make conversation. It could very well be his last, depending on what he’d do later –or was seen doing, rather.

“Catch the shadowbitch yet?” And then: “How’d you stay standing when she did her—whatsitcalled?—blackout thingy?” As far as he was aware, it wasn’t a targeted ability. If it was though, well, he’d have been wrong, but he didn’t think it was that accurate. Maybe he should pester that little girl about it sometime. Perhaps see if he could build a resistance to it.

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

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Re: Full House

Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:13 am

Contrary to what most thought, Kasoria was not one to spill blood wantonly. His blade was in the service of Bangun Vorund, at his command only. Before that, it was for hire, for coin, for contract, and violence for it's own sake... no... there was simply no gain in it. One could argue that spurning this impudent fop, with his vagabond nobility and educated accent, could have profited his reputation. Burnished it, with yet another clueless soul "educated" as to why the Raggedy Man was to be feared.

But he saved your life, and no offence was meant, he told himself, watching the man drink down his glass and relish every drop. Hard to hate a man who knows a good whiskey, too.

"Dog, bloodhound, beast... terrier, one on occasion, actually." He chuckled and sipped at the simple sweetened water in his cup. Just honey, and nothing more. A few queer looks were directed at such a childish drink, but none at the drinker, of course. The little man shook his head and gestured vaguely to himself. "Because of my size, I'd wager."

The man - no, Oberan, remember? - touched on... her, and Kasoria's face hardened a touch. When his master's name was mentioned, his jaw twitched, and little else. He knew it wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but it was one more example to him of how much and how fast things were changing. In the past, he'd been completely isolated from Vorund's organization. No-one lnew him, save for Bangun, Ilos, and a couple of trusted bodyguards. He operated under anyone's notice, most often swaddled in rags, limping around the city, known by reputation and fell deeds alone. But now...

Now you accompany him to meetings. Now you act as his voice, not just his wrath. Now people know your true name.

Kasoria studied his reflection in the water. Around him the tumult of the casino dimmed, as his thoughts darkened. The scribes and mystics of old said that daemons could be bound to service, if only their true name was known. He remembered that more and more, these days. To be feared and yet known... it made a man vulnerable. And there were so many snares that wicked men had to entrap daemons.

"Have t'be huntin', be be catchin', and I ain't," he almost mumbled the words, mindful of the answer his new friend was expecting but still lost in his thoughts. Finally he breathed in sharply, face upturned, and remembered his manners. Such as they were. "They call it 'The Gift of Shadows'. Evil fuckin' thing. She used it on me before, long back. No sight, no sound, no arms or legs, no... just nothing. Just your head in a void, screaming without a voice."

He blinked, and a passing woman looked at him in horror. He was rarely so poetic, nor so open with his memories. But Oberan was pleasant enough company, if cocky and sly. Then again, what other company could a man like him expect? Other than dour executioners like himself. Kasoria's face contorted into a rueful smile and he rolled his eyes.

"Course, I don't need t'tell you that, do I? Buggeration knows why it didn't work on me last time," he lied with a shrug, sipping at some more water and being sure to keep his eyes on Oberan's. Not look away, not evade his gaze. Not reveal his deception, let alone the token that had saved his life from the Naerikk was in his pocket as they spoke. Ever-shadowed and imbued with runic power that he still barely understood, but useful all the same. "An' speakin' of magic..."

The killer decided in the space of a trill, the time it took to lean closer as if in conspiracy. It had been nagging and gnawing at him ever since they'd left that tunnel together, and Oberan had vanished from his back within moments. Hardly a polite gesture, but the man didn't stick a knife in it first, so that was a plus for an Etzosi like Kasoria. But he'd never got a chance to ask exactly what had saved his life.

Idalos was not some unimaginable world, where the ether and the wyrd were mere fantasies, childhood tales outgrown in adulthood and replaced with cold, barren logic. No, in that realm, it was all too real... and all too varied. Kasoria wanted to know What and Which and, if they had time, How. So he leaned a little closer and gestured for the bartender again. Another glass might loosen the man's lips a touch, and if he were a true Darington's man, it was unlikely he'd turn it down.

"What magic was it, that you used on me, down there?" He saw a flash of fear across the man's face, and assumed it was the fact Kasoria knew he'd used magic on him that had caused it. He held up a placating hand. "Ain't gonna complain, not this time. Saved us both, didn't it? Gave me strength, gave me... I dunno... energy I shouldn't have had." Placating became pointing, and Kasoria's yellowed grin was behind it. "Energy from you. So... what was it? I gotta know."

He waited for his answer and flicked a glance to his side as he took another drink. Efram and Shaun. Their monkeys. All located in a few trills... still playing like good little boys. He was still under orders, but that didn't mean he couldn't do a little investigation by himself.
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"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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Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:32 pm
Race: Mortal Born
Profession: Part-time God
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Re: Full House

Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:01 pm



One on occasion, he said, and Oberan let out a chuckle along with the little killer, if only because his limited knowledge on dog breeds made one of them rather unlikely. As far as the Mortalborn knew, a terrier was one of those little lapdogs highborn women liked to tote along with them, dressing them up in ridiculous little vests, sometimes even tying their hair in some ridiculous style.

