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Kasoria
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Comin' In Hot (Finn)

Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:26 am

50th Trial, Zi'Da, 718a
Mid-Town
3rd break




He leaped through the sky door because if he didn't, he was a dead man.

Nothing but torture and death awaited him in the catacombs at his back. They'd cast him in thicker chains, post a guard in his cell at all times, maybe just kill him right there on the damp, ancient stones. He knew that he'd fight tooth and nail if they tried to, and make them kill him. He was done with being their living, breathing, cursing, screaming outlet for all the outage they felt against those who'd betrayed The Law.

This was the better option, because it offered the glimmer of life beyond the cloud of uncertainty.

Didn't much matter to Kasoria what the fuck Vadrassar called it. He called it "freedom", and that was enough.

He jumped through the tear in the air, in the gloom, in reality itself, and he had some rough idea where he was going, dragging the near-dead mage with him. His rescuer. The man who'd freed him and fought for him. He'd left one man dead and another crippled on the dungeon floor, but that wasn't going to be enough. Yusef had men to spare and he would throw them all at Kasoria if that meant recapturing him. The fanatical Blackguard wasn't about to let his victim escape again, not after so many arcs of waiting.

Even as they went through the portal, the Watch Commander hurled a knife at them. It went through with them, just before it closed.

It struck Vadrassar. He was sure of it. His eyes had seen it, and why would they lie?

Because this is not reality, he reminded himself, as assassin and mage and knife were all pulled apart and sent flying in different directions. Nothing is ever as simple as what you see.

Kasoria did not know much about Rupturing. It was a magic that carried a mage from place to place, by tearing a tunnel between them. This was not accurate. The portal was meant to be a doorway, not a tunnel. There was no C of transit; just the A and B of ingress and egress, where you were and where you were going. The portal itself was transit; there was no tunnel, no in-between.

In the normal run of things, anyway. Kasoria didn't know much, but he guessed that when the tomes and grimoires were written about this wyrd, they didn't include a section when the mage casting it was hit by a knife, and the shock of that blew apart the spell and carried him and it and the man he was rescuing... somewhere else.

Kasoria was in there for approximately three-and-a-half trills. Arcs afterwards, until the trial he expired, he refused to believe that.

It did not seem like just under four trills. It seemed like a glimpse into every continent, every nation, every city. A collage of portraits that crammed into his head at once, as the egress point of the portal flailed and lashed across the reality of Idalos like a mooring line come loose from a ship in a storm, waiting for something, anything it could latch on to. How it would do that was unclear. But eventually, after long enough for Kasoria to breath in again in a place that technically speaking had no air at all-

-enough time to feel his hair start to turn white from the sheer psychic impossibility of seeing so much, so far, so long, so quickly-

-it found somewhere. The egress point touched down in a land dusted with snow and with a pop! of etheric magic ripping a brief hole in the air above a plain beach on a quiet shore on the edge of a vast and sleeping city-

THUMP

Kasoria of Etzos crashed into and rolled a few yards until he stopped. For another age or two, he just lay there. He felt the chill on his bare skin. he felt the wind against his face, now overgrown with even more hair than usual. He felt his breath rattling in his lungs and it came out as a half-mad laugh, wheezing and coughing-

-then the pain came back. They'd had to fight to escape, of course. They'd left bodies behind them, and since they were up against Blackjacks, those men did not go easy. Kasoria rolled onto his front and managed to heave himself up to his knees. He took stock of the aches and scrapes and the sharp, deeper pain in his chest. The assassin tried to rise... no, he only got one foot on the sand before-

He stopped breathing. He looked around, but didn't need to.

Sounds. Smells. The... The taste of the air, the lack of smoke and latent dust always laden in it... Kasoria swallowed hard and looked about at sandbars and dunes and inhaled the smell of salt and air that was... clean. The shock of that alone was enough to numb the stab wound and slash as he got to his feet... and looked at a landscape that was not the Citadel, or the Commercial Circle, or the Outer Perimeter.

And it was next to a fucking ocean.

"Sh... Shite..."
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Last edited by Kasoria on Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:00 pm, edited 2 times in total. word count: 900
"This is the life we choose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see Heaven."
NOTE: Kasoria is using the name "Thagoras" while in Eastern Idalos, from Zi'da 717 onwards
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Finnegan O'Connor
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Re: Comin' In Hot (Finn)

Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:52 am

Comin’ in Hot - 50th Zi’da, 718


________________________

“Got anything?”

Glen Morson grimaced at his partner, showing him the empty net he dragged after him. Not really empty, but empty to their eyes at least. Weeds, driftwood and a dead seagull caught in tangle of old rope wasn’t of any value, not even to them what combed the beach.

“Well I got some clams that’ll go for a nel,” Erwinn grumbled into his salt-and-pepper beard. It wasn’t enough, it never was ‘round this time of year. Them wasn’t called the dark days for no reason. A stiff wind rippled the rags draped over his aging bones like a shredded curtain and he hugged himself even though there wasn’t a warm bone left in his body.

“Clams…” Glen sighed.

“What ‘bout it?”

“S’nothing.”

“S’more than you got!”

Glen shrugged. “I heard a ship crashed on the clips, ‘bout two miles down thataways. Might be wortha look.”

“We don’t go there.”

“Says you.”

“Aye, says I, ‘cause I got some good old sense in me brain and don’t want no part of dark sorce-”

“There ain’t no dark sorcery there,” Glen interjected. He combed back his mane of graying hair with one hand and squinted down south. “Dontcha think it’s mighty convenient for the Mantis to says a place’s bewitched? Meanwhile they fill their pockets with what washes up and we’re left with clams.”

Erwinn bit on his lips. His ancient, watery eyes gazed in the distance and remembered the hikes he’d taken with his day when he’d been yea high. There were sharp rocks jutted out from the beach like monster’s teeth he’d found countless treasured buried amid sand and rock and learned to appreciate the small, simple things in life. A faint smile played at his lips. Those were the golden days, when life was simple, people were nice and when they’d had a King worth his salt.

Glen kicked the ‘gull from his net, rolled it up and slung the black tangle over his shoulders. “Ready, gramps?”

--

Twice now, Sephira had berated him for disappearing on a whim, leaving no clue where he was headed or when he’d return only to come back in the middle of the night, unwilling to speak another word to her. She asked him where he'd been of course, as if she had any right to know! As one trial rolled into the next Finn preferred the outside to the room he shared with Special Assistant know-it-all, not in the least because the temperature in the rented double bedroom had dropped well below that of the coldest Zi’da wind. It was all her fault too. While he’d helped save her creepy friend she insisted he should calm down. Dumb bitch. Easy for her to say when she only had a stupid, stupid pebble to think about. It had felt good to tell her to her face that she was shoddy help and that she should stick her stone up her butt. Course she hadn’t meant it literally when she’d told him to take a hike, but he pretended to not know better and had taken off in an angry blur or motion before she was dumb enough to blast him through a portal in a country that burned any and all mages, real or imagined.

Hands stuffed deep into his pockets and eyes trained firmly on the ground, he paced ahead with only one destination in mind: away. Away from Sephira, away from Maxine, away from their quibbling, and yet he couldn't shake the dread that had nestled in the pit of his stomach. She was here. Zipper was here. He knew it with every fibre of his being. They shared a spark and it hadn’t ceased humming anxiously since he’d set foot on Rynmere soil. Hidden somewhere among the gray mass of buildings that made up the small sea-side town of Aradaris proper, his sister was held captive by hard-hearted men. If Rey was any omen what the Mantis did to their prisoners…

The thought was interrupted by an unusual sound, not one of bird or beast, but one of man clasping at the last strands of hope and will as the lifeforce seeped out of him. A hunched shadow --clutching his gut and staggering forward on shaking legs-- climbed the long, hard road leading away from the rocky beach and into the outskirts of Aradaris Finn sent a cold, disdainful stare down the road. He couldn't bring himself to pity anyone but himself and had no patience for drunken fools that couldn't hold their liquor, least of all the locals of a country hellbent on murdering the lines of him.

Even over the distant roaring waves he could hear the man's ragged wheezing, interrupted only by the sound of tired, calloused feet dragging an unwilling body up an insurmountable hill. His gaze lingered just long enough to make out wild, uncombed hair and-

His breath caught in his throat. Was that -? Could it be-? Surely his mind was playing tricks on him after many sleepless nights and tired arguments with Blackwood. But when a waft of cool air directed the man's scent at him, all doubt melted away.

“Kasoria?”

He took a few steps down the road, his eyes searching the man's beaten body for any sign, any sign at all that he and Vorund's lapdog weren't one and the same. By the time their paths crossed halfway up the incline, he was certain: Kasoria of Etzos had washed ashore in bad shape --worse than he'd ever seen the killer before, yet still alive as only a man favored by greater powers than himself could be. “Ka- oof,” Finn let out as King Rat practically fell into his arms as though they were long separated friends celebrating an unexpected reunion, though it would have to be one stupidly drunk friend and a very stiff, very surprised one.

Whatever support Kasoria had tried to grasp slipped away from him as he slid halfway down Finn's frame like a ragdoll before Finn caught his arms and hoisted him back up. Kasoria's battered state was by far the least surprising and least troublesome of all the things wrong with the image. Why Kasoria was on a beach in Rynmere with naught but his breeches to shield him from the Zi’da cold was beyond him, but he didn't have to guess how much longer the raggedy man could cling on to life before the last of his lifeforce had bled out of him.

He could let him die. It works be easy to shove his fingers up a nasty gash in the man's exposed side and twist the flesh until the little hairy ceased to hoewel in pain. He deserved it too. “I suggest you take the one eye first,” he murmured in a mock voice at the helpless man slumped at his feet. “Remember that?“

Of course he did. Zipper had shown up. She was rather difficult to forget. “Give me one good reason why I should help you, Kas,” two cold, blue eyes demanded as the beaten man inched ever closer to death, “when you've never helped me.“

Unbeknownst to him, two specks had emerged, trudging asking the shoreline, their old but keen eyes spotting opportunity in the shape of a man and a boy. A dying man and a child that looked like he wouldn't be much trouble.

Glenn looked to Erwinn who answered with a stiff nod. Their bellies agreed from a season worth of hardship and a corpse was worth more than a wagonload of clams. Two corpses, even when stripped of all belongings, would fetch double the price with The Necromancer. Together they approached with hurried footsteps, each of them falling into the well-practiced role of concerned citizens and harmless old men. It wouldn't happen here, not on the naked streets not whenGlenn's shack held the distinct advantage of being out of town and well-removed from prying eyes.
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Kasoria
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Re: Comin' In Hot (Finn)

Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:13 am

"Uv all... the fuckin'... wankers..."