To picture Kasoria as one of those… well, it was simply ridiculous. Not to mention, those little yappers were all bark and no bite, which was about as far as you could get from the hairy man’s reputation. If there was anything he’d heard about the man, it was that the people who –presumably—had gotten a visit either pretended not to know who the killer was, strongly denied having had any run-in with the man, or had mysteriously disappeared.

Small size or not, Kasoria backed up his bark with a whole lot of bite.

Oberan watched as Vorund’s man drank his simple drink, wondering when he’d last heard anyone order it. Long time ago, the memories revealed, and he’d asked the bartender for it himself. Fruit juice had been too expensive, and water was just water. A nice dollop of honey fixed that nicely. Still, even as a child he’d preferred fruit juice to this. Couldn’t beat a good ol’ whiskey either.

He paid no mind to the mutterings of the man, they didn’t make much sense to him –though they did succeed in making a shiver run his spine. Perhaps it meant something, perhaps it didn’t. Without context it was hard to tell. The idea that it was a response to the question did occur to him, but no matter how you looked at it, the younger, older looking man was simply taking to himself.

Probably hadn’t run into her yet if he was muttering negatives.

The actual answer came after that, complete with an accurate description of what it felt like to be the subject of such an attack. No surprise then, when he revealed it had been used on him before. The way he talked about it was not some second hand tale. Oberan nodded slowly, swishing his beverage around, staring at the swirling liquid, only occasionally glancing up to watch his surroundings.

“I’m quite aware of its effects, indeed,” he spoke wryly, not really enjoying remembering it all. Horrible experience. Enough to drive a man mad. If there hadn’t been a battle raging on next to his prone body, Oberan wouldn’t have gotten up quite as quickly or easily. In fact, he’d needed time to process it all afterwards, and the sensation of being completely cut off from his body had haunted him in his sleep for several trials. He’d woken up a couple times during those, unable to move, a heavy weight on his chest, helpless in his own body. Not quite the same, but certainly equal in horror it inflicted—no, scratch that, it had been worse. Being subjected to the Gift plunged one into nothingness, alone with their thoughts, but what he’d experienced at night allowed awareness of their body, yet denied the control over it. To simply lie there, paralyzed, unable to even move his eyes around –he’d take the Gift any trial.

Then again, he’d probably get more night terrors afterwards.

“Maybe she wanted a fair fight,” he mused, though he really doubted that a Naerikk would grant a mere man such an honor. The frown on his brow could have spelled the word doubt and it wouldn’t have made a difference. “Didn’t she say she’d relied too much on that ability though?” he murmured, stroking his beard with one hand.

A shrug then, and he savored the last of his whiskey, placing the glass on the counter carefully, letting the bottom cover a darker spot of the wood. Not much later there was a replacement in its stead, holding more of the amber spirit. He raised his eyebrows quizzically, then hefted the glass a little in appreciation, bringing it to his lips. Right before it reached his lips, the killer’s question made him freeze on the spot for a brief moment. Then he continued on like nothing had happened, sipping the drink like before, still relishing the taste.

He sighed then.

Since he’d noticed –which Oberan had hoped he wouldn’t—there was little he could do to deny it. But how to explain? And how much of it truthfully. “People are far more capable than they think they are,” the Mortalborn shrugged. “I merely tricked your mind into believing you had more to offer. I forcibly removed your limiters for a short while, as it were, allowing to release your full potential.” Hopefully that would prove to be an acceptable explanation that didn’t come back to bite him. It wasn’t too far from the truth, except that he made it sound less remarkable than it actually was, and diminished his own part in it all.

“I’d rather keep this under wraps,” he added, shooting his conversation partner a meaningful glance. “I’d appreciate if you would too.” Surely a man such as he would need no reminder to the value of knowledge, and secrets. Considering the vengeful shadow assassin lurking about too, well, Oberan was sure the killer would be able to make the connection. For all the excitement he needed in his life, he liked to decided on the funny business he was involved in, rather than be dragged in without his knowledge. Though the latter did have its own merits.

“Keeping an eye on someone?” the Mortalborn queried, Kasoria’s sideways glances had not gone by entirely unnoticed, though he wasn’t able to determine who or what he was looking at. Now that he knew the joint had been set up by Vorund, it wasn’t inconceivable that the killer next to him was here to preserve the peace, and add some weight to the warnings of the staff. Good thing he’d complied before things had turned ugly, then. Not for the first time that night, Oberan decided to thread carefully. To be contented with such meager winnings though… difficult. Impossible.

“There’s trouble brewing over there,” he said, nudging with his drink before taking a swig. A couple gamblers arguing with one of the staff manning a spinning red-and-black wheel. Their words were drowned out in the hubbub around the bar, and even if it had been quiet around, the noise in the gambling room still wouldn’t have allowed to hear. The body language gave a lot away, but even so it could be easy to miss it in a large crowd such as this. Oberan kept a close eye on the man next to him, curious as to how he’d react to it. And to what happened to troublemakers who crossed the line.

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

"Speaking"| If it's a sentence, then it's a thought|"Others speaking"
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