Kasoria had been fairly certain he wasn't dreaming, and not just before he'd jumped through the portal. His liberation, the fight afterwards, Vadrassar's magical pyrotechnics... it had all been a dull affair compared to his not-even-handful of trills in the... wherever the fuck it was, trapped between the places of the world. The things he'd seen, the fact he was in a place so alien, so far from Etzos in every way, all of it told Kasoria his mind wasn't just playing some cruel jape. Nor was some other Black Mage toying with his mind, getting him all relaxed and trusting, only to tear into him when his guard was down or simply yank away his relief to break him even further.

Until he saw Finn. And there was no mistaking that fucking brat.

At first, all the shuffling man saw was a potential target. Oh, wasn't that optimistic of him? Because while he was armed and, well, him, he was ALSO bleeding to death, malnourished, dehydrated, exhausted, and coming down from an adrenaline high that could have knocked out a Lurker. He'd barely been in Andaris City for half a break, and already he could feel himself falling apart. But still he kept moving. Kept walking. Unwilling do die in the same way a trader would be unwilling to budge on a price. As if Vri and the Fates were so easily stonewalled.

Well, why not? It had worked so far.

"Kasoria?"

He had a plan. Feign weakness (yeah, that'll be a stretch). Get them close. Gut 'em and slit 'em with his blade and scavenge everything, right down to boots and belt. He'd drag the corpse somewhere quiet and... go from there. Hopefully have coin for a tavern, somewhere he could find needle and thread and stitch himself up. And then... fuck it, he'd worry about everything else in the morning.

Kasoria had a plan. His body had another one. Seeing Finn's older, sharper, harder face was the last straw.

"Fuh..."

He managed that sputtering sound and a pathetic grab that looked more like a tender embrace... or would have been, had his hands worked properly. Instead he sort of slid down Finn's body like a slug down a window, until he was on his knees and great, now his hearing was starting to go. He swayed like an ecstatic in the throes of rapture, but gods did not speak to him. Finn did. And he was dredging up ancient fucking history.

Shite. I did say that, didn't I?

"P... Please..."

He didn't have any pride left, nor defiance. He was exhausted and alone and wounded and a dozen other things that stripped the title of "Raggedy Man" away from him. He wanted to live only a sliver more than he wanted to die, because now, far away from Yusef and his cronies, he was no longer a threat to his son. He blinked away tears and grime and blood and sand and those unforgiving blue eyes stared into him. Demanding - not unfairly, really - why he would want to save someone like Kasoria?

For long moments, the swaying wreck in front of O'Connor just blinked. Bedraggled. Battered. Bleeding. Tap-dancing on the edge of hell and he bloody knew it. But his mind still worked. It still thought back to the times the Fates had thrown him and the boy together. What Finn had witnessed him do, so casually, so easily, so often. The thing he'd always been good at. In that understanding, sharp and bright as an arrow through his addled mind, Kasoria smiled at his answer... and he chuckled wetly in front of the boy trying to hard to ape his past intimidation.

"Same... same thing as every... every other cunt, boy..." He opened his eyes (well, the one that wasn't swollen shut) and grinned, already triumphant. "Cuz youse... want me... t'owe youse... a favor."

"Heavens, are you two all right?"

It seemed an effort just to turn his head and regard the two men coming at them from the left. They scuttled and hobbled and ambled and did everything but look like what they really were. Animal paranoia growled in the back of Kasoria's mind. They looked old and harmless. Their words dripped with concern. But their hands seemed shadowy. Always just a little veiled by their thighs or back or coats. And as they approached, one started talking with his hands outstretched... but the other started moving around them.

Kasoria knew what it looked like when a man was searching for a blind spot. He let his head dip, eye closing, the picture of exhaustion and submission... as his hand started inching towards the karambit shoved down the back of his breeches.
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word count: 822
"This is the life we choose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see Heaven."
NOTE: Kasoria is using the name "Thagoras" while in Eastern Idalos, from Zi'da 717 onwards
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Finnegan O'Connor
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Re: Comin' In Hot (Finn)

Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:58 pm

Comin’ in Hot - 50th Zi’da, 718


________________________

Up close the boy and the man looked even easier prey than they had from afar. The man was bruised, cut, and bloodied all over and might well die on the way back, which left only the boy to deal with. He sent a quick thanks up to the heavens. It was almost too easy.

"Heavens, are you two all right?" said Erwinn with chattering teeth. Glenn had to suppress a snicker. His friend and mentor played the part of concerned, harmless old man so well that he briefly wondered if Erwinn hadn’t truly grown senile.

The boy looked up, his eyes dull with indifference. “I’m fine, he’s not.”

Glen shot a quick look at Erwinn who seemed to think the same. They know each other? Family? No. Can’t be. Don’t look nothing alike.

“We can help,” said Glen as he stepped forward, his eyes bleary from the stiff wind that blew inland. “We’re brothers. That’s Erwinn, I’m Glen. We ain’t got much but…” We’re about to get a whole lot more

“If you lift ‘im under the arms, we’ll take a leg each,” Erwinn added. The boy nodded, crouched down and hooked his arms under the dishevelled man’s armpits. For a trill Glen though he caught a metallic shine at the man’s back, but dismissed the thought as the three of them lifted the ever paling body. “My hut’s jus’ down the shore and up that hill o’ rocks there. We better hurry though, before yer friend bleeds-”

“He ain’t my friend.”

--

Glen Morson’s hut was little more than glorified shack. Nets and ropes hung like cobwebs from hooks on broad, wooden beams that kept the ceiling up. By the time a table had been cleared and the lump of hairy, bloodied meat had been dumped atop it, each of the carriers was certain they’d lifted the most of the raggedy man’s weight and waited for one of the remaining two to decide the next course of action.

Erwinn wiped the sweat off his brow. The hairy feller had been heavier than he looked, even if he was half-naked and leaking blood like a soggy cunt. He exchanged a quick glance with Glen who responded with a curt little nod.

“-I’ll fetch a doctor,” said Glenn as he turned on his heel and headed out as fast as his stiff legs could carry him.

“-I’ll get cloth, water, needle…” muttered Erwin as he shuffled into what had to pass for a kitchen.

Finn stared coldly at Kasoria. The man’s chest heaved with every shallow, ragged breath he drew, each one pushing him ever closer to the edge of death. Then he leaned in close, his mouth but an inch removed from the man’s dirty, clobbered ear. “You owe me. Don’t forget.”

While Erwinn shuffled about in the shack’s kitchen, Finn pilfered a water basin and an old cloth. Grimacing, he appeared at Kasoria’s side, soaked the cloth and set about cleaning the many cuts.

--

There was someone at the door.

Gysandir sat up in his chair and silently lifted a long, spindly arm. Ramshackles stirred in the corner, his bony movements obeying the curled finger of his master. “We have visitors,” said Gysandir in his velvety voice. “Most unexpected visitors.” He turned in his chair and sent an faint, almost giggling smile at his loyal Rot Knight. “.. but you musn’t startle our guest, dear Ramshackles..”

The mindless corpse of a once great soldier turned on the spot, opened the cabinet door he’d been standing near and stepped in with heavy footfalls, then closed the door behind him. Gysandir stood up from his chair, dusted off his robes and glided down the marble stairway of the family mansion like a snake slithering out of its hole. Perhaps today the Mantis had finally realized the unholy power he commanded. Perhaps today they’d come knocking. The fools. If they thought he feared them, he who spat in the face of death, then they had another thing coming. Syroa herself would be jealous of his display of power, perhaps she’d even come down to join him in tearing those insects apart.

He opened door with a thin, sickening smile that faded almost instantly.

“Glenn,” he snarled.

“I’ve got two more,” the old local answered out of breath. At least he had the sense to get to the point.

“I don’t need more. But if I do...” Gysandir cooed, “I know where you live.” He was about to throw the door shut and let Glen get away with a simple scare when the old coot had the audacity to speak again.

“Th- they’re fresh.”

“Speak sense, or not at all.”

Glen retreated a pace. “N-not from the s-sea.”

“Then where from?”

“F-Foreigners. Easterners I says-”

“Alone?”

“A boy and a man, aye.”

Gysandir opened the door a smidge further, his pale face tightening with barely restrained anger as he eyed the miserable worm at his doorstep. “I have no use for a boy. Do you think I pick any old corpse, Glen? You come to my house, disturb my peace to offer me a child and his daddy? Do you think the greatest necromancer that ever lived would waste precious ether on common folk? You’re alive because I find it a waste of time to kill you where you stand.”

“I- I- don’t mean ta… It’s… the man’s strong, almost died… b-but…”

“But what?”

“He were cut up like a pig, shoulda bled out and passed out ages ago, but he’s still breathin’ an’ the little lad’s strong in the arms an’-”

Gysandir opened the door fully and gave Glenn a disapproving once over with his slitted eyes. “Let me warn you once, and only once Glen. If this is some kind of joke, I will kill you, raise you, and make you kill yourself until the end of time. Are we understood?”

“Y- yes…”

“Then let’s be off, dear Glen. I was in the mood for a brisk walk this afternoon anyway, how about yourself?”

“I…”

“Nevermind dear Glen, you need not speak.”

--

A cold wind howled through the nooks and crannies of the rickety hut. Erwinn stroked his salt-and-pepper beard with one hand and reached for the knife in the drawer with the other. “Immortals forgive me,” he muttered under his breath as he sent a glance over his shoulder. The boy was hard at work mending the corpse. It’ll be quick, he reminded himself. It was not a boy and a man. It was ten nel trying to rescue fifty nel from the brink of death. He slipped the knife behind his back and lumbered back into the main room.

“What are you waiting for?” the boy said, brows furrowed and his voice betraying a hint of panic. It weren’t goin’ well, his grubby hands were soaked with blood and the wild man’s pained howls were almost inaudible over the sound of the wind beating against the walls of the shack. “Get a-”

Erwinn shot forward, raised the knife and-

The blade sank into flesh, drew out a startled scream before they hit the ground-

His eyes went wide as a blast of light and heat emerged from thin air, setting his clothes on fire and sending him flying across the room. He hit the nearest wall with a thud, flailed his arms and rolled over the floor to douse the flames.

The boy yanked the knife from his shoulder, scrambled onto his feet, staggered forward, slipped and-
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Kasoria
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Re: Comin' In Hot (Finn)

Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:11 am

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Fuck me, could you get any more pathetic?

It said a lot about his mental state that even with his physical form bleeding out and falling part under him, Kasoria's mind was still hale enough to grind out a few choice insults. Hard to blame it, though. He'd have much the same thoughts if he was on the outside looking in. There he was, fingers inches away from grasping his blade, ready to smote these too-sincere bastards emerging through the shadows... and when it came down to it, he could barely get his fingers around the handle before his strength failed him entirely.

He grumbled and groaned and listened as if from the bottom of a lake as they discussed how best to carry him. To carry him. As if he were some cripple, some invalid, some child to be supported! But was there any sharp retort or sharper retaliation? Of course now. He let stronger hands than his own slide under his arms and ankles and suddenly he was weightless, jostled from side to side as he floated over sand and dirt and stared up into a cloud sky.

“He ain’t my friend.”

There was a dry chuckle from the half-dead man. Like wind through old parchment. A smile came with it, bleak and bloody and without much humor.

"Aye... miss yuz too, boy..."

_ _

There was nothing but pain for him now. Deep and brutal and bright, or shallow and throbbing and dull. These were his two options. When he lay on the filthy table (which was what he assumed the flat-ish surface to be), Kasoria was indulged by the latter. A slow, seeping ache that spoke of blood loss and bruises. People moved around him, only one voice familiar. Smells of rotting meat and sea water and brine. Eyes that didn't really work anymore caught fragments of impossible sights. Giant webs and great toothed spears. Lumbering giants and howling monsters beyond the thin walls.

This was relaxation, though, compared to the alternative. When he heard a washcloth being rung out, water dappling into a bowl, and the cloth was pressed to him-

Kasoria found the strength to stiffen and squirm and howl as only a man near death could. The grievous cuts about him screamed up from his very flesh alongside his lips. He gripped the sides of the table and felt wood creak under his hands... but not break. Too weak for that. Too old. Too battered. His eyes flickered and wood became stone became old enemies and new hatred and-

"What is it, Kas? What're youse hidin' from us?" CRACK "Fuck me, that looks nasty. Sure y'don't wanna chat? Hmm?" CRACK "You will fuckin' talk, you fuckin' leech-" CRACK

“You owe me. Don’t forget.”

New words. From an old voice. The dungeon vanished with another spear of pain into his side. Kasoria managed to look down and saw the gash in his side, edges white now with blood loss. Fuck's sake, he was barely bleeding anymore. But the boy was still tending to it, jamming the cloth in there with all the brutal, ruthless skill of a battlefield healer or back-alley doctor. Again there was that rustling sound, a little wetter now, ending when Kasoria's head flopped down rather painfully onto the table.

"Yeah... I ain't... fergotten..."

_ _

He awoke to screams and blinding light and burning hair. Great, was his first thought. Now I'm fucking hallucinating.

That idea was destroyed the moment he opened his eyes, and saw chaos unfolding before him. Finn was hollering with a knife in his shoulder, blood spreading across the fabric of his shirt and the sight of it, the smell, the amalgamation of metal and blood was enough to shear away the fancies and frailty of his sleep. The boy's attacker was flailing on the floor, smoking, screeching, flesh seared like a steak in some places, scorched hairless in others. Kasoria managed to prop himself up onto one elbow before the boy-

-scrambled onto his feet, staggered forward, slipped and-

-Erwinn crashed into his tumbling feet, only half-comprehending him as he tried to get the last of the flames out, bowling the boy over, Finn reaching out for something, anything-

"Ahferfucksake-!"

-which happened to be Kasoria's cocked elbow, yanking him down to the floor with them. For a brief moment they writhed there, three collections of variously abused limbs and torsos, trying to figure out what was to happen next. Fates be Fucking Praised, it was Kasoria that seemed to reach a conclusion first. He'd barely had a break or two of sleep, but that seemed to have been enough. His wounds were cleaned, if not dressed. His body was slowly, painfully reknitting itself. He was trials, even seasons away from his old self... but his mind was clear.

Clear enough to snap back into those animal instincts that had served him well for so long. Enough to pin Erwinn with a gaze and-

Threat.

-decide right there what to do about it.

"Geroffme-!"

Erwinn bellowed in outrage as the sack of bones and dried blood rolled over and atop him like a trash-smeared mannequin. He was almost to his feet and groping for his knife when the old man half-tackled him back down, hands stronger than they had any right to be gripping his own. On his back, filthy human refuse straddling him, Erwinn snarled and grabbed a handful of hip, digging his fingers into that wound-

-rewarded with a scream like a dying animal, Kasoria's head thrown back and then the scream became wet and ugly and-

Fuck it. Use what comes.

-Kasoria's head snapped back down and with an ungodly screech Erwinn's head was drenched in a boiling soup of bile, blood, stomach acid, and digested gruel that had previously resided in Kasoria's guts. His innards were battered and abused as much as the rest of him; this fresh volley of agony was all the impetus his body needed to purge the nausea he'd been nurturing for breaks. Only this was Kasoria, feeling such a way. A man who knew how to turn any advantage. So when the white hot nails and shards assailed him, fingers biting and ripping into his wound and the sickening kiss of bile bubbled at the back of his throat-

-the Raggedy Man saw an opportunity. Let out his pain until it became a gargle. Then threw his gaze back down and drenched his enemy in every foulness his stomach could spew up.

"ohgodsfuckingimmortalsfuckingwhatisthisfuck-"

Erwinn's words were a perfect reflection of him thoughts: chaotic, panicked, disgusted, barely in control. Everything burned and stank. His nostrils, his sinuses, his eyes, under his lids, his mouth, the back of his throat. Even the pores of his skin seemed infected and cauterized by this stinking miasma, and he wasn't thinking at all about fighting back-

-unlike Kasoria, who was never one to waste an opening. He didn't even bother to wipe his puke-drooling mouth before rearing up-

CRUNCH

-and putting as much of his upper body as he could behind a forearm to Erwinn's throat. The body snatcher's eyes bulged open, hideous and comical in his fresh mask of vacated stomach contents. He started to choke as his throat stopped working, pawing at Kasoria-

-at the thing above him with burning eyes, lips curled back so far they were practically gone, revealing snarling teeth curtained by wet, stinking hair-

CRACK

There was a grunt like nothing human in this world, as Kasoria reached back again and smashed a fist into Edwinn's nose. He pulled it back and the moment his face was exposed again-

WHAM

-his left came down instead, breaking what was left of that organ, smashing it deeper into Edwinn's face. The man was already passing out, eyes going fuzzy, grip loosening-

"Pluh-Plea-"

CRACK

CRACK

CRUNCH

THUMP


Kasoria wasn't listening. Never had listened to that word, anyway. Mayhap there was a world where Edwinn had, in fact, been protecting him from Finn. Maybe the boy was making a move on his sleeping form, settling a debt from long ago that Kasoria had almost forgotten about. But thinking wasn't his forte in that moment. He was every inch the feral thing that Finn loved remembering him as, all stinking clothes and beastly manners. Beneath and below and lesser than him in all ways.

Every crack and smack of knuckles on bone and flesh came with a wet sound like meat being tenderized. Edwinn stopped trying to talk. Stopped twitching, after a while. Stopped doing anything after half a bit or so of steady, heavy, remorseless pounding. Kasoria's chest heaved and he gasped and gaped above the ruins of the man's face. Teeth glittered like a haphazard handful of diamonds. Something gooey that used to be an eye. The suggestion of gnawed, split, sundered lips.

Kasoria spat to the side and started to rise. Looked around and turned to Finn with a face streaked and splattered with someone else's blood and bodily fluids. Now he bothered to wipe a sleeve across his face, and get to his feet, inexorable and unkillable and-

Fuck!

-fell right back down and threw up again. Huh. Odd. He could have sworn he hadn't been fed enough to warrant an encore. Well, live and learn.

"Sh... Shite..."

Too much had been taken out of him to be renewed after a few breaks sleep, and what he'd just done had robbed him of that recovery, too. Now he was on all fours and coughing next to Edwinn's carcass, deep, sucking, wet coughs that heaved spittle and blood along with air. But he stopped long enough for the two of them to hear something above the wind. A voice. Aristocratic. Commanding. Alien and unnatural in this ragtag locale.

"Edwinn," the voice said from outside; where exactly was hard to tell. "That sounded like screaming. You do remember what I assured you the cost would be if any japing would be attempted, hmm?"

Another voice skittered over the air like a rat across a tin roof. Obsequious, groveling, eager to please; less a servant and more a slave. Boy and Man looked at each other in the little hut. It was the other one... and he'd come back with a friend. Kasoria expended the last screed of energy he had pulling his karambit from his back... and then collapsed onto his side, breathing with a faint whistle every time his lungs filled.

"Well... yer welcome... but s'time... fer youse... t'save me again..." Then the Old Man frowned and he shook his head as best a man covered in vomit and blood and carved open and unable to walk could manage. Uncomfortably, one might say. But he'd had a few spare trills to run back what he'd seen before his eyes, and he could not let the question lie. "An' what... what mad... cunt ... taught youse...fuckin' magic?"
word count: 1870
"This is the life we choose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see Heaven."
NOTE: Kasoria is using the name "Thagoras" while in Eastern Idalos, from Zi'da 717 onwards
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Finnegan O'Connor
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Re: Comin' In Hot (Finn)

Sun Mar 03, 2019 11:46 pm

Comin’ in Hot - 50th Zi’da, 718


________________________

Stumbling forward, Finn clutched the dagger with white-hot knuckles, his hands shaking as he watched the thick, gleaming syrup that was his own blood drip off of it like a slow porridge. His eyes traced across the blade with morbid fascination before they jerked toward the perpetrator slumped against the far wall. “you piECE O’ CRAP!” He made a shrieking beeline for the old man, “I’LL KILL YOU!”

Erwinn scrambled to his feet, hurt, dazed, but far from dead and-

A flash of hair and skin, growling, raging like some wild beast-

In a flurry of motion a pale, wretched creature reeking of death crashed into the old Erwinn sending them both smacking onto the floor, shattering the frail wooden boarding, tearing out hairs, screaming, clawing-

Some arm or fist yanked him into the wild tangle before he was evicted just as quickly by a hard kick to his stomach. He couldn't say who it belonged to, only that gravity was momentarily suspended before returning with a clatter. His back crashed into an old cabinet, unloading a century's worth of dust and forgotten trinkets upon him as he rebounded, clutching his shoulder, stemming the waves of aching, stabbing pain with white hot knuckles clasping his shoulder-

Someone retched.

Like a malnourished, dying street cat the body of Kasoria convulsed, his back arched, then shot forward as he puked up an acidic stream of bodily fluids, drenching a shrieking Erwinn in foulness.

Finn looked on, his grimace became a snarl before it became a wrinkled nose and barely suppressed gag reflex while Kasoria slammed fist after fist into the a porridge of bone, flesh and puke. The dagger slipped from his fingers and clattered to the floor as he pressed his wrist to his nose to stave off the haze of stench filling the air. Kasoria grunted like an old man with back aches as he got up, his hairy chest rising and falling with heavy, ragged breaths and his feet shaking unsteadily under him before collapsing as though he'd slipped on ice. Finn stared at the fallen assassin for a trill, unsure if amazed or disgusted until he heard voices approaching. Alarmed, he picked up the dagger, hissed at the gash on his shoulder and stepped over what remained of Erwinn to welcome the fast approaching guests. “Save you? It's kinda what I do, innit?” he answered wryly. He clenched and unclenched the dagger in his hand, licked the blood of his lips and after a trill of contemplation tossed the smeared blade at Kasoria’s feet. “You're better with those. Make it count.”

Kasoria’s question was drowned out by the sound of a door being unceremoniously opened. The cold, briney air of the sea washed into the shack like the tide and carried something foul with it.

“What a pitiful little home Glen- Oh my-”

Finn stared dauntlessly at the tall, gaunt-faced man with thin alabaster hair who looked nothing like a doctor. But his expression melted at what entered the room next: a bulking creature that lowered its skull to fit through the door, his footsteps slow and the holes in his clothes and ancient chainmail revealing no flesh, but mere bone underneath.

~

Gysandir’s thin lips curled into a sickening smile at the sight before him. The corpse of a man lay splayed in a pool of pungent liquids and a child, blood-smeared and hard-faced stood at the edge of the corpse, unarmed. There was another leg belonging to some other corpse, sticking just around the corner of a wall. When Glen had mentioned a man and a boy, he’d scarcely considered the kind of child that stood before him. A little deranged murderer, with the skill to and beastliness to render his victims almost unrecognizable.

Gysandir’s chuckle turned to laughter when Glen shot past him, charging at the child with a roar. They slammed into each other and for a moment it seemed Glen had the upper hand, bouncing the kid’s head off the table, choking him with both hands. And then Gysander felt it, and his laughter died almost as quickly as Glen.

A glow of bright blue was all the warning Glen Morson ever got. A glow, and then the roar of flames conjured out of thin air, burning with blinding intensity. His furious roar became a scream before it died in his throat, and then his body slid down the child’s frame, his blackened muscles twitching before he thudded to the ground.

Gysandir wasted no time. On his command, Ramshackles took a mighty step forward while the bodies of the brothers stirred with unholy live.

~

Finn’s world turned upside down. Something strong grasped his ankle, and before he knew it his head dangled an inch over the ground, held upside down by some unholy force. Glen’s still smouldering frame twitched and convulsed as the necromancer’s power compelled him back to the world of the living, and from the corner of his eye, Finn saw the same happen with Erwinn’s violated corpse.

He kicked his free leg at his captor, but aside from a hollow clunk, he remained held upside down.

“I would appreciate if you treated Ramshackles with a little more respect, child,’ the unhinged, high-pitched voice of Gysandir sounded. “He’s very old after all, and one should respect their elders, wouldn’t you agree?”

Finn prepared his answer in his fist, shaping raw ether into a miss-

The reanimated corpse of Glen Morson stepped in the way. The voice laughed.

“A young magician, Ramshackles, can you believe it? In Rynmere of all places.. how quaint. Ah-”

The necromancer seemed to notice the husk of a dying man in the corner then. The one that hadn’t come back to live quite yet. The one with a knife that he didn’t mind because any attempt to stab him would be caught by the stinking corpse of Erwinn. “Was this some father and son trip to the beach?”

“He’s not my dad.”

“Nor dead,”Gysandir snorted, rather amused at his own joke, and perhaps there was a whiff of disappointment in his voice too. “Nothing that can’t be solved, of course.”

The same blue glow emerged, the same roar, aimed squarely at the white-haired man who hovered over Kasoria like an undertaker. But the necromancer wasn’t so easily fooled. For the second time that day, Glen Morson was set ablaze, but this time he remained upright as his stinking flesh melted away under the torrent of flames, yet his master remained unharmed.

“You really should stop doing that,” Gysander said the moment Finn realized his efforts were fruitless. “It smells horrible.”

“Let me go,” Finn demanded.

The Necromancer’s patience grew thin. The resurrected Erwinn guarded Kasoria’s slumped frame as Gysander marched over to the dangling child and crouched to meet the boy’s eyes. “And why would I squander two surprising additions to my collection?”

“I’ll burn us all if you don’t.”

Again a flame appeared, but this time it remained in it’s young master’s hand, and the hand aimed down toward the floorboards.

A trill passed before Finn was dropped like a brick and as soon as he landed, he crawled back on his elbows, putting as much distance between himself and the towering undead man as the room allowed.

“Pity,” Gysander muttered, then turned on his heel.

“Wait,” Finn said.

The Necromancer halted.

“You’re going to help us.”

What?

Finn gritted his teeth as he scrambled back onto his pins. “You’re a necromancer, you must know something about bodies… we need to stitch him up,” he nodded his head in Kasoria’s direction.

Gysander opened his mouth to say something to the insolent child, but was yet again interrupted.

“You will help, or I’ll bring the whole place down.”

“And how exactly do you imagine I’ll be helping,” Gysander bit back.

“Get him back on the table first, then patch him up." Finn demanded.

“I’m not some pet dog to be commanded.”

“So you’ll burn then.”

“You’ll burn too.”

“I don’t care.”

“We both know that’s a lie. But I’m not unreasonable. I will just take these three,” Gysander mused, pointing at Glen, Erwinn, and finally Kasoria. “I’m feeling mighty gracious today, after all.”

“No,” Finn snarled. “You’re going to help him get better, and then you’re going to leave.”

“I raise the dead, not the living.”

“Then just leave.”

A deadly silence hung between them, disrupted only by the ragged breaths of Kasoria, inching ever closer to death.

Fine.” the necromancer relented. He walked up to the table and rolled up his sleeves. “How did you know I’m a Grafter too?”

“I didn’t.”

Gysander grumbled something foul under his breath and with a gesture of his hand, Glen and Erwinn were set into motion. Kasoria had to think himself delirious as he was being placed back onto the table by the men he’d helped kill.

"This may get messy," the necromancer warned.

"Just do it."
word count: 1564
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Kasoria
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Re: Comin' In Hot (Finn)

Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:48 am

Kasoria had reassessed the situation as best his addled senses could allow, and had come to a new conclusion. He was, in fact, dreaming. Or dead. Or dreaming while dead, or... vice versa. But he couldn't be living. No. No, that would make no sense at all.

Dead men stooped down, still dripping fresh blood and charred, smoking skin as they did. Inhuman strength hauled him up like he was a child and laid him on the table, like a roast they were all deciding how to carve up. Voices were talking around him, above him, deciding, arguing, questioning... and he blinked up at a ceiling made of rotten wood.

I'm dead. I have to be.

Finn... he heard Finn. Saw him, too. Roast a man alive with a fireball like he was throwing a stone. The image of Glenn burned to cinders, from belly to scalp, would be with him for a long time. Torched so thoroughly and so quickly his tongue was a blackened worm before he could even use it to scream. Then he was up again... then down... then up, and barely any meat was on him at all. The two dead men were at opposite ends of the table, and someone else... peered down at Kasoria.

"Good grief, are you sure you want me to bother? I've seen sides of beef that have endured less trauma."

Kasoria tried to chuckle but it came out like a gargle that soon tried to choke him. He coughed the lump out of his throat and blood came up with it. Shite, he could hardly argue with the snooty bastard above him. Didn't seem like one he'd want to bandy words with, anyway. The accent was as cultured as any of noble stock, who'd been taught his P's and Q's so early he just assumed all men of quality spoke thus, but Kasoria wasn't fooled. That magic, to drag the dead back to life, to make them puppets, like the hulking golem that was standing off to one side, so encased in armor that Kasoria assumed for a moment he was made of metal.

Necromancy.

Magic.That was something he knew, now. Something he had within him. But not enough to use, and no mind left unclouded to channel it properly. But he did still have that knife... oh, not the one Finn had slid over to him. That had fallen from his trembling hand the moment the two thralls had lifted him up. It was his karambit he could feel, cold and hard and sheathed at the small of his back. He wondered if Finn would recognize it. He'd been there when he won it, after a-

No. That one was lost. In the dungeon. No, this is... Traitor's Claw.

"Fine, fine... honestly, the things I do to avoid an inconvenience... and immolation."

He sounded engrossed, which suited Kasoria just fine. He wasn't dreaming. He wasn't dead. He was alive, and awake, and at the mercy of some well-spoken necromancer who was clearly going to kill them all as soon as he got the chance. Whatever Finn had bartered or threatened him with - honestly, he'd blacked out during that part, and was expecting to do so again pretty soon - wouldn't last beyond the flammable walls of the hovel. As soon as the mage and his gigantic bodyguard were outside, they were both dead.

So make a plan, he told himself, street instincts melding with sheer, impulsive yearning to survive. Wait until you can make a move. Get to the blade. Open his throat and end him fast.

Not much as far as strategies went, but considering he should already be dead, Kasoria wasn't about to argue. Everything ached and hurt and hissed and bit against his mind. Every scrap of skin, every limb. Every breath was shuddering, juddering, gasped out through lungs battered by frequent beatings. His arms and legs flopped uselessly off the table, bereft of energy. Could he even move his arm far enough to the small of his back? Could he grasp the handle? Pull it? Swing it? With what strength or accuracy?

You're dying, murmured a voice of low treachery. You're dying, far from home, far from your son, and-

Then Grysandir's hands glowed like poisoned sunlight, sickly and green and grasping. The light blinded the hapless man and he didn't feel those long-nailed fingers plunge against his battered flesh. But he felt the mage begin to work his will upon his flesh, and when he did, Kasoria began to scream.
Image
word count: 787
"This is the life we choose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see Heaven."
NOTE: Kasoria is using the name "Thagoras" while in Eastern Idalos, from Zi'da 717 onwards
